Wednesday, June 13, 2012

An adoptive mother speaks: Why adoptive parents resist reunions

Jane
"Raising an adopted child is not like raising a biological child" adoptive mother "Gale"  wrote to First Mother Forum. After years of infertility, Gale and her husband adopted domestically a girl, now 19, and a boy, now 17, as infants. Gale, a nurse and writer who lives in Atlanta, asked us at FMF for advice about her son who wanted to meet his birth mother. We suggested working with a counselor to contact the birth mother and, if she was agreeable to meeting the boy, to encourage the birth mother to put aside any issues she may have and work together as a team for the boy's benefit.

She thanked us and went on to write: "Also, since I know you and [fellow blogger]Lorraine are devoted to helping adoptees and birth mothers, I’d like to offer an adoptive parent perspective ... that may help you understand when adoptive parents are resistant [to reunions]." We eagerly accepted her offer and post her email here.

"Obviously, the desire to nurture is interwoven with a woman’s DNA. I once felt—and was encouraged to believe—that I had “enough” love to nurture and raise a child, and that child did not have to have to be biologically related to me. My love was “that big.”
"Of course, there is way more to it than that, but almost no one understands that. So, when your adoptive child has “issues,” you blame yourself. “What’s wrong with me? I must be a bad mother,” and you try harder. To get to a place where you can accept that you did all you could and that there are factors outside of you that have a pull on this child’s life takes a LOT of work. And unfortunately, most of that work has to be done solo because--I kid you not--NO ONE seems to understand. Think about it: Society always blames the parents if a child doesn’t “turn out right.” And if you say that the child is adopted, then YOU are the one who has issues; you sound like you are blaming the child. I think all those factors make many adoptive mothers more defensive and, I would guess, more resistant to a birth mother. You spent years raising a child because you wanted family, you wanted connection, you wanted what everyone seemed to have and took for granted.
"An adoptive mother has to accept that her child’s desire to reconnect with his or her birth mother has nothing to do with her personally, that it’s not a hit against her ability to mother. Knowing that your love alone isn’t “enough” can strike at a woman’s core values and sense of identity. Personally, I am way beyond that point, but I do see how that can be a problem for many adoptive mothers.
"My church (which is a huge mega-church) has an active pro-adoption ministry. People are adopting babies and young children, mostly from foreign countries, right and left. I have tried to talk to the woman in charge, to caution her that children aren’t puppies…that there are a lot of issues that all parties need to consider…and that raising an adopted child is not like raising a biological child. I am so sad to say that they don’t want to hear. I’ve also tried to talk with young moms I know who have newly adopted children to tell them things I’ve learned, things I would do differently from the very beginning, but, again, they don’t want to hear. I end up coming across like a case of sour grapes, and they are convinced that it won’t happen to them. Their kids won’t have issues because, again, their love will be “enough.” It makes me want to cry.

Nancy Verrrier
"Sorry for the long email. I just thought I’d pass along this perspective to a very complex issue. Again, I appreciate your help as I fight on to help my children find wholeness and peace. No small task."
Her words remind me of what clinical psychologist and adoptive mother Nancy Verrier wrote in The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child in 1997:

"Although adoption may be the best solution to the problem of children who cannot be kept by their biological parents, it is not like a fairy tale in which everyone lives 'happily ever after.' It is a difficult and complex process for everyone concerned. It deserves to be understood and honored as such. Denial and secrecy have no place in this process." 
It's sad that still today couple adopt knowing little about the impact of adoption on their children. Often, the only advice those who arrange adoptions offer adoptive parents is "take 'em home and love 'em." --jane





72 comments :

  1. For more discussion and information about the mega-church adoption industry see article by David Smolin in http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/85b0b978#/85b0b978/1

    and essay by JaeRan Kim in the same.

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  2. sfaithlink@gmail.comJune 14, 2012 at 9:58 AM

    Yes, yes, and yes. What an honest assessment by a mother who understands. Wish my parents could have understood more. Growing up would have been easier for them and for my sister and I... both adopted. We need to keep on educating.!! sharonfaith

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  3. First, I'd like to thank Ms. Thompson for her honesty. For a little background, my daughter relinqueshed her daughter to her aunt and uncle (my husbands brother and his wife). My daughter realized that it was a mistake a week later and asked for her daughter back. It didn't happen. After angry words and arguments, they cut us all out for over a year. Now, we (her grandparents) are still not allowed to see her. Our daughter visited after her daughters first birthday and will again in July (the baby is now 2 years old).
    Listening to my daughter describe her interactions with her aunt and uncle, we can tell they very much want to control the entire situation. They even resent when my daughter sends gifts. We came to the conclusion a while ago that they want to be everything to our granddaughter.
    I've never adopted a child. My children are all my natural children. I have 3 children ages 22, 19 and 14. I've learned along the way that I will never meet all my childrens needs by myself. And who would want that kind of responsibility anyway? I understand there is a difference, and my kids will never be looking for another mother. However, none of us can be everything to our kids, natural or adopted. I wish adoptive parents would recognize that. You can never have too many people loving your child. In the end, letting the first parents and family in can only make your relationship with your child stronger (of course, barring an abusive situation).

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  4. Nancy Verrier was told the same bs when she adopted over 40 years ago. So I see that not much has changed. Actually, it is not always the APs who take the responsibility for their adopted child having issues. Some APs blame the child for not fitting in exactly as a bio-kid would and for having problems with their adoptee status. Which in turn causes the APs to dislike and in some cases to reject the child.

    And this line "I have tried to talk to the woman in charge, to caution her that children aren’t puppies..."

    The fact that people need to be told this in the 21st century is truly frightening.

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  5. From my experience and the openness I was supposed to have had when I unfortunately and with much regret embarked on adoption for my child, I truly believe many adoptive mothers do not want to "share" the child they adopted from another woman; even if they promised the natural mother otherwise.

    I think that stems from a deep insecurity and jealousy of the biological bond between mother and the child she carried and brought into this world, that they know they do not have with that child. The child looks like other people and in many cases acts like and has mannerisms of those people they share DNA with. I think that shatters the "as if born to" fantasy so many have and so desperately want when they adopt.

    I find it baffling and quite interesting that so many people try to dismiss the biological bond, yet act this way toward natural parents and become so frantic and threatened when mother and child find one another and attempt to have some sort of "relationship".

    It is very sad and disheartening when that attempted relationship is sabotaged because of that insecurity and possessiveness. For if not for the woman who lost, they would have never gained.

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  6. What is frightening to me is these religious orgs think they can scour the earth for kids.
    They look as it being humanitarian and saving children. Sadly, the children that are brought to US are never given the facts they need to search their families. They are left to just be grateful for losing.

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  7. Thompson is doing the ethical but difficult thing in her church, speaking out against adoption as some kind of ministry or lifetime good deed. A lot of these kids being brought back to all-white American neighbourhoods and then paraded around church as trophy orphans are going to be mighty po'd one day. There's a disaster looming with Christian adoption when it's done this way. It's both reckless and ill-founded. Yup, I was naive at the outset of our adoption but at least I never thought of myself as part of the army of heaven.

    Not sure that what goes on in mega-churches really characterizes the attitude of adopters across the board to reunion. Still, it was good to hear Thompson speak out and I hope she has to courage to keep on doing so. Maybe if she comes here and reads the first link recommended, she will feel more supported and empowered.

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  8. I think for some [adoptive] parents, they believe that love is enough - or *should* be enough. After all, DNA doesn't trump all, right? So naturally, why *can't* love be enough to overcome anything?

    So then they think "Well I loved my hardest and best and it still wasn't enough, so what was wrong with me? What more could my child possibly need? Why *would* my child possibly need anything other than the love and nurturing I have provided?"

    So ultimately they are going to fail... and it's not their fault they'll fail. It's the fact that adoption is based on a semi-broken premise and that love wasn't enough to even begin with.

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  9. Great post and thanks to Ms Thompson for writing this. Hopefully she blogs as she does have the words to break through to some.

    I don't think adoption today is much different than my era - some parents got it early - some wanted to and eventually got there - others perfer lalaland where love will conquer all...

    Throw in all of us adoptees as unique individuals and you will end up with the same different types of outcomes as our era.

    Next generation will be the same because they know better than the last generation - famous last words.

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  10. Thanks for the links on megachurch adoption, very scary! These are people ill-prepared to be adoptive parents; I fear mistaking their own delusions for the voice of God telling them to take on more kids with serious problems than they are prepared to handle. It is the kids who eventually suffer, especially when such adoptions lead to abuse and in some cases disruption.

    There is a difference between adoptive parents who are religious thanking God for the opportunity to adopt and raise any child, and the ones who believe that God created and destined a specific child just for them. The latter group feel entitled to that child, and to do anything they want to get the child and to raise it, since after all, they are only following "God's Will."

    Megachurch and Fundamentalist adopters tend to believe that God micromanages everything for their advantage as True Believers. so a little corruption, coercion, even kidnapping is OK because God Himself meant it to be. Of course this attitude discourages reunion and honesty about adoption in these families, they are delusional about so much else already.

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  11. Thank you for sharing Ms. Thompson's enlightened and compassionate voice. Her comments highlights one of the great paradoxes of adoption: the concept "love is enough, but only if you are an adoptive parent."

    For relinquishing mothers, their love was not "enough" and will NEVER be "enough." NEVER. But for adoptive mothers? Their love conquers the freakin' world! Somehow, their love is so special and magical it can erase all ties to centuries of ancestry and wipe away their adoptling's entire culture and people with absolutely NO HARM or detriment to their adoptling. But a relinquishing mother? We just loved a baby enough to give it away to strangers. Nothing magical or special about that, as we are frequently reminded. Any broad can get herself pregnant and give a baby away, but it takes some one special to be a "real mom."

    At least that's the dominant cultural rhetoric and belief.

    Many relinquishing mothers were told/scolded/admonished (especially those in the post-Roe v. Wade world when adoption industry tactics had to change to find new ways to convince women to voluntarily terminate parental rights) our "love WASN'T enough" to overcome the challenges of parenting. We were told we were being "selfish" for wanting to parent, and the most "loving" option was to give our children away to virtual (or in fact, total) strangers. **Our** love wasn't enough, but **their's** was.

    Ms. Thomspson says, "Knowing that your love alone isn’t “enough” can strike at a woman’s core values and sense of identity."

    Finally, an adoptive mother who gets it. How many relinquishing mothers have spent the rest of our lives doubting and questioning and wondering if we will ever be "enough." How many of us relinquishing mothers have gone on to become over-achievers in an attempt to prove our worth to the world - that somehow, we are "enough." How many of us struggle in our relationships with our parented children because the self-doubt and fear lingers, "Am I 'enough' for these children because?" How many of us have fought tooth and nail to rid our selves of the lies riveted on our hearts by the adoption industry and to reclaim the TRUTH that our love IS enough?

    Ms. Thompson has no idea how right she is when she says, "Knowing that your love alone isn’t “enough” can strike at a woman’s core values and sense of identity." Ask any relinquishing mother. We can tell you all about what it does to a woman's core values and sense of identity to be told over and over and over and OVER again that our love wasn't enough.

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  12. Maryanne said: "There is a difference between adoptive parents who are religious thanking God for the opportunity to adopt and raise any child, and the ones who believe that God created and destined a specific child just for them. The latter group feel entitled to that child, and to do anything they want to get the child and to raise it, since after all, they are only following "God's Will."

    This is exactly what happened in my case; the exact carbon copy of the people who adopted my child. They also, apparently thought it okay to treat me abhorrently after I found my child, you know, since god willed it all in the first place.

    Just boggles the mind and is the sole reason I turned from religion altogether...

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  13. @melynda You took the words right out of my mouth In addition to the "You're being selfish" "Love isn't enough" rhetoric add "A boy needs a father(what about a mother) and "If you love someone you'll set him free and if he's yours he'll return to you"--there was a song something like that at the time-just the drivel to catch the attention of someone(me)-just emerging from the fog of youth herself.

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  14. Question:

    Why is it always after they adopt that they see the light?
    Is it because they know they can't fill the hole in adoptee's heart? Or is it because they now are launching a career of writing and need to publize so they can profit off of adoption.
    Don't tell me there isn't enough information out there for adopter's to make an informed choice.

    It's always after the fact after they get theirs and see it isn't easy to parent a child that you have no clue about.

    Call me cynical but I have seen this too many times. I am not grateful for her enlightenment.

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  15. Love is not "enough" for either biological or adoptive parents. Love is the start,and without it there is nothing, but there needs to be a whole lot more in the way of action, not just feeling, going on to raise a child. No mother's love is "enough" and all mothers need to realize that and get over feeling inadequate or guilty because of their circumstances that make them less than perfect parents.

    Adoptive parents have to deal with adoption issues that biological parents do not have. Mothers in crisis pregnancies who chose to raise their child should have every assistance to do that, but they are also coping with special challenges that cannot be overcome by just love.

    "Love is enough" is a misleading and poisonous phrase no matter which mother it is applied to, because there are so many ways to fail at parenting no matter how much a child is loved.

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  16. Anon 3:04 PM asks why is it always after they adopt that they see the light?

    I ask why it is always after they relinquish that they see the light?

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  17. It is so refreshing and hopeful to hear an adoptive mother who "gets it." You are so right that young adopter mothers do not want to hear about the future issues their child might have. They simply have to believe the rhetoric.

    But what Melynda wrote:
    "For relinquishing mothers, their love was not "enough" and will NEVER be "enough." NEVER. But for adoptive mothers? Their love conquers the freakin' world! Somehow, their love is so special and magical it can erase all ties to centuries of ancestry and wipe away their adoptling's entire culture and people with absolutely NO HARM or detriment to their adoptling. But a relinquishing mother? We just loved a baby enough to give it away to strangers. Nothing magical or special about that, as we are frequently reminded. Any broad can get herself pregnant and give a baby away, but it takes some one special to be a "real mom." "

    Melynda, you have made me speechless with your insight. IT IS SO TRUE. Our love was not enough, and will never be enough. I thought that finding my daughter 14 years ago would be the beginning of a wonderful relationship. But for the past 6 or 7 years she has actually been pulling away from me. She never writes and rarely calls or even responds to a FB post. She only responds to text messages. I've loved her for 40 years, but it's not enough. It will never be enough for her. I wish it were.

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  18. Adoptive parents should realize that they are winners from reunion. The relationship with their child almost always gets better after their child reunites. Most first families still get crumbs. And they are mighty tasty but the adoptive family more likely gets the cake.
    Rita

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  19. This comment is general not specifically targeted at Ms. Thompson.

    Adoption is always about the adoptive parents. It's about their wants and needs, their perspective, their love. Why is adoption a good thing? Because APs are (supposedly) able to love a non-biologically related child as much as a bio-one of their own. Who cares that the natural mother probably didn't want to give the child up in the first place? Who cares what the effect is on the child from being given up by his parents and given to strangers? All that matters is the adoptive parents and their love. Not!

    And great comment, Melynda.

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  20. Anon @ 3:04, I really don't think it's all that startling.

    Just in general, until someone is actually parenting, it's impossible to know what it'll truly be like. I think it would be a rare person who found that their experiences being a mom or dad to a child were exactly how they expected when the child was still in the womb or they first completed an adoption homestudy. Raising a child (at least doing so well) requires adapting and adjusting assumptions in response to changing needs and situations.

    I really don't think it's anything mysterious. Actually raising a child is different than abstractly planning how to raise a child, period. True whether you give birth or adopt.

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  21. To Anonymous 3:04pm:

    Your wrote, "Why is it always after they adopt that they see the light? Is it because they know they can't fill the hole in adoptee's heart? Or is it because they now are launching a career of writing and need to publize so they can profit off of adoption.
    Don't tell me there isn't enough information out there for adopter's to make an informed choice."

    You are a jerk. I adopted a special needs child whose mother tossed him aside because her new boyfriend didn't want to care for a difficult child who wasn't his.

    You obviously find it easier to demonize all adoptive parents than to take any responsibility for your own choices. Agsin, you are a jerk. You also are the reason many adoptive parents run away from their children's bioparents. So, congratulations on making things tougher for other bioparents who want to have good relationships with thwir children's adoptive parents, jerk.

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    1. Beasty,

      Adopters demonize themselves when they adopt for all wrong reasons. Adoption is about the adopter first and foremost it's a need to posess another woman's child.

      My son's adopter was not to happy when I found him too bad. He told her she knew her mom!

      Delete
  22. Gail Thompson said:

    "They have been relinquished and need a home. So we say,"I have a home. I will devote my time, energy, and love to raise this child." And most of us do."

    You make it seem so cut and dry, Mrs. Thompson. It is so much more complex than that. Women don't just relinquish their children. That very act is an act of desperation and uninformed choices.

    Most women don't want to relinguish their children and do so thinking they are doing the best thing because they are young, unmarried and vulnerable. When most of realize that it was not the best thing and we find our children (isn't that what this post is about, reunion and adoptive parents?) the way we are treated as unwelcome, uninvited intruders who have no right is yet another kick in the teeth.

    Many of us have lived with years of agony, not knowing if our children are dead or alive. I am one who was promised that would not happen, yet it did anyway. When you have lived with that agony, please come back here with:

    "I am sure your comments come out of your own pain, (YA THINK?) and I am sorry for that. But don't you think we ALL have our own pain: birth mothers, adoptees AND adoptive parents?

    Of course we all have our own pain, but I don't think many adoptive parents ARE sorry for that, as you say you are... certainly not my son's adopters. I did not even get an acknowledgement or a hello after I found my child, when they were the ones I chose entrusted him to all those years ago.

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  23. Bestey? said:

    "You also are the reason many adoptive parents run away from their children's bioparents. So, congratulations on making things tougher for other bioparents who want to have good relationships with thwir children's adoptive parents, jerk."

    LOL! So it is all her fault! Darn you, anonymous 3:04!

    No, Bestey, it is not because of people like her. It is because most adopters are selfish, self entitled and could care less about the woman and family who lost while they gained.

    There are always different circumstances, such as yours, but my child's adopters and so many like them hold the natural families at arms length and shut them out at the slightest infraction. They don't want openness or a "relationship" of any kind with the natural family. They want the as if born to fantasy and we are in the way of them in fantasy land with our children.

    Nothing anonymous said or any other mother say's makes any damn difference. We are the puppets on a string, after the adopters make off with our children and that is what they have in mind from the very beginning. They don't want us. They want our children. JERK.

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  24. There seem to be some assumptions here that need to be questioned.
    First of all, not all adoptive mothers resist reunion, as the title of this post suggests they do. Some, like Nancy Verrier, seek it out in the hope that it will help to solve their children's problems. Others accept that their children have the right to know their original parents, and while they may have a few natural concerns, they are unconditionally supportive of search and reunion.
    Secondly, not every adoptive parent enters into
    adoption with the naive belief that parenting an adopted child is identical to parenting a biological child.
    As Zan said, until a person is actually parenting, it's impossible to know what it will really be like.

    H2B

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  25. Seriously..if you have to say how wonderful you are for adopting a special needs child whose mother through her away and want what? Sainthood? Pats on the shoulder? YOU chose it...and the fact you are looking for sainthood and the fact that what your child has actually gonethrough does't come first nauseates me...as an adoptee i seethrought the BS loud and clear!
    Whose the jerk?
    We adoptees are nothing but possessions who are born to cause pain, hurt, joy, feed egos whatever....either one of you...mothers i mean....gave a hoot about "your child" never a real person within their own right....this crap about your hurt and suffering and blaming each other does NOTHING for the little person that lost an idenity, a family, a medical history and then has to deal with all the hurting mothers...who gets dibs at that childs body and mind....its disgusting.

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    1. I totally agree, in my birthmothers' mind she was the one who was abandonned (as she drove back home from the hospital with her family) and left me there.

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  26. Sorry, but presenting this as representative of all adoptive parents is annoying. Sharing this as one adoptive mom's perspective is valuable in and of itself. Yes, many adoptive parents resist reunion -- and many don't. Some adoptive mothers feel insecure at the thought of their child's first family ties, and some don't. The adoption model IS changing, perhaps not quickly enough, and perhaps not so much in the megachurch sector, but the change is happening. We're in contact with our child's family overseas. I have four close friends who've taken their minor children back to their countries of birth in the past year to visit relatives. One friend does this every single year. Adoptive parents shouldn't be afraid -- love and openess multiplies.

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  27. Anon said: "You make it seem so cut and dry, Mrs. Thompson. It is so much more complex than that. Women don't just relinquish their children. That very act is an act of desperation and uninformed choices."

    You're right--people don't just relinquish their children. Perhaps what Thompson was saying is that by the time adopters enter the system and apply to adopt a child with special needs, the natural parents are long gone and the attention of PAPs and the adoption program is on the child and how adoption will help him or her. On one level, this can't be disputed, especially when there is better medical care in the West. On the other hand, we shouldn't forget how children wind up in these situations. Children with special needs are also coaxed away from their parents on the promise that treatment will be "provided abroad". Parents subsequently learn that this means the child entering the adoption queue.

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  28. The heading "Why adoptive parent resist reunions" should not be interpreted to mean that all adoptive parents resist reunions any more than an article headed "Why Americans love pizza" would be interpreted to mean that all American love pizza.

    Obviously, the heading and the article simply explain why, in the opinion of an adoptive mother, adoptive parents who resist reunions may resist them.

    We at FMF are pleased to hear from adoptive parents who support reunions. We hope that they encourage other adoptive parents to do the same. We hope, if they have not already done so, that they join in the fight to allow adult adoptees access to their original birth certificates.

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  29. "The heading 'Why adoptive parent resist reunions' should not be interpreted to mean that all adoptive parents resist reunions any more than an article headed 'Why Americans love pizza' would be interpreted to mean that all American love pizza."

    Hmm, Americans eat approximately 100 acres of pizza each day, or 350 slices per second.* Kind of a doughslide. If I saw such an article, I would expect the dissenters to be a bunch of carb-phobic party-poopers. Definitely in the minority.

    Seems clear that the reunion-resistors were intended to be seen as the trend.

    *http://www.thepizzajoint.com/pizzafacts.html

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  30. I am adoptee and want to say that even though I understand and can sympathize with this post, it is not true for every situation. I'm sorry that it's true in this situation, but if you are not an adoptee or an adoptive parent, please understand that adoption and the adoptive community is wonderfully supportive in my experience.

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  31. "After all, it didn't matter to me that my child didn't develop inside my own womb. I loved them with my entire being, and I would battle anyone who would have implied that they loved their biological children more than I loved my adopted kids."

    Funny how pregnancy and bonding matters until adoption enters the picture.

    Then all of a sudden, it doesn't...

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  32. Dpen said:

    "either one of you...mothers i mean....gave a hoot about "your child" never a real person within their own right"

    Excuse me, but don't speak for me when you say we "don't give a hoot" about our children. Who the hell are you to say that?

    Nmothers don't give a damn when they relinquish. We don't give a damn when we find our children. We don't give a damn when some refuse to meet their child, (for whatever reasons that I am beginning to understand more and more everyday). We don't give a damn when we post about our experience. We just don't flipping give a damn. Doesn't matter what we do or say. We just flat out don't give a damn. Really?

    Some of us "give a hoot" enough to know we should have never put our children or ourselves in this damn situation anyway, but instead made a huge mistake when we thought we were doing the right thing. Yes, some of us have a problem when we are treated the way we are, when we try to make it right and know it will NEVER be right again. So sorry you so "disgusted" by that. I am disgusted by many (if not most) things "adoption" myself, especially the dehumanizing part you speak of. I live it everyday. Thanks...

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  33. ""Ms. Thompson has no idea how right she is when she says, "Knowing that your love alone isn’t “enough” can strike at a woman’s core values and sense of identity." Ask any relinquishing mother. We can tell you all about what it does to a woman's core values and sense of identity to be told over and over and over and OVER again that our love wasn't enough.""

    Thank You! Melynda...thank you, thank you, thank you!
    I was thinking the exact same thing when reading this adoptive mother's words. In 1964...I was told straight up in my 17 yr old face.."Love is not enough"!!! To this day, I can still see that agency woman's face sitting across the desk from me, telling me these words. Words that cut like a knife thru my heart and soul. I felt like a complete nobody, not worthy of my own natural child. Yes, adoptive mother...join the club..we heard it first. Even with birthing and raising of my subsequent children..I still questioned my "love".

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  34. Oh for God's sake Erin Brown. Do you think we are idiots? Of course every situation is different. Did you happen to read the title of this blog? This is where first mothers come to discuss, vent and share. So don't you come in here blathering that if we are not an adoptee or an adoptive parent we don't understand. Go back to your "supportive community" and leave us alone.

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  35. Ms. Thompson wrote:"We never thought there would be a hole!"
    I realize that attorneys and agencies who make their living off of adoption have no incentive to tell PAPs about this. But it never ceases to astound me that PAPs never seem to think for a moment that a child might have issues with being given away by his natural parents, with having his entire roots and ancestry stripped from him without his consent.

    "After all, it didn't matter to me that my child didn't develop inside my own womb."

    But it matters to the CHILD!!! And it matters to the natural mother as well.

    "And they do, right? They have been relinquished and need a home."

    In DIA in many cases the child already has a home and the attorney and/or agency has done one hell of a number on the expectant mother to get her to relinquish.

    "But don't you think we ALL have our own pain: birth mothers, adoptees AND adoptive parents?"

    Are you comparing APs pain over infertility to being adopted? You were an adult. You got to make choices. I did not.

    "While you think this information is "out there" for people to make an informed decision about adopting, you are wrong. It is not mainstream; it is not what you are told when you adopt."

    I certainly believe this. That is because most of the information out there is from the AP perspective since they are the power players in the world of adoption. And what many adoptees and first mothers are now trying to do is to get out our side, our truth.

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  36. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  37. Gale,

    It will help him to find the truth. And there is no better place to start the healing process.

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  38. [Adoptees should be the focus. They are the true innocents in all of this.]

    You know, I once had an exchange via Youtube about adoptees and how this subject is brought up, someone always mentions abortion and therefore adoptees should be grateful they are even alive.

    I asked if adoptees are privileged to be breathing air.

    The responder said yes since it is obvious adoption indicates they were a burden from the moment of conception and they should have been aborted.

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  39. [Adoptees should be the focus. They are the true innocents in all of this.]

    You know, I once had an exchange via Youtube about adoptees and how this subject is brought up, someone always mentions abortion and therefore adoptees should be grateful they are even alive.

    I asked if adoptees are privileged to be breathing air.

    The responder said yes since it is obvious adoption indicates they were a burden from the moment of conception and they should have been aborted.

    (I have no clue if my comments are making it through, I get no notification or anything indicating as such...)

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  40. Gale wrote:"I am seeking my son’s birth mother, and I am afraid ultimately of what it will do to him. Will it help him find that emotional connection he’s been seeking? Or will he become more confused than ever?"

    You wrote that your son is 17. Since he is so close to becoming a legal adult, I think the best thing to do is to let him take the lead regarding whether or not he wants to search for his first parents when he turns 18. I can only speak for myself but I would have been absolutely devastated at 17 y.o. if my APs had found my n-mother and she rejected meeting me. It would have destroyed me. And, unfortunately, many adoptees do get rejected. The best thing that you can do is to help him search if and when he wants your help and to support him no matter what he finds and how he feels about it.

    "learn how to raise their children so as to minimize the emotional trauma."

    The trauma cannot always be minimized. Some people have an easier time and some have a harder time with being adopted. The best any AP can do is to be there for their child and to allow him to have his own feelings and reactions to being adopted. To not dismiss him and tell him he is wrong if he doesn't follow the prescribed 'happy dappy' adoptee model. The other important thing you can do it to let your voice be heard that adoption is not the win-win-win that it is made out to be in U.S. culture.

    Gale, you do seem to be a kind and well-meaning person. You probably feel like you drank adoption kool-aid, too, without realizing it. I hope you will stick around. There is plenty to learn here at FMF and at the other family preservation oriented blogs.

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  41. Okay, at the risk of making this seem to be self-focused, I would like to ask a question. Robin, you said for me to let my son take the lead in the search, and I can understand the reasoning behind that.

    My son has expressed a strong desire (repeatedly) to find his birth mother. He doesn't know it, but I think I have found her on facebook through some of my own detective work. From looking at her FB page, they have a LOT in common. My strongest desire is that they would meet and connect in a meaningful way; he needs it.

    BUT, she kept her pregnancy hidden from her family. She also wanted the adoptive parents to live in another state (which we do). She is also newly married and has an infant. So, bottom line, she may want this to stay a secret.

    So, that's why I was thinking I could do the preliminary contact, so as to protect him if she says "No." Because if he makes the contact, and she shuts the door on him, he would be utterly destroyed.

    I would welcome input from any of you who would be so inclined to give it, concerning this, and anything I might say (or write...I was thinking of messaging on FB) so as to help her open up to a meeting.

    Again, I know this isn't an advice column, and I know you all aren't trained psychologists, but I woud welcome any and all input. I will, of course, make a decision on what I think is best for my son, but to do so, the more info the better.
    .

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  42. Gale, in as much as you want to protect your son, I believe that you would be doing him a disservice by contacting his mother for him. It is not your place to be a go-between. You can support him and love him and listen to him if and when he wants to talk about his family, but this is his journey to take.

    I am an adult adoptee whose mother was in a similar place (writ broadly). I was a secret from nearly everyone in the family until I was 42. My mother went on with her life, got married, had my brother, and thought I was safely in her past. My contacting her (first through a confidential intermediary, and then on my own) in my 30s and 40s was traumatic for her. I did not get a warm welcome. Slowly, over a decade, she changed her mind.

    It was far from easy for me. I would not like to have begun my journey at 17 and did not do so. Your son may not have actively begun searching because something in him tells him he's not ready. Adoptees will sometimes talk about things for years before doing them, trying out the emotions before going to that place. The one day it feels right.

    If your son decides tomorrow to search, I would give him all the information you have and tell him your are with him 100%, that you are there if he wants to talk. If his first mother rejects him, you will be there. If she is ready to talk to/meet with him, you will be there for him, too. It can seem like a rollercoaster.

    I was also thinking that if *you* contact her, she might reject the overture because it's *you*. She might, facing an unexpected message from her son's amom, be able to leave up her emotional walls/whatever coping skills she is using because she has no investment in her relationship with you. It's potentially easier, I believe, to say "No" to contact when a mother delivers rejecting message to a third party than to her child. Fear and shame and anxiety about keeping secrets can be powerful drives for self-preservation, to be sure. I want your son (and his first mom) to have the best chance.

    In sum, I agree with Robin: your son should be the one to drive the situation. Let him set the timetable for searching and talking about adoption. It could be weeks, months, or even years before he truly wants to move forward, and that's okay.

    I wish you all well.

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  43. Gale, you need to think this through. I agree with Adoptee anon 11:43 that the search should be your son's choice and journey, not yours. You say you want to protect him from rejection by making the first contact to his natural mother, but if she says no to you, how and for how long will you continue to "protect" him from the truth?

    He is 17, as Robin noted soon to be a legal adult. You have referred to emotional problems he has, possibly PTSD. Is he a special needs child whose condition would impact on his understanding of adoption, or a normal adolescent dealing with the usual angst of that age with adoption issues added to it? That would certainly color how this is seen.

    You have already gathered information that should be his, the woman on Facebook who "may" be his mother, and assumptions you have made about how she is handling her life. I would say stop right here, and let your son have control of what he wants to do about searching when he wants to do it.

    As a mom you want to make it all better for him, but in this instance you cannot. Are you prepared to lie to him about having contacted her if it goes badly? Would you then try to discourage him from searching, even if he still wants to know?

    He is almost a man, let him be a man and deal with this on his own terms when he is ready. If he is ready now, hand over the information you have gathered and let him take it from there.

    Tell him the whole truth, whatever you knew from the time you adopted him, to what you have found out recently. If there were extenuating circumstances around his surrender, he was older, removed by the courts, mom used drugs, anything that could impact on his health and well being, he deserves to know that.

    He also needs to be aware that times and people change, the mother who wanted no contact and to be states away 17 years ago might live in a very different world now and her family does know.
    There are a million possibilities, only he can know when he is ready to face them. Your very important job is to be supportive of him no matter what he finds, not to try and stage-manage the contact.

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  44. Gale,
    I agree with anon 11:43 and Maryanne.

    You wrote:"I know this isn't an advice column, and I know you all aren't trained psychologists..."

    Many trained psychologists don't know sh*t about adoption. They only know the dominant cultural voice about adoption. From what I've read, it has been known since the 1950s that being adopted can cause a great deal of psychological and behavioral issues in children. But this information has been drowned out by the multi-billion dollar adoption industry. Actually, you are better of listening to those of us who have actually lived the life than those who are making their living off of adoptions taking place.

    I also wanted to mention that your son has every right to know who is first parents are, his grandparents and especially his new sibling.

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  45. Also agreeing with Robin, anon 11:43 and Maryanne that you should tell him everything you know as soon as possible. It is especially important that you do this soon as you have already confided in strangers on an open forum.
    Best wishes to you all.

    H2B

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  46. Hi Gale, it may be helpful to stop seeing him as the poor helpless baby bird or sad skinny ADHD kid, and instead picture him as a brave young warrior ready to fight his own battles, whatever they might be.

    I am a mother of 4 boys, three of whom I raised, and when they were your son's age it did help me deal with my own anxiety to try to see them this way rather than as little babies I had to protect. It also helped me in reunion to see my surrendered son as an autonomous adult, not my lost baby stopped in time.

    One of the sons I raised did have some learning disabilities in high school, and also some social problems (who does't??) but he overcame that.

    Some of us mothers who gave up a child tended to be overprotective of the children we raised, just as some adoptive moms have done. It is a tendency to fight against, not one to give free reign especially as our kids get older. Yes, it is hard, but worth it to both us and our adult kids.

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  47. It is helpful to me to read this post. I am an adoptee. I sensed for many years that my mother regretted her decision to adopt me.
    I especially related to the paragraph about the child's behavior being attributed to the parent. (I wasn't the best behaved child.)
    My mother actually once said to me, "You make me wish I hadn't adopted you, because, after all, I raised you and just look at what kind of person you are."
    So I guess I just wanted to say this: Hearing at least one adoptive mother talk about this issue helps me, even if just a little.
    Thank you for sharing.

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  48. Anonymous: I think your experience is not that unusual--only that your adoptive mother voiced what many think but do not say. My daughter's adoptive mother once said to her--and considering how she came to feel about me, my daughter knew this was a great insult: You are just like Lorraine.

    Well, she was my daughter. Too.

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  49. Thank you Gail Thompson for your openness and honesty. It's nice to see an Adoptive parents thoughts as well.
    I pray that your son's search will be a positive reunion with his biological mother. I'm sure it's not going to be easy for any of you including the bio mother. It's great you are also learning what adoption does emotionally to the biological mother, maybe before your son goes on his search maybe you should encourage him to learn what it does to a biological mother when she does relinquish her rights. Knowing the impact what it might have done to her, even though she might have thought she was doing the right thing at the time, might help him understand her and what she is has gone through. Going in blind might lead to a disaster of a lack of understanding leaving the biological mother with even more devastating emotions. This is my opinion that an adoptee should never search for his/her biological mother/father/family unless he/she is willing and ready to carry out an unconditional relationship with them. Nothing is worse besides the day she relinquishment her rights then a door opening to be slammed again in her face. Even though it's hard for me to comprehend a mother not wanting any thing to do with her child it happens and if she does maybe she might be willing to give more information about her family for him to search his root's to find out about those past relatives he came from might be rewarding for him as well. Last if you do contact her through facebook make sure you send a friends request first and then write her, so many people don't see the messages because it goes into the other folder under messages and they aren't seen unless a person is looking in that folder. Most people don't even know it's there.
    I wish you, your son and the bio family the best.
    Many blessing from above!

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  50. Anon 3:17pm said, "This is my opinion that an adoptee should never search for his/her biological mother/father/family unless he/she is willing and ready to carry out an unconditional relationship with them."

    Anon, can't agree with this, or with your other statements that suggest it is the adoptee's job to be responsible for his or her mother's emotional state or choices. Both adoptees and original parents have the right to set their own boundaries in reunion. You can't force people who knock on your door into unconditional love, acceptance, or perpetual relatedness. Doesn't matter who they are. That's just blackmail.

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  51. Agreeing with Fluffy, adoptees do not owe their natural parents a relationship or anything else except the common courtesy that should be extended to anyone. They have every right to say 'no" to a relationship, and to set boundaries if a relationship is to develop.

    Natural parents owe their children answers to all questions, the identity of the other parent, and in general the truth about the surrender and family history. They do not owe their child a relationship either. Nobody who searches is guaranteed a relationship or acceptance, and should not demand or expect it.

    Any relationship takes two people wanting it and willing to work at it. When that is not present, there is no relationship no matter how much one party wants it. The worst possible way to go into any relationship is with the idea that the other party owes you. Life does not work that way.

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  52. Word, Fluffy.

    H2B

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  53. I don't think that attempting to have an unconditional relationship with anyone is a healthy or safe idea, Anon @ 3:17.

    Unconditional love, yes, absolutely... but love is a very different thing from a relationship.

    Relationships have to have boundaries, including lines where - if they are transgressed - the relationship will cease. No degree of genetic relatedness or amount of past trauma gives one person the right to abuse, degrade, manipulate, threaten, or psychologically harm the other person. If any of that is going on, contact needs to lessen or end, either until the behavior stops or permanently.

    Relationships also have to have at least some degree of reciprocity in the long term. If the other person is not participating or is openly hostile, it's not a relationship in the first place, it's purely a one-sided attachment. That "condition" is inherent to the whole point of having a relationship in the first place. One party can't do all the work all the time and have it still be a relationship at all.

    So all this to say, I have to disagree. I do think adoptees and first parents should be giving each other the benefit of the doubt when possible... but I think it's crucial to maintain a reasonable and healthy level of self-protection, too.

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  54. Sorry Fluffy you are right. I'm not very good at expressing my words. I don't mean to upset anyone, I guess I just had the bio mother at heart during my post and putting my own experiences in my posts. Not saying I expected my daughter to love me,I didn't at all. But at least her and her adoptive mother could have been a bit kinder and not taken me to the trash for their own pleasures. This time I'm having a hell of time getting back up again.

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  55. Anon 11:12, you have every right to be upset that you were treated badly by your daughter and her adoptive mother. It sounds as if you were not treated with courtesy or compassion, and that is sad and must be painful. But that is not what you said in your earlier post where you were speaking in general terms about what adoptees in reunion should do; be ready to provide an unconditional relationship oe do not search.

    Nobody's own situation can be generalized to that of all reunions. As Zan pointed out, an "unconditional relationship" might not even be a healthy thing and is not the same as unconditional love which can exist in one's heart whether there is a relationship or not.

    We all are entitled to whatever feelings we have about our own situation, but extending that to general rules for reunion does not really work and creates misunderstanding.

    Thanks for your second post which clarified where you are coming from, a place of sorrow and pain.

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  56. I have deleted my previous comments and am re-posting them here so as to remove my last name.

    I feel like I need to respond to a previous comment. First of all, I don't write about adoption: never have. And the idea about "profiting" off of adoption is laughable. First of all there are the up-front costs of adoption; add to that the costs of raising children period. On top of that we have spent thousands of dollars and even more in hours trying to find clues as to how to help our children.

    I am sorry you have such a negative view of adoptive parents. I don't think any of us approached adoption with the view we could "fill up a hole" in our child's heart. We never thought there would be a hole! Twenty years ago, we firmly believed in nurture over nature. After all, it didn't matter to me that my child didn't develop inside my own womb. I loved them with my entire being, and I would battle anyone who would have implied that they loved their biological children more than I loved my adopted kids.

    Adoptive parents, for the most part, approach adoption with open hearts. We are told, "Here are children who need homes." And they do, right? They have been relinquished and need a home. So we say,"I have a home. I will devote my time, energy, and love to raise this child." And most of us do.

    While you think this information is "out there" for people to make an informed decision about adopting, you are wrong. It is not mainstream; it is not what you are told when you adopt.

    I am sure your comments come out of your own pain, and I am sorry for that. But don't you think we ALL have our own pain: birth mothers, adoptees AND adoptive parents?

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  57. Reading this forum has been enlightening as well as heart breaking. I’ve learned a lot about the perspective of the birth mother, that, I will admit, I hadn’t thought of before. Should I have? Probably. But I will admit I didn’t and I’m glad to now be more aware.
    The title of this blog was an adoptive mother’s perspective on why adoptive parents MAY resist reunion. That was just one perspective. Everyone is different of course. So why do adoptive parents resist? Who knows? Fear is probably one reason: fear of the unknown, fear of what it will do to the family they’ve been working to build, even fear on what it will do to the adoptee. I am seeking my son’s birth mother, and I am afraid ultimately of what it will do to him. Will it help him find that emotional connection he’s been seeking? Or will he become more confused than ever?
    I never shared how I found this forum. I was actually in the midst of writing a course for nurses on posttraumatic stress disorder and I thought, “Hm. A lot of these symptoms sound like my son. I wonder if anyone has ever done research on PTSD and adoptees.” That search led me to the forum (although the link referenced PTSD and birth mothers.)
    So when I spoke of an adoptive mother’s pain, I was not referring to the pain of infertility. That is ancient history, and any pain associated with that is nonexistent compared to the pain of watching your adoptive child struggle for identity, to feel powerless to stop self-destructive behaviors that you know spring from his feelings of emptiness and disconnection.
    Adoptees should be the focus. They are the true innocents in all of this. I would love to learn how I can help prevent this from happening to other children: to help capable birth mothers keep their children, and also to help adoptive parents (because there will always be some children who need to be adopted) learn how to raise their children so as to minimize the emotional trauma

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  58. Okay, at the risk of making this seem to be self-focused, I would like to ask a question. Robin, you said for me to let my son take the lead in the search, and I can understand the reasoning behind that.

    My son has expressed a strong desire (repeatedly) to find his birth mother. He doesn't know it, but I think I have found her on facebook through some of my own detective work. From looking at her FB page, they have a LOT in common. My strongest desire is that they would meet and connect in a meaningful way; he needs it.

    BUT, she kept her pregnancy hidden from her family. She also wanted the adoptive parents to live in another state (which we do). She is also newly married and has an infant. So, bottom line, she may want this to stay a secret.

    So, that's why I was thinking I could do the preliminary contact, so as to protect him if she says "No." Because if he makes the contact, and she shuts the door on him, he would be utterly destroyed.

    I would welcome input from any of you who would be so inclined to give it, concerning this, and anything I might say (or write...I was thinking of messaging on FB) so as to help her open up to a meeting.

    Again, I know this isn't an advice column, and I know you all aren't trained psychologists, but I woud welcome any and all input. I will, of course, make a decision on what I think is best for my son, but to do so, the more info the better.

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  59. Thank you, thank you Robin, anon 11:43, and Maryann. You have caused me to totally shift my thinking.

    You are right. This is his journey. It's just that I still see him as this skinny ADHD kid who has struggled with school, struggled with friendships, and struggled where to fit in. He is highly impulsive and can be obsessive, so I'm not sure how he will ultimately handle this. But he is also caring, compassionate, funny, and kind. I so don't want to see his heart shattered.

    But it's time to stop "preparing the road" and start preparing him for what lies ahead. But it's hard.

    I hear others talk about what it feels like to watch their baby birds leave the nest. I feel like I'm watching a baby bird prepare to leap out of the nest to.....who knows what? I pray his wings are stronger than I think. And I pray there's another mama bird prepared to receive him. God, please.

    Deep breath.

    A wiser woman probably would have expected and been prepared for all of this. But I wasn't. And I didn't.

    Thank you again....all of you...for your insightful comments.

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  60. I hear you Gail, and commend your attitude on trying to help your son. I am both a birth mother and an adoptive mother, so I feel very familiar with all sides of this issue.

    What strikes me is the huge difference in the way people feel about reunion. I surrendered my daughter in 1961. Once she became an adult I began to search for her and it took me 30 years (and a change in the sealed-records system in the state where she was surrendered) to find her. We enjoyed a wonderful reunion 2 years ago. I have met her adoptive mother, who is an amazing woman! And best of all, I have discovered that I have four grandchildren, and they want me in their lives. The relationships are not without complications, but it's better than the pain of not knowing.

    But the situation with my adopted son's birth mother is completely different. We agreed when he was born that when he reached adulthood he could know who she was. When the time came she changed her mind. We had followed our agreement and kept her identity secret, which was damaging to my son (since she is actually a distant member of my family.) Not only that, she has steadfastly refused to name the birth father. My son was raised to believe he could know his birthmother when he was an adult. Then suddenly that promise was retracted, and I found myself accused of unreasonableness in holding her to a promise she made when she was a teenager.

    As an adoptee my son had major abandonment issues to begin with, and now ...!!! He is 28 and just beginning to get himself together. But my heart breaks for him. His birthmother refuses to have any contact at all. He has three half-siblings whom he is not allowed to know. And he is categorically denied the right to even the name of his birthfather.

    I have to agree with the original post. People have NO IDEA what they are getting into when they adopt, even under the most ideal circumstances. As Nancy Verrier points out adoption is supposed to be for the benefit of the child, but it turns out to be mostly to help out the adults. Adoptive parents get the child for which they have longed, birth parents are relieved of a pressure they are unprepared to handle -- the only one not consulted is the child. And when that child reaches adulthood he finds little support in "the system" for his needs. He is left to depend on the other two sides of the adoptive triad. People who participate in adoption need to understand this from the beginning.

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  61. Mamabetz:

    Thanks for sharing your story here, with all its complications. As you say, the one individual that the system overlooks is adoptees as adults. But we were left wondering, did you reveal to your son the identity of his birth mother? For his sake, despite her rejection, I hope that you did. He deserves no less than the truth.

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  62. Mamabetz, I am curious to know why you would have consented to such an agreement when you must have known at the time it would involve lying to your son by omission until he reached adulthood.

    H2B

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  63. @Mamabetz,
    Your son has every right to know who his n-mother is. I agree with Lorraine, I hope you told him. The more comments I read and the more stories I hear of first mother rejections, the more I believe that n-mothers just do not want anyone to know that they gave away their child. And as always, the voiceless, powerless adopted child (forever a child) is the one who pays the price. You are right, Mamabetz, adoption is not now and never was about the child.

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  64. Robin wrote:"he more comments I read and the more stories I hear of first mother rejections, the more I believe that n-mothers just do not want anyone to know that they gave away their child."

    Hi Robin, could you please qualify that to read "SOME n-mothers" or "rejecting n-mothers"? Lots of us including those who comment here have been very open for many years about having given up a child. Please do not make such general statements about all of us.

    I do agree though that adoption as it has been practiced is about the adults, not the child, and the adoptee gets stuck in the middle.

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  65. @Maryanne,
    I thought that was implied in the first part of the sentence but re-reading it I can see that it wasn't clear. Sorry about that. I was referring to rejecting first mothers and the large number of adoptee comments which mention that the adoptee was rejected.

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  66. Thanks Robin, I thought that was what you meant, but there is so much generalizing about adoption that it never hurts to be sure.

    It is useful to note that there are some mothers and some adoptees who reject and have no interest in reunion. For those still searching, be prepared for anything, assume nothing. Be brave but compassionate and realistic.

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  67. Another view of adoptive parents:

    Recently we had drinks with neighbors, parents of adopted Chinese girl, Susan. She was nearly a year old when they got her and had been in an orphanage for a long time, that much was clear. She was an aggressive child, often hitting other children, who many other mothers did not want to have play dates with after the first one. Now she is a very sweet and quite shy teenager, a sophomore at a good college. Recently her parents took went to China on a business trip, and took Susan. As we were leaving their house (we were the last to go and we were chatting in the street), the adoptive mother was dying to tell me with great glee how little interested in Chinese culture Susan was, her husband was giving the high sign, big smile...Susan told them she had no interest in it at all, and of course the implication was, Wasn't that great! ?

    I MEAN, why did they think they had to inform me of this? With such joy? Obviously, they are thrilled that their daughter has no interest in roots, and should she be curious, she would never be able to trace them. They know I am a reunited birth mother, but I never talk about my son, and they are dying to let me know their daughter doesn't care about her birth mother, or what happened, or how she ended up in an orphanage? I couldn't help thinking that only about this subject is curiosity seen as pathology.

    We tried to walk away as quickly as being gracious would allow. They had a couple of drinks, and were feeling garrulous, but I felt I had a window into their real feelings. My husband said to me as we walked away, Well, at 18 kids have no interest in their ancestry (normal kids, not adoptees, anyway), and in Susan's case she knows that she has absolutely no possibility of finding her roots, her mother. So why even think about it?

    I can only wonder what kind of feelings they have instilled in the girl as she was growing up. From all other respects, they are excellent parents, and of course Susan is better here than if she had been left to languish in an orphanage, but I'm just saying it was a mildly unsettling in-your-face ending to an otherwise pleasant evening. There are times when you want to say something, but I didn't. If I had said anything, I would have asked: Why are you telling me this? With such glee? How much does it bother you that my son visits?

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  68. Those like maryanne who go ballistic when we make any statements about adoptees or adoptive parents, arguing that generalizing is inappropriate, I quote the much heralded Jeannette Winterson: "All adopted children blame themselves." "The feeling [of adoptees] that something is missing never, ever leaves you -- and it can't, and it shouldn't, because something is missing." "Adopted children are dislodged."

    No qualifiers. And this is just the beginning.

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  69. My stepsister relinquished her baby years before we ever met her and kept it a secret from us all of her life, although my stepfather knew, and her own mother died heartbroken over it.
    We didn't even discover this (although it was something I suspected, but never said anything) until after she had unexpectedly passed away.
    We met her grown daughter at the memorial service, who was devastated at not only being given away, even though my stepsister had been married (she was 17 and "had" to get married) and now that her mother was no longer alive, she would never find out the details. She had contacted her a few years before and my stepsister finally (after first refusing) agreed to finally meet with her, but she never explained the "WHY" part.
    My stepfather passed 2 wks after his daughter, from complications of alzheimer's. He had begun losing his memory about 15 yrs before, maybe in some ways it was a blessing for him, not to have to live with that pain any longer.
    He never got to meet his granddaughter. I know he would be so proud of her, as I know he suffered privately along with my stepsister, all those years (50).
    How it affected me, was that I was a constant reminder of the baby that was given away. I was born about a year before.
    I look back on that entire episode of my life as what a waste for the people involved. By waste I mean the effort to hide and never talk about something that ate at these two people I loved, but no one understood. Especially my stepfather as I loved him more than my own father, whom I barely ever knew.
    And you know what? We would have loved and welcomed that girl/woman into our lives and treated her like the family that she grew up missing. I wish that my stepsister would have just come out and told us the truth. We would have gotten over it, so what about what *other* people think--I really believe my stepsister was ashamed and didn't want us to judge her.
    It was all about pride. False pride, as far as I am concerned. Being ashamed of a traumatic choice that my stepsister made, for whatever reason she had at the time.
    If I was comfortable with having contact with this very lovely woman who felt rejected (she even told us that her a/mother first lied and said her parents were "dead," then, that they "didn't want her" and ultimately passed away when she was a teenager--again leaving her "motherless"), I would tell her how, although she wasn't "there" with us all of those years, she actually WAS. She may have been given away, but she was never forgotten. Even by me, and *I* wasn't even supposed to "know" about her.
    My stepsister suffered from unexplained depression, married and divorced 3 times (the last one molested the daughter she ended up having with her 2nd husband), her entire life was affected by the choice she had made as a teenager.
    It just makes me so incredibly sad. It was just a traumatic situation for everyone, even for the ones not directly involved.
    As far as these "Mega Churches" are concerned, I truly wish they would focus on foster kids. They're the ones who need help. I know it is very sad about people in other countries, but I'd rather donate money so they can help themselves and raise their own children. As an American, I feel we need to take care of our own first.

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  70. Anon,
    Thanks for sharing your family's story. Our hearts go out to your family and all families suffering from adoption loss. I just hope we can work together to make adoption what it should be--a loving way to help a child who needs a family.

    ReplyDelete

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