' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: An adoptee doesn't want to meet her first/birth mother

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Monday, April 7, 2014

An adoptee doesn't want to meet her first/birth mother

Lorraine
The other day we received this comment at the bottom of our permanent page of tips on how to write to your first mother the first time.
I truly mean no harm, but I find these dos/don't to be offensive. I am 26 years old and I was adopted when I was 5. I have little memory of the events that led up to it.  
Forgive me if I am being insensitive, but I feel as though these given rules are all placed to protect the birth mothers. Regardless of what when on, the fact remains that if we were not raised by these women, they are not our mothers, they are our birth mothers. 
If you choose to give your child up, you have to live with that. I don't think it's fair to refer to the people who chose to raise us as their own to be referred to as anything but a mother/father.
I think if you need/want answers, you have a right to ask, I don't care what hurts her feelings. She is not the victim. Forgive me and HELP me to understand if I am wrong. 
My birth mother reached out to me and demanded to see me and said if I did not cooperate she would stop at nothing. She told me I was selfish not to hear her side of the story, but I feel like she's just making excuses. All I know is what I was told, my parents are now deceased and it's their word vs. hers. I do not know this women, why should I trust what she says? --Angela
Dear Angela: 
I am sorry that you feel so negative about the woman who gave birth to you, and we understand that the issue of trust is a difficult one for many individuals who were adopted. But even if you feel this way, perhaps you could extend yourself and meet her at least once and hear what your birth mother has to say. We know this may be emotionally difficult--as it certainly will be for her--but meeting her would be an act of kindness on your part, since your natural instinct is to recoil in anger and distrust.
We would give the same suggestion to any mother who did not want to meet the child she gave up for adoption.
It is clear that you loved and appreciated your adoptive parents, but the story they heard about your first mother, and/or the story they told you, may not be true. We are familiar with so many cases where adoptees were told one thing but the truth was far different. Women do not give up their children lightly, and unless your first mother is unusual, she has suffered and thought about you all your life. You don't have to have a relationship beyond a single meeting, if that is your choice, but again, it would be an act of kindness on your part to meet her. It is likely to be rewarding for yourself also, and answer any questions you have. No matter what, you do share this woman's DNA.  

As for the tips that bothered you and were "written to protect birth mothers," they were written thinking about a woman who might be fearful of meeting her son or daughter whom she relinquished many years ago. They were written to make her less afraid. We try to do our best for both birth parents and adoptees. And we know we're not perfect. 


There are many books you might read about first mothers, including The Girls Who Went Awaby Ann Fessler, who is an adoptee herself; The Adoption Reader: Birth Mothers, Adoptive Mothers, and Adopted Daughters Tell Their Storiesa collection of essays by birth mothers, adoptees and adoptive mothers. For an introduction to any questions and feelings you may have, I suggest a simple but insightful primer called Being Adopted: The Lifelong Search for Self, written by an adoptive father who is a psychologist, and a psychiatrist married to an adoptee. I myself am the author of a book called Birthmark, about giving up my daughter and the painful journey that led to that awful decision. I think you would find any and all of them helpful. All the books can be ordered by clicking on the book jacket or titles. 

91 comments :

  1. Adoption agencies are out to make a buck off an adoption.

    Lawyers are out to make a buck off an adoption (when they represent adoptive parents and agencies).

    Adopters are out to get a child, any child, doesn't matter, so they don't have to think about being infertile anymore or so they can save the world or whatever their motivation is. It's usually some other motivation having nothing to do with the child they're actually adopting.

    And of course none of these people know the so-called "birthmother" intimately. They see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear and they already weren't seeing or hearing more than a fraction of the whole story from her end of things.

    And this is when they're actually trying to be honest and not trying to smear her reputation because something about the adoption is morally wrong or outright illegal and they need to deflect public attention from that fact. It's worse otherwise.

    If someone out there can't read this--and this is all true and factual--and understand how it might be possible to get a "birthmother's" story totally wrong, I don't know what else to say to convince them.

    We need to base our psychological well-being on constructive facts, not character destruction.

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  2. I have to respectfully disagree with your response. I am a huge supporter of this forum, and I am an advocate for women's rights to decide what happens to our bodies and the children we birth.

    However, an adoptee does not owe a first mother anything. I know this sounds harsh, so please bear with me. In this scenario, the first mother says she will stop at nothing and calls the adoptee selfish for not wanting to meet.

    Few women, especially those old enough to have lost children to adoption a generation ago, made choices about adoption because they had many alternatives. For many, it was a forced "choice" or an outright abduction/scam.

    However, it was a "choice" (in the loosest sense of the word for some cases, in the most literal sense for others) of an adult or at least an adolescent. Yes, there were many extenuating circumstances and many reasons that first mothers suffer.

    HOWEVER…it is never an adoptee's responsibility to ensure the well-being of the ADULTS who determined his or her fate. Those involved were all adults (with the exception of first mothers who were minors). First mothers have an ethical and moral obligation, unless it would place their life in danger, to meet a child if asked.

    Adoptees have no such obligation. Adoptees are the only ones who never had any choice, any say, or any volition in this process. Therefore, an adoptee who wishes to meet first family should be allowed to do so (barring threats of harm, of course). An adoptee who wishes not to have contact should be respected.

    It is morally questionable to say to an adult, "You must meet the woman who gave birth to you."

    Yes, first mothers suffer tremendously when they lose their children. But first mothers suffer in adulthood, after personalities and identities and families have formed. Adoptees suffer from the very beginning, and in many cases struggle with identity issues for the rest of their lives. The impact of trauma on a newborn is exponentially greater than the impact of trauma on an adult--take the contrast between alcohol in a fetus, for example, and alcohol in an adult.

    For that reason, with all due respect I sincerely hope you will respect this woman's message. We may wish for understanding and forgiveness and reconciliation, but at the end of the day this woman has to survive. She has to make sure she can "make it," and in my mind she has the greater claim.

    Thank you very much for listening and taking this seriously…and for understanding that this comment comes out of solidarity and respect as a fellow member of the adoption community.

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  3. Tchaiki:

    I decided not to deal with "demanded" because of course no one except a court or a cop can demand a meeting. Just as I think mothers and fathers should have at least one meeting if asked or "demanded..." I suggested it would be an act of kindness if the adoptee would agree--just as it is an act of kindness to help a blind person across the street rather than wait until they plunge forward alone into traffic.

    Obviously everyone is in their own driver's seat regarding this. I didn't say she "owed" it to her...I said it would be an act of kindness to do so.

    And yes, I understand where you are coming from. You are right in that birth mothers who were not adopted themselves do not bear the cross of the sorrow before the birth and relinquishment, but we do bear the guilt of having been party--no matter how--to the relinquishment.

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  4. My daughter who is adopted doesn't owe me anything. She doesn't owe her first mother anything. She is our child, and her first mom and I are the ones who are responsible for our child. Her first mother made the only choice she felt she could make, and it hurts my heart to think that there might be a lifelong estrangement- for both of them- because of that choice. I know she loved and still loves our daughter (although she has pulled back from our open adoption). I also know she is an amazing person, full of kindness, who would always respect any choice our daughter made.

    But, Angela, if you are reading this, I just want to say to you exactly what I would say to my daughter. You say your own parents are gone now. Well, these are words from a fellow adoptive mother.

    I was there. I was there when our daughter's mother and father left their baby and turned and walked away. I am usually pretty good with words, but there are none to describe the tangible grief that filled that room and crushed down on us all. That decision, that choice, that moment of placing their child down and turning away from her.... it cost those two people a chunk of themselves.

    Our daughter may think many things about her adoption, and she may feel many things, and I will support all but this: the belief that her first parents did not love her. That is just not true. If they had not loved her, I wouldn't have heard the sounds of two hearts breaking into a million pieces when they left her. I wouldn't have saw them struggling to even take a breath. I wouldn't have heard the gut wrenching sobs as the door closed behind them. And I wouldn't have cried like I've never cried before while three people meant to be together were divided. Her first parents are special, wonderful people, but I cannot believe that they are unique in being broken by this choice.

    And so, perhaps it is that experience that makes me understand why some first mothers come on a little strongly. Grief, built up over time with so many other negative emotions, takes a toll on a person. There are people who can never get over the death of their child, and we understand them and have compassion when they perhaps do not always behave in ways that we would prefer. The grief of giving up a child can feel like a death, I would imagine, except you know that child is growing up, but just without you.

    I say this very carefully, but, perhaps your first mom's behavior is clouded by years of grief, regret, sorrow, anger. Perhaps she has never had anyone to talk to, and those feelings have magnified and caught hold and damaged her soul even further. Perhaps, you can explore your own heart and see if you might have a little room to allow for some compassion to enter, and grant her a meeting. I understand that there are sometimes just plain awful people (one of my favorite phrases in my rather jaded adult life has become "people suck"), and first moms are no exception to this human occurrence. After meeting, you may realize that whatever the causes, and how much compassion you may have, you cannot develop a relationship with this person. People within natural, biological relationships often decide this when dealing with toxic person, and it's sometimes very necessary to do.

    You say that first mothers must live with their choices. I say we all live with our choices. It's one of the costs of being human. One of the silver linings, though, is that sometimes, we are able to take each others' hands and walk a difficult road together, understanding that while we must bear the consequences of our choices, so we should also sometimes express some compassion for each other.

    No, my daughter doesn't owe her mother anything. Nor does she owe me anything. But I do hope that she will have an open heart and understand the hell her first mother entered when she "made her choice." I suppose I don't think anyone really deserves to be sentenced to that without some regard and at least a chance.

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    1. Beautifully written! Your words, perfectly and certainly describing my heartache! They are pure, raw, heavy hearted, emotions! I know I felt, exactly that! "gut wrenching sobs"... "sound of two (my) hearts breaking into a million pieces" :( thank you for acknowledging, loving the first family!!! Both your daughter and first mom are blesses to have/know you! With respect,

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  5. Tiffany wrote: "The grief of giving up a child can feel like a death, I would imagine, except you know that child is growing up, but just without you."

    I have said it before and I will say it again: Losing my daughter the second time to death was easier than losing here without knowing where or how she was--and knowing that "I" was not strong enough to find a way to keep her. Today I am reminded of what the psychologist Lee Salk, brother of Jonas, once said about to me a girlfriend of mine he was dating: You don't want to end up like Lorraine.

    It stung, but no one should want to end up like me.

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  6. That would have been me for the first 46 years of my life.

    I hope you learn more quickly than I did.

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  7. Lioness, who is your comment directed to?

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  8. Tiffany, I just wanted to thank you for your words. You are such a shining light in the often dark world of adoption.

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  9. Oh Christ, we get it. We aren't your mothers. We were your incubators and it's all about you and your adoptive families and how all of you feel. Us beemommies need to suck it up and go away.

    It took me a few years to get that but I do now and I have reconciled the fact that this will be the general consensus and you know what, I don't really care anymore.
    Time to get on with the business of living. Everyone involved in the crime of humanity I was involved in all these years get no more of my time, emotional or otherwise. Not a one of 'em.

    I hope many a vulnerable young woman will take heed to this warning and the tone of this letter and so many like it. You will be nothing to your child but broodmare incubator for their "real" mommy and daddy .

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  10. I am not an adoptee, an adoptive parent or a first parent, so I know that I can only imagine what it is like for you all.

    However, I do think that no one has a right to demand someone to meet them, even based on being closely related. Asking for a meeting is a different thing than demanding for it. Calling Angela selfish for not wanting a contact is definitely not fair, even though of course Angela's biological mother has probably been through a lot in her life and feels pain for not being able to have been a part of Angela's life.

    Even though Angela's fmother hasn't indeed chosen her words very wisely, I do think that for Angela, too, it could be a good thing to meet her, even for once, and hear what she has to say and see what she is like. Angela, what your mother and father have told you might be as true as what your first mother wants to tell you. Things always have many sides and there isn't just one truth. No one can force you to anything, and you certainly shouldn't feel guilty if you for some reason don't want to stay in touch with your first mother. You also do not have to trust this person if you feel that she seems not to be honest to you.

    Being a mother or a father doesn't mean that someone is a good and thoughtful person, because all kinds of people have kids.

    And even though it seems that many first mothers' have been pressured to give their children away, this is not always the case. As Angela says, she was only adopted when she was five, so this first mother probaly has had quite different type of reasons for reluingishing her than the ones whose children were adopted as infants.

    I understand that many of you firts mothers feel empathy towards other first mothers in general, based on sharing the same experience and of course empathy is a good thing. Nevertheless, some of the biological parents do not deserve as much empathy as others. Not everyone have good intentions. It is impossible to tell what someone is like when the only thing known about him/her is that she/he is an adoptive parent, a biological parent, an adoptee or none of these.

    Good luck with your decision, Angela, and I'm deeply sorry for you having lost your parents.

    And thank you for this forum, Lorraine and Jane, this site has given a lot to think about.





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  11. '...For many, it was a forced "choice"...'


    How can something that is forced be a choice?

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  12. ""The grief of giving up a child can feel like a death, I would imagine, except you know that child is growing up, but just without you."

    The big difference is that dead children don't grow up at all. No matter if they are with or without you, they just don't.

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  13. I am wondering if a mother placing a baby for adoption at birth verses a child being adopted out at the age of 5 are two entirely different sets of circumstances. What about the events leading up to her adoption that this adoptee can't remember?

    I've never read any articles about the "unusual first mothers" who do place their children up easily for adoption. The mothers whose choices didn't necessarily have anything to do with loving the child they were carrying at that particular time in their lives. I feel their voices are mute in any conversations because they fear the judgments and ridicule for perhaps seeing it differently. I would have respect for the "unusual mothers" for taking that risk and keeping it real because not all reasons and scenarios could possibly be lumped into "she has suffered and thought about you all her life." "Women do not give up their children lightly, and unless your first mother is unusual, she has suffered and thought about you all your life."

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  14. Whoa! everybody.

    Because someone was adopted at five doesn't mean her mother gave her up at five!

    As Jane said in a post last week, Jean Paton was adopted at three and a half--after her first adoptive father died and she was returned by her adoptive mother (how many natural mothers would find that the solution to a father's death?) to the agency and then Paton was re-adopted. Angela's mother may have tried to keep her and she, Angela, was taken away by the state; her mother may have had a drug/alcohol problem; the father or step-father or boyfriend may have been abusive. We just don't know.

    As far as I can tell, no one called Angela "selfish"--anyone saying that is misreading here and jumping to that conclusion. What I read is that Angela is angry at her birth mother and doesn't want to meet here and finds our attitude towards first mothers [at First Mother Forum] aggravating.

    Without knowing more from Angela--whom we have not heard from--who clearly has anger towards her natural mother, I also refuse to go along with her use of "demand." No one can "demand" anything unless they are in an abusive relationship or as I said before, are a cop or a court. Clearly Angela has not met her and is leaning now on the side of not doing so. So much for a "demand."

    Readers, please read the post carefully. Since this post has the potential for going off the rails in the comments, I am going to be very circumspect about which comments are published. I do not want to start a firestorm over this post.

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  15. @Angela, in the case of non-orphan full adoption there are two poles: child abduction and child abandonment, which are NOT easily told apart. It is is true that you owe nothing to a child abandoner, but you owe even less to dead people who financed your abduction, so hear and record her side of the story. Please make sure, that you have the story from both sides. It is in your own interest to keep in communication with your true mother, medical family history updates may save your life and prevent lots of embarassment.
    Concerning meeting, if you are not ready for that, don't do it yet, just tell her you want to know more about her first.

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  16. Like Lorraine said: when the child is adopted is not always when the child was relinquished.

    I apparently was given up as a baby. I was placed in my AP's home at about 2 months. but I was actually legally adopted when I was almost 4 years old. But my first mother had relinquished me as soon as I was born...

    No one can force an adoptee to meet their first mother (or father).

    If "the girl" suddenly appeared tomorrow and wanted a meeting with me, I would not be able to do it. My situation with my adoptive parents and their attitude is too tense. I would either have to meet her in secret, which is ridiculous, or the meeting would cause an explosion the likes of which the world has never seen.

    I would be open to correspondence of some type. Email, letter, phone conversation. But, at the present time, if the situation presented itself, that would be all I could do.

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  17. Well, of course we only know what Angela told, and in her text she said that her first mother told that she is selfish for not wanting to meet her. That is what I referred to. I should have written it more clearly, I'm sorry.

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  18. Mother's don't give up children lightly. I was convinced that I was not good enough and that a life with strangers would be a much better life for my child. I was young and scared and wanted to believe people who were older knew better and had the best in mind for me and my child. I was never told about the trauma we both would endure. Babies don't make the distinction between their mother and their own identity for months after birth. Children adopted at birth are prematurely separated from a part of their identity. Had I been given this information I would never have made the choice for adoption. I believed many lies about how money was the most important part of parenthood. Well it wasn't put in those words but that's what it came down to. If I could turn back time I would not have made that choice. I wish I could take to that scared younger version of myself and speak encouragement and support into her. Tell her to be strong and believe in herself. To this day I struggle with not believing I'm good enough. After all, if I was good enough then why did I give my child to strangers? Children that have trauma at birth will live with that as part of them forever. Productive lives are possible but the chances go up for issues around trust in relationships. If a mother could "abandon" you then what about someone else? That question will always be a part of an adoptee. These realities can't change after the fact but relationships can help. I have asked the adoptive couple many time for even the smallest part of my son's life and they only allow me an email once or twice a year with an update and a picture or so. My son will be 12 next month and I asked the family for a video. I just wanted to hear his voice but was denied this. I will always long for him. No other children will take his place or heal that wound. My hope is that one day he will allow me to know him. I don't have expectations for how it will look... I just want to be a part of his life.

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  19. Since this is a thread regarding meeting first mothers, I suppose I can add this comment to my previous one. I had stated that I could not actually meet my first mother, should she surface, because of the turmoil with my AP's

    Well, after two years of waiting, a half-page of non-id info arrived from NYS.

    Apparently the girl really wanted to hide the whole thing. She reported nothing except that she was white, Catholic, and 35 years old. No ethnic background, eye color, height, weight.....nothing.

    She was unmarried. My father abandoned her upon learning of the pregnancy, and there is not one word anywhere about him. Pre-natal care started at 5 months, which tells me she really was hiding this.

    There is a birth weight for me and nothing else. No date or time.

    She filled in her occupation as "Art Instructor".

    Before having my children I worked in NYC as a commercial artist. I later had a business painting murals in people's homes.

    So, there you go. A tiny connection, for whatever it's worth.

    And thanks for letting me put this here.

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    1. Julia Emily, for your aparents to refer to a thirty-five-year-old woman as "the girl" is BEYOND dismissive. (Not even "our girl," which is the phrase that my in-laws and their friends used to describe their adult household help.)

      Of all you've said about your aparents, that speaks most loudly to me. As in, give us the baby and split...

      As always, my thoughts and deep affection are with you.

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  20. I hope you're reading the comments, Angela.

    Angela,

    I respect your choice.

    If you want to refer to your biological mother as your birth mother, that's your right. However, that's your individual choice. Many other adoptees choose to refer to their biological mothers with other terms. My biological mother did not raise me, but she is my mother. That's my choice.

    "I think if you need/want answers, you have a right to ask, I don't care what hurts her feelings. She is not the victim. Forgive me and HELP me to understand if I am wrong." Angela, I'm really sorry. You sound like you're in pain. I do think you're wrong in that we should always have the strength of character to treat another person the way we would like to be treated.... I, personally, don't like to hurt other people's feelings. Do adoptees have a right to ask their mothers for answers? Yes, of course, we do.

    But, there are ways to ask, and there are ways not to ask. If adoptees approach their mothers like bulls in china shops, the outcomes, at least to me, are obvious.... Many adoptees have asked Lorraine for her suggestions because approaching our mothers can be daunting, and many don't have any idea how to best approach them.

    "My birth mother reached out to me and demanded to see me and said if I did not cooperate she would stop at nothing. She told me I was selfish not to hear her side of the story." Honestly, if your mother truly "demanded" to see you and said she would "stop at nothing," I can understand why you wouldn't want to meet her.... That's exactly the bull in the china shop approach that does not work.

    You clearly did not care for your mother's approach. And, according to your recollection of events, it sounds like your mother took the I don't care what hurts her feelings approach that you are okay with advocating for adoptees to use with their mothers.

    It's not a good approach for mothers or adoptees to use.

    Every adoptee has a different story. Since you were adopted at five, I would guess that your story is probably remarkably different from those of us who were adopted at birth. I'm sorry that your mother approached you in such a forceful way. I wouldn't appreciate that approach either. And, if that approach had been used on me, I may have come to same conclusion that you have and would have wanted no contact.

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  21. Julia Emily:

    I see that you are going through a whirlwind with the data you just got. Before you jump to conclusions, I suggest you do some reading and Birthmark would not be a bad first choice. I did not want to have my baby, I wanted to get an abortion, I hid my pregnancy, etc. The father was married, I wanted desperately to keep this pregnancy a secret--from my family in another state who did not know; the father was kind of a big shot in the newspaper business in the city, and I was desperate to save his/our reputation. So if my daughter got some of that information she would have no idea that my feelings towards her would turn around so completely, or that I thought the idea of sealed records--for her whole life--was wrong.

    It is hard for anyone who wasn't there to understand the shame that an out of wedlock pregnancy bestowed, and the enormous pressures to give up your child. Please don't think that the information you got is the end of the line, or that your mother did not desperately want to keep you once you were born.

    I will rework that phrase once used about me: Look where I ended up.

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  22. Julia Emily, I want to echo what Lorraine said. Don't believe everything you read or make assumptions based off of that little information. Remember how I shared the many inaccuracies in my daughter's adoption paperwork? And that agency had access to both first parents and my husband and I as well as a lot of paperwork we supplied. They still didn't get many things right, and like I said, I can see where if my daughter had read that report, she could have conceived a perspective of her birth and relinquishment that wasn't truly accurate.

    So please, just remember that that. Your biological mother may have wanted to hide her pregnancy (it was a very different time, remember). Or she might not have wanted to, and the agency did not fully record all the info. Your birth father let her... I wonder if she felt she could not support you on her own. Or, like Lorraine said, it was a very complicated situation where feelings changed.

    Adoptees and first moms both deal with so much hurt... I'm so sorry on all your parts for all that you endure dealing with this.

    (And to Jamie... thank you. I cannot tell you all how much you teach me to be a very aware mother to my child, so I appreciate this place and others like it so very much.)

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  23. This is a mind-blowing story about why an adoptee left her adoptive parents to live near her natural mother, and shows the persistence of genetic coding, and a reaction to suffocating adoptive parents--who probably thought she was going to be just like her "mum."

    Is this the story that proves blood IS thicker than water? Her adoring adoptive parents gave her an idyllic childhood. Yet Kayleigh's rejected them for the mother who's found her on Facebook

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2599314/Is-story-proves-blood-IS-thicker-water-Her-adoring-adoptive-parents-gave-idyllic-childhood-Yet-Kayleighs-rejected-mother-whos-Facebook.html#ixzz2yKEBDGqh

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  24. To Julia Emily:

    Well, yes, our mothers often did want to hide the whole thing. That often played a huge role in the decision. As you know, being single and pregnant was considered shameful. So, it isn't a stretch to believe that your mother internalized the shame and wanted to hide everything.

    As far as your non-id goes, you are at the whim of the person who wrote up the non-ID for you. That person gets to decide what is and what is not important. Case in point, I received my non-ID, and I decided to ask a question about it. Guess what? The person at the agency was able to give me more information, which is great, except that the information should have been included with the non-ID, and I shouldn't have had to ask for more.... I'm sure there is still more there, but I'm not going to get it.

    So, maybe there was information for you, too, and they just didn't share it with you.

    Of course, maybe your mother didn't share a lot of information. Our mothers never thought that their own children would ask for the information in the future. Back then, they thought we were going to be gone forever. So, she may have given very basic, curt answers because she didn't want to talk to the intake person about her personal information.

    I have the feeling, and I could be wrong that it wasn't uncommon for prenatal care to start that late, especially with women who had unplanned pregnancies.

    So, please don't assume that your mother wouldn't want to know you now.... My non-ID indicates that mother was in great turmoil over her decision. She wanted to keep me but couldn't.... Well, if I thought she was the same person now that she was back then, I would have wrongly assumed that she would want a relationship with me now. She doesn't. She is in the closet, and she wants to remain there.

    I'm sorry that you didn't get a lot of non-id. I didn't get a lot either. Just know that until you find and can talk with your mother, the non-ID is just a piece of paper with information that has no context.

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  25. Reading HDW and Julia Emily's comments, it is so glaringly clear that fundamental human rights are being violated in regard to adoptees. You get little to no access to your own identity?!!! You have to beg to find out who you are? Terrible!!

    Julia Emily, I teared up when I saw your update. Not a lot of information, but a start. Please do build on it - I have a feeling it will add, greatly, to the richness of your life.

    Angela, if you are reading these comments, I think Lorraine answered your question best. Nobody can demand anything of you, nor should you feel guilted into contacting your first mother (or birth mother, whatever you want to call her) by litanies of how birth mothers suffer. Because you asked FMF to "help" you understand why, if at all, you should contact your birth mother, Lorraine gave a reasoned response (no melodrama in what she wrote, from what I could see) from the perspective of a birth mother. Her response did not,in my view, try to pressure or guilt you into followig a particular course of action. In the end, you have the right to consider, first and foremost, your own well-being - how is that best served? Good Luck to you, whatever you decide.

    Lorraine, interesting story about Kayleigh. Loving someone is about letting go. I am grateful I got to do that with Nina. Hopefully it will keep me on track as Lenny grows into a young man.

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  26. I'd like to suggest Christine Murphy's book Taking Down the Wall in addition to Lorraine's list of reading suggestions. It's the memoir of an adoptee who was contacted by her original mother and initially wanted no contact. Adoptees typically go through many phases (including, for some of us, a phase marked by a strong sense of loyalty to the adoptive fam). Angela's resistance may shift over time.

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  27. I'm wondering.....and forgive my cynicism...but has anyone considered the original poster is a troll?

    This sentence here: "If you choose to give your child up, you have to live with that."

    That's a pretty potent statement: one I would venture to guess is meant to rile people.

    My take? (insert shrug here) If this person chooses not to meet her first mother, truly that's her business. Like she says, she'll have to live with that.


    Anonymous in the North

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  28. I don't think Angela is a troll. If she were, she would have been back by now to comment. I used her comment because I think there are many adoptees who feel that way she does, and she was simply venting at First Mother Forum. She may not have checked the box to receive additional comments based on her comment, and anyway, those would only come at the permanent page we have about writing a letter to your mother or a sibling. I did leave a comment there directing her to this post.

    We discourage comments at the permanent pages.

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  29. Hi Lorraine: I have read Birthmark (thank you for sharing your story with us all), and I have read The Girls Who Went Away, as well as some other books from first mothers. I understand what everyone here is saying, and I am desperately trying to understand the thinking of the time. My AP's are from that time....I certainly have gotten an earful about how people thought back then!!

    I was devastated when the info arrived yesterday. I read the page over and over hoping something would pop up that I had missed, because I was dumbfounded at the lack of information. There was a list of things my first mother could have filled in on the page. All the way down the line was written "not reported". She gave 4 lines of info: white, catholic, 35 years old, art instructor. On my father's side of the page was "not reported" all the way down. It just jumped off the page at me that, for whatever her reasons, she was really hiding the pregnancy, and wanted to remain in the shadows.

    She was 35, unmarried, so she might have been having an affair with a married man? Just speculating.

    And, HDW: since she was already 35 at the time, she is 92 now, or she is no longer living. The chance of actually finding and speaking to her is basically non-existent.

    I was just stunned that something as simple as hair or eye color was "not reported". And there was, once again, no birthdate.

    But thanks, everyone! This is the first step in trying to figure out this whole mess. Hopefully I will receive something from the court soon? I will keep plodding along!

    Wouldn't it be great if NY passed the bill to open the records this year? That's really the answer to the whole thing. And it had better happen soon!

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  30. Lorraine,

    Makes sense what you're saying about the troll thing.


    Kudos

    Anonymous in the North

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  31. Julia E: You have to remember that agencies or attorneys often collected very little information--what did it matter was the thinking? None of this will ever be revealed. So often the information is wrong, sloppy, and simply not collected. Your experience with the registry is exactly why they are nearly useless. It is also likely that whomever arranged the adoption took down very little information and if your mother was protecting the identity of the father--because he was married, or whatever--she would not have been pressured to reveal anything about him. It was assumed that you would never wonder, never look this up.

    Adoption as practiced in America is the great disastrous social experiment.

    I am so very sorry this is unfolding like this.

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  32. Yes, Lorraine....the great social experiment gone wrong, as I have said so many times.

    What you state is exactly right. And, on the other end....I know my AP's never got any more information. That was it.....here was a baby, they did not ask questions.

    Yesterday was a huge disappointment. I am really at a loss...I can't understand how human beings could have been handled this way.

    The fact the my first mother was an art instructor was the only thing that made sense. It was a little bit of a connection.

    You can't imagine how many times I have been asked where I got my artistic abilities from. Starting from when I was a child.

    Now, in a small way, I know.

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  33. JE: If you were nearby we would have lunch or a cup of tea and I'd give you a big hug and pass the Kleenex.

    Know that I am doing that mentally as I turn back to my memoir. What adoption like this--with secrets and holes where there should be information--has done to so many people is a catastrophe of the highest order.

    Yes, now you know where you got your artistic ability. Enjoy that.

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  34. Julie,

    It may be some comfort to you to know that the person taking information from your mother may not have asked her questions about eye color, or if asked, didn't bother to write down the information. The reason for asking was NOT so her daughter could learn about her family decades later; it was to "match" the child with the adoptive parents.

    In my case, I wrote a carefully constructed statement about religious preference which never got into the file. Other information that did get into the file was wrong.

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  35. @ Jay Iyer,

    I respect Lorraine. But, I am not completely on board with what she wrote to the adoptee.

    She wrote, "perhaps you could extend yourself and meet her at least once and hear what your birth mother has to say." That would be a lovely idea. In most situations, I think that is a fair idea, but in Angela's mind, her mother is demanding to see her and apparently is not planning to take no for an answer.

    Of course, someone can demand a meeting. Demands are not reserved for cops and courts. The other person then can choose whether or not to honor the demand.

    Crossing someone's boundaries, once they've been established, sends up red flags. When someone tells us what she wants, we need to honor that choice. Instead of honoring it, her mother basically said she would persist.

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  36. Julia Emily

    I'm going to plug two adoptee blogs you might want to check out. I believe they are both linked here, actually, but I'm in my phone and can't see atm. One is Lost Daughters and the other is Declassified Adoptee. Both a really fantastic adoptee viewpoints. They might offer you an additional community as you process all this.

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  37. I wonder how that 'demand' was said:
    You've GOT to meet me--I want to tell you what happened.

    I think it's unlikely that anyone would say, I DEMAND THAT YOU MEET ME.

    Angela seemed so bitter and angry that a plea might have turned into 'demand' by the time she left her comment.

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  38. Anon @ 1:31 p.m. April 9, I still think Lorraine's response was a reasonable suggestion, given that Angela asked for her help. It wasn't demanding, it wasn't melodramatic. Of course it was from the perspective of the first mother because Lorraine is one herself. I agree with you, however, that Angela needs to take the suggestion and see if it feels right for her as an adoptee.

    I do not feel that the only response to Angela must be to avoid meeting her first mother (because she is being demanding). Angela might gain something from the meeting, even if her mother turns out to be a terrible person. Some of my best life lessons and knowledge about myself were learned by observing my parents' not-so-endearing qualities and trying to break the pattern (but mostly my parents are awesome, I must say!). Anyhow, I hope Angela arrives at a decision that gives her peace.

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  39. I reunite separated families for free and lots of times the adoptive parents have recently passed. I actually feel the post was written by someone I personally was dealing with because I and her mother were relentless in out pursuit of getting to speak personally with her - let her say no, not her husband. How do we know he's even telling her? You can't leave it to chance like that. Also It's her job to as this woman's mom to to not leave when the door is slammed in her face. Parents don't stop feeding their kids when the kid slams the door and says they hate them. They don't stop being present and caring ever no matter what and at some point this this woman's child will see that the birthday cards and Christmas cards come no mater what and that her offer to help her is always there no mater what because now that she's capable of being there she is not going to walk away again. Being a parent lasts forever long after your dead even the relationship lives on and at any point before someone dies if they have the wherewithal to show their child that they matter then they should do it. Their kid deserves everything they have to offer and it is not ever too late to begin doing what she can for her kid. I've seen the kid slam the door and be really mean - testing over and over again for sometimes 6 months or a year and then finally see that OK now maybe they did change enough to be trusted a little bit - but only for a cup of coffee or only for Thanksgiving or only because they need money for Rent or a place to stay. Then it can become good. I hope her mother does not give up. She deserves her mother's attention she deserves to know that she's important. Far worse thing to never get to hear that she mattered to her. She can stay mad as long as she needs to she does not need to trust her right away and it's understandable she'd be standoffish. If her adoptive mother told her something that was not the same as what she's hearing from her mother and she believes her mother over her adoptive mom then it feels like a betrayl to the woman who was always there for her. She's hurt her mom did not raise her and it was easier to be pissed off that sad probably and being pissed off at her mom probably made her adoptive mom shower her with extra attention and presents.

    I know I've talked to adopted people who say the more dismissive they spoke of their birth mother and father, the more disdain and ambivalence they showed the more stuff and privileges they'd get. If they wanted the car or to stay out late they'd prime them with a made up story about how someone at school asked about their 'real' mother and then they'd go on and on about how they told that person their adoptive mom was their real mom and that the female that gave birth to them was inconsequential. They train each other to get what they want, neither get's what they need.

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  40. @ MrsTarquinBiscuitbarrel: yes...."the girl". That is the only way they would ever refer to her. Very dismissive, indeed. But actually, it's a miracle they ever referred to her at all.

    @ Jane: I hear you about the info in the files. I can't believe you went through the trouble to state a religious preference, and it was never included. I really don't know what to think, except that first moms and adoptees had/have no rights. Only adoptive parents have rights, it seems.

    @ Tiffany: I have read both of the blogs you mention from time to time. It is helpful to hear what other adoptees have to say. Thanks!

    What a disaster! And now with Gov. Christie saying he will probably veto the bill in NJ, I am convinced adoptees have no rights. We are political footballs. I can not begin to express how tired I am of other people ruling my life! I was a baby when this all took place! But I am not a baby any longer, and I (and all adoptees) deserve my rights.

    Why these politicians are still using the "first mother in the closet" argument is beyond me.

    I am so frustrated I can barely think!

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  41. In regards to Angela, I take it she was in foster care because her bmother's inability to parent. Not every child "owes it" to the bparents to meet them, although it would be nice at least let them know that the child is "ok".

    However, in the case of Angela and many others, I believe if a child has been removed from their parents by social service or was raised by abusive or negligent parents they owe them nothing.

    Moreover, I don't agree with you statement that "women never lightly give-up their children". That statement may have been valid during the BSE but many of today's bmothers are mothers already who have children ( or young women who want to continue college or their careers)and do not want the added responsibility of raising a child.

    In short, not everyone who gets pregnant wants to be a parent. Yes, they could have aborted but some women don't believe in abortion and choose to give birth and place the child.

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  42. I would rather be refused a meeting than endure the absolute torture of being in reunion with someone who feels like Angela.
    The adoptive parents of my daughter lied to her, lied by omission and then when the truth came out,lied by acting as though they had not broken their word and had been good to me.
    I agree that Angela ought not to be forced to meet her mother or as she wishes to call, her birthmother.
    Leave it alone then, don't bother to find out what happened. Blame her for everything as I have for many years blamed my own (birth and only) mother for her part in me losing my daughter to adoption.
    I find it easier to accept full responsibility for my daughter being raised by other people. It's too tiring trying to explain about having one's confidence undermined, having information withheld and with feeling like one was doing something that one had to for the sake of the child. It was seen for me as a sacrifice, her life better and still if I am to be labelled negative things and treated like a leper, so be it.
    TIRED of trying to tell the truth. So Angela, spare your (birth)mother the absolute torture of you blaming her and behaving as though she's only got herself to blame for this.
    Leave her be, in some ways I wish that I had been refused reunion too. It's a second punishment to losing your child in the first place. You get to watch someone else enjoy your grandchildren and get to be the leper looking through the window. No thanks.

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  43. Lots of different emotions and reactions released here. Yes, reunion, or a meeting, is only the first (or second) step to the next journey. We hear about all different kinds of "reunions." After the first blush of ecstasy of meeting, the often painful realizations of a lifetime, plus the environmental cues learned up to then, plus an individual's inborn character, determine what happens next.

    for first mothers, we are usually thrilled to know what happened, and who are children are. We can admire them from afar (or worry about them, or both), but the relationship is always colored by the past. There is no escaping that.

    If women who Angela represents really don't want to meet their biological mothers, so be it. Then these mothers have to accept and acknowledge that truth and not let it rule their lives. As I have said before: The people who want to be in your life will be. You don't have to go chasing after them.

    Putting up a new post now about an amazing reunion--the Burger King baby.

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  44. Anon at April 10 5:23 am

    "Moreover, I don't agree with you statement that "women never lightly give-up their children". That statement may have been valid during the BSE but many of today's bmothers are mothers already who have children ( or young women who want to continue college or their careers)and do not want the added responsibility of raising a child."

    That's the new coercion since the single mom shame doesn't work anymore. It's simply today's version of "you can't do this because..." In the BSE, it was "because you are shameful, the baby will be shamed, it's sin, etc." Today it is because "you need to focus on college, you don't have enough money, you aren't old enough."

    Same meaning behind the words ("you aren't capable of being a mother, so give up the baby"), just different words.

    You didn't mention your ties to adoption? I'm an adoptive mother. At our state required training, one of the two first mothers who spoke gave up her baby for that exact reason- she was a junior in college and felt it was the "right choice." She never even told her parents, and she said that she does think they would have helped and supported her. She also regrets her choice very much and said she would go back and change it if she could.

    Some mothers do give up their children without a second thought. But it is wrong to ascribe that feeling to all the first mothers of today just because the single-mom shame isn't as common (it definitely does still exist, though- it is certainly not gone). Just because a woman buys into the belief that she isn't able to be a mother and go to college doesn't mean she suddenly gives up her baby without a care in the world. That's so offensive to me to believe that these mothers are that callous and uncaring. They are, in most cases, making the choice that they believe is right for their child because this is what society now tells us- your child will be doomed if you, as a young mother without her degree, keep your baby. You are selfish for thinking such a thing, and you should find a married, older, stable, well-educated couple to be your child's parents because that is the unselfish and good choice.

    That does NOT equate to not having any negative or difficult feelings about relinquishment, and does NOT magically take away a lifetime of regret. Most women definitely do not lightly give up their children, whether they planned to be a mother or not. You are really selling women short with your blanket statement.

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  45. I read about the Burger King baby - and can't wait to read your post about it!

    Anon April 10 @5:23 a.m., as the adoptive mother of a child who was taken away from his parents by CPS, it never is completely black and white. I am certain that his first parents could not have raised him safely, not with the choices they make. But I also know that they love him, I have seen evidence of that. And I have a good idea why his first parents ended up the way they did - they were never given a chance, growing up, to be any different. These are things I hopefully will talk about with my son some day.

    While I agree with you that my son has the right to ultimately decide whether or not he wants to meet his first parents, I don't feel that just because CPS removed him from their custody he therefore should discount them completely.

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  46. Lorraine and/or Jane might have some statistics, but I would tend to agree with Tiffany that there are unlikely to be very many mothers even in this era who would callously walk away from their babies. There almost always is insidious pressure based on societal mores of the day.

    And in the few instances where there really is a callous abandonment, I would imagine at least some regretting it at a later point. So again, I disagree with being formulaic in saying that under certain circumstances, an adoptee should "never" consider a meeting with a first parent.

    The older I get, the more I realize how much my biology tells me about myself. For an adoptee's own well-being, given a chance, my personal feeling is it's a good idea to learn as much as possible about your biology - even if that information has to come from "horrible" biological parents. I am not urging relationships or even kindness when the adoptee doesn't want it. I am just suggesting that there are benefits to the adoptee from gaining more information about his/her first family.

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  47. Tiffany:

    Sorry you believe the "hype" of many of today's bmoms "buy" into the "you can't raise this baby and go to college" because they "want to".

    Let's be real: if you wanted to keep/ raise your child you could but because parenting wasn't part of your carer or life goals, you don't want to parent and that's ok.

    However, I think you are buying into the "hype" that all mothers who place want to raise their child, when we all know that's not always the case.

    I take it that you're new to adoption and not a season veteran

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  48. why not just let Angela have her feelings and her view? It may not be what first moms want to hear, but it seems that in this case her birth mom was aggressive and offputting.

    one thing that I have seen on this forum have been comments that some adopted children feel responsible for their birth mom's feelings and don't want that (and they should not, it is not their responsibility) and I have seen first mom say why do they feel that way?

    I think this post shows why. Angela expressed her feelings and they have been called into question by so many here because she did not fall into the party line of this site.

    Let her be. She was the one who experienced her birth mom and it made her very uncomfortable. She owes her nothing. She does not have to have a reunion.

    If it is really all about the kids, then let this "kid" make her own decisions.

    I think Lorraine is being very unfair to Angela by citing her in the burger king story and attributing Angela's comment to "attitude.' it was not attitude, it was the actual experience with the bmom that made Angela want to not have contact.

    Why are you blaming the adoptee???

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  49. Lorraine I did not find the story in the daily mail "mind blowing" - I found it really sad.

    This is a troubled young woman! She was taken away from her parents due to their "violent' relationship, lived in a children's home, was adopted at 5 and walked away at 22. She was cutting herself!! I think her early trauma has scarred her.

    Now she is forgoing college to "drink pints, smoke cigarettes and play bingo" - this is not what I think most of us hope for our children.

    I would not end this story "and they all lived happily ever after" just yet.

    It is great she is in reunion yet I feel there is trouble to come, she seems deeply troubled, her b mom seems troubled, and I wonder if this reunion will continue to be so blissful.

    all the hard work of raising a child is done (by the APs who may have been great, bad, or indifferent parents, hard to tell).

    It reminded me of kids of divorce. Mommy is a pain because she makes us do our homework, go to bed at 8, floss, and eat vegetables. Daddy is so fun because when we see him for four hours on Sunday we eat McDonalds and go to the zoo and eat cotton candy.

    I think eventually you grow up and see Daddy may have been lacking.

    I think the reunion is fine and I hope it goes well, but I think this is a very troubled young woman and I think there are very rocky times ahead.

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  50. "If this is really all about the kids, then let this "kid" make her own decisions"

    Damn right, Anon April10, 11.00 PM

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  51. Who is "blaming" the adoptee? No one.

    Angela is angry and her mother wants to meet her. Angela says, fuck off, I know what my aps told me. I think you suck.

    FMF says, gee that's too bad. Couldn't she give her mother a chance? Once?

    you say: wow FMF is terrible for having an opinion.

    this is an opinion blog.

    The last comments come from either aps or adoptees, who see any discussion of their behavior as terrible.--

    a regular reader and a first mom

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  52. Anon1115, though I agree somebody should help them to kick their addiction, isn't it lovely that they can do it together now? Family is quite often a sufficiently rewarding carrot to strengthen one in one's battle with an addiction.

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  53. Theodore:

    Huh? I can't figure out what or who you are responding to. Maybe this comment is at the wrong blog? Please advise.

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  54. Anon at April 10, 2014 (Could people just make up names, please??? This anon thing is so confusing)

    First, I don't believe "all" is a word that can be applied in very many circumstances, adoption included. I don't believe I ever used it. You are the one who believes today's birth moms give up their babies lightly, which is an overreaching statement.

    I don't believe any "hype." And why the quotes there? Are you saying it's made up hype? Since when is people sharing their experiences hype? I suppose because I disagree with you, then I am buying into hype and it couldn't possibly be that my opinion is informed by personal experiences, informed reading, a knowledge of the adoption industry, and a jaded world view that knows people take advantage of others in lesser circumstances.

    The lack of compassion and understanding of some people, like you, Anon, still just blows my mind. I can't even wrap my head around it sometimes. I couldn't live my life that way, with a heart so hardened to other people's sorrow. I'm grateful that I do not share your view that all of today's first mothers simply toss their children at any random couple and dance out the hospital door yelling, "Yippee! I'm free!" and then waltz on with their life without a care in the world or a thought to their child.

    I'm glad I don't share your viewpoint because that is simply not reality. Blogs such as this one tell me that your opinion isn't true. Several friend's experiences tell me your opinion simply isn't true. My personal experience with my daughter's other parents tells me that you are very wrong.

    You have yet to explain your connection to adoption. I have been very upfront with mine. I'm an adoptive mom. In other words, what do I have to gain from buying into the "hype," as you call it? As an AP, wouldn't it be easier for me to believe that my daughter's first mom didn't want her, couldn't wait to be rid of her, and has no place ever in her life? Why does my opinion to the contrary offend you so much?

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  55. @k - great comment K - Not much is said about those of us who get treated by our found "Angela-like" children who are filled with anger and treat us like crap. I suspect that my situation resembles yours and yes, one eventually tires of repeatedly trying to explain the reasons we "chose" adoption.

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  56. Anonymous of April 10 11:15, seemed to have trouble with a reunited mother and daughter having a somewhat unhealthy style of living or so, I agree that they would probably much healthier in the long run (and happier), if they would stop smoking (and drinking), but that is a habit which is very hard to break, but that's not the point. The point I tried to make is that in a "restored family" those women have a better chance to beat their shared addiction than on their own. Shared experience, a reason to want to grow old too make up for missed years, a bit of competition, a desire to show yourself strong to your parent/child... Just leave them their own family life, it is a fact that quite some adopted people try to return to their roots, or at least to the grass around their missing family tree.

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  57. Tiffany@ April 11, 2014 at 2:37 PM

    In regards to your question I am an adoptive mother of thirteen years.

    My child was the third born to his bmom who didn't want the added responsibility of raising another child, and that's ok. I understand ( but may not agree) with a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy who decides to place despite splitting up siblings. She's being honest in acknowledging that she isn't equipped or doesn't desire to do all the hard work again. But to blame the adoption industry and aparents for a bmom placing is misguided and naive, because we all know that some women don't want to parent.

    It's fact that adoption will always be needed because some people have no desire to parent. And once again, that's ok

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  58. Tiffany@April 11, 2014 at 2:37 PM

    In regards to your questions I am an adoptive mother of thirteen years. My child was his bmother's third child. As I have stated before not all but many of today's bmom don't wanted the added responsibility of raising a child or another one, and that's ok. Not everyone who can produce children wants to raise them.
    In my son's case(and many other children of adoptive parents that I know),their birthmothers didn't want or couldn't afford(?) to raise another child because it was too much. Despite the fact I may not agree with their reasons (or splitting up siblings), I respect they acknowledge they aren't the best person to raise the child placed at that time. However, I think its naive to think that many of today's bithmothers were forced or originally wanted to raise their children, when we know that's not always the case.

    Some women just don't want to raise their offspring and although it's not a decision that is made lightly, it is a decision they have made.

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  59. K and K2--

    I think first mothers being rejected by the adoptee, or treated badly, is not that unusual, and you are right, not written about much. But you do find plenty of it painfully being discussed on Facebook.

    I have written about my own daughter's coming and going willy-nilly and I hardly ever knew what caused the departure--the slightest disagreement, or nothing--it was just too hard to be close to me and not earn her adoptive mother's wrath--who came to hate me. Then my daughter would call out of the blue and say: How are you?

    I wanted to say what the fuck is going on with you, this behavior is not acceptable if you want a relationship--but I knew it best to hold my tongue and say: Fine, how are you? After this happened so many times, I could not trust her and our relationship was not in any way like a normal one. I knew that she would pull back again.

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  60. Theodore:

    Exactly.

    The point was not whose lifestyle was healthier; the point was that the adoptee felt imprisoned in a family that did not feel "right." When there is a hugh misfit, and the adoptee does find their family of origin, the relief I have witnessed is palpable.

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  61. I think anyone who believes that giving up a child for adoption is done lightly simply does not know what being a mother is.

    I also think that those APs who choose to believe that relinquishment can be easily done do so because they simply do not want to think about another human being in pain. They do not want to think that the mother of the child they have adopted is - or will be, once her survival-based denial breaks - in profound pain because of her loss. So they dismiss her and try to diminish her pain.

    To choose to think this way about a child's first mother is pure selfishness on that APs part. Watching that AP flounder about, grasping at any old sentence, any old bit of cod-analysis, to cover up their selfishness is nauseating.

    And all that martyr-ish stuff about 'doing all the hard stuff'? You mean having the honour of bringing up those children, surely?

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  62. Lorraine said 'When there is a huge misfit, and the adoptee does find their family of origin, the relief I have witnessed is palpable.'

    My son, surrounded by his original family, once said 'this is how life should feel'. The sense of deep relief in his voice was unmissable.

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  63. In my opinion, based on my experience as a reunited firstmother, I would recommend that Angela NOT meet with her mother until her own anger issues are resolved. Reunions are difficult enough without the added negative emotions infiltrating the process.

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  64. Cherry@April 12, 2014 at 8:48 AM.

    I don't think it selfishness on behalf of AP when they say: " my child's bmother had kids already and didn't want to, or could not, raise another. Do you know how many AP's have children that are their bmother second/third or fourth born? Plenty. In fact, it's so common that it's normal.

    People need to realize not all women want to raise their children. They may not have made the decision lightly but they did because they knew they weren't the best person to raise the child, nor did they want to.

    Signed,

    Aparent of a thirteenth year old who was his bmom's third child.

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  65. From the child's perspective, I find the above situation--a fully formed family gives up a child, depriving him of natural siblings, a mother and a father--horrible and a direct result of the marketing of the idea of adoption is a "good" and even desired solution when the parents are poor.

    If you are going to have a baby today under only the most dire of circumstances keep the baby or have him/her raised by members of your extended family with full knowledge to that child who his real parents are.

    Yes, there are all kinds or real parents.

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  66. I like Theodore's straightforward advice for trying to break the impasse. He said "Concerning meeting, if you are not ready for that, don't do it yet, just tell her you want to know more about her first." Makes sense to me. The mother might just go for it.

    If my mother absolutely insisted on a meeting before telling anything about "her side of the story" I would be angry too. That would be making conditions about something that shouldn't ever be conditional.
    On the other hand, maybe Angela's mother has tried and Angela won't listen, which might explain the "demand" to meet up in person - because she thinks talking face to face would lead to better understanding. But she can't force Angela and shouldn't try.

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  67. Anon

    "In my son's case(and many other children of adoptive parents that I know),their birthmothers didn't want or couldn't afford(?) to raise another child because it was too much."

    So, because your son's birth mother was poor and apparently felt she could not afford to feed another child, you interpret that as her not wanting her child and a blase feeling regarding giving him up???

    Just wow.

    I honestly have no idea where to start with the elitist, classist, arrogant, ignorant tone of that assumption.

    Did your son's birth mother tell you specifically "I do not want him?" Unless she did, then you absolutely do not know that as fact. And even if she did at the time, it does not mean feelings did not/have not changed.

    "Despite the fact I may not agree with their reasons (or splitting up siblings), I respect they acknowledge they aren't the best person to raise the child placed at that time."

    They aren't the best person, in their belief, because they cannot AFFORD to raise their child. That is a failing of our system, a deep tragedy of our world. We spend thousands of dollars to adopt a child instead of spending a fraction of that money to offer support for the child to be raised within their own family.

    "However, I think its naive to think that many of today's bithmothers were forced or originally wanted to raise their children, when we know that's not always the case."

    The naivete here is not my own, but yours, to assume that poor people do not want their children nor feel any desire to keep them. Why would a poor woman have any less feelings than you towards a child? And "we" do not know any of this is the case. YOU are making rampant assumptions because you know several women, including your son't birth mother, who placed their children because they couldn't afford to keep them.

    Newslash: not being able to afford to feed another child because of economic hardships does not translate to not wanting, loving, desiring said child.

    This is precisely what I was referring to: there are many mothers who desire to keep their children, but because o varying pressures, challenges, coercions, difficulties.... like being poor... they are not able to keep them.

    This does not mean they do not suffer from giving up a child nor does it mean that they do not want that child.

    Is this what you tell your son, by the way? That his mom didn't want him because she already had several other children? How very sad. I agree with Lorraine and Cherry, who stated this all so much more eloquently than I did.

    There are women who do not want their children. This is true of even some women raising biological children they show little regard towards. This is not a universally true statement that can be applied across the board to birth mothers simply because they have "chosen" adoption. "Chosen" being in quotes because many times, in cases of poverty, family pressure, age, it is really less of a choice than a no way out.

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  68. Tiffanyz@April 14, 2014 at 12:36 PM:

    See, this what I meant by being a "seasoned veteran". First, who said that my son's birthmom/father were "poor"? To believe that all birthmothers, who place are poor is, like I said, misguided and naive. She ( my son's birthmom) was working and had a "comfortable life". His birth father was divorced and the father of two children already. They both didn't want the responsibility of raising a newborn/child again.

    Talk as if you know it all ten years into adoption.

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  69. Thanks, Tiffany, for pointing out that things are rather more complex thant just "can't be stuffed parenting".

    It is interesting because I've been on many forums over the years and it seems that a large percentage of adoptive parents will tell you that their child's bmother "just didn't want to parent", yet I suspect very few of those APs would actually say that straight out to their child. When I ask those parents what they will tell their child, one then discovers that the situation is rather more complex that just "not wanting to parent".

    Also, anonymous, if it were just a simple case of "not wanting to parent", why is there such a "hard sell" by "options counsellors" and adoption agencies. One organisation has acknowledged that their counselling is about reforming the thinking of pregnant woman.

    There seem to be three mantras that are quoted to reforming a pregnant woman's thinking.

    1: "A child deserves parents who planned for them" - in the case of the woman with the unplanned pregnancy, she can never hope to complete with someone who has planned for a child. Apparently, the longer one has planned for a child, the more they deserve one. If she tries to argue that she can be a good parent and that her parents/boyfriend will help, then she is told that they want their own life and she can't rely on them. She is told that unless she can go through the next 18 years raising her child completely by herself without ever receiving help from other family members then she shouldn't consider parenting.

    2) "Biology means nothing and those who care about it are selfish". This means that the emom is expected to make her decision as if she is of no relation to the child - any decision re her child that involves her own feelings is considered a selfish one.

    3) And of course, "In the best interest of the child". As adoption is sold as being bliss for a child thus any emom who dares deprive her child of such bliss is just thinking of herself.

    No doubt anonymous, you will say that your child's bparents told you that "they didn't want to parent". I believe you. They don't want you to feel bad, they want you to parent without feeling guilt of any kind. However, bmoms who say things like that have to be careful that their child doesn't interprent as meaning "I just couldn't be bothered". This is what can happen on public forums - a bmom will come on and support the APs by assuring them that they just didn't want to parent and adoptees might read those statements and feel that those bmoms just didn't care enough to make an effort.

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  70. "See, this what I meant by being a "seasoned veteran". First, who said that my son's birthmom/father were "poor"? To believe that all birthmothers, who place are poor is, like I said, misguided and naive. She ( my son's birthmom) was working and had a "comfortable life". His birth father was divorced and the father of two children already. They both didn't want the responsibility of raising a newborn/child again.

    Talk as if you know it all ten years into adoption."

    Anonymous, do you think that if adoption wasn't presented as a "win/win/win" situation that your child's bparents would have been so willing to place?

    Also, do you plan on saying to your son "Your parents just didn't want to parent?"

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  71. I just wanted to say that one of the most important things an AP can do is to make sure that they handle the talking about the bparents in the right way.

    I am not talking about oversentimentalising or slagging off bmothers, I am talking about telling one's child their story by keeping within the facts, telling only what you actually know and to avoid putting one's own spin on the facts. If one doesn't know the bparents and all one has is non-ID info then let the child know that your sources are secondhand, eg "We were told that something was so" etc rather than straight out say something was so. When the child is an adult, they can then sort the wheat from the chaff and work things out without prejudice.

    It can be easy for the AP to make assumptions from what they do know but, in the end, it is best for the child to hear it from the horse's mouth (i.e the bparent) so to speak.

    One problem with tellling one's child's their story is that even if one grossly stuffs up, they may get the adoptee THEY want. For example, telling an adoptee that "your parents just didn't want to parent you, sorry" may well get you an adoptee who doesn't want anything to do with their bparents and is only loyal to you - but at what emotional cost in the end. Sometimes those adoptees are the ones who have relationship problems and never quite know why. We praise adoptees who want nothing to do with bparents but don't want to look below the surface and ask why. That doesn't mean there is anything wrong with an adoptee not wanting to know but the reason should involve them not wanting to disrupt their life (because reunion should never be underaken unless one is emotionally ready) - any adoptee who doesn't want to know their bparents because they think their bparents didn't give a stuff about them is one who feels more about the bparents that they will admit.

    SO again - if one doesn't want to meet bparents because they just don't want to disrupt their life then that's fair enough. However, if the adoptee doesn't want to meet because they feel their bparents don't deserve to, then there are other issues there.

    That doesn't mean that some compromise shouldn't be met. I think a letter from both sides explaining one's feelings can't hurt.

    In NZ,when they first opened up records, not all bparents/adoptees wanted to meet so they had the options of vetoes. However, what they also had the option to do was to put a letter in with the veto which actually did help many of the adoptees/bmoms on the other side. For example, some of the vetoes were put on as a stalling tactic so the bmothers could tell their families and explaining that in the letter did help. 30 years later, there are far less vetoes still on than there were before.

    So even if they don't want to meet, it would be kind for both parties to perhaps explain their feelings even if only via a letter.

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  72. As an adoptee, I find it interesting how ridiculous some of the self serving statements that are made here.

    For example, the birth mother who claims that she was young and brainwashed into believing her child was better off with another family, " not realizing the trauma WE ( her and her child) would be subjected too. The first point I would like to make is how some of you birth mother nazis absolutely love to blame, society, adoptive parents, and pretty well anyone but yourselves but more specifically your own (by your own admission) dysfunctional parents.

    All of these heart wrenching stories which leave to ask the question: Where were your parents while you were so vulnerable? What kind of parents abandon their daughters? What kind of parents march their daughters down to an adoption agency to give up their own offspring? Oh let me guess, it was society's fault! As if to suggest that everyone marched their pregnant single daughters to the adoption agency!
    My birthmother was vacationing in Paris 10 months after my birth but also claims that her parents forced her to give me up! Sounds like it was more a question of the potential of a lifestyle change that was really at stake. They weren't too poor, she wasn't an aboriginal raised by the Catholic Church, she was a 21 year old who must have realized that regardless of my adoptive parents social class or promises made to her about my destiny, that obviously there would be trauma involved for any child who finds out that their mother gave them up.

    So please spare us your comments about "not realizing the trauma that "WE" (birthmother and child) would endure.

    What you really mean is that you didn't realize that the guilt that you tried to bury would never go away. But don't any of you dare suggest that you "had no idea" the trauma your child would have endured, regardless of what you were told. I just don't believe this to be the case with all of you.

    My last pet peeve is how you all love attacking the so called adoption lobby for all your woes but hardly any mention of your dysfunctional parents who "forced" you to disregard your own offspring like you'd give away a dog!

    Sorry...my adoptive parents weren't perfect but they weren't sick, like the biofam!


    Sent from my iPhone

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  73. "No doubt anonymous, you will say that your child's bparents told you that "they didn't want to parent". I believe you. They don't want you to feel bad, they want you to parent without feeling guilt of any kind. However, bmoms who say things like that have to be careful that their child doesn't interprent as meaning "I just couldn't be bothered". This is what can happen on public forums - a bmom will come on and support the APs by assuring them that they just didn't want to parent and adoptees might read those statements and feel that those bmoms just didn't care enough to make an effort."

    C@April 14, 2014 at 10:52 PM:

    Thank you for at least acknowledging that there are women/parents who aren't "poor" and who don't want to parent.

    I can't see why it is so hard for Tiffany to face the truth? I get that she is "new" in the adoption triad and has a lot to learn but to come across as a seasoned veteran, is just "wow".

    In regards to telling my son his story, his bmother will have to tell him ( that's why we have an open adoption). However, if she decides to sugar coat the truth we ( his parents) will not. There should be no shame in a women saying " I am not capable, or don't want, to raise a child. It's better for all involved because the bparents are being truthful to themselves about the situation they are in.

    However, to be in DENIAL and blame the adoption industry and AP's for something that the bparents consented to is false and misguided by undeserved guilt.

    Signed,

    Aparent of a thirteen year old who was his bmom's third child.

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  74. Anon @ 3:45 AM: your post is so sickening I can barely type.

    So glad you are happy with your adoptive parents who aren't "sick". Good for you.

    Do some research. Learn about the BSE. Girls WERE MOST CERTAINLY forced to relinquish their babies. Parents definitely threw their daughters out of the house and warned them never to come back unless they did so without the child. Yes, parents marched their daughters to the adoption agencies.

    Are you completely delusional?

    If more first mothers would come forward and tell their stories, the antiquated laws would be changed. At least it would be a start. The first mothers suffer tremendously and never get over giving up their children. And as an adoptee, I don't know how you don't realize that.

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  75. Julia@April 15, 2014 at 8:13 AM:

    I don't know if you read the above post, but all Anon(@April 15, 2014, 3:45 AM) is saying is that some of the BSE bmoms blame everyone but their parents. Many of their parents forced them to place their child ( I think maybe you overlooked that part). And instead of blaming their parents, they blame society, aparents, and adoption instead.

    Signed,

    Aparent of a thirteen year old who was his bmom's third child.

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  76. Anonymous, You may not agree but had no problem taking her child "off her hands" so to speak. Her lack of "work" ethic, parenting, again, splitting up siblings (had she any idea the trauma this causes an adoptee), isn't something you SUPPORT, yet that's exactly what you did. See I know for a fact my ap's were counseled in knowing how important a sibling connection is to an adoptee! I, however was never Counseled in anything, not even the slightest heads up that I would be traumatized, my BABY, that they call theirs, would b traumatized by separation and that I may not want to give her up come that day!! Instead, those who paid, bought counsel, Bought my baby, were given knowledge, were counseled, they were, at least, prepared, that I may not sign!!! When it did come time to sign those papers and I did not want to, all of the pressures, the guilt, the defense on behalf of the buyer were present on that day!!! "they didn't sleep all night worrying if I would sign the papers, they are going to experience loss,again!!!!"
    They, they, THEY... Makes me sick that you can defend yourself for the sake of your own conscience! Seems you are, basically putting the birth mother down to me! She didn't want to work at being a parent for another child and yet, making yourself seem better than her, by saying you don't agree with her, but you,.the hero, you're happy to take the child off of her hands!!!!
    I'm so tired of defense for ap's. Justifying their taking a child from its natural mother and then falsely promising openness, contact, etc etc. I've never in my life felt something wss MORE unnatural in my life!!!!

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  77. Connie@April 15, 2014 at 1:22 PM

    I'm sorry that openness was not given to you. However, you signed papers placing your child for adoption to be raised by someone else. Who's fault is it that you signed or even thought of placing in the first place?

    I, and other aparents, can't be held responsible for the choices that bparents make. Many bparents make a hard, but willing, choice not to raise their child for many reasons. But to blame someone for the regret and guilt you( general) have is not the aparents fault.

    Let me ask you something? You knew all the milestones you would be missing, and not to mention separating siblings, so who's at fault?

    Signed,

    Aparent of a thirteen year old who was his bmom's third child

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  78. Connie@April 15, 2014 at 1:22 PM

    I'm sorry that openness was not given to you. However, you signed papers placing your child for adoption to be raised by someone else. Who's fault is it that you signed or even thought of placing in the first place?

    I, and other aparents, can't be held responsible for the choices that bparents make. Many bparents make a hard, but willing, choice not to raise their child for many reasons. But to blame someone for the regret and guilt you( general) have is not the aparents fault.

    Let me ask you something? You knew all the milestones you would be missing, and not to mention separating siblings, so who's at fault?

    Signed,

    Aparent of a thirteen year old who was his bmom's third child

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  79. "Thank you for at least acknowledging that there are women/parents who aren't "poor" and who don't want to parent."

    Um, anonymous, that isn't what I said. What I actually said was that bmothers may tell the APs they didn't want to parent so the APs don't feel guilty and was also pointing out the danger of doing that.

    I can understand them doing that - they often don't want the door slammed in their face. You sound like the sort of AP whom, at any sign of their bmother missing them, would close down the adoption, if it isn't already closed.

    And if it is actually closed, then you probably have no idea of how your child's bmom really felt.

    As I said before, Tiffany was pointing out how complex the feelings actually are. I personally find it interesting that you made the above comment about me agreeing with you when if you read the rest of my own comments, you would see that I was saying that things aren't so simple.

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  80. Anonymous adoptee:

    "she was a 21 year old who must have realized that regardless of my adoptive parents social class or promises made to her about my destiny, that obviously there would be trauma involved for any child who finds out that their mother gave them up. "

    Why would they know that? In fact, they were all told the opposite, that their child would have no interest in them.

    Even if they did feel that their child would miss them, they were told that having a child out of wedlock was *proof* that they weren't the "right" sort of woman to be a mother to their child and that they would ruin the child.

    Yes some women did parent back then and often those women had parental support. However, the women I know in that position had nothing but sympathy for their fellow pregnant sisters at the same time who felt they had no option but to relinquish their child.

    Also, even if the mother's parents did pressure them to relinquish, there was certainly no help for those who did wish to parent without parental support. It is all very well to say "but that's how it was before the 70s" - in fact, before the end of the war, there were organisations that were starting to help women in those positions - when the population of adoption soared, that help vanished. Often those same organisations ended up deciding adoption was best and that as offering alternative help would lessen the number of women relinquishing, those alternatives were not to be offered.

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  81. C@April 15, 2014 at 4:26 PM:

    I wrote what I said because you didn't mention POVERTY as one of the reasons. As I stated before, not all women who place are poor, young, and without support.My son's bmom is one of them. Also, if you read what I previously wrote, you will see that my son has an open adoption with his bfamily. I am not disputing that bmoms do not place lightly, but to be in denial about their reasons is misguided. Not all women want to parent. And that includes women with bio-children as well.

    Signed,

    Aparent of a thirteen year old who was his bmom's third child

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  82. C@April 15, 2014 at 4:26 PM:

    I forgot to add: Regardless of the many reasons some women may have, they still signed those papers knowing that they would be splitting up siblings ( like my son's bmom)and allowing someone else to be called "mom and dad".

    Signed,

    Aparent of a thirteen year old who was his bmom's third child.

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  83. One of my reservations about thus site, is that the motivations of adoptees are questioned. Not just in general, but when they post on this site. They share thier experience and we try to reframe their words.

    Demand? You must have misunderstood what your genetic mother said or maybe you meant to say requested?

    My bmom left for Paris for 10 months, she was more concerned with her lifestyle. How do you (The adoptee) know? Your birthmother must have been without resources, without parental aid And this usually prompts a bmom to say "You don't understand our bmom pain."

    Can we at least allow adoptees to own their own experiences. To accept the truth of their experience. It is their adoption they are discussing not yours.

    ANON 51


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  84. Anon,
    Please try to understand the mindset and the culture that leads to the most unnatural act of placing your child with strangers.

    In both high school and college biology I was taught that while people might inherit a tendency for this or that, 99 percent of who we were came from our environment. I did consider that my child might not fit into an unrelated family. I told a social worker I was afraid the adoptive family might not understand her soul. The worker shook her head as thought I was babbling nonsense. Another social worker told me that adoptive children did just fine.

    Many people today still believe that blood ties are irrelevant. We hear often that "It's love, not kinship which makes a family"

    In movies, teen magazines, and TV shows, adoption was and is presented as a noble act; adoptive parents are golden. I truly believed my child would be better off with folks hand-picked by experts in an adoption agency than with pathetic me.

    My father was dead and I never told my mother about my pregnancy, wanting to spare her the stress. My uncle and aunt did know about the baby and they pushed adoption, telling me "to think of my child, not myself."

    These messages are still spewed by the adoption industry.

    Still, I take responsibility for giving up my daughter. I should have gone to the library and read about adoption; I should have asked more questions. Unlike many other mothers, I was in my 20's and had a college degree. I acted cowardly.

    I have told my daughter many times that I regretted giving her up. She tells me I made the right decision; that she is glad she was adopted. These words are painful to hear.

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  85. And with that...good night!

    COMMENTS CLOSED

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  86. PART ONE: (Forgive the long comment)

    I do apologize. I did not think my comment would receive this much attention, I did not check back until now. If you have the time, please share my comments with your readers!

    I really want to thank everyone who tried to understand my point of view.

    First, I would like to thank the owner/poster who took out time to let me have a voice.

    I chose the word 'demanded' because I felt threatened. My birth mom told me she was going to find me whether I agreed or not, that is more like a demand to me. She did tell me I was selfish for not being open to listen to her story, she said I was only thinking about myself.

    I am confused, who is she to make demands? Why is this something I OWE her?

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  87. (PART TWO)

    A little deeper into my reason for not wanting to be bothered:

    I have a twin sister who has Cerebral Palsy. She is in a wheel chair and can not do much for herself physically. She is VERY smart, graduated top of her class, has a high IQ and is the strongest woman I know! We both were adopted to an older couple who passed years ago. I spent a lot of my youth taking care of them both until they passed on. I did not have a normal childhood. When we were around 8 My adopted dad got cancer and died when we were 10. My mom was depressed and her health declined over the years after. I took on most of the roles in our household. When we were teens and my adopted mother ended up getting dementia and passed on. From age 17, I have been struggling and taking care of my sister ever since. We struggle everyday and everyday I am more upset with our birth mother doing whatever she did to have us taken. She left me to deal with my sister on my own. I LOVE my sister, but it would have been nice to have help! I would NEVER put my sister in a home no matter how hard things get, or how much of my life I have to give up! She is a part of me, and her struggle is my struggle. I just do not understand why we were not worth the fight to my birth mother and her family...

    What I do know: My birth mother had a history of drugs and dating bad men. I am not sure how much of that played into how we were taken, I am not sure of most event leading up to our being taken, but she claims she did not start drugs until after we left. My birth father was abusive toward her. He beat her so bad, she lost our little brother whom was only supposed to be a year younger than we were. (so she continued this relationship even after having her kids taken)

    My sister has nightmares of being molested and other mental issues as a result from childhood, she can't place when these events may have occurred. My birth mom at one point accused our adoptive father of molested us both when we were little. I doubt that, all my earliest memories of him are beautiful. Life is a blur until the age of around 6, though.

    I mean no harm, but she found ways to keep her other children in the family. One of which is older than we are, the others are younger. I guess because of my sisters handicapped, no one wanted us. My father told me that our own grandmother said in court "I'll take the boy, but those girls belong to the devil."

    There is too many holes and not enough trust and I can not stand the thought of being lied to. She doesn't seem to take responsibility, she keeps telling me to listen to what happened TO HER. She says her family was out to get her. (She wrote me a little about all this on facebook where she found me)

    I feel like the FIRST thing you have to do when contacting your children, is to take responsibility. It does not matter if you felt forced or not. If they were taken, you should have fought harder! YOU got pregnant, and it was YOUR job to protect us... If she would have came at me more humble, maybe I would not be as angry. I just kind of feel like it's too late to step in and be a mother... I basically did her job on my own with help from my adopted parents.

    I don't know if I can trust her, my parents are not here to defend themselves and that is why I don't know if I can meet her... I have not decided o what I should do. Half of me will feel a little guilty if she dies or something and I never offered her forgiveness... but that does not come without taking responsibility, nor do I feel I OWE her anything!

    I do think that people make mistakes and things happen... Every woman who gives their child up or has them taken is not a monster, but understand that we go through hell. We struggle with identity, acceptance, etc. You never know what kind of life/struggles we have to face do to your actions/choice !!

    Any advice or comments are appreciated. Thank you all and thank you to the owner of this blog!

    If anyone care to share their story/comments with me privately, my email is angelalewers@yahoo.com

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  88. COMMENTS CLOSED. IF THEY APPEAR FOR A FEW MOMENTS, THEY WILL SOON BE TAKEN DOWN.

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