' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Hearing from the (birth) father of a relinquished child

Monday, September 22, 2014

Hearing from the (birth) father of a relinquished child

Linda 
What about the fathers of our children? Or, as they are called today, baby daddies? When we don't marry them and they drop out of the lives of first mothers, what happens? Today we know of fathers who fight to keep the children the mothers insist on relinquishing, but those stories from an earlier era have not surfaced, though some children must have been brought into the father's family.

But for the rest of us, do we ever hear from the men who impregnated us again? Do we want to hear from them again? Were you in love with him and has that colored how you feel about him now? How would we act if they simply popped up again? Do we feel a bond with them because of the child lost to adoption? Did you marry the father after relinquishment?


Regular readers know that I continued seeing the (then married) father of my daughter for some time, hoping for months that we would marry. By the time he was free, I was not, yet I certainly felt a different bond to him than I did to others after our relationship ended. Below is another first mother's story about hearing from the father of daughter relinquished. Tell us your stories--how do you feel--about the father of your child. Did the relationship continue after the child was relinquished? Even if he is far away, do you keep track of him? Do you note how many other children he has--in contrast to you? Have you revealed to your reunited child who he is, and if not, why not?--lorraine
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LINDA'S STORY: SOMETIMES, PIGS REALLY DO FLY
Last month I took myself to see the new Woody Allen movie, Dancing in the Moonlight. It was a perfect summer Sunday afternoon, yet I forfeited a day on the beach to spend almost two hours with Colin Firth. When I arrived home later that afternoon, I walked in the kitchen, and Ken, my husband, gleefully announced, “I have a surprise for you!” 

He handed me a piece of paper where he’d neatly written a telephone number and name.  When I saw the name, Paul H______, my mind registered it as my daughter’s adoptive father. My thoughts were racing, I heard my husband say “We had a very pleasant conversation.” Ken knew about my relinquishment from our second date; we had no secrets. When I looked at the last name again, I realized it wasn’t Sarah’s adoptive father (their names are eerily similar), it was her biological father; I actually felt like I was going to faint. 

My first thought was “Is he dying?” (No.) Is his mother dying? (His mother was never unkind to me, but I’m sure she still thinks I tricked her baby boy into impregnating me, I’d call us “frenemies”).  My husband assured me all was well, Paul said he just found my name in an old address book, and decided to give it a try. He was surprised I held onto the same number for 36 years; Ken told him I wasn't fond of change. Ken simply said, “He’s pretty sure you don’t want to talk to him, but call him anyway.” I still felt like I was struck by lightning, but I shook it off and called the number; it went into voice mail, I left a message that said, “Of course I would like to talk to you, I’ll be home the rest of the evening.”

'I FORGAVE YOU...'  
He called an hour later. My first thought was I’d never recognize his voice if I ran into him (we live several states apart, that wasn't going to happen).  The second thought was he sounded much older than I, even though we’re just a year apart. I asked, “Why now?" Paul replied his home was one of hundreds lost in Texas wildfires several years ago; this old address book was one of the few things he salvaged. He said he had wanted to call many times, but was afraid. I said, without malice, “I forgave you a long time ago, didn't your mother tell you?”  

His mother reached out to me when she learned my daughter and I reunited 14 years ago, and of course she never told Paul I forgave him; his mother has always been in charge.  I told him his daughter had a lot of him in her; he knew it wasn't a compliment. At one point I said, “You sound just like Willie Nelson. Do you wear your hair in braids?” He cackled like a prospector in an old Bugs Bunny cartoon and said “My hair’s in a long gray ponytail down my back. I look just like the guy on Duck Dynasty."  I told myself I dodged a bullet.
 
We chatted for about thirty minutes. he said several times how nice it was to hear my voice, how nice this was (to be chatting after 38 years).  He was nervous, kept calling me “honey” and immediately apologized (it wasn't personal, just  a Texas thing). As the conversation went on, I could feel the weight lift off his shoulders. “Remember the Austin Healey we tooted around in?”  (I remembered.  I remembered everything). I knew he and his wife had a son thirteen months younger than our daughter, and I asked, “Has your son found his way?”  Paul cackled again and said “Well, I have five grandchildren by two different women, and he takes care of all of ‘em”  I thought to myself, at least he stuck around. 

'IF WE'D RAISED HER...'
I told him what I knew of our daughter (she and I haven’t spoken for nine years, though she remains close to my younger sister).  He said things that every woman in our shoes dreams of hearing.  The last time I saw him, his parting shot was “How do I know it’s mine?”  To hear him acknowledge that I didn't imagine that chapter of my life, that yes, we shared a history, to hear “If we’d raise her, she would have been different,” was surreal. Words I never, ever thought I’d hear were music in my ears. I even got the “You did the best you could.” That went in one ear and out the other. I was 19, he was 20. We were young and so green and we probably wouldn't have lasted anyway, but it was still bizarre to hear from him almost four decades later. As Ken said, we’re older, we shared a history, and we both had questions that needed answers. That night I cried myself to sleep, wondering about the What Ifs, and woke up fine the next day. 

Thirty minutes of pigs-do-fly conversation was enough. Paul said again how nice this was, and could he call again sometime.  I told him to call whenever he liked; and if I didn't hear from him, I’d call and wish him a happy birthday. You remember?! I called him yesterday to wish him a happy 59th, and it was fine. Yes, Paul, I remember.  I remember everything.--linda
_____________________
FROM FMF
Teleah Achane will stay with daddy
Fathers: Are they necessary?
'Baby Veronica' adoption will go forward
Dusten Brown: A Father's final words to his daughter
What Ever Happened to Baby Emma? and good news on the Wyrembek boy

RECOMMENDED READING
Searching ..."chronicles Carol Schaefer's healing journey as she forges a lasting relationship with the son she placed for adoption, as well as with his adoptive family, in the aftermath of their reunion. In her attempts to reconcile her loss and its effects on her relationship with her parents, siblings and the two sons she raised, Schaefer, author of the acclaimed memoir,The Other Mother, offers rare insights on the impact adoption has on everyone involved, including her son's father by birth and his wife, and her grandchildren." --Amazon 

47 comments :

  1. I had a relationship with my son's father before and after he was born because we were married. After the breakup (he thought it'd be cute to steal expensive equipment from the Army; I did not concur with his opinion, and reported him to the military police and left him all in one fell swoop), his mother handled the divorce and bullied me into handing my son over to her at which point she sued for custody, and that was that. I had been willing to discuss custody arrangements with my ex before my ex-MIL bulldozed me, but these days my son and his father are not in contact, not even on Facebook. I am not sure whether ex-MIL told my wasband to get lost, or whether his old habit of carrying hard grudges about breakups finally won the day after years of attempting to be something like a dad to our son (he lived near our son and I didn't). Either is equally likely.

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  2. Linda: Would you have married him?
    Does he have other children? Is your daughter in touch with him, have they ever met?
    Is she in touch with his mother, her grandmother?

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    1. We had planned to get married. But unbeknownst to me, his old, not pregnant girlfriend was waiting in the wings. If you were a 20 year-old-guy, who would you choose? One of his other parting shots was he didn't want to think about kids until he was 30. Well, a decade flew by in a matter of weeks, because he and the girlfriend married and had a son, born just 13 months after my daughter. My daughter had no interest in contacting her biological father 14 years ago, and apparently still doesn't, though I believe she exchanges Christmas and birthday cards with her paternal grandmother. When my mother passed away (a year ago today in fact), she sent an arrangement from her and her two young sons to the funeral home, didn't reach out to me at all. I think my mother may have met at least one of her great-grandsons, but I've only seen them in fleeting "sneak peeks" on social media. I'm sure they have no idea I exist, and are missing out on one really cool Grandida. As my husband said after I spoke to my ex, he doesn't have an eraser to delete my past. If had a chance for a do over, I wouldn't get pregnant in the first place, period.

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  3. My daughter's father died five years before she found us. When I was pregnant he did not believe our daughter was his child and the only support he offered was for an abortion which I wasn't interested in. So when he realized I was carrying the pregnancy to term he wouldn't even send me money for groceries. Pathetic. I hated him only like an immature 19 year old women could. I was coerced out of raising my daughter by my mother and society at large, but my hatred towards the father colored my choice. I wish every young pregnant women would realize that regardless of who impregnates you, raising your child will be the most amazing experience of your life and the life of your child. Pfft on the man that doesn't want to take responsibility.
    Once found, it was easy to have loving feelings toward a dead man. Without John I would never have been given my precious child. I realized that he grew into a family man raising two daughters into lovely young ladies. I mourned that my daughter never got to meet her father. And I also realized that my daughter's paternal side of the family is her responsibility to contact or not contact. She has some contact with John's widow but none with her sisters or aunts and uncles to my knowledge. Part of my wanted to call his brothers and let them know they have a niece. But the wiser part of me said no, that's my daughter's right to contact or not contact. Selfishly I appreciate that when my daughter comes to the Chicago area I don't have to share. I did have fantasies that we would become one big extended family but that's not how the cards ended up falling.

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  4. I was in love with my daughters father for more than half my life. I was involved with him prior to conception, after surrender, after reunion. My love for him contributed to the breakdown of my first marriage. Yes, I would have married him. Sadly, he never asked (even after spending the night before his own marriage in my bed).

    My story with him is long and complicated. While we are no longer in contact, I still think of him fondly and wish things had been different. That being said, I am no longer carrying a torch. I have since remarried a wonderful man who understands my complicated past and allows it to be (my first husband preferred it did not exist).

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  5. I was in love with my daughter's father as well. But racial issues and adults with their own agendas made that impossible for the times. I found out the year I found my daughter that he had died in 1985... still believing I betrayed him and her and not knowing that I had tried to reach him. Worse, he was dumped in a Memphis hospital with either poisoning or hepatitis, and left to die. He asked for me and my father knew it. He never said a word or even admitted knowing until just before he died himself... the year after I found my daughter. He had been dead for most of her life and we didn't know.

    If not for all the crazy interference, I would have married him.

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    1. How many stories are we going to hear about couple who were forced apart? I never knew your story before, Lori.

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    2. Lorraine, I was truly unwanted as a child. Dumped in foster care as a teen (I chose it rather than be abused by the stepmother that hated me) and left - no family contact from age 13 to 18, except by the perv my mother married (after I was married). I got lucky - my daughter's father saved me as much as I saved him. Then my husband and I saved each other - right now, I am attempting to redefine my self, my life and my world..... not fun. I want absolutely nothing to do with my daughter or any of that crazy.

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  6. My boyfriend (our daughters biological father) split up before 'Lucy' was born, mainly due to my denial and fears about the pregnancy. When my parents found out about the pregnancy my father made sure that we had no further contact. If Dave phoned, my dad hung up and when Dave called round to see me he was sent away. I knew nothing of this and was told that Dave wanted nothing to do with me. The message passed back to Dave was the same.

    I gave birth to my daughter and was not allowed to even hold her or have a photo - my father took complete control. It was made perfectly clear that if I kept the baby I would have nowhere to go and no support. My sister recetnly told me that she overheard an argument between my parents as my mother wanted to bring 'Lucy' up - my father went beserk and absolutely refused!! As a very shy and naive 18 year old, I felt I had no option.

    From the moment I came home from the hospital, no-one ever spoke of it again. Buried for 28 years I finally discovered a link between me and Dave on a website. There was only one reason for this link - 'Lucy'. Nervously I sent emails through the website as to why. Lots of very basic information came back, the fact that he had had contact with 'Lucy' for nearly 7 years as she could not find me and ended up looking for him. Details about that time were discussed via email but I decided that we should meet to talk about the past (not about 'Lucy').

    After those initial emails everything came flooding out - I was finally able to talk about it all (both my parents had passed away by this stage).

    About 1 month later we met at a local marina. I felt sick - was I doing the right thing raking up the past? All the scenarios went through my head - would we shout at each other, would we just walk away, would we cry? As soon as we saw each other, all of these doubts evaporated. Dave gave me a hug and we chatted, about the past and about each other now. We spent 5 hours together that afternoon and realised that we still had really strong feelings for each other. As Dave was living with a ling term partner, we both agreed that we should leave it at that as we had no wish to hurt anyone.

    Over the next few days I realised that my feelings for Dave were very very real and I went from complete euphoria to heartbreak - I cried solidly for 4 days for all that I had lost.

    Then he phoned!!!! He had gone through exactly the same emotions since we had met and now was completely messed up. He admitted that he had always loved me and that he too had kept things buried as it was all too painful.

    Over the next nine months we met up a few times (again to talk as he was with his partner). Dave was still very confused - was I worth giving up a very content 12 year relationship for? The answer eventually was 'yes'. I regret the hurt and circumstances of this time but I know that our love for each other is stronger and deeper than I have ever known.

    We have been together now for nearly 3 years but it feels like it has been forever. The relationship is so right (words can't really describe it). We have been living together for just over a year and it is just perfect. We are very much in love.

    As I have mentioned in previous posts Dave has the contact with 'Lucy' while she is still not ready to meet me. Dave and I both hate this situation but what can we do? It is his birthday this weekend and he would love for us all to be together, but he will be celebrating separately with her and then with me.

    Having the love of man has helped me to be stronger and to take each day as it comes........

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    1. Oh Clare, what a story. How much damage your father did, and the insistence that you two break up! is heart-breaking since you were clearly meant to be together.

      Your story is almost stranger than fiction. It's real. I'm am so sorry that Lucy won't meet you--I hope Dave can make her see that her punishing you is so wrong.

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    2. Clare, your story just broke my heart. I can't imagine. There are no words to convey how sorrowful it is to hear about three lives being torn apart in such a way. I just don't understand this kind of action from parents... I truly can't wrap my head around it.

      These are all hard stories to read. Harder still to live. My heart goes out to all of you. I don't get into details publicly, but my heart broke for my daughter's mother during their relinquishment. So much heartache I don't understand. I would rather cut off my arm than be the force that separated one of my daughters from her child.

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    3. Poor Clare, now, with a lot of things, I sort of understand Lucy, but maybe she could be so good to accept you as Dave's girlfriend and acting grandmother to her children, and let all that mother-child stuffed in the closet, I can understand that she estimates that relationship to be far beyond repair, but maybe she can allow another grandmother for her children? That kind of thing worked in my family,...

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    4. Goodness Clare. My heart truly goes out to you! Such a difficult situation. I admire you for not being resentful, because I'm afraid I might be if I were in your shoes. Does she tell her (birth)father "why" she's not ready to meet you or speak to you? I hope in time that she will come around! As long as we're alive, there is hope!

      Tiffany,
      I replied to your post on the "open adoption" thread :) My best friend, who was the only friend who knew I was pregnant in high school, told me her mother had commented that she could never force her to give up her baby like my mother was doing to me. :( I feel that way too...you're forcing your child to deal with the most momentous and painful loss a woman (or man) can face! I can't fathom it! I asked my Mom that question during our huge fight (and we're still not speaking after almost a month)...How could you take me into that adoption agency knowing what it was going to cost me?? That it will be like my baby died?? (some people get offended when you compare losing a child through adoption to death...I'm not trying to be disrespectful) She said "But it is an open adoption!" But it wasn't at the time!! No one knew it would be at that point...or anything close to it! She cannot accept responsibility for any of it. :/

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    5. Amy - Dave has tried asking Lucy why she will not meet - there have been a variety of reasons - mainly she is not ready, she is not good with meeting new people, birthdays, Christmas, childbirth - there is probably more to it and Dave feels he needs to have a proper 'grown up ' talk to her. This has proved to be hard, as she is only arranging visits when the children are around so free talk is not always possible. Lucys partner is very supportive and has tried asking as well - he gets the same sort of answers from her. He is in the Navy and is away at the moment.
      Theodore - I think that some of Lucys fears revolve around how she felt when she met Dave. I don't think she thought their relationship would become as close as it is - when she saw how close his family was, she felt she had missed out. Her life had been good but not close with her afather (he passed away when she was 14). This may be another reason for accepting Dave and not me. She was very confused after the meeting and had counselling - she went through a rough time as she also then had an unplanned pregnancy after which she suffered bad post natal depression. So I do understand her reservations. Lucy accepts that I am Daves girlfriend/partner but would still be to hard to meet me as that. She is also very protective of her family and I dont think she could cope with the girls seeing me separately as their grandmother.
      Thank you all of you for your words. x

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    6. Oh, Amy, I can't understand why sometimes parents are so stubbornly blind to their mistakes instead of owning up to them and asking forgiveness. I wonder that about my own parents often, but that's off topic.

      I completely understand your comparison to a death. Some people do get offended, but your child is lost to you forever. The anxiety of never knowing provides no closure. It isn't an attempt to try to make your sorrow greater than someone's who lost a child to death, but to try to illustrate your unimaginable feelings. We all understand death because everyone loses someone at some point in their lives, even if it isn't a child. We can grasp the anguish of a child dying. But the loss of adoption? Society paints that with rainbows and unicorns farting glitter. You are trying to find some way to convey the depth of your sorrow in a way that people can grasp. There's nothing offensive about that.

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  7. I loved my son's father. I was a senior in college, and he was an exchange student from England. He had a fiance back home, but we had two semesters together. It was my first real grown-up relationship, and I would have married him in a second. But he returned to England and the other girl, and I had David. I'd gone to England after I graduated to try to get my son's father to marry me, and he nearly did but pulled back at the last moment. He knew I was pregnant, but I never had any further contact with him, and he never knew whether I'd had a son or a daughter. He vanished utterly from my life. I've been angry at the social worker, the doctor, and my parents for "forcing" me to relinquish my baby, but for some reason I've never found it in me to be angry at his father, though I know he deserves more blame that anyone, no doubt. He abandoned us and, so far as I know, never looked back. I wonder if he ever thinks about us. I would like to find him now, as I think it would be good for my son to know who his father is. "Closure" is such a trendy word it's almost lost all meaning, but that's what I would like: to feel that our little circle was finally complete. I'm happily married now, and David is a grown man. It's too late for us to be a family, but we are connected, and before it's too late I would like to see that connection honored--at least once.

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  8. I got pregnant early was in love with my boyfriend. I was allowed to keep my firstborn. We were to young to marry according to our patents. His dad wanted a professional baseball career for his son. My boyfriend tried out and didn't make team, he must have felt like a failure. He went and enlisted in Army right after that didn't even tell me. Off he went and when he came home we had sex and I eas pregnant again . My new step thing made sure I was giving my baby up. Boyfriend went to Nam we were engaged that Christmas 66. He died in April 67. ,Our son had turned a year old one week later. I found our son 25 yrs later he was very sad to hear his dad was gone. He always wanted to know hid dad. Had two terrible adopter dads pne disowned him the ither abused emotionally. Just because one is adopted doesn't mean you have two parents. Also, karma for step thing out of three kids he never had a grandkid. He was being paid back, and its a bitch.

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  9. Clare: your story had me in tears. And I am convinced my first mother went through something similar. There is no explanation for her disappearing the way she did.
    I am so sorry. Why did these things happen? I will never really understand it.

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  10. Carol Schaefer (I don't fit the profile's!) This is a great topic, almost as equally complicated as with our children. Over the many years facilitating groups and speaking at conferences, I've met women who wanted nothing to do with their children just because they didn't like the father and the child reminded them of him or the circumstances. (This can also be true when the child is too much like some other disliked family member.) Still, this can be worked through most of the time with some good counseling. It's an opportunity to heal the past. Then there's the wife of the birth father to deal with and his subsequent children - and on and on! An important subject for sure. I covered all these issues in Searching ...: siblings, grandchildren, parents, even friends, since they've been sorely neglected in adoption literature and yet they too are impacted. With greater understanding of everyone's needs the odds are higher for creating lifelong relationships after reunion. Even realizing that reunion is a one time event and after everyone is in a relationship can change people's mindset. Jack and I have had a relationship for twenty-eight years now, since our reunion. (And we've gone through all the ups and downs.) But if I think we've "been in reunion" for twenty-eight years, I might still feel like I'm walking on eggshells. But here I go writing the book again - sorry!

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  11. I was so in love with my son's father I would have walked on water if he'd asked me. He was in the process of a divorce when we met. I thought having "his" baby would ensure he'd marry me. It didn't. He left. Looking back on it I realize he might not have gotten a divorce if his relationship with me surfaced. The only grounds for divorce in our state then was adultery and his wife was supposedly the guilty party. In any case I surrendered our son. Eleven months later his father appeared wanting to get married but it was too late for me. I couldn't marry someone who'd abandoned me and our child. I knew losing our child would always stand between us. I cut him out of my life, married another, had 3 subsequent children. When my son found me and wanted to know who his father was I told him. It turns out my son had lived in the next town from his father most of his life. My son attended the same Catholic high school as his father's daughter. At least my son's father acknowledged him and they had a relationship until his death. After reunion I spoke to the man maybe 4 or 5 times. It has been very hard to forgive him. He was the only person who could have prevented the adoption. If he had stood by me my and my son's lives would have been totally different.

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  12. Yowza! That's somewhat like my story only I knew that our baby would complicate his divorce in an extremely Catholic family--his mother was the bishop's secretary! The marriage ultimately did not last, but by the time he was free (three years later) and wanted me to be his wife, I was married. It was a hard decision to make at the time, but maybe I was angry at his taking so damn long!

    But he stayed in my life for decades.

    I "forgave" the relinquishment but when he wouldn't meet our daughter after reunion--it felt unreasonable, weak, terrible. And then he died. Alcoholism played a part in his refusal to meet her, and he was not emotionally connected. He couldn't stand anything emotional. He was a generous, intelligent, kind, honorable man--except when it came to meeting his daughter.

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    1. generous, intelligent, kind, honorable?
      this person had an affair and as a married woman impregnated a college student, did not marry you but let you surrender his and your baby, eventually got divorced and left that commitment, and ultimately refused to meet his daughter?
      I don't seen generosity, intelligence, kindness or honor in these major life decisions. He sounds like well... a skunk. betrayed his wife, his girlfriend and his daughter.

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    2. Anon: He was all these other things IRL--in every way except in dealing with our daughter. As I said, he was unable to handle emotional issues well. And you cannot discount the nearly impregnable force of his very Irish and VERY Catholic family. He was in a bad marriage, with kids, and he did leave-- only to be pulled back. I can understand the outside forces at play in our lives--which includes my going along with the adoption because I felt I had no choice. He also felt had had no choice. He left his wife. He went back to his children. He changed his job to one his wife liked better but found he was totally miserable. His kids got older; he quit his more remunerative but less satisfying job and went back to being a newspaper man; he called me and suggested we live together, get married, whatever I wanted.

      It was too late.

      A lengthy obituary at his newspaper speaks of the qualities I mention. Nothing is simple. Life is complicated. Our relationship, for want of a better phrase, felt star-crossed.

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  13. I'm one of those who ended up marrying the father of my daughter. Had we been allowed to get married when I was pregnant (parent signature for male needed in NY), things quite likely would have been different. He turned out to be a wonderful husband and father and we have now been married for over 40 years! We both know our daughter would have had a different life had she been raised by us and we believe it would have been a better one!

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  14. This post and the comments are an intense collection of stories, true stories, of families torn asunder by adoption. Thank you all for your voices that I hope will help me understand and maybe try to lessen the burden of what my adopted son has lost. Every adoptive and prospective adoptive parent should read your stories to understand the all too important histories that their adopted children bring with them. To not acknowledge this is to not give them the love they deserve.

    It is so hard to read so many stories of children with great families, needlessly ending up in adoptive homes. It is mind boggling to me, how many children over the years have lost the opportunity to be raised by great parents. I see your empathy, your strength, your love, and that is all the proof I need to understand what your children missed. I truly am sorry.

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  15. Jay, thank you for your comment. I appreciate your voice on this forum. Speaking only for myself, I have never had anyone actually say something along the lines of , "I'm sorry about what happened to you." If I had to guess, I suspect that most first mothers are or were totally alone with their grief. We were supposed to just forget and move on as though nothing really bad happened.

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  16. Gail: Yes, I have also concluded that first mothers were very alone. As I pieced together what little information I could find regarding my first mother, that's the first thing that came to mind. My God.... she was so alone. Heartbreaking. And it was so unnecessary.

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  17. Being alone with our loss is the hallmark of our existence. Men, most men, are not willing to see that it is something you can't just let go of. My father had a big hand in what happened and attempted to make it all better when he was dying.... guilty conscience. He left me out in hell, alone, and yet he was one of the main forces behind putting me there.

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  18. I want to add that I am sorry about at least two things - one, that so many of you felt pressured by the adoption industry and societal mores to relinquish your babies and two, that most if not all of you got no support from your families.

    I live in a community that has a Hispanic majority and, by and large, I have found that the extended families stick together and help raise the children. It is very, very rare that Hispanic children are placed for adoption in our county - or even end up in the foster system, for that matter. Maybe I should not generalize, but from my personal experience, I can't help but notice their supportive family network.

    One thing I have found among my friends and acquaintances in our local Hispanic community is their family structures are largely matriarchal. I have many acquaintances who, when they entered their 20s, had babies "because it is time to be a mother." If they had a husband or boyfriend, great - but if not, they managed somehow to go ahead with their plans anyway. It has never been clear to me who the fathers are of several of these children, but they are raised in a communal environment and look happy and well taken care of.

    It makes sense, to have children when you are younger and biologically more fertile, and you can do so when you feel that it is an accepted way of life and you will get the support to raise your child instead of being looked down upon for your choice. And lest you think they rely on welfare to raise their children, the answer is a resounding No. These young women are hard workers who spot for one another when it comes to child care and bring in good money to support their families.

    While it is always nice to have the support of a good man, I think many Caucasian and Asian (like mine) communities to this day carry a stigma of getting pregnant out of wedlock, which is why the families simply want the unwed mothers and their "problem" children to go away. We have a lot to learn (and a lot of children's futures to hold secure and close to their families) by looking at communities who support each other's children instead of trying to get rid of them through adoption.

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    1. Yes, the idea of giving your baby to strangers is repugnant to many in the Hispanic community. To "remedy this problem" an adoption agency in Portland, Oregon has hired Spanish-speaking agents to spread the "benefits" of adoption to the Hispanic community. And they're having some success according to the agency's newsletter.

      Of course the primary motivation behind this "act of charity" is the shortage of Anglo babies to fulfill the dreams of those on its long waiting list.

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    2. Jane, that's awful. Is the agency's newsletter public?

      In one week, I will be traveling to my home country, India. I will be visiting an orphanage that my parents support. All I know about this orphanage is that they have very strict rules about placement for adoption. They do not do international adoptions at all, because they like to keep in close contact with the children and they want them to grow up in their home culture. Many end up staying in the orphanage through adulthood.

      I also will get to meet the 5 (almost 6) year old boy that my mom is helping raise. His mother asked my parents to adopt him because she thought he was too much to handle, but my mom instead suggested she help them take care of him. I love hearing the excitement in my mom's voice as she talks about first grade homework (it is weird that we each are taking care of first grade boys). After many health problems this year, this little boy brings her joy. And yet he is still with his parents too. Best solution ever.

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    3. The newsletters are public in the sense that they were sent to many people but I could not find them on the agency's website. The agency put me on its mailing list about ten years ago. It took me off the mailing list several years ago after I wrote some critical comments about the agency on FMF. The articles to which I referred were written four or five years or so ago.

      I'm thinking that perhaps someone could Google adoption in Spanish. I suspect they would find several agencies soliciting Hispanic women to give up their babies. The advertisements would likely include a subtle message telling expectant mothers to be their own person and not listen to their mothers with their old world mind set and instead act "American."

      While on the subject of Hispanic attitudes to adoption. When I pregnant with the daughter I surrendered, I lived in an apartment hotel in San Francisco. I had a neighbor from Peru. He was horrified that I was giving away my baby. I thought of him as a backward immigrant who did not understand our advanced culture. Of course I came to realize how right he was.

      Delete
  19. Jay - My friend took in a child from foster care as an infant . His mother was able to get her act together (mostly) and get her son back. The baby is now a 16 year old and my friend went on to marry and have four children of her own. Her foster child is still a big part of her family, and of his family of birth. They have a very good relationship which has served her foster child well.
    I'm so happy your mother told the parents NO!!! But yet is helping, being enriched, and enriching the life of the little guy!!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Barbara, I think you have written about this friend before, and I think it's wonderful. Makes me sad that I lost contact with my own beloved foster daughter after 7 years of a close relationship, but I am so happy for your friend and her foster son.

      And yes, my mom sounds young and full of life ever since this little boy became part of her family, while still retaining his first and only parents. I cannot wait to meet him in two weeks, all my mom does these days is talk about him!

      Delete
  20. This isn't meant for publication, but didn't know if you ladies have seen this essay that mentions FMF?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/frank-ligtvoet/is-adoption-good-rick-war_b_5877852.html

    Keep up the awesome blog!

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  21. I reference to above, the Huff Post essay, this is the sentence that keeps me up at night and gives me stomach cramps if I think too much about it: " Did we unwillingly and naively traumatize our own kids just by the act of adopting them?" I ask myself this question about my daughter. The answer of course is yes.

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  22. "I reference to above, the Huff Post essay, this is the sentence that keeps me up at night and gives me stomach cramps if I think too much about it: " Did we unwillingly and naively traumatize our own kids just by the act of adopting them?" I ask myself this question about my daughter. The answer of course is yes."

    Michelle:

    As an adoptee ( b. 1967) I beg to differ. My bparent were too young to take care of themselves much less a child and, because they had no family support ( my bfamily), they had no other choice BUT to place me. Am I bitter or traumatize? No, I am grateful that I have the aparents that I have that loves me "as if I were their own". I know not all adoptees feel this way, but I think they have a romanticize version of what growing up with their bfamily would be like instead of seeing the reality of it. Do I blame them? No, I do not especially if they grew up in an dysfunctional family. However, the same could have been said if they were raising with the bfamily as well. Long story short, the only one who should be blamed for "unwillingly and naively traumatize our own kids just by the act of adopting them?" are the bparents who signed the papers.

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    1. Did you actually meet your natural parents or are you assuming you know their/your stories?

      You're wrong that most adoptees "romanticize" what life would have been like. Why would anyone want to do that? It makes reunion worse. I for one wish there had been a legitimate reason to be given to strangers.

      You strike me as angry and hurt by your natural family. I might not speak for YOU, but you most certainly do not speak for me. I've been in reunion for over 25 years, and there's not *one* good reason for my adoption. Just bad timing in history that the BSE was allowed to flourish.

      Adoption in all but a small minority is wrong. D.B.

      Delete
    2. Actually, I have a loving relationship with my bparents. They have been accepted by my family ( hubby, me, our sons AND my afamily). Do I see them as my parents? No. But I do see them as two kind loving people who were faced with an unplanned pregnancy 46 years ago and did the best that they could. In regards to adoptees and romanticizing the "life they could have had with their bparents," I have heard many of them voice this opinion and I can't wrap "my" head around it, especially if they're from my generation ( born in the 50s, 60s and early 70s). Back then, to be an unwed mom was a disaster and the child was stigmatized! With no support ( especially if the bdad cutout), the bmom was left on her own and was ostracized which meant a rough road ahead for she and the baby.

      Mya

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    3. Mya, you do not speak for me either. My first mom was 23 when she gave me away in the 70s. Not too young by a long shot. I had a reunion for nineteen years with her. She died recently. I was abused by my adoptive family. Knowing my first mom for so many years I feel like I really knew her. There was not any romanticizing done in my situation about how it would have been had she raised me. I know parts of it would have been awful because of some of the problems she had but I also know I would have been loved unconditionally. That kind of love was not present in my adoptive family. Just because your experience with your adoptive family was positive please don't assume other adoptees were as well.

      Delete
  23. I know that is a direct quote from the article. but shouldn't it be "unwittingly"? "Unwillingly" means knowing that it would have a damaging effect, but doing it anyway.
    Also, if kids are already relinquished or even actually abandoned adoption is a lesser evil than leaving them to float around in the foster care system.

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  24. how about the many women in the Baby Scoop Era who ended up marrying the "baby daddy " although they relinquished the "illegitimate" baby? That is what happened in my husband's case. His birth mother relinquished him as his father had gone abroad without her... but he came back a year later, they married and promptly had his sister. Their mother named her the same name she had named him. they are less than two years apart. yes it's all very weird. They ended up parting ways later on.

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    Replies
    1. I've found that about 20 percent of first mothers go on to marry the father of their lost child and have other children. When I was on the Board of Concerned United Birthparents several years ago, three out of 12 Board members had married the father. A fourth had continued the relationship with the father and had a second child with him which she kept.

      Couples in the BSE were often told that marrying sooner than planned because a baby was on the way would cause stress and the breakdown of the marriage. Better to give up the baby and marry when they were more mature, out of school, etc and have children later. Terrible advice.

      Delete
  25. Mya: my first mother was 35. There was no reason, other than being forced, for her to have relinquished me. And every reader knows how my AP's behave. So you do not speak for me, either. Sadly, reunion never happened.

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  26. I am not in touch with the "birth" father of my 2 gorgeous "birth" children. Both of them unplanned and his only input was to ask for an abortion. His parents and mines were the only ones who supported me with my sons pregnancy in 2008 and my daughters in 2012. I am still in touch with my kids and their "parents" and have an extremely open adoption where i see them as often as i want. Thanks to this relationship my parents and my exs parents have both met, held and bonded with my kids. He is missing out and he doesnt care, as far as i am concerned he is nothing to them, i just feel sorry for my kids, later they will have to deal with the fact that there "Birth" father didnt want them.

    ReplyDelete

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