Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Why Don't I Like my Birth Mother?

In a day I'll post about the difference (in general) between first/birth mothers of my generation and some of the later-day moms who relinquished as that has been a debate going on in the comments section of earlier posts. But this evening as I was catching up on one of my new fave TV shows, Life Unexpected on The CW, the speech by Kate, the birth mother who is trying to build a relationship with Luxe, her daughter, hit me between the eyes. A recap before we get to the speech:

Luxe has been lying to her friends at school about her background, pretending to be a rich kid just in from boarding school [instead of a kid who did not get adopted and went from one lousy foster home to another], but she gets suspended for selling a huge bong lamp aka drug paraphernalia. (I know that sounds weird, but the bong lamp is a touchstone of the show.) Mom Kate brings the social worker's file on Luxe to the school and begs to have the suspension lifted, but some snarky girl at school Xeroxes the file and posts it all over Luxe's locker...about her not having parents, being in foster care, etc. (Her letter to Santa written as an eight-year-old will piece the heart of anyone who hoped to be adopted and wasn't.) Luxe's friends drop her, but Luxe gets to get back at Kate and "outs" Kate as Not A Single Women But As Someone Engaged to her co-host on their morning radio show--when she is supposed to be single. Will this ruin Kate's career?

Luxe spends the night at Baze's (her father) apartment, Baze tells Luxe she is going to have to work it out with Mom Kate. In the morning, Luxe meets her and before she gets a chance to say much of anything beyond "Hey," Mom Kate speaks:
I just don't know how many more times I can say that I'm trying. I can only do what I think is right....I didn't out you on purpose. I didn't Xerox your file, I didn't post it on your locker, but you outed me on purpose...I don't know if...I can't do this Luxe. Not this way, this isn't working.

I know you have been through a lot and I have a lot to learn about being with you, but right now I don't know how to do this better than I'm doing it...and even with all of that you still keep pushing me away, you keep leaving. It feels like ever since you got here all you do is leave and if you don't want to be with me, we can all Freda [the social worker, maybe, not sure who that was], you can get Baze approved [to be the custodial parent], we can find you someone else, we'll figure it out. Because I'm not a perfect mom. You know, this is my best and at some point you are going to have to take it or leave it. It's up to you. 
Well, I don't know how many times I said that same speech to my daughter--or thought it--because as many of you know, she came, she stayed, she left. For months at a time. Around a year once. And it was hell. Then she would come back only to do it again, a few years later. Up and down, in and out, warm love or cold rejection, I never knew when one would turn into the other.

And Linda and Jane, and Allison and Karen and Denise and and so many other first mothers I know have the same experience--it doesn't matter who found whom either. It feels like no matter what we do, no matter how hard we try, no matter what we say or don't say, our found children want to leave, want to hurt us, want to tell us to shove it and show us how little we matter to them. It's a way of showing us what it was like to be abandoned without warning--just as they were when they were too young to object.

So we first/birth mothers weep and go over everything we said: Was that the offending sentence, the comment that got us black-listed? I should not have said that. But usually that is an innocent comment, not worthy of such analysis. For many of us, it feels like our children are lying in wait for us to do something that they can say: See what she did? She used the "guest towels" when she wasn't supposed to. She wore the wrong kind of dress to my wedding! She introduced me to the lady at the grocery store as her "daughter." She asked me to write a letter in favor of open records--who in the hell does she think she is? The nerve! She said that girls were harder to raise than boys! I'm leaving! I'll show her! She means nothing to me. Nothing. I'm outta here.

And on into the night.

87 comments :

  1. Thank you for being so open and sharing. It gives me such a better rounded picture of the things that firstmothers go through.

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  2. Lorraine, I certainly saw in spades what you're talking about when I read memoirs written by women who had been adopted as infants. The authors were bright and sensitive women but they turned small events into major transgressions: Leaving dirty dishes in the sink; ordering the wrong food at a restaurant; telling her daughter she loved her; sending a tacky greeting card, and on and on.

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  3. Lorraine, I danced that dance for a long time. The constant rethinking every conversation, all of it. Almost 8 years of "screw you" and some interesting expletives. Finally, when I shut her down completely - at least with first person access, she went to my blog.

    At first, which I thought was amusing, she tried to be "anonymous" telling me how much she hated me and how even talking about me made her sick. And then it got abusive.

    Finally, out of pure frustration at her behavior I did the unthinkable. I took it from bizarre responses to blog postings, to the front page. I answered her directly and told her no more. I expected nothing from her and would not bother to even try. That I loved her and that if she chose to be this way, it was her choice, but she wasn't taking me with her.

    That was around a year ago. She does not do that anymore. After being told "I love you no matter what" but that I would not be treated like that, well, it just stopped. All the ugliness.

    At first it was this polite, stilted comments and then, over time, better more open communication. So far this has held. I got my first "Merry Christmas, Mom" this last Christmas - and did not know whether to cry or laugh.

    They hate us because we are easy targets. We will be there, and they can punish us for their pain. But the fact of the matter is, they don't really hate us. They fear loving, because they were not "loved" by us. They fear being abandoned, we did that before. They want US.

    By the way, my daughter told me she reads anything I write, that she has analyzed, supposed and wondered about every conversation we have ever had. So, I think it is mutual.

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  4. LOVED THIS POST! Smiled all the way through. And in the truth is stranger than fiction department, the guest towel incident was mine. I mistakenly used the guest towels on display in the guest bathroom during my first visit to my daughter's home, and it was invisibile elephant in the room for the rest of the weekend. My husband and I visited my daughter a month later, and she shared this breach of protocol with us over dinner. Out of all the things I could have said or done wrong, my crime was using the guest towels! Guest towels, I was told, are for guests. Her then boyfriend, my husband I just looked at her in disbelief. Wasn't I a guest? I defended myself by saying a good hostess will leave towels, etc. for her guests' use.

    If Life Unexpected's episodes hit the nail on the head as much as this one did, then I just might tune in.

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  5. Linda, call me dense: I don't get it. Was your daughter trying to say, "Your my mom so you don't need to use the guest towels"? If so, why would she disguise such an affectionate feeling toward you as an accusation of wrongdoing? Or was that the point?

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  6. Great post. It made me cry.
    I did that to my mother. I can't explain it, I didn't want to do that, but I just can't be an adult when it comes to my feelings about being abandoned. I wanted her to pay, I wanted her to be sorry, I wanted her to say she did want to be with me, but she would not. I can't undo it now, and she won't take me back.
    Thanks for helping me to understand how I made her feel.

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  7. Osolo, your guest is as good as mine. But thank you for that point of view; honestly, in the decade since it happened I never thought of it that way, I've just continued to do penance.

    This was just one of many, many trespasses and missteps in the five years we attempted to have a relationship. There were just too many obstacles in the way of our reunion--her less than thrilled adoptive mother and brother, my meddling sister, birthmother/
    relinquished adoptee issues for which there were/are no easy solutions.

    I finally stopped trying. I don't pump my sister for info (in fact, I haven't been close to my sister for going on five years); I mentioned to Lorraine today that my #1 grandson's fourth birthday was this weekend and I didn't think about it until Monday (I've never met him, I don't think he'll ever know he has a Grandida, and I was grateful for the memory loss). Osolo, if you could resolve this going battle, then I'd nominate you for a Nobel Peace Prize.

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  8. As an adoptee, this is what I feel towards my mother:

    "I love for who you are, the very fact that you birthed me and mothered me before my adoption was legal, but I know I will never really have you or get to know you in the way my kept siblings do, and for that, I am angry."

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  9. I can relate to what you say, Linda.

    My daughter Megan spent 11 years looking for me. In my darker moods, I think she did it so she could spend the next 11 telling me how worthless I am, how her adoptive family is her real family, how she's glad she was adopted, how her adoption was God's plan, and so on.

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  10. That's funny...that's the way my BIRTH mother treats me.

    It's definitely a two-way street.

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  11. I've felt glimpses of the hatred, the anger towards me. Allowed in close for a while then kept away again.

    It used to upset and baffle me a lot. Since the last visit which was two years ago I've been kept at a kind distance.

    I've kind of given up on her. I still love her and always will but I've given up on trying to have a real relationship with her.

    In some ways I think it would be easier if she asked me to go away but that would be quite painful too I think.


    I can also see she was raised to see me as lower status. Her mother made sneaky comments while she was growing up that made me seem less worthy of respect.

    I don't think she will ever let me close. I am not sure if I will go and visit, I am supposed to go and visit.

    I don't know if I want to. It feels like I am just pretending to have a daughter.

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  12. About what Alison wrote, I wish it was that simple for me. I did tell her I wished she had been me but I still felt punished.

    Maybe you would have done those things anyway.

    If my daughter did them to me and a lot of adopted people do them then perhaps it's an appropriate reaction to being relinquished?

    I do not blame my daughter for doing this to me. It makes me feel sad and far away from her.

    I know that it will be like this for ever, nothing will ever make it right or make us be really close.

    Everything else in my life is pretty amazing except for this.

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  13. I can't say my son ever said anything mean to me, and I do not think he hates me. What he has done is fade in and out of communication. like the Cheshire Cat. For the first 18 years after contacting him I was met almost totally with silence, but he did not send anything back or say not to contact him. I do not know why he fades away or why he comes back, but accept that he is doing what he has to do.

    His contacts via email have been more regular and frequent so I feel that is progress.

    I do the "dance" in my own head when I do not hear from him, "what did I say, what did I do?" but have come to realize that it is not about me, but more often other pressures and interests in his life. He now apologizes when I do not hear from him for a while. I try never to lay my insecurity or fears on him. He got enough of that from his adoptive mother.

    He has never been abusive or irrational or made any demands. I think Lori is right about dealing with bad and abusive behavior from our kids, but I have not experienced that as some have.

    I think he knows I love him no matter what, but fears being smothered or obligated. I can understand that and be patient with it.

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  14. Lori, what you described is how I feel right now with my reunions, yes two. Double the fun! I am beaten up and beaten down, tired of fighting. Tired of the "I love you" then, BAM, out of nowhere, the "you mean nothing to me". WTF????

    My greatest fear is that if I shut them down, they will be happy that I took that responsibility away from them. If they can hurt, bully, belittle, betray,and beat me into shutting down contact, then they get what they are the most afraid of, that I will leave them again. Only, according to their words and deeds, they don't "need a Mother", they have one of those and she did a great job. Then of course it will be, "see I knew you would just leave me again". So I feel damned if I do and damned if I don't. I love them and always will, unconditionally. But unconditonally, does not mean you get to treat my like s*it just because you are having a bad day and need a whipping post. I don't want to end it, I still want to believe that we can have a real grown up loving relationship, but deep inside I don't think it will ever happen and I am tired of feeling sad, heartbroken, and confused. The two of you are pissed at me, to put it mildly. I get it, you each certainly have a right to feel the way that you feel. But I have a right to feel the way I feel too, and I feel like I just want to spend the rest of my time on this earth loving you and getting to know you, but I can see after four years now, that that is just not going to happen. If I choose to leave you at peace with your wonderful adopted family, will that stop the assault? Somehow, I think not. I think that in order to remain victims, in order to not have to do the hard/painful work required to heal the wounds you received from being relinquished, you need a scapegoat, for both of you, that is me. But I am not a scapegoat, I am a loving, kind woman with much love to give. I have a lot for you, won't you please open up a place for me in your cold, cold hearts!

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  15. This post left me tearful.

    I think anyone who acts and reacts negatively to someone else must be doing so out of deep-rooted hurt and I suppose Anonymous is right...it could be a two-way street.

    My heart aches for those of you who have had reunions peppered with hard times and loss of contact:(

    I always liked and loved my mother. I didn't ever treat her cruelly nor did I ever cut her out of my life. She died unexpectedly 15 months after we met one another and what I wouldn't give to have more time with her.

    Thank you, Lorraine, for your words.

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  16. Liz, Actually, if you think I was not terrified that I would lose her - wow - how wrong you would be. The thing is, have you really had anything with them if you can't get past that "ugly" humping elephant in the room? Not really. I know that for me, if I had not said "no more" she would not have ever thought of me as a person. Just the B***h that dumped her.

    I don't say it will work for everyone. I do say that I have more self-respect than to allow my child to stomp on me. And she has more self-respect knowing that I am tough enough to say "No, I love you, but no, you can't do that".

    I think that we mothers are far too often afraid to lose what we do not have to realize that we don't have it.

    Simple statement: Do you have a relationship if only one person wants it?

    If you say no, then maybe you need to consider it.

    I hear a lot of adoptees and mothers, and I read blogs for hours. The one thing I know is that we need each other. Don't shut the door, just shut the door on the ugliness. It may make things quiet for a while and I know that hurts, but I think the result will be a more realistic life for both mother and child.

    JMHO

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  17. I can so relate to this. After 20 years of reunion and living as if our relationship is a constant roller coaster, I'm really burnt out. One minute he loves me,needs me in his life and then spends a ridiculous amount of time trying to invalidate anything I say. I just learned last evening from my son's adoptive mother that he's been doing the same thing to her for years! He's been telling them that they ruined his life, they were the wrong people to have raised him and that's why he's so miserable about everything.

    I cannot even believe I'm saying this, but I actually felt a twinge of embarrassment hearing how a human being that I brought into the world, mistreats everyone. There's alot more to my story but I have to say that I've seen some adoptees so damaged or hurt by their adoption experience, that they cannot or will not try to get past it.

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  18. I can't really speak to this issue because my son has never been mean to me. He has only ever been welcoming and supportive.

    However, even as a non-adoptee, I don't like to hear it said that girls are easier to raise than boys. I think that's one of those things that's only as true as the person who says it wants it to be.
    In other words, not.
    I do not think it is a good belief for young girls to be raised with.

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  19. I think you guys really, really, really, really, REALLY, oversimplify the forces at work on an adoptee.

    That is all I have energy for right now, but REALLY. It is a shame.

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  20. Ooops. I meant, of course, that I don't like to hear it said that girls are *harder* to raise than boys.
    My bad.

    But I do strongly feel it is deleterious to girls to grow up hearing that.

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  21. Lori, boy did you hit the nail right on the head. That is most certainly what I feel, that I am in TWO lopsided relationships that only I am participating in.

    I don't want to do it any more and I am terrified of losing them and my grandchildren but I am not even invited to birthday parties, I was excluded from the birth of my last grandchild after being lured in and told I would be included, only to be dumped after other Mom pitched a fit, so they just dumped me. Uninvited me from the baby shower after I had made all of my travel arrangements, and waited until the day before to do it. It was presented as "this is not going to be a good weekend for you to come for a visit".

    I feel incredibly sad and lonely in these relationships with my children, like a voyeur instead of actually being in the relationship. It feels wrong and weird, and I love them but they are not here with me, it is only a facade with them which they manipulate to whatever whim strikes their fancy at any given point in time. The more I write about it, the more foolish I feel for ever believing that it is anything more.

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  22. Excellent post. A topic that needs to be discussed.

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  23. Joy-what do you mean by the forces at work? Cause if that means what I think, then I have to agree with you somewhat.

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  24. Lorraine, the problem is that most of these celebrity birthparents did not come out of the closet of their own volition, but were outed by the media, or in the case of long-ago births like Einstein's daughter, by researchers.

    I do not think any of them have gotten involved in helping get records open either. And nobody looks up to them for being parents who surrendered, but continue admiring them in spite of it for their other accomplishments.

    I really do not see how this kind of list helps our cause; it is just a curiousity. It doesn't hurt either, but people just do not admire celebrity birthparents for surrendering the way they admire celebrity adopters.

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  25. I think we also need to consider a-parent loyalties, insecurities, etc. and how these affect the reunited adoptee.

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  26. Interesting. I did a sort of response in my own blog, because I can sort of feel for the adoptees being described. A lot of our feelings have NOTHING to do with rationality, or the circumstances reguarding our relinquishment. They come from a deeper place, one that no explanations or encouragements can assuage. I've been in reunion for 10 years with my birthfather, and we enjoy a mutually giving and loving relationship. I would never do some of the things adoptees are doing in this article, and yet I feel for them. It's not right, its not fair, and its certainly not admirable. But I do understand them, and I've felt these ugly feelings myself.

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  27. OOPS! The comment about celebrity birthparents was meant to go on the following thread, not this one. Sorry.

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  28. When we don't raise/grow up together, as nature intended, there is bound to be a gap, a breach, something to be resolved. And how difficult that is when both mother and child have fantasies and expectations that no mortal can fulfill, with no shared history.

    I fear that we are doomed. Sorry, but I've come to believe that adoption reunion is mostly doomed. Only a small percentage make it through and survive, form some semblance of a normal relationship.

    Makes that long-ago decision (or non-decision due to coercion) so much more traumatic, after seeing the results.

    I no longer treat my son with respect or compassion. He earned that with his actions. I will also love him — as my child — but I don't like him or his behavior.

    I don't feel good about it, but it is what it is.

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  29. @Improper

    You probably do know what I mean, you probably do feel them too, but I am not sure of your reunion status. That complicates things.
    I will respond on my own blog, because it has taken me decades to have the awareness of my own issues that I have, and I don't often find natural mothers receptive to the adoptee point of view. I imagine it is painful, as it often is in reverse for me. Anyway, GUEST TOWELS, oh I know them well.

    @ Denise, I always find what your write about your son so incredibly sad. I imagine dealing with a child who was twice abandoned and abused very challenging. I disagree with you that we are all doomed. It does require a ton of patience and compassion on both sides though. It is very challenging.

    @the writers of this blog, you challenge me a lot, some of your insights have been very valuable to me. Other times, I get frustrated that those who have been entrenched in the "good fight" for adoptee rights, for open records, for a new way of doing things don't see so much of what happens for adoptees.

    I am sure, I don't see a lot of what it is like from your point of view as well. I mean as a broad experience, I reject the notion of natural mother as hydra, hate that. There are always differences, with adoptees too, but there are overlaps.

    Off to read Amanda's contribution...

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  30. Okay Joy-ty-(which blog is yours though?)

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  31. I wonder if some of these interactions between first moms and adoptees are delayed reaction. For example, young kids say "I hate you" and otherwise push their parents' buttons all the time. It's part of growing up. Seeing as we have been separated by adoption, is this normal behavior that comes to the surface later on, because of the separation?

    Like anonymous, I had this situation with my mother too. In one of our anonymous letters I mentioned that my daughter wants to know why we don't see her "other Grammy". I put it that way because to her, Grammy is my mother-in-law so that is her terminology for it. It was such a little thing and I was surprised when my mother freaked out thinking I am expecting that sort of relationship from her. Which I'm not. One of the things I hate about mandatory intermediaries is that there's no way to correct misunderstandings like this. It seems like little things can get so blown out of proportion, much as you would expect from parents and teenagers.

    When my three year old says "I don't like you," I take it with a grain of salt because I know he's testing the waters and exploring his identity separate from me. How much more difficult that is as adults when we have the baggage of lifetimes and expectations upon us.

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  32. Triona, I think there is a lot of that kind of behavior - often both mother and child regress. My son did a lot of that but we're now 20 years out in our reunion. I feel like saying to him "grow up, get past it and treat others as you wish to be treated"!!

    I agree that there adoptees have extremely challenging hurdles to get past, but after a while - we all have to deal with the hand we were dealt with. My son refuses to stop blaming everything on being adopted.

    Although as an update, I just hung up from an hour phone conversation with him taking responsibility for his poor actions and telling me how hard he's working on changing to "stop being an as*hole"!
    I feel hopeful again.

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  33. Did my mother reject me or did I reject her in the artifical exchange of letters through an intermediary?

    I heard her write she never told anyone about me, never could destroy their feelings about her as a devout christian. She told me I didn't look like her, that God had some other purpose for me. That my father took advantage of her.
    It made me feel rejected and unwanted and since I never even knew her name when I did not write back that time 5 years ago, that avenue of communication is now closed due to the unfairness of closed records, and laws.

    Should I go through the whole search again, pay the state more, take the very real possibility that she will say no to any more contact and reject me yet again? I don't know. Maybe she feels rejected as she was the last to write. I don't know her, I don't know what she feels.

    I just know I am left with many questions, pain and loss. I'm afarid I am leaning towards the " we are doomed "

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  34. Lorraine, you state: "It feels like no matter what we do, no matter how hard we try, no matter what we say or don't way, our found children want to leave, want to hurt us, want to tell us to shove it and show us how little we matter to them."

    But at the same time: "I feel that taking responsibility for one's act is leads to greater acceptance by one's found/reunited child."

    Could it be that one leads to the other: that "taking responsibility for" what then becomes abandonment leads to this veiled anger and being treated as if you yourself deserve abandoning?

    I often see mothers talking about their found children backing away from reunion, treating them poorly, expressing anger in subtle or non-subtle ways. Speaking of a "distance," psychological or emotional, that the adoptee keeps between themself and their natural mother.

    But my son has never treated me this way. And at the same time, I have never blamed myself or "apologized' to him for an act I did not commit but which was committed against both of us by the hospital staff and the baby broker. Same in other similar reunions I know.

    I do not take responsibility for, nor have I ever apologized to my son for the surrender, because it was not my choice. He has also told me that he does not need an apology from me. He knows all the details of the surrender, and knows that i did not "give him away."

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  35. I knew I was done with my first mother last spring when she invited herself to my house, drank all the tequila in the place and told me that someday my children (one in preschool, the other under the age of ten) would be on drugs and were destined to be losers.
    Umm...what do you even say to that?
    Honestly, I WISH the worst thing she would do is use my guest towels.
    I don't care about guest towels.
    Guest towels, I can handle. Insults and drunken hatred, no thanks.

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  36. This is not anything I can relate to. I have never pushed my mother out of my life, that has been always been her choice to remove herself whenever I dared to disagree with her, or have an issue with how she treated me.

    I have always been welcoming to my mother, and I have bent over backwards for decades trying to have a relationship with her. I done with that now, thankfully. I could only beat my head against a wall for so long.

    I do like the new show "Life Unexpected". I got very emotional watching the birthday party scene. I hope the show stays around for a while.

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  37. Cedar wrote:"Could it be that one leads to the other: that "taking responsibility for" what then becomes abandonment leads to this veiled anger and being treated as if you yourself deserve abandoning? "

    For me, this was not the case at all. My son called me on NOT taking responsibility, on blaming everyone else. He also said he could not be my savior, that I had to forgive myself for what I felt I had done wrong.

    I realized he was right, and both my relationship with him and my feelings about myself got better when I was able to take responsibility for my part in the surrender rather than trying to blame society, my parents, the social worker, my boyfriend etc. Certainly they all had their own responsibility as well, but that is theirs to deal with. I only have to own my piece.

    I am not suggesting this as a panacea or saying that it works for everyone. I found it cruel of you to imply that your lack of guilt was in some way superior or led to a better relationship with your son than those of us who took responsibility or felt guilt. Do we somehow not deserve a good relationship with our kids? Are only the guiltless worthy?

    I respect your feelings and choices, but I do not see you respecting mine or others.

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  38. P.S. to Cedar;

    I would never say you or anyone else should feel guilt if you do not, or should take responsibility if you do not feel responsible. How you feel is how you feel,your story is your story, and what works for you may not work for others.

    You have repeatedly told me and others how we should feel. Can you stop doing that?

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  39. Some of the adopted people that are extremely nasty about their birth mothers are women who are well into their 30's coming up to be 40 years old.

    There comes a time where you have to take responsibility for your own feelings and stop being the eternal child.


    It's ok to say how adoption makes you feel but to constantly be abusive towards first mothers or your own first mother is giving all your power away.

    When you look at someone who is 17 or 18 years old can you not see how young and vulnerable they are? To punish someone 20 or 30 years later for something they did then with the very best of intentions is really immature.

    In almost all cases and certainly with me, these mothers have said they are truly sorry this happened and were quite genuine in their remourse.

    It's not like they just decided to throw their babies in a dumpster. There were so many forces at work, family pressure, social workers, being denied welfare, abandoned by the father.

    I don't see many posts about the fathers who disappeared. Relinquishing mothers are given all the blame. All the crap is heaped upon them. It's just crazy.

    And if you want to heap all that blame and anger and hatred on to us you further abuse us by being angry that we are not perfect towards you.

    In some cases I read about how we abandon our babies and how we are cruel, we ruined the lives of our chldren, we threw them away. It's just not true. We didn't throw our babies away. Some of us were bullied, some of us felt we had no choice, some of us felt we were giving our child a better start in life, some of us were abandoned and did not have the means to well take care of a child. None of us deliberately and cold heartedly threw our children away.

    If you are older than 30 years old then isn't it time to stop speaking as though you are a baby?

    You can express anger that it happened, express hurt that it happened but to spend years punishing is just crazy.

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  40. What powerful comments! I have met many moms and I know that forced/coerced/befriended surrender of their babies is the incalculable sorrow that never goes away. To have that abuse compounded by the difficulties that usually accompany reunion, is just a profound sadness. I don't know how you stay strong, but so many of you do. I believe one of the most damaging aspects of being an adoptee is hearing, ALWAYS, the words "GAVE you up/GAVE you away .." as though the event was a willing, easy choice. I believe many of us never get over that awareness, that she gave us away and that's ok. Of course, that's not true, but it colored my early life and my distancing behavior when I found my mother. How I regret that. How I wish I had had compassion. How I wish I had not abandoned her, when she died. I was not there for her. I left her in that Hospice with these words, "Well, see ya, Kid." And my deepest regret? I never touched her.

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  41. K. I'm in total agreement with your comments. With some adoptees and their feelings toward their first mothers; it just seems we can't win for losing.

    I've always been receptive and willing to learn about the adoptee's point of view. But at some point, it just doesn't matter anymore why someone chooses to be cruel to their mother - but that they are. If it feels abusive, at some point a mother needs to make the decision to either accept disrespectful treatment, or do something to change it.

    I suppose I should appreciate Steve's expressions of rage, anger and trust issues because he at least cared enough to want me to know where he was coming from. But enough is enough and I have had to tell him that I don't care to hear it anymore. If after 20 years in reunion he dislikes me so much because he chooses to believe I abandoned him; then he should spare us both and stay away.

    I've told him that I expect to be treated with the same kindness and respect I give him.

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  42. Just saying "amen" to everything K. has said. While adoptees and mothers sometimes regress when first reunited, there comes a time for everyone to grow up and start living in the present, not ruminating endlessly over the past.

    Acting like a baby in your 30s, 40s and older is inexcusable. You may not be able to control how you feel, but as an adult you can control your actions, how you treat others, and how you express yourself. Mothers can't be The Mommy, that role is over. Adoptees can't be The Baby, unless they really do want to live in perpetual childhood as the law views them.

    What both can do is work out a relationship between related strangers that can become a friendship enriching both lives. That is not easy, but it is possible if parent and child are both mature and willing to work at it.

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  43. Regarding K.'s and CarolC's comments. It's really no different than what an adult is expected to do in general. I believe part of being an adult is facing past hurts and dealing with them. I've allowed myself to forgive the people who have hurt me, because anger and bitterness eat me up inside. I'm not saying it's easy. It's an ongoing process, and sometimes I slip up. But I just can't live with being mad about things my mother did or said to me when I was a kid (and she did some awful things. I used to wish she *would* leave when she threatened to while in the middle of one of her insane tantrums), or caring anymore about friends who let me down when I really needed them. It's not worth it to carry that stuff around with me anymore.

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  44. K and other condescending first mothers here:

    Take your lecture of how adoptees should act and tuck it up where the sun don't shine.

    Adoptees have a hard time dealing with their traumas and healing from them when they have condescending first mothers who lecture them on how to act and feel. Really? Get off your high horses and quit whining about how your children act. Maybe if you were busy raising them instead of abandoning them, they may have turned out "better". Unfortunately, you weren't emotionally or physically available, so your "child" (now adult) was oftentimes raised by abusive idiots who cared NOTHING about them.

    My natural mother thinks there is something wrong with me because I want to know who my natural father is! She has pushed me out of her life several times because of this. Who's acting like the child?

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  45. Anon, your natural mother who won't tell you who your father is is not ALL natural mothers, and probably not one of the ones commenting here.

    That is just wrong. Both adoptees and mothers can treat each other badly. Both sides can be immature, manipulative, cruel, irrational and just plain unreasonable. Neither has a free pass on continuing such behavior forever, nor does the person at the receiving end, adoptee or mother, have to take it forever.

    I would never tell my son what to think, feel or do. But my son has never acted in a cruel or irrational way, which some adoptees have. Again, I mean SOME, not all, not you.

    Can we discuss anything here without generalizing to "all"?

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  46. K, Celeste, and Carolc

    I would like to add my voice to yours. It’s comforting to know that there are other first mothers out there who feel like I do. Your words clearly resonated with me.

    K – I especially liked the fact that you pointed out that some of these “children” are approaching 40. I’ve read lots of blogs and continue to be amazed at the lack of compassion and understanding that many adoptees have toward their first parents (mostly the mothers as the fathers seem to get off the hook so to speak). The continued accusations related to being abandoned, ditched at a hospital, tossed out like trash etc. can’t possibly help a relationship. Consequently, I’m not surprised when adoptees who feel this way find themselves in failed reunions.

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  47. What the comments have shown is how much hurt continues to compound due to the relinquishment after what appears to be a "good" reunion. After knowing my daughter for nearly a quarter of a century, so cut me off for MONTHS because I was short with her when I learned that she was coming to New York (for the first time under her own steam, and ticket) at a time when she knew I would be gone. It was to try out for The Millionaire, and she could have easily changed her tryout date, along with hundreds of other people who took the written test. Yes, I was hurt and irritated and let her know so over the phone--I thought we had progressed to where we could have some sort of disagreement; but no--she even went so far as to have her phone number changed and unlisted, she send back a letter I sent to my granddaughter (such letters come back with a big red "REFUSED" stamped on them, and Jane's husband is a postman)and of course my attempts via emails at apologizing for being hurt and upset...went unanswered. And then, six months later she called, and said: How are you?

    I had hoped simply saying, I'm sorry, would have helped but it seemed as if nothing would. She said that she had her phone number changed because she had signed up for some internet job and had put her phone number down and they were getting too many calls. Did I believe her? No. My granddaughter later told me that when this happened, Jane announced that she was never going to have anything to do with me again. Granddaughter just rolled her eyes as she told me this.

    And then, several months after that last reconnection, when Jane and I were really getting along well, when she was taking anti-seizure medication for her epilepsy, anti depressants, and in the midst of the terrible PMS period, killed herself.

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  48. Well, anonymous @ 4:18PM, it's not like I didn't expect that reaction from someone. I knew I was stepping into a landmine.

    I don't see the point in playing Traumatic Incident Olympics. Everyone has experienced something, or several somethings, that caused hurt, trauma, and pain. They're not things that are exclusive to adoptees.

    I can't speak for anyone else here, but I wasn't lecturing you, although I can see why you took it that way. I was saying that adults eventually figure out a way to deal with trauma and pain so it doesn't kill them. There is no set time period for how long that takes. It's a work in progress and it never really ends. I had to force myself to learn to practice forgiveness for my own sanity and well-being.

    I'll point out that this:

    Maybe if you were busy raising them instead of abandoning them, they may have turned out "better".

    is not helping at all. Just like we can't understand your particular pain, you can't understand why we did what we did. But I think we could at least have some respect for each other by recognizing that there's pain, hurt, and trauma, or some combination thereof, on both sides.

    I've never met my son, and I was in the first stages of looking for him. I think I'm going to back off of that for a while, partly because there doesn't seem to be any evidence that he's looking for me, and partly because I couldn't take rejection, even though I realize it's totally justified.

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  49. K. I quoted you on my blog.

    Your words mirror my exact thoughts and feelings on this subject.

    Hopefully at some point one learns to choose to take responsibility for their own feelings, and to stop giving their power away to others by expecting them to be responsible for how that person chooses to think and feel about their own life experiences. This is true whether or not one is part of the adoption triad.

    It is of course, also a choice to remain a victim, that has it's own set of consequences.

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  50. K. and others lack of feeling toward the journey that adult adoptees go through when faced with reunion as adults clearly illustrates the complete disconnect that leads to the dissolution of most reunion relationships.
    Ironic considering the title of this post.
    In fact, if most first mothers feel the way K. does, I think your question is answered.
    You can all sit around scratching your heads as to why your adoptee doesn't like you. K's response makes it very clear.
    Most first mothers have no desire to understand the psychology of the adoptee, they simply want to pick up the relationship with no strings attached, no questions asked. That would be lovely but it is just unrealistic and cruel considering the context.
    I think the adoptee response you are speaking of (which seems to be typical) should be studied instead of judged.

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  51. N. and Anonymous, I totally disagree. K and I are not condescending because we expect to be treated with respect.

    May I just ask why you feel the need to say things that you know very well are provacative when we are just having intellectual discussion on why adoptees sometimes behave this way?

    I refuse to apologize for feeling the way I do. Nor will I cut my son any slack for his rude, angry, manipulative and judgemental personality just because he was adopted. Quite frankly, no one else in my family behaves like he does and they've had plenty of their own traumatic experiences.

    It seems as if he was raised by wolves who enabled and allowed him his entire life to behave poorly.

    My son and I spent years in therapy after our reunion dealing with his "abandonment" issues which is why he constantly plays the blame game. Every therapist that we've seen and even other adoptee friends of mine who have met him, agree that he will never get better until he begins to take responsibility for his own actions.

    I think I'm going to take their word for and not yours that seems to imply that I should just continue to study my son's poor behaviors instead of avoiding him when he acts like that. No way! After 20 years in reunion, I've earned the right to do what's right for me first.

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  52. I don't mean that adopted people should be silent about their feelings.

    I think it's important to be able to express hurt and anger without being abusive.

    I know who the anonymous person is and have seen other comments by her. She is the type of person I was referring to.

    I do have compassion but at the same time being called something that I am not only makes me recoil and not want to hear.

    I did not throw my child away, I did not deliberately do something horrible. I was surrounded by people who I trusted and respected and thought knew better than me.

    I see the evidence when I compare how my daughter turned out and know in many ways letting her be adopted did give her a better chance.

    With all that in mind, counting the coercion, being abandoned by her father, having no money and no life experience I blame myself entirely for her being relinquished. I take full responsibility for that and have told her I am deeply sorry that she had to grow up being adopted.

    At the same time I have love and compassion for that girl that was me. I know how it hurt and I know how it haunts me.

    I love my daughter, I would kill for her. I would give her my kidney if she needed it.

    I don't want some crazy person who needs therapy abusing me on the internet and saying I am a horrible person.

    I don't accept that. You need to own your own feelings and grow up and be an adult and learn to communicate without being abusive.

    If you want your mother in your life, if you don't want her to ignore you for ten years then you must stop abusing her. It's that simple.


    I will never leave my daughter, no matter what she says and does. I will always be there. If I need to set boundaries I will do so but my door will always be open.

    I left her once and I will never leave her again.

    I am a good mother. I am a good person. I have a good heart. I did not deliberately or cold heartedly hurt my baby. I did what I had to do because I felt it was her chance at having a good life.

    There are so many shades of grey with this. To simplify it to being abusive and saying I merely abandoned her makes you look like a simple person who needs help.

    Sorry but it's true..

    Please express your true feelings but leave the name calling and abuse out of it.
    K.

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  53. p.s. I have never assumed anything of my daughter nor have I said that what happened wasn't terrible.

    I don't have any strings to my relationship with her.

    Again it's all being turned into something sinister to make yourself look like an abused victim.

    We don't just turn up and act like nothing happened. We don't deny our children their feelings. We don't assume we can waltz in and be the only mother again.

    We are grateful to find our beloved children and we are overjoyed to have them back in our lives.

    My daughter doesn't hate me. I have not ever disrespected her and I continue to respect her boundaries.

    I have never abused her adoptive parents.

    I have never assumed anything from her.

    It's still not easy because of what happened. I know that and I have told her I am very sorry.

    She doesn't wish that I had raised her. She is allowed to think that, it's her right to have her own feelings. She loves her parents. That too is her own feelings I respect them.

    I don't want her to feel like she has to say and do anything that isn't natural.

    I don't ask her to fix me she can't anyway.

    She doesn't hate me. We are ok with each other. I give her space, I respect her life and don't push in on that.

    If I had been the way I am now and said no to abuse and insane comments from people then she wouldn't have been separated from me.

    We mothers are very strong in saying no to abuse now because we were weak then. Mustn't speak for everyone though.

    Point is I am not hated, I am loved by my daughter.

    You might feel hated by your mother and might hate her back. I don't know. Don't confuse your situation with mine.

    I am not YOUR mother. Don't project your situation and feelings on to all relinquishing mothers.

    Grow up.

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  54. K. nailed it again! Not that you need my approval for your words or expressing them but for the personal growth and the journey I know that you have gone through to get to the place that allows you to stand where you CAN state you peice about abusive behavior directed at you or anyone else.

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  55. K. tells adoptees to "grow up". Unfortunately, so many adoptees are so damaged by their relinquishment as infants that I think this very point is the issue. Perhaps they simply can't.
    Dismissing and insulting will never be the answer. Personalizing and judging another person's obvious pain doesn't get anyone anywhere, especially an adoptee who has lost so much since the day they were born.
    I don't see how accusing and blaming and chastising people so obviously in need of understanding will get anyone anywhere especially in the afterward of Lorraine's heartfelt comments on her daughter's tragic suicide.
    I just don't understand how telling an adoptee in obvious pain, who simply wants to know the name of her father, to "grow up" will do anything except cause more harm.
    As far as respect, it is a two-way street, I know plenty of adoptees who are continuously disrespected by their first mothers, just as K. has disrespected the general population of adoptees in her dismissive comments here.

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  56. So N, you are suggesting that those of us who have angry, hostile children should just try to understand their abusive behavior, rather than setting boundaries and expecting and giving mututal respect?

    I vehemently disagree. That's called enabling. Would you try to understand a rapist? A pedophile's abusive behaviors? Of course not. Just the fact that someone is adopted is not enough of an excuse for ridiculing, denigrating and in general putting down first mothers who are sharing that they've had to set boundaries with their found child. I suggest you reality check that idea.

    And by the way, my son tells me he loves me, needs me in his life and when he is functioning as a kind and caring human being not blaming his adoption for every bump in his road; he is a delightful, extremely intelligent and caring man.

    I just don't see it that K. has been dismissive of you or any adoptees so why personalize her sharing about her own experience?

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  57. I do not see K. "disrespecting the general population of adoptees". For the record, I have no idea who she or any of the other anons or intitials are and base my opinions only on what I have read here.

    N., if some adoptees are so damaged that they cannot act like responsible adults, they need more than a kind word to enable them to function in reality. Some may need therapy. Some may need medication. It is more than any mother can fix by taking abuse endlessly.

    I understand that adoptee pain is real, but their mothers cannot cure it, much as some would like to. There is no way to fill a bottomless pit of pain and need. That is tragic but true.

    K is not sticking up for the mother who won't tell the adoptee who her father is, nor am I. It sounds like K. has a decent and respectful relationship with her own daughter. Some mothers do not have that, and nobody deserves endless abuse.

    Yes, some adoptees need to grow up. If they can't they need professional help to do so, not mother as punching bag.

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  58. Well of course people should set healthy boundaries for themselves. However, lashing out at each other online and dismissing an important point of view does not solve anything and just creates more misunderstanding. Telling a person in pain to "grow up" doesn't really help improve anyone's point about respect.
    I don't see how verbally abusing random adoptees on a blog is going to create an environment for understanding.
    I'm sorry that so many mothers feel they are being treated disrespectfully.
    I've noticed though that this disrespect goes both ways even here in the comments.
    There are many first mothers who do the same thing to their adoptees in reunion as what is being shown here. If it's not one person it's sadly the other.
    Perhaps, the perceived game playing could be depicted as a reunion issue and not exclusively an adoptee issue.
    I know many adoptees who make a concerted effort to have relationships with their mothers only to be repeatedly shut down, ignored and dismissed. It's not just adoptees who do this.
    What I find so heartbreaking is the irreparable damage that happens time and time again in this reunion dynamic.
    What should have been the strongest bond on earth becomes so fragile and tenuous and fraught with pitfalls for everyone.

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  59. Maryanne said - "Acting like a baby in your 30s, 40s and older is inexcusable. You may not be able to control how you feel, but as an adult you can control your actions, how you treat others, and how you express yourself. Mothers can't be The Mommy, that role is over. Adoptees can't be The Baby, unless they really do want to live in perpetual childhood as the law views them.

    What both can do is work out a relationship between related strangers that can become a friendship enriching both lives. That is not easy, but it is possible if parent and child are both mature and willing to work at it."

    In theory this is true between adults. The problem may arise because of several factors, one of which is the arrested emotional development common to adoptees. I admit as a male I never had the emotional vocabulary that females seem to be much more comfortable with. Without trying to sound like a victim, it was only recently as I finally acknowledged that adoption did affect my life that I began to "grow up" - and I'm 60 years old! Even at my age, I had to go through the stages of grief, the anger, denial, bargaining etc. Only with the help of others - therapy, Triad, and virtual friends - was I able to work through these steps in a reasonable time frame.

    For young adults, even at 40, this may not happen as quickly. Much of it depends upon their life circumstances. To compare a 40 year old adoptee with a "normal" 40 year old may not be a fair comparison - it may be like comparing 10K race times between athletes and paraplegics!

    An additional factor is that few of us have models for what kind of a relationship we SHOULD have with our first mothers. It's still a novelty to much of our culture; until recently it was taboo for all concerned to even attempt reunion.

    I don't mean to excuse or justify bad behavior by adoptees, but rather point out possible problem areas that may keep both child and mother stuck in a loop. Perhaps one of the most important things I learned through therapy is to see relationships in triangles (thanks to Harriet Lerner). Bringing another mother into one's life will alter the relationship with the adoptive mother, regardless of how good or bad that relationship is. I'm not sure how I would have been able to do that had my adoptive mother still been alive - even with her gone, finding my original mother has meant reevaluating the feelings I still have for the only mother I had until 2007.

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  60. Most first mothers have no desire to understand the psychology of the adoptee, they simply want to pick up the relationship with no strings attached..

    This is just not true. Most first mothers want to understand their found children. Most first mothers take all the blame including that of the absent father. Most first mothers put up with a lot of humilitation because they love their found child.
    Most first mothers know that they won't be going to the wedding, won't have a bond with their grandchild. Most first mothers are respectful and tactful about the adoptive famiy.
    Most first mothers write letters, make phone calls, initiate contact, send gifts without assuming there will be a reply.
    Most first mothers are even scared to assume they will be seen as mothers but will take whatever crumbs are thrown at them.
    This is because we love our found child. We love him or her with our entire being.
    I do not have any strings with my relationship. I do not blame my daughter if she has any anger towards me. I blame myself.
    I do not ask anything of her. I tell her I am a sorry I didn't step up to the line there and that I am here now.
    She lets me be in her life and I am grateful for that. I never take her for granted.
    I never for a moment assume that she owes me anything.
    There are no strings.
    I want to understand her.

    I do not want to accept abuse from soneone on the internet who wants say awful things.

    Do you really not see you part in any of this (you being all the people who are saying mean things about the mothers)

    Really you want understanding then speak about your feelings without being abusive.
    K.

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  61. Jane Edwards said:
    ...how her adoptive family is her real family, how she's glad she was adopted, how her adoption was God's plan, and so on.

    Oh my gosh!! That is EXACTLY what my bdaughter (age 40) said to me... It was God's plan; her afamily IS her family...
    I first made contact with her right after her 37th bday; and she did not want contact... maybe later when she had kids. I sent her a 14 page letter explaining her birth, gave all medical information and other stuff. She asked that I NOT contact her again... so now this past December she just had a child!! I see their pictures on her Facebook, and STILL can't tell whether it's a girl or boy!! LOL! But now I sit and wait and 'see' if she will finally want contact with me... I say no, and I don't want to feel that way!! I pray every night that she WILL want contact SOON!!
    sorry for the rambling, but I just found this blog of Lorraine's and am learning SO much! Thank you ALL!

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  62. N. said: I've noticed though that this disrespect goes both ways even here in the comments.
    There are many first mothers who do the same thing to their adoptees in reunion as what is being shown here. If it's not one person it's sadly the other.
    Perhaps, the perceived game playing could be depicted as a reunion issue and not exclusively an adoptee issue.


    N., I think this is so important, especially the last sentence. I think adoption and reunion can be ripe for defensiveness on both sides. Both parties have difficult (for want of a better term) and complicated feelings, feelings that the other party doesn't, in fact, can't understand. Maybe acknowledgment from the other side would help. I mean, I don't know. I'm kind of thinking out loud, so to speak, as I type this.

    d28bob, thank you for your comments. It did give me some insight. However, my inference is that adoptees have a special, different kind of pain. I get that. But rape victims, have a special kind of pain, as do abused women, abused children, people who lost a parent at an early age.

    I was abused as a child. My mother would beat us with a shoe, or a belt, or whatever she could find handy. She used to come at us with a butcher knife and tell us she was going to carve our bellies out (her exact words). That's when she was sober. When she was drunk, she couldn't do much of anything. Trust me. That's also a special, different kind of pain. But it's not more or less than anyone else's.

    I had to find it in my heart to forgive her, because not forgiving her would have made me crazy. And she's old now. She knows what she did, and she tortures herself about it every day. She doesn't need me piling on. At this point, it is what it is. I can't change it.

    I'm not looking for either sympathy or a medal, because, as I said earlier, this isn't the Traumatic Event Olympics. No one wins the gold for the most pain and suffering. We're all wounded, just with different wounds.

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  63. Mine is the opposite. I am the adoptee who has had a ONE way relationship with my Mom.She has never been to see me, she never called for the first 24 years of reunion .I continue to bounce against the cruelty wall that my siblings created with my Mother's indirect permission. She explains that I have my "own" family(my adoptives) and that THEY (natural mom and 4 full kept sibs) are all a "family". Me against them. Except my Mom does NOT mean that in a cruel way, believe it or not. She is just totally submissive to my sibs and only one sib is abusive towards me, the other sibs just cover for that one nasty sibling. My ONE sib threatens to KILL me on a regular basis and hangs up if I call my Mom's house, when she is there.Calls my home and hangs up,send obscene mail, steals and
    well...much worse than this, but you get my point.
    So this is my sweet mom who can't say no to her "kept" kids and just knows I will be alright because she got me "that wonderful adoptive family" to save me. Really, she thinks this.
    Anyways, this has went on for 24 years and I keep on going back for more.
    My destructive sib is now dead, taking 2 innocent young Mothers with her in death and making permanent coma patients out of the 2 children left behind of these moms.
    I want a relationship with my Mom- so I keep trying. sigh

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  64. Whoops- seems your comment rules section has changed since I was last here posting. Is this recent? I just now posted as anonymous, but am an adoptee-as you may have guessed!! I hope my previous comment was not seen as a "strong" statement to which you refer!! Just my experience, and not a slam on Moms or adoptees. hugs to(((MOMS and ADOPTEES))) Laurie

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  65. I understand that this thread is about adoptees rejecting first mothers. What about the other side of the coin, those of us who have attempted contact or reunion and find the door slammed in our faces by angry birth parents? For every stab in your hearts that your surrendered children give, we get to experience continued rejection, guilt and shame.

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  66. I am an adoptee who put forth the effort (and money) to find her birthmother. We were reunited in person in 1999 and although I thought things went well, she seemed distant. Not long after our reunion, I tried to contact her and her phone was disconnected. I tried to write but the letters came back saying, "Moved - No Forwarding Address". Prior to this, I never had anger towards her. I felt very sorry for her and what she experienced. However, I was a little miffed that she would "run away" and since I made the effort to find her the first time, I figured it was her turn and if she wanted to get in touch with me she had my information. BUT, excuse me if I'm a little angry- I'm not the one who keeps disappearing. Eventually, another family member let me know where she was. I tried to pretend that she didn't hurt me by disappearing again. I tried to go on as if she had never left. I tried to include her; I sent her an invitation to my wedding. She couldn't even bother to return the response card... Then, a year later when I was asked to be in my half sister's wedding my birthmother threw her a shower and never sent me an invitation. I found out about the shower when my half sister called me a few days AFTER the party and told me all about it. Are you telling me that wasn't done on purpose? I no longer try to empathize with her experience and understand what she feels because she clearly has no desire to understand how I feel. That's why I dislike my birthmother.

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  67. Anoymous about the wedding shower ect, and all the other adoptees that have been rejected or treated badly by your mothers - there is just NO EXCUSE for this.

    HORRIBLE. I am very sorry. It's not ok, it really isn't.

    I don't understand that I really don't and have no words to explain such insane behaviour.

    The abuse that I object to is towards the mothers who are geuninely sorry and who walk gently into the reunion not assuming and are abused again and again over the years. That I don't think is ok.

    Even in my experience where I see glimpses of it and find it hurtful I can well understand it.

    It would take a lot and I mean a lot for me to take the very last resort of turning my back on my child.

    I am sorry that there are mothers who don't acknowledge the pain and who don't respect their child and who obviously don't value them. They also don't have the much needed sense of gratitude that they are given a second chance.

    I have been a bit harsh towards some people here, I don't think they didn't deserve it but I also want to say that I do care if you are in pain and I very much don't want you to not speak out about it. I just ask that you don't be abusive when you say it. I will try to be the same way too.

    We need to understand each other and not be on different sides of the fence.

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  68. This is the way my first mother treats me. One day she would be calling herself Mom and the next she'd be back to just her first name. She stopped all contact with no explanation. I am still in contact with my half siblings and I still call my first mother and leave messages saying I hope she's doing well and wanted to say hello. We had a great relationship at first, I visited her home, she visited mine, we e-mailed, talked and then one day there was no more contact. I was left wondering what I did or said wrong. If she ever wants contact with me, I will be here...waiting. :)

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  69. All of these comments make for some interesting reading. I wrote about this post over on my blog http://letterstomsfeverfew.wordpress.com/2010/02/16/my-daily-measure/ but am not sure how add a link here.

    Thank you for another thought-provoking post, FMF.

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  70. There is so much here, and I don't want to jump into the topic so late, but I thought I might contribute a bit ...

    I agree that there is no cause for anyone to put up with someone disrespecting them as a human being. I won't excuse the behavior. (I also have serious problems about fathers being given a pass, but that's another issue.)

    I will say this, though, regarding the television show and the dialogue cited. How many times does a child who was relinquished, and a teen no less, to test that she won't be left again? How long until an adoptee can be sure that he or she won't be abandoned once more?

    This is not to blame first mothers. I understand, intellectually, what happened with my own relinquishment. But several years into my own, rather positive, reunion, and I still feel nervous sometimes that she will disappear.

    And I've spent my life disappearing first. Not because I blamed other people for things that happened to me, not because I'm mad at anyone, but because I don't know how to trust other people very well. And that is, in large part, due to my relinquishment and adoption.

    If we don't trust, how can we form secure, stable, ADULT relationships with others? Trust is the key to those. And I still don't seem to have figured it out, as I near 40.

    I don't take it as an excuse to abuse other people. I don't take it as a reason to be mean to my mother or anyone else. But it is a serious roadblock to forming relationships.

    How should I grow up? How should I learn to move past this obstacle? how should I learn to trust when I've never felt secure in my relationships?

    Please understand, I am not casting blame on anyone. I'm not here trying to make anyone feel badly about themselves and I am not interested in pointing fingers.

    But if we're going to explain adoptee behavior, I simply ask that you not forget that, for some of us, we don't know how to trust. It doesn't excuse bad behavior. But it makes forming those relationships difficult. And poorly formed relationships are going to be rife with problems.

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  71. K. said...
    "This is just not true. Most first mothers want to understand their found children. Most first mothers take all the blame including that of the absent father. Most first mothers put up with a lot of humilitation because they love their found child.
    Most first mothers know that they won't be going to the wedding, won't have a bond with their grandchild. Most first mothers are respectful and tactful about the adoptive famiy.
    Most first mothers write letters, make phone calls, initiate contact, send gifts without assuming there will be a reply.
    Most first mothers are even scared to assume they will be seen as mothers but will take whatever crumbs are thrown at them.
    This is because we love our found child. We love him or her with our entire being."

    I can totally relate to this post except that for me it's the other way around, I am an adoptee attempting a relationship with my first parents. I've tried over and over again to reach out to my first mother. I love her more than words can express. I've written to her many times and have tried to let her know that I understand what a difficult thing it is to give up a child. I've reassured her over and over than I have no hard feelings and will always except her unconditionally. I've even told her that we do not have to discuss the past. She continues to ignore me and this has been going on for 13 years. I know that there are just as many adoptees that are rejected as there are first mom's who experience the same thing. I would never reject my birth mother and she will always be welcome in my life. I'm not angry at her at all, I don't consider her an abandoner. I grew up thinking that my birth parents were teenagers and then learned the truth that they were 27 and engaged and they kept me for 6 months. Even after learning this I still was not angry. I'm sure she had a reason for giving me up and I respect her decision. My nfather told me to basically get a life and move on, that I was adopted and I should just deal with it, he said he had no interest in meeting me. That was in response to a similar heartfelt letter asking for a face to face so we could meet and that I was also interested in getting medical and genealogical info. I approached them both in such a kind and respective manner, was considerate of their privacy and was treated like a piece of crap. I can't understand how people can do this to their own flesh and blood, but yet I will always keep the door open for them both because I love them.

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  72. Mia that's just awful. I don't understand this I really don't.

    No wonder a lot of adopted people think we are horrible because some of us really are.

    And anonymous about your mother being mom one day and then her first name the next. That's really crazy making behaviour.

    I also understand the trust issues are huge. It's interesting to read from the other poster about disappearing first because being scared that the mother will do that.

    I never thought of that, I was always terrified she was going to disappear.

    I want to be more sure to show that I won't ever be gone again.

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  73. @ K.
    Thank you... Re: the wedding and my bmom's actions... I'm in a place in my life where although I am angry with her I am not angry with all first mothers. (Hopefully, I didn't come off sounding as though I was.) I was just trying to explain why I dislike mine. (And even though I dislike her - I still LOVE her.) And I agree that some adoptees are abusive to their birthfamilies (as well as toward other adoptees who have moved past much of the anger and are able to see all sides). Unfortunately, I think that's the place they are stuck in. I was stuck there for a while myself. Again, I still have residual anger for my own birthmother's actions, but I can and do certainly empathize with other first mothers. I do try to see the issues from everyone's vantage point. I can only hope that someday my birthmom will be able to stand up to the forces that hold her down and maybe then she'll be able to love me - openly... cause even though I don't know for sure if she loves me or not, I keep hoping that hidden deep inside of her is just a little drop of love for me.

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  74. I do not think you can really love someone you do not know, whether you are a mother or an adoptee. Before you meet, you love the idea of what that person represents, sort of like an archetype if you have read any Jungian stuff, but you have to meet and get to know them to really that love that person as who they are, not what they represent.

    I imagine this is extra hard for adoptees, because there is always the fact that your mother surrendered you. That puts extra stress on any relationship that does develop, and unmet expectations on either side are enough to break it.

    I know this is going to sound hard but I do not think anyone is obligated to love anyone else just because they are related.

    I do not think my surrendered son loves me, but I do not expect him to. Why should he? However I think he is getting to know me and like me. I always felt like I loved him, but it was not until I get to know him that this feeling really blossomed.

    I love all my kids, but I am fortunate to like them too. I was willing to accept my surrendered son no matter what he was like, but am very relieved to know he is basically ok and a good man with similar values to mine. If this had not been the case, not sure how I would feel. Emotions like love cannot be manufactured or commanded.

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  75. @ Maryanne

    I think you must be my exact opposite.

    I don't like what your son said to you about making you take responsibility, I mean maybe it is true in your case, I don't know enough about it.

    The reason, I don't like it, is because I was very much the same way with my mother. I would say, "Stop talking about this like it was a natural disaster! This was your choice"

    After all *I knew* I had a child at the same age, I had adoption pushed on me by some people.

    It took me years, about 16 to realize, I didn't know at all. Being a boy, your son doesn't know at all either. Pregnant women bond in very weird way with others, they are vulnerable hormonally in a way that non-pregnant women are simply not.

    Sure, I had adoption pushed on me, but I always knew that I had an intrisnic value to my child, just because he was my child. The methods used on me, "what do you have to give your son vs. an adoptive family" on my side all I could write was love.

    I came to the conclusion that this kid must really need love then, because he is in my uterus,and I have that to offer but nothing else.

    I also thought if I gave him away the adoptive parents would name him Joshua or Christopher, and I thought, this is no Joshua or Christopher, he is a little weirdo and will need the comfort of other weirdos.

    Also, unlike my own mother, not every support I could have was pulled away. My son's father was holding my hand when I gave birth, and his own family had a inter-family adoption, my son's great-grandfather that has soured the whole clan on adoption.

    As for loving a stranger. I didn't ever think about loving my mother until I met her, didn't think that much about her. When I did meet her, I instantly, forbiddenly recognized her as mother and realized that I had loved her since the day I was born, probably even before that.


    Knowing that this love was a forbidden one did a number on my head, for sure. All the loyalty, abandonment, oh it is just too much.

    Yes, I love her, and loved her, and she has never felt like a stranger, she feels like the loving mother I lost to the God of what the neighbors think.

    Joy

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  76. p.s.

    This post is very mean to adoptees, I think.

    I could post a similar post about how crappy natural moms can be, but why?

    Joy-princesss bride, superstar, diva and then some.

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  77. Kitta here:

    Mia, thank you for telling about your natural parents, and how they have treated you. It is not a rare situation. The number of mothers who refuse their children is actually quite high, I think, and not the 2% or so that is commonly reported.

    I used to think that all natural parents wanted to find their children and be re-united with them. This was because losing my son had caused me so much pain I could only hope for the day we would see each other again. It seemed impossible to me that anyone could refuse their child.

    but, I began doing volunteer work for a search/support group answering the telephone and the calls really woke me up and forced me to accept reality. There are some really cold people out there.

    And greedy ones...I even encountered natural mothers who were hoping to find their children were well-off and would provide them with money.

    My reason for getting involved with the support group was because I really believe in reconciliation. But everyone involved has to want that. And I guess, sadly, not everyone does.

    Still I keep hoping that there will be more good than bad in these situations. At least finding our lost ones provides some answers.

    thank you and best wishes......

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  78. D2Bob words are very accurate.

    As children we love our mom and dad and therefore love being adopted.

    As young adults we are busy becoming adults and starting to experience real life with all the ups and downs.

    Once we hit the 30's 40's 50's the reality of adoption hits us with a magnitude of emotions that up until that point were the opposite of what we always felt.

    Adoption's dark side that as children we were curious about, questioning about but done with a child's brain has now become real.

    At the same time growing up the real feelings of being adopted were protected by our brain and tranlated into a protection mode of being the first to leave, never getting too close to others, that brick wall that protects our heart.

    The human brain is amazing at protecting us from tramatic injury that we are not able to deal with and adoption is a tramatic injury. It protects us from having to deal with the reality of adoption and as each is unique sometimes does not wear off until well into middle age, and that is when we finally have to deal with the true feelings of being an adoptee.

    It is not stunted growth or being a perpetual child, it is because as children and young adults we were not able to deal with it and the protection mode kept us safe until we had the maturity to start working on our feelings.

    Hopefully that will resonate with some of you.

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  79. Joy, You may not like what my son said about taking responsibility but it was very helpful to me, to see things from his viewpoint. He said it once, and has never blamed me for anything. I took his advice and stopped blaming others for the surrender and took responsibility for my part, and left others to deal with their own responsibility for theirs.

    We may well be opposites, but that is OK as it takes all kinds. I do not believe human love is just about hormones or instincts nor that we all are obligated to love relatives.

    Mia, I am sorry your mother treated you like crap. That is tragic and inexcuseable.

    Kitta, agreeing that there are far more rejections and bad situations than current numbers floating around suggest. People searching need to be realistically aware of the bad possibilities as well as the good, and those who find rejection or a bad scene need to be able to talk about it and get some sympathy.

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  80. Oh my gosh, as a reunited adoptee I'm having some serious revelations by reading this particular forum and the responses here. Okay, so I'm not the only one appararently with these reactions as others have apparently experienced. There is something to all this if people would look deeper. I feel surreal reading all this, just the fact that seemingly many, many reunited adoptees go through the same emotions and the backlash that happens, it's almost like it's out of our control. I don't know how to communicate that, but let me make it clear, it's almost out of my control, the very deepseated stuff that comes out. And very apparently from what I'm reading here it's not just me (thank God, I was thinking there was something very wrong with me). It also goes to my birth father. The way that family has behaved towards me just furthers the feelings of abandonment. I am really flabberglasted at those who are closely involved in adoption make no efforts to learn about the dynamics of it, how adoptees are effected. There are books on the subject. There is something universal that goes on apparently. There seems to be the same response with a lot of adoptees in their reunions, I have done these very things. There has got to be something to that. I know God is in control, but there is something very basic about the fact that God's plan of creation and families and mother/child relationship has been forever drastically altered in adoption, and that is going to have some serious repercussions on the child no matter how people want to try to gloss over it. It's some powerful stuff. God's initial plan for His creation is altered with adoption, by children being separated from mothers and families of heritage. I think one basic thing is people don't stop and think, hey, what if this were me, how would I feel if I experienced what this adopted child is dealing with. What if your mother or grandparents, etc. gave you away and you lived with that knowledge. No matter the circumstances, there is still just getting down to the nitty gritty, they gave me away, they in essence abandoned me. I know it sounds childish, but is this not really just the cold hard FACT of the matter? I just have to pray, give it all to God, and just try to ride on the waves of it all.

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  81. I'd like to add...I have these issues, these feelings, this never belonging or being accepted wholly with my mother. The mother that raised me.
    As a child, I actually wished i was adopted. weird huh? but true. honest to god.
    I think that if someone you love, especially a parent figure - is pathological, narcissistic, controlling or unable to be open to see things from the other person's view it is eternally damaging.
    adopted or not. natural parent or adoptive parent. I believe many parents and children experience this.
    I know i do. right now, my mother has chosen not to speak to me b/c i am not acting the way she wants me too. very sad.

    xxoo
    :(

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  82. I was not adopted but I wish I were. My mother left my father when I was a baby and marry a very abusive man whom she idolized. He beat her, my brother, and me. She defended him literally with her life and would never let anyone say a negative about him. He threw my brother out when he was 16. My brother turned to drugs and let a horrible life. He died of an overdose. He threw me out when I was 21. I stayed living in hell because my self-confidence was destroyed. I had a very low opinion of myself because I was abused in every sense of the word and there was no one to turn to. I am sixty years old and have tried to talk to my mother about my childhood and all she says is, "get over it, I had a bad childhood to." She is in denial. My mother is narcistic and a great manipulator. She crys to other people and tells them that I treat her badly. I have come to finally accept the situation and have made the choice to stay away from her forever. It sounds cold but I have to let go and think about my own well being. I've never had a mother and at this stage of the game, I never will. All of you out there who have a mother that loves you unconditionly should thank God. You have something that I wanted all my life and never had. Emilia

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  83. Recently my birth mother, who i connected with this past Jan, told me in an email that if she known my adoption was never finalized and had she known my adoptive mother would end up an alcoholic and my adoptive father "beyond obese" - (neither of which happened until my late teen years) - that she would have taken me back and gone to a homeless shelter with me -- (to save me from this difficult life) and that she can tell i was let to do whatever I wanted and had no guidance.

    Now this would be somewhat understandable if her own son was a Rhodes Scholar or she had risen far beyond her situation back then and could have given me more than my adoptive parents were able to - but seriously she did not. Her son (2 years my junior dropped out of school in 8th grade), she sent him away to reform school and then to Alaska to live with relatives. She has told me stories that after his dad died they lived with family, slept on the floor and had no food Furthermore, her brother was a heroin addict and introduced her son to it! And another brother spent 15 years in prison for child molestation (which of course she swears he did not do). Her son was left with family while she worked to get by and he had no supervision at all - thus the drop out pot head he is today who has zero self esteem (he told me was a "worthless piece of shit" HIS WORDS and has told me himself "Sis you got the better deal. You should be so glad you did not grow up with that woman).

    My adoptive parents and grandparents were solid good people. My mom stayed at home my dad worked for the state and ran side businesses. My grandparents on both sides doted over me.
    I went to private religious school my whole life, grew up on the beach, was in professional theater, was a child model for Lord and Taylor, was sent to summer camps, was LOVED AND SUPPORTED beyond words, graduated college, am a successful kind adult person -- my adoptive parents had their faults but they loved me dearly and sacrificed to give me everything! I got pregnant at 18 and kept my baby - maybe that is why she thought they did a poor job, I had to take care of my adoptive mother in her old age as they were broke by then due to my Dad's disability, their high-end zest for life and lack of good financial planning (but i see these experiences as making me a kinder stronger more compassionate human being. I don't view myself as a victim of my circumstances at all. I would not change a thing.

    She wrote this after I sent a letter explaining that her calling herself mom was still too hard for me to accept, although I had tried. And I did not think i could honestly in my heart have a mother daughter relationship but wanted a friendship with her (my own mother just died less than 2 years ago)

    Help I am sad and shocked that she thinks she could have done better, would undo my wonderful life if she could, and fails to appreciate all my parents did for me and who i am today?

    HELP???

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  84. I met my birth mother when I was 17 and this opened a can of worms I finally had to close (and incinerate) tonight over 14 years later. From day one I knew something "was't right" with her, but couldn't pinpoint it. She began by harshly judging the way my parents raised me, assuming I was and should be perfect in every way, and began stalking me acting as if I all of a sudden "owed my life to her!" She was (and is) a blatant religious extremist
    And suffers with Borderline Personality Disorder and it's a black/white love/hate back and forth Russian roulette we play every time I communicate with her in some form, which has only gotten worse as she's aged.

    Her latest is that I have been captured by the devil and held captive. Apparently I'm also a suddenly a wiliccan practicing witchcraft and about to have my time on earth "cut short" because of my "wickedness" because God has revealed this to her of course. Mind you this is her RANDOM texts I get out of nowhere after not even talking for months. Tonight I was at work and all she did was keep trying to text and call after I told her I'm at work and not interested. She only calls or texts when she has a "message from God" to give me and could give a sh#% about her 4 grandchildren. It's all about her latest "divine revelations" from "gawd!" She laughed and actually believes her own crazy delusions thinking that God was ridding her of the devil. Mind you her father was a child rapist, yet she wanted me to "love" him, but he's a
    Saint you see... Ugh, I give up! I wish my birth mother would GO AWAY FOR GOOD! Better yet, I wish I never met her!

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  85. Jennifer, your mother is obviously pathological and needs mental help. It's impossible to know how much if any of her behavior is related to relinquishing you or not, but of course, you need to take care of yourself.

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  86. Biological mothers will never ever understand the damage they cause when they give their child away, especially when they keep their other biological children with or close to them.
    I hate my biological brothers, they have no fault whatsoever, but every night i suffer with my thoughts that they had that which was taken from me.
    The psychological damage my birth mother caused me has ruined me, my relationship with my adoptive mother, my marriage fell apart and my children suffer a distant relationship because i cannot build a proper maternal connection.
    Don't complain how your biological child treats you, they have deep rooted pain, fear, loss and anger, but worst of all is that the maternal bond they formed with you the second they where conceived was destroyed by you.
    No amount of therapy or love by others can heal that loss.
    Say what you want but its the plain and painful truth.

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