Sunday, July 31, 2011

Does My Natural Mother Ever Think of Me?

Lorraine
It's the little everyday things in life that remind you of being a natural/birth/first mother. It's noticing how I always look at kids when they are with people I assume are their parents, and make a split-second decision: related by genes, or not? It's being alert to every mention of a celebrity adoption: Denise Richards, Charlie Sheen's ex adopting a newborn when she already has two girls (ages six and seven) with Charlie Sheen, (really?
did she have to do that?); I watch Law & Order: SVU and what starts out as a rape story ends up with the mother who gave up a child 17 years ago, and the child has fetal alcohol syndrome; that reminds me that Mariska Hagitay and her husband adopted a baby girl in April;  Cheryl Crow managed to adopt a second child when I wasn't paying attention; reality show "stars" Bill and Guiliana Ransic are having trouble conceiving and are going to look at surrogacy and into adopting, if they don't have a baby, er, naturally, whatever that means today--and they are getting airtime while they ponder why someone as skinny as Guiliana, 36, can't get pregnant.

Guiliana Ransic, Size 0







Guiliana looks positively anorexic--hasn't her doctor told her to put on ten pounds? She looks skinny even for a ballet dancer, and they usually don't have normal periods because you have to have a certain percentage of body fat to menstruate. Without menstruating, you can't get pregnant! Free advice, Guiliana: For a baby on the way, eat a cannoli a day.

Then there's a ad for Chevy on the tube that I rather like. It starts out with a male voice singing You Are My Sunshine, which right off the bat reminds me of my father, who used to sing that to me when I was a little girl. The video is pictures of babies of all eras and races being picked up in Chevys from the hospital and being brought home. It's short, it's sweet  and it ends with these comforting words: All long as there are babies, they'll be Chevys to bring them home.

Well, I can't see or hear if without being reminded that I left the hospital where I left my baby it was in her father's Chevy--her biological father of course I mean. The Chevy was two-tone blue, if my memory serves, a two-door, so the kids--his other kids--couldn't fall out. In my mind's eye, I can see the image of us driving off on a half sunny, half drizzly Holy Saturday in 1966, me fighting back tears, Patrick the baby daddy, saying: "Don't, please don't." (He hated emotional scenes.) And damn if I don't tear up half the time I see the Chevy commercial--hey, that only happened 45 years ago.

There are so many things like that to remind me of of my daughter being given up for adoption, and everything that followed, grief, hives and a rash the doctor chalked up to stress...a lifetime of loss. Adopted people sometimes say they wonder if their mothers--their natural mothers--ever think about them. I think: if they only knew.

Then I wondered: do adopted people have the same kind of markers that constantly remind them they are adopted, someone else's biological child, that there is a whole other family out there they are related to? What makes you think about the loss of adoption?--lorraine
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PS: I'm bringing back the term "natural mother." I see that is it on a list of "Positive Adoption Language" under the column heading "Negative Terms." I thought: negative to whom? But like most of you know we still have to use birth mother/first mother in the blog and in its name the same way the National Association of Colored People has kept its name, even though nobody calls African Americans "colored people."  We have to let search engines find us! More about this coming up.

60 comments :

  1. I love seeing a family when you can tell they're all related -- they all resemble one another. I love seeing my kids do things that I know were biologically gotten from me.

    I also fear seeing a child that absolutely does not 'fit' with a family. I hate it. Last year my daughter's friend (through pictures, I could tell she was obviously Asian) and my daughter had to be picked up at the mall. The timing was that her friend's mother and I would be there at the same time. I feared seeing her mother.....and I breathed an audible sigh of relief when I saw that she was also Asian.

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  2. Elaine: Whoa! Do I relate to that incident. I feel the same way all the time.

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  3. Lorraine,

    I love natural mother that's what they called
    we mothers in days gone but now we are a
    negative? ridiculous as those lists that are telling us
    what is what we already know who we are. it's
    the others that need a list to tell them.

    Denise Richardsah she's winning! Maybe she needs to
    concentrate on the daughters she did have with
    The loser she had them with I mean winner. Charlie

    Sheen or Richards are not role models!

    Hate typing in IPhone very hard and My posts are
    always altered technology.

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  4. Lorraine,

    Every family I see I look to see if they are related. Chins, eyes, dimples, ears - I look to see what features they inherited from which parent or line.

    I was watching a tape episode of "Who do you think you are" and found myself comparing the picture of an ancestor from 150 years before to the person searching.

    I also think perhaps simply because both sides of my family are peas in a pod so to speak, I grew up seeing how genetics work to the extreme every day. I can look at a picture of my grandma at 70 and then when my mom was 70 and it is hard to tell them apart - the only difference is a slight weight difference. Yet as the adoptee - I had no parts that fit any of the molds in my family and would try to figure out if my combination of features etc fit. The oddest of odd feelings...

    And it doesn't just have to be the physical features that denote kinship - the way they move, utilize their hands, the looks they give pre-verbally - it all adds to the whole picture.

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  5. "What makes you think about the loss of adoption?"

    Prior to reunion and seeing photos of them, I didn't really think about the differences. Of course, during those years, I had taken the mindset of "internalized racism." I didn't see myself as being "of" other people.

    During contact/reunion I started seeing family resemblances in other people and it started making me feel more lonely.

    There were also other little things (eg. "Pick up your FEET!" while walking) that I wondered if I had inherited that trait based on my stature, or if it was "just" a bad habit I had developed over the years. Maybe a little of both?

    "Little" things like being slim versus my adoptive family's stature, the way I walk (not just dragging my feet, just in general) because I am so much shorter than my dad, etc.

    Then there are also the questions such as "How many siblings do you have" which give me pause, unlike before. Do I say one, or do I say three? If I say three, do I mention I don't know anything about them, or do I explain?

    And so on.

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  6. "What makes you think about the loss of adoption?"

    When I am with my friends and their families and everyone looks alike and has similar mannerisms. Or when family members make comments about traits they share as in "She got her beautiful red hair from her grandmother" or "His grandpa played in a band when he was younger and that's where my son gets his musical talent". It can be hard to listen to this kind of stuff.

    I like the term natural mother. I don't think it implies that my adoptive mother is unnatural.

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  7. Mei Ling:
    After I found my daughter and she was living with us, she came up the steps to find me in my office on the second floor of our house. My husband's office was at the top of the stairway. You walk just like Lorraine, he said.

    My daughter Jane didn't mention it then, but later, when we were talking about adoption, she recounted the incident and said: that's when I knew I was home. When I was growing up I was always criticized, she said, like this: Jane can't you walk quieter! You make so much noise going up the steps!

    Broke my heart. Her adoptive parents ought to have heard one of Jane's cousins! Something that was a family trait in her biological family was something she was brought up being criticized for in her adoptive family. Unlike the two natural children her parents had later on--who, I assume, had their mother's and father's footfalls. One of the sons looks just like the father.

    As for me, I stopped up not telling people I have a daughter a zillion years ago. Now I even tell the rest of the story in a couple of sentences if the person is really asking, and let the jaws drop where they may. I hope you try it Mei Ling, but I am very sorry you don't know your biological siblings.

    Speaking out whenever possible--in a factual but not aggressive manner-- will raise awareness that roots do matter and we cannot forget them.

    A good thing.

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  8. On the few occasions I have spoken about my kept siblings (to people I have just met or don't know very well), it tends to lead up to the follow-ups, such as their age.

    That one I can handle. But when they start asking me what my siblings do (schools, jobs, etc), I can't answer. And I have to explain why I can't answer, which leads to more explaining of... well, why are they there, and you're here?

    (Interestingly enough, 2 years ago, I observed the way my sister walked throughout the residence. She never wore socks and it was hard flooring, so she ended up doing a "stomping" kind of walk. It would have driven my parents crazy, but evidently it was "normal" there. I sometimes wonder if my footing is the same...)

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  9. I got smacked in the face yesterday on my birthday of all days. I found out my oldest daughter is legally blind in her left eye. I began wondering about illnesses and such in my family of origin. I wondered what I have hurt my precious daughters with

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  10. Looking like people and sharing their traits gives one such a sense of belonging. I am the spitting image of a female version of my natural father. I'm sure if he had raised me that people would have commented on it all the time.

    Lorraine,
    I remember you writing about you and Jane trying on make-up and how you wore the exact same shade of foundation. It's the simple things like that that are so profound for adoptees.

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  11. Mei-Ling:
    You would be surprised how a short and quick version of your story will be received. It's all in how you present it. But I know that route is not for everyone. Do what suits you. When it suits you. You may find that different answers to different people at different times works best for you.

    But this has given me an idea for a blog post. Stay tuned.

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  12. I have never stopped telling people I have a daughter - and like Lorraine, I simply state it and let the jaws drop where they will. I am a natural mother, so was my mother, so is my daughter... it doesn't put down those that adopt or whatever, it simply states a fact.

    As for triggers - OMG - my grandsons - the older one looks like my daughter's father and the younger looks like every male born in my family for the last four generations..... Even with the lovely tan and curls, he is a dead ringer for my dad, grandfather, brothers.... at the same ages. The little one also looked just like his mother did when he was a tiny baby....

    Watching other people with their children.... big trigger..... grandmothers spending time with the grandkids....

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  13. Of course we do, too much to say here.My mother never stopped thinking about me and wondering.She was overjoyed to discover she was a grandmother.
    You want natural mother, I'll go with natural mother, it's your choice, especially if it's off a no-no list.

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  14. I'm bringing back the term "natural mother."

    Lorraine, I had to crack up when I saw your postscript about taking back "natural mother." I've been taking the lead in a pretty heavy debate about the term for the past few days over at a popular adoption forum...even using the example of the NAACP to explain my position. So it's very timely for me to read this on your blog. Congrats on taking back the term we were most familiar with during the BSE. It comes the closest to describing us, IMHO, and it's the term I'm most comfortable with when describing myself.

    As far as sharing physical traits, my son is almost an identical copy of me, only with the male version. The first time I met his adoptive parents, his mom refused to take her eyes off the menu at the restaurant where we met. I remember thinking, OMG, she's scared to death she's going to see our son mirrored in my face. When she finally did look at me, her face just seemed to crumple up.

    About the walking thing -- my son and I both have the same quirky step when we walk...it's kind of a bounce. I had no idea that the way we walk could be hereditary until I met my son face to face. There are so many other similarities -- we really do mirror each other in many different areas.

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  15. Von and Everybody: Use whatever you want (natural/birth/first) but please remember that I will still be using birth mother and first mother ... they are so much part of the adoption community mindset that I have to use them all here.

    Search engines unfortunately rule!

    I did get my back up when I read the "Natural mother" was under the "negative term" list hell,. I always preferred it; not negative to me.

    lo

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  16. Raven, what forum, can I go there?

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  17. Reminders that I'm adopted? Well, there are sooo many!

    I just can't see family resemblances. Even when strangers in stores tell me that my own children look just like me, I ask: "Really?" And then I turn to look at my children as if maybe THIS time I'll be able to see it. I've always assumed that this is the result of growing up not looking like anyone; for what ever reason, it just isn't there for my eyes. Every time a doctor asks about family medical history, I have to recite the I'm-Adopted-Speech-for-Doctors. Just the mere mention of 7th grade Science puts me into a state remembering the genetics project that required mapping out how my parents' genes presented themselves in my body. Even 7th graders could tell I wasn't my aparents' child, so they all came to the "logical" conclusion that my amom must have had an affair! My feet: not sure why they stand out to me, but they do. Whose feet do I have? And eye cream: Do I need it? I have no idea of how I will age. There's an old wives tale about if a pregnant woman does not eat something she craves, her baby will have a birthmark shaped like the object of her craving. I was born with a big, brown, raised, ugly birthmark. What could that have been about? The birthmark was replaced long ago with a small, tidy scar. Sometimes people ask about it; and I tell the whole story...and enjoy watching the jaws drop open. The ubiquitous security question for recovering a PIN number: mother's maiden name leaves me wondering: "Which one?"

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  18. Not a day goes by that I don't think of my son. I told him the other night I am so happy that I am in his life. He was celebrating his daughters's my granddaughter's his only child's 21st bday.
    First time I ever saw his face was 26 years after his birth that was a triggering time. Saying good bye the first time after we met we were in restauraunt I got up to give him a hug and I just lost it had to go outside with him. Tears flowing now thinking about it. Him taking me to parks he played in as a little boy. Pictures of him growing up. Oh my
    I need to stop.
    Any adoptee that thinks that we mothers don't think of them even the ones that have closed themselves off I know they have and it's painful.

    Amyadoptee I am sorry to hear about your daughter so unfair to not know what runs in families healthwise.

    Sorry to all moms and adopters to have to live without each other.

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  19. Hmmm, am I constantly reminded of being adopted? Uh, YES.

    As a child, I may as well have been one of Angelina Jolie's international children - while people would say, "You look just like your father!" I'd think, "Yeah, my Father in heaven, 'cause there is no resemblance AT ALL to my adoptive father."

    As I grew, I started looking at other families wondering, like the famous children's book (which I have a hard time reading to my children), "Are you my mother?" Really, I get why the chick asked the dog, cow, cat, front loader if they were his mommy. He had never met her, so she could have been anyone, anywhere.

    Now, as I approach my 41st year of having no parents, and having recently lost my father-in-law, my husband and I consider where we will be buried. I've been living on someone else's land since my mother left Maryland to give birth to me in North Carolina. I only want to be buried in the place I should have been born, but Maryland's a big state and NC still has very closed records.

    I may never know where I'm from, who I'm from. Yep, I think about that every day.

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  20. I like "natural mother." If for no other reason than it is perfectly descriptive! "Existing in or caused by nature." Exactly!

    I do think "real" can be confusing to kids, though. To kids, things are real when they can see them. And the opposite of "real" is imaginary. Neither adoptive nor natural parents are imaginary, but birth parents might certainly seem imaginary if there is no relationship.

    Anyway. I think people should be called what THEY WANT to be called. How can adoptive parents make a list and decide what terms are negative????? Do white people decide what is offensive to people of color?
    Signed, Elizabeth, an adoptive parent

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  21. Raven:

    Good for you for staying the course at that site; I was kicked of after a few days. I suppose I could go back with another email address, or maybe not, but it wasn't worth the air time for me so it's good that you are doing your best to prick their consciousness without getting banned.

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  22. As an adoptee I grew up in a home where there was hardly an athletic bone to be found, and then there was me. I loved athletics, nearly every sport, and I excelled on the field and on the court. My adoptive parents tried to support my talents as best they could, but they didn't really kick a ball around with me, and tried as they might, they never really understood the rules of the sports I played. The other day, I went for a 6 mile run in a wonderful park close by, and an older man made conversation saying it looked like I had a good run. He commented that he used to run road races and asked my running pace, etc. I went home flattered by his comments, but deflated in thought at imagining how wonderful it would have been to have a parent that shared my talents, how it could have made me an even better athlete, or at least given our relationship a mutual interest.

    My losses often become realized when I think about the person I could have been "if only." I think about the cumulative losses I face now, as my natural mother refuses to have a relationship with me, and the subsequent effect that I will never know my half sisters (I am a secret to them). I think about my children, and how they will never know or meet my natural mother, their grandmother. I feel immense loss that I will never know who my father is, at the very least I will never know his name, and thus my children could unknowingly date a relative.

    There is also loss that I feel in having a blank slate forced upon me at the time of my adoption in order to be raised as another person's "own" child. The possibility that the adoption industry encourages this bull* is nauseating.

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  23. To be fair, many many bio families do not look alike. Especially when you throw interracial couples in the mix. I have a Caucasian friend who married an African American. Two of the kids look just like dad, and the other kid looks exactly like mom. Depending on which parent is hanging with them for the day, at least one kid looks adopted. Look at the pictures in the Tiger Mom book - she is being Tiger Mom to two very non-Chinese-looking girls.

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  24. Kristi mentioning the "Are you my mother" book has me laughing. Brings back some good memories. When my youngest brother was little it was his favorite book- or,rather, it was my mother's favorite book. I would sit with them while she read it. She had the most mischievous-sounding laugh when she got to each of the animals and asked"AreYOU my mother?" And so on It also makes me sad that,as a firstmother, I didn't get to read it to my own son.

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  25. Nasrin, some natural families share similarities, some don't. But at least if you're related to people, you can LOOK for similarities. The sense of relief I felt, sitting in my brother's living room a year and a half ago, and finally RESEMBLING people in photographs on the walls was immensely healing for me.

    I have two kids of my own. One is my mini-me, one is my husbands, but even the one that looks more like my husband has my eyes and my hair.

    Growing up with my aparents, and I do love them, I often felt sad because their family trees meant so much to them. While I was always included in discussions, "That's your great-grandmother, that's your cousin so-and-so," when they'd talk about necks and eyes and red hair and freckles and height, none of it ever applied to me.

    As an adoptee, it's much more difficult for me to dismiss these seemingly insignificant things.

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  26. Question: Do you think adoptive parents, when they talk abut familial resemblances and quirks, are aware how that affects adoptees? People who share none of those traits?

    I remember once saying to my daughter that she didn't look that out of place in a photograph of her adoptive family, as she shared their coloring. She was taken aback and forefully stated: Well, if you don't look closely.

    Though I always thought she looked a lot like her father, her natural father, when a friend recently saw her teen-age photo (a portrait) directly below one of my mother in her twenties, she said she had a for a second thought it was the same person. I'll post the photographs sometime soon.

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  27. bgc,

    Not only you but your natural mother and your siblings are all sharing the same loss by not knowing you. I hope your mother comes around. It is stories like yours that make me hate what has been done to us.

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  28. "Do you think adoptive parents, when they talk abut familial resemblances and quirks, are aware how that affects adoptees? People who share none of those traits? "

    To answer Lorraine's question, I would say that perhaps my adoptive parents were aware of how that kind of talk could affect me. Perhaps it was for that reason they never discussed physical resemblances or quirks. Perhaps they were mature enough to keep their mouth shut, or perhaps they never thought about those things.

    When my adoptive father mentioned family resemblances, he talked about character traits. "You're smart like your mother," "Boy, when you've made up your mind, you get things done. That's how your mom is..." He was always a great esteem builder. I don't recall him ever saying anything that made me feel less than a full member of the family. I don't recall my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. talking about physical resemblances of anybody at all. It doesn't seem to matter much in my adoptive extended family.

    The only person that seems to notice that I do not resemble extended family members is my older sister, my parents' only biological child. She would frequently mention how different I look. -hands, eyelashes, gait, eybrows, jaw, nose, neck,body build, feet, etc. Just a few months ago I told her enough! After 44 years, I was tired of listening to it. She just has to get over it.

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  29. Megan:

    I assume you haven't found your natural family yet?

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  30. My APs clearly didn't think about my feelings too much, because they did this ALL the time. Although they love me, they like to forget that I am not their biokid as much as is possible. Of course, it is clear that I cannot really be included in these conversations: I shared nobody's anything. It was very painful for me.

    The only time my feelings have ever been taken into account in such afamily conversations was a few weeks back, at a cousin's house. My cousin's son and his wife are adopting, and they told me that they have been to seminars where they spoke with adult adoptees. While everyone was babbling on about family trees and resemblences (they are all tall, blond Scandinavians, and I am not), and I looked at the night sky and thought of other things, the wife turned to me and whispered, "Are these conversations difficult for you?" Yes. Thanks for asking.

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  31. Like Megan my afmamily didn't discuss things like this much in front of me. Only recently did m amom remark that my adad took after his mother's side and he was grateful because he liked them better. I had never seen it before. I had a hard time seeing resemblences in anyone and it was reinforced on television where all the families are not blood-related.
    for my sake.

    Now I sometimes see in my amom a resentment of how much my child is like me. What were points of friction in my relationship with my afamily are points of sympathy and understanding between me and the people I am related to.


    It wasn't until I became part of my husband's family until I saw people luxuriating in their commonalities. It was always very convivial and lovely. How sad for my afamily that they had to deny themselves

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  32. Viktoria,
    I found my natural parents about 13 years ago.

    I should add to my previous comment, that while my Dad was great at building me up, he never gave credit to my natural parents for any of my positive traits. All the credit went to my A-Mom for the way she raised me. I think this was a major flaw in my parents' perspective. I am smart and a hard-worker, and so are my first parents. My A-parents simply nurtured these traits along.

    When I searched for my first parents, my A-parents viewed this as a very hurtful act. Neither of them came to terms with it before they died. But recently I had a wonderful conversation with my A-mom's sister, and she told me that searching was OK.

    And my sister, the only one who seemed to notice I was different, tells me she totally understands why I searched. "How difficult it must be to not have anybody that looks like you," she says. But I disagree with her. I never really thought about the possibility that there were scads of people out there somewhere that resembled me. I really liked being unique.

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  33. Joy,

    I'm glad you brought up points of friction being points of understanding between you and your son. I think that is one of the great difficulties in adoption when the child was born to you, you may still look fondly on on less than perfect behaviour because it reminds you of your uncle or your brother or your child's father. When the child is adopted the organic understanding of where these behaviours are coming from just isn't there.

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  34. Jane, My heart broke for you as I read of your ride home from the hospital in the two-tone Chevy. In my mind's eye, I can picture myself riding with you in that desparate moment.

    The question asked was what reminds me of being a first mother. My answer? Nowadays? Everything. But maybe that's just as well because it's better than the darkness I once dwelled in, unaware of my own agony.

    I will always use the term first mother not because I'm sticking out my tongue and yelling "I'm the first mommy! So there!" as some adopters have accused me of.

    It's simply that once upon a time,for a few brief and precious days, I was a mom first and foremost. Then........I was told I wasn't and I went home empty-armed and empty-souled.

    So for me personally, the term "first mother" reminds me of that biting pain and that is something I don't ever want to let go of again because living in denial, shame and fear was worse.

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  35. @Megan,

    Your older sister sounds bizarre. Why does she need to keep harping on the fact that you don't share physical characteristics with your adoptive family? Obviously, your extended family knows you are adopted and would not expect you to share their traits. Is she cruel or just extremely insensitive?

    Besides, anyone can see who you look like...your first mother, blog owner Jane.

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  36. Jane Karr:

    That was me, Lorraine, in the two-one Chevy.

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  37. Family resemblances can also be a major issue for bio children. One of my cousin's daughters (who I really didn't know) was looking at family pictures with me at her grandparents house and there she was: a facial replica of her paternal great-great grandmother. She had often wondered if she was adopted.

    Genes are marvelously fickle in their arrangements.

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  38. Oh Lorraine!!!

    Sorry about that! I was thinking so much of myself in your position that I typed my own name! That was rude!

    Sigh......my sincere apologies for that! And you know I proof-read my writing twice and didn't catch it. :-(

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  39. I like this discussion, as I think it proves that while not all first mothers, adoptees or aparents feel the same as other members of their "group", as adoptees we do have certain things in common, as we have all lost our rights to know who we are, why we act the way we do, where we come from, how we got home from the hospital (could it have been a Chevy? ;)), where our walk/laugh/nervous tic came from, who we look like (really look like).

    No one should ever be allowed to take away the basic human right of knowing our identity and our past. As with anyone, our future is our responsibility, but the choices we make along the way certainly formulate that future person. Constant bombardment of false information and disturbing realizations really isn't helpful.

    That said, I want to say that ocassionally when I comment here I am angry or disturbed about something that was said in a post. Thanks for giving me an outlet for this, as I don't know any of my family, and am, in many ways, just coming to some of these realizations myself. (Lucky you!) ;)

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  40. Thanks for this conversation. I'm an a-mom, and we make it a point to not comment on physical resemblences (trans-racial adoption) and do a lot of supporting of character traits, whether unique or shared within our family. I that some of this is easier because we live 1000 miles away from my (very-patriarchal) family. I was raised with many tales of the great things that (men) in my family had done, and I have not passed these to my girls. They just don't seem relevant. I have declined to take a copy of the large genealogy chart that is posted in my dad and my brothers' homes. Does anyone else have that response to family history?

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  41. Robin,
    My sister is not too bizaare. She exhibits typical chick behavior -- making comparisons. She has an extremely fair complexion, and needs mascara and eyebrow pencils to function in society. I don't. Her hair is thing and stringy, mine is thick. She struggles to maintain healthy weight, whereas I am lithe and have never dieted. On the flip side, she can go all summer without shaving her legs, but I gross people out if I got 1 week without shaving. It is normal for girls to compare these types of things.

    Conversely, I have often wanted to have the charm and wit that my father and sister have. After years of reading Dale Carnegie and other books, trying to use formulas to connect with people, I have come to terms with the fact that I am genetically inferior when it comes to cracking jokes or remembering people's faces and names. I just can't intuitively read people the way my A-dad can, and I've always wanted to be like him in that way. But instead I have to use the gifts God has given me, and not worry about what I don't have.

    Biological siblings have these issues well. One might have a genetic disease and the other one doesn't. One might be too tall, the other too short. But in the case of adoption, there is a scapegoat. One can blame the unfair distribution of desirable traits on the adoption.

    Kristi, when I read your comments it doesn't ring a bell for me as an adoptee. "The need to know who you are..." I have never not known who I was, even before I met my first parents. I guess I don't define my identity that way. So a lot of these adoptee rights discussions lose my interest.

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  42. Megan and I share the inability to remember names and faces, definitely a genetic trait. Physician and author Oliver Sacks has written several books about this condition which he calls visual agnosia: "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat" and "The Mind's Eye." Sacks has extreme visual agnosia, sometimes not recognizing himself in a mirror. And like me, he lost an eye to cancer.

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  43. Megan: As I understand it, you found your mother after a long search, which MIGHT have been easier if you had your original birth certificate, or am I wrong? But adoptee rights discussions bore you? Isn't that being more than a bit--I have mine, too bad for you if you don't? I assume you don't do anything for other adoptees who can't find their biological families.

    BTW, from your last comment I take it you don't like makeup--isn't that just like your birth mother, Jane?

    No need to put down those of us who like to wear makeup.

    Call me a mascara-wearing birth-natural mother

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  44. Adopted & AdoptedAugust 3, 2011 at 2:44 PM

    I'm adopted and have adopted. I prefer using biological parent when referring to someone who chose adoption for their child.....but I also like womb mother too. It relates more to the fact that it is really what you are when you choose adoption for your child. One should not be named a parent unless they have parented a child.
    I don't like the name natural mother because to me it means someone who has adopted would be deemed un natural...it doens't sit right with me at all.

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  45. Viktoria,
    I love my Mary Kay. I invest quite a bit in it. I own like 10 different makeup brushes, and love to try out the latest colors. I just don't require mascara because my lashes are sufficiently dark and long. I only use it when I'm going out at night and want to look dramatic. But I know several really blonde people that need it (in our culture) for their professional career. Defining eyes and brows allows someone like my sister (who is a professional lobbyist) to command more of a presence. It sounds like you carry around some mascara envy, just as my sister does.

    I have no problem with OBCs, for the most part. It's just that the "know who you are" line doesn't strike a chord. These semantics are a turn-off. For me, finding one's natural parents is about strengthening bonds that can be intuitively felt, despite distance and time. It's about forming relationships. It's closing the loop, understanding how other's choices got me where I am today. But I don't particularly relate to "know who you are" verbage.

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  46. "Womb mother"....BWAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Why not vagina mother, or c!#t mother? If you're going to be insulting it's typically best to go all-in.

    "I don't like the name natural mother because to me it means someone who has adopted would be deemed un natural"

    Here's a compromise: I'll let you call me a birth mother if I get to call you a death mother. Or if you prefer that I am a bio-mother, then you are a non-bio, which is essentially a non-human, don't you think? (See, I went all-in).

    This pattern will fit nicely within your binary opposition of natural vs. unnatural, IMO.

    (Please realize that the above is snark aimed at yet another adopter who just can't seem to absorb the inherent complexities in adoption. If I had a dollar for every one I encounter I could have attended the Adoptee Rights Demonstration!)

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  47. Adopted and Amp:
    "One should not be named a parent unless they have parented a child."

    So...if a woman has a stillbirth, she is not the baby's parent???

    And...If a woman dies in childbirth, the child cannot refer to her as his parent???

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  48. Adopted and Amp:
    "One should not be named a parent unless they have parented a child."

    One more scenario:
    According to your logic, if a man impregnates his wife but gets killed in Afganistan before the child is born, he should not be named as the child's father.

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  49. Megan wrote:"I really liked being unique."

    At one time I told myself that, too. Until I saw a picture of my natural father and saw a male version of my face looking back at me. After seeing my resemblance to other relatives I had the most wonderful feeling of connectedness and belonging. It made me feel less isolated. I loved the feeling of fitting in, of being part of the clan because of my looks, of knowing where I came from. I felt elated.

    @Kristi,

    I am so sorry that you don't know anything about your original families. Closed, sealed adoption is so cruel to the child.

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  50. Hey Lorraine,

    My post apologizing to you for the inadvertent use of my name in place of yours says "Anonymous". I must've not signed my name on the second post. Anyway, Sigh....again my apologies to you. Your post about riding in the Chevy really triggered a memory in me. Thank you for having the courage to share and I'm hoping that this time when I'll remember to sign my name and not "Anonymous". Hoo Boy!

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  51. "I have never not known who I was, even before I met my first parents. I guess I don't define my identity that way"

    I can relate to this Megan.

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  52. Megan wrote:"In my situation, an OBC would not have helped me find my birth parents."

    However, many people are not in this situation and without their OBC would not have any information on their first parents at all. And they have just as much right to be able to find their first parents as anyone else.

    I do not have my OBC and was able to find my n-mother because the attorney came right out and told my APs her name (and he did give her real name). My mother was then willing to tell me my n-father's name. If the attorney had not been willing to tell my APs my first mother's name I would have had a much harder time finding it. Although in my case I still think it would have been possible.

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  53. Viktoria wrote: Megan: As I understand it, you found your mother after a long search, which MIGHT have been easier if you had your original birth certificate.

    Actually Viktoria, I found my first parent's name after a short search. And I also quickly had contact information for my mother's relatives. An OBC would not have made any difference in my case.

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  54. Adopted & Amp,

    Seriously, "womb mother" I am surprised that
    You got to post that here on Firstmothers.

    I think Maybe really answered you if you must
    denigrate natural moms in this manner i feel so
    sorry for you as an adoptee (anger) makes me
    wonder what your natural mom that was called by
    your adopter ( thats what they called people who
    adopted) when I had my son taken on mid sixties
    called me natural mom. Also, I truly feel sorry for
    the child you adopted. Not everyone should adopt
    a child just because they can it proves to me there
    should be restrictions.



    taken.

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  55. Adopted & AdoptedAugust 8, 2011 at 12:42 PM

    To those naysayers of the name womb mother....I don't get how horribly upsetting this is to you that you would then judge my ability to parent our child or to question my motives...seriously outrageous and harmful to the psychi.
    There are sooooooo many names being tossed around as to what to call someone who places a child for adoption. How on earth could the term womb mother be so horrendous!? Because in all actuality that is what you are when you choose adoption. (of course there are sooo many other factors that could come into play-have you birthed other children that you are parenting etc) I am not using the word womb mother as degrading term at all! I love my bio mother/womb mother whoever she is or whereever she is at.....but to me that is what she was to me....she kept me in her womb(didn't choose death for me but life) nutured me(didn't use drugs)and chose not to parent. Those are the facts. Do not patronize the fact that I am adopted and have adopted-that is just downright cruel. To question my ability to parent is ludicrous....talk about anger....wow.
    And to Maybe....really...death mother? How could you even think that? Because I adopted? I mean seriously...is that how you view those who adopted? You must hate a lot of people in this world huh? I feel so sorry for you.....And no, I'm not saying that those who die before their child is born shouldn't be called a parent. I was making a statement that in my opinion those that don't parent their kids shouln't be called parents....it's all sematics. If you care to enlighten me any further...taking a hateful tone isn't going to work. Does it usually work for you? I just had no idea that the terms womb mother etc would conjur up so much disdain and hate and in turn people would be ok with saying such cruel things.

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  56. Adopted and amp wrote:"but I also like womb mother too. It relates more to the fact that it is really what you are when you choose adoption for your child."

    OMG, "womb mother", PUHLEEZE. How insulting. Adopted and amp, you have a lot to learn. "Womb mother" refers to a breeder and nothing else. That's why it is so objectionable. Society made my natural mother be a "womb mother" as you call her. She never CHOSE to give me up for adoption, she was forced. You need to read more of these ladies stories to hear what it was really like for the mothers of the BSE and for the most recent mothers who were tricked into open adoptions. I share my first mother's DNA and her ancestry. She was not just some temporary "womb" for me until she could pass me off to strangers. Humph!

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  57. Adopted and Amp,

    Unlike many here, I am ok with most terms for a mother who gave up a child, natural mother, birthmother, first mother, even bio mother are all OK and mean the same thing to me. But "womb mother" hit me wrong, maybe because I never heard it before, and "womb" sounds archaic,and vaguely religious like "thee and thou". How about "uterus mother" to be biologically correct?:-)

    Yes, it is all semantics, and I can see by your explanation that you meant no harm, but it is a sort of jarring expression, and does imply a vessel rather than a person. I am sorry people brought up ridiculous terms like "death mother" which was not necessary, but "womb mother" will strike many the wrong way.

    I personally do not like the word "parenting", as I am not fond of turning nouns to verbs in general.
    No, I did not raise my son. His adoptive mother did. That is reality, and she was really his psychological mother. But I am also his mother in a very real sense. There is a great deal to genetics....I guess genetic mother would be ok too, but the bottom line for me is that not raising my son does not make me a non-mother or just a vessel or female body part.

    If "womb mother" works for you, use it, but don't expect it to be universally accepted.

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  58. "Womb mother" not be a put down? "Womb mother" is not meant to be nasty? Wow, I'd hate to hear what you would call her if you didn't "love" her.

    You don't say hold old you are but "chose not to parent" indicates you think we birth/biological mothers had equal choices set out before us. No, many of us were drowning in a sea of shame and poverty; some of us were forced by parents or circumstances to give up our children.

    What I read in your comment is a great deal of rage, not love, for the woman whose DNA you carry. It reminds me of the woman who uses "maternal source" to refer to herself.

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  59. "I am sorry people brought up ridiculous terms like "death mother" which was not necessary, but "womb mother" will strike many the wrong way."

    You missed my point about binary opposition. The commenter wrote that she does not like the term "natural mother" because as an adopter she would then be the OPPOSITE, as in "unnatural mother." My point was to highlight the simplistic logic used in either/or, black vs. white language. This type of over-simplified use of language serves none of us well.

    And womb mother is simply ridiculous.

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