' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Adoptees can't stop first mother's pain

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Adoptees can't stop first mother's pain

Jane
One of our readers, Mashka, wrote this comment on a FMF post about dealing with an adopee's "no contact" request.

"My B mom tracked me down through a "search angel", found me on facebook and constantly IMs me telling me that I "owe" her a meeting because of the "pain and hurt and wounding" she's dealt with over the years since I was adopted. Honestly these days I'm ignoring her. I haven't blocked her yet, but it is on my mind unfortunately. ... I've been reading this blog trying to get a sense of my b mom's viewpoint and mindset, and I think she's still off in left field."

Mashka, you don't owe your first mother anything but being kind and understanding to someone in pain is the decent thing to do. This doesn't mean you have to let your first mother dominate your life. 

First mother's pain is largely ignored by the self-identified experts on adoption--those who make their living by taking children from one woman and giving them to another or by writing and speaking about adoption. The media gives first mother's pain short shrift. Many people view mothers as making brave and difficult -- but correct -- decisions to give their children better lives. Birth mothers are expected to shed a few tears but find solace in knowing their child is better off. 

The reality for many mothers is quite different. Many were teenagers coerced into surrendering their infants. Even those who were out of their teens and had more resources like Lorraine and myself felt societal pressures. We expected to get over the pain but as time went on, it became worse. Although adoption has changed since Lorraine and I lost our daughters with open adoption, birth mother celebrations, and more public awareness that birth mothers exist after adoption, pain is still a constant.You can see this from even a cursory review of the adoption-industry sponsored website, Birthmoms Buds where first mothers come together to comfort each other.  

THE PAST IS PART OF THE PRESENT 
Your mother is not "off in left field" but responding to a traumatic event. For many mothers in closed adoptions, their lives split into two paths when they lost their infant. One path moved on, school, work, marriage, and so on. The other froze in time; mothers visit that part over and over, hoping the outcome will be different. Before reunions, some first mothers often imagine that if they can find their child, they can sweep away the past, bring the part that's stuck on the loss of their child up to the present. Life can then go on as if it didn't happen, their wounds healed. Reunion may become an obsession. Lorraine hired a searcher and reunited with her daughter when she was 15. Although I held back searching, I fantasized about it. Eventually my daughter found me.

You use the term "tracked"--as uunknowing types often do--rather than "searched and found." Although I'm sure it was not intended, "tracked" indicates a negative act, as in tracking down a fugitive or tracking prey. The trackee is an intended victim, whose only hope of survival is to escape. Your thinking of blocking your first mother suggests that you believe this is your only avenue of escape.


In reality, your mother likely means you no harm. She is trying to recover what she lost. Because you have not responded as 
she hoped, she had gotten desperate. She persists in sending IM's that you owe her a meeting because she does not know what else to do.     

Your mother appears to know little about adoption other than her own experience. She may have no idea how being adopted affects adoptees. She likely doesn't know of resources that can help her deal with her loss and help her develop a positive relationship with you. Talking to a skilled counselor, reading about adoption and joining support groups should benefit her immensely.  


MEETING CAN BE BENEFICIAL
Your letter reveals that you're not completely opposed to meeting your mother but you want to have control and not feel obligated. Meeting your mother can be beneficial for you, giving you medical facts and information about your roots and the reason for your adoption. At the same time you need your mother to grasp emotionally that the past cannot be erased. Just as a child raised by adoptive parents is not the same as a child born to them, so is a child raised by adoptive parents not the same as the child her original mother would have raised.  

Even though you're the child and your first mother is the parent, take the lead. Write your mother and tell her the truth, that her demands make you uncomfortable, that you don't want to meet her at this time. Be firm but sensitive. You might suggest some books written by adoptees that would help her understand the situation from your viewpoint.  Keep in mind that reunions shift constantly; she may calm down and your feelings may change. --jane
  

____________________________________________________________
Birthmom Buds

FROM FMF


TO READ
Birthright: The Guide to Search and Reunion for Adoptees, Birthparents,and Adoptive...
by Jean Strauss
"An adoptee offers compassionate and comprehensive guidance to locating "adoptees, birthparents and adoptive parents.Strauss proceeds from the view that seeking reunion with relatives estranged by adoption is a good thing, and she marshals impressive reasoning and evidence to support her case. She discusses the laws that make adoption records confidential in the introduction and thereby sets the stage for the search strategies that follow. As Strauss points out, the history of adoption is neither simple nor consistent, and the nature of adoption today is very different from what it was when present adoption laws were enacted. 

"The more a searcher understands the nature of adoption practices and laws, she says, the more likely his or her search is to succeed. Strauss interweaves the story of the search for her own birthparents with the strategies for finding birth relatives, and whether or not one agrees with the practice of adoptees or birthparents initiating searches for lost relatives, she tells that personal story compellingly. Thus, Strauss' effort offers considerable insight into the motivations of a particular adoptee as it encourages and counsels others wishing to undertake such a search themselves."--Booklist

130 comments :

  1. Mashka, you can include a link to this forum as well as these two facebook groups:
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ask-a-Birth-First-Natural-Mom/1486700491550175
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/BirthMomSupportGroupCanada/
    She will get a lot of information and support.

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  2. So, if the shoe was on the other foot, and the mother didn't wish to meet the daughter, the mother would be at fault. Everyone would be SO UPSET and siding with the adoptee on the unfairness of it all. The adoptee doesn't want to meet her mother, and it's the mother's fault that she was "tracked down." But that's ok somehow.

    I'll just go away and think about the hypocrisy of this for a while....................

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    1. Jackie D: The attitude that is CLEARLY coming through in your comment is precisely the thing that would drive most adoptees as far away from reunion as possible. Read my earlier comment, and the comment from Adoptee 123. Adoptees have reasons for not wanting to reunite, and the reasons are very valid.

      Whatever the circumstances, the first mother decided, or was forced to decide that the infant was going to be relinquished. That decision altered the course of the adoptee's entire life, and no one asked the adoptee how they felt about it, believe me. So, the adoptee now lives a life basically pretending to be somebody else. We are not allowed to ask questions. We must walk on eggshells around our AP's. We are expected to assume the name, ethnicity, and traditions of our adoptive family, and we are expected to go through life with no knowledge of our medical history. And....everyone expects us to be happy on top of it, and just deal with it.

      So when the first mother tracks the adoptee down, and the adoptee DECIDES (finally allowed to decide something) that they do not want to meet, I am sorry, but the first mother just has to deal with it.

      I found your comment condescending and rude, to be perfectly honest. For what ever the reason, you gave up all rights to the human being you relinquished. That person went on to live an entire life that wasn't easy, I assure you, because being adopted is like living in the middle of a nightmare. You can't come back one day, many years later, and expect the adoptee to collapse into your arms. The adoptee's life is very complicated. I have said this a million times. And no one understands it, unless they are an adoptee.

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    2. Jackie D, keep speaking about adoption hypocrisy that is alive and well.

      "Condescending and rude." Yep, I've been dealing with that for many years. Julia Emily, who seems to have hijacked FMF to dictate to natural mothers how to feel about their own lives and experiences, you need to stop. Thanks. Being a natural mother, for whatever reason, is like living in the middle of a nightmare, I can assure you and no one can understand THAT, unless you are a first mother.

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    3. "Collapse in her arms"?
      That is certainly conflating what Jackie D said, Julia Emily. We mothers understand adoptees get screwed big time when they are adopted, considering society's attitude that they are "lucky" to be adopted in the first place. But how about a little compassion for a woman who has spent her life suffering because she did allow her child to be adopted, so, and only now is able to talk about it. You sound like you would kick her off the curb, just to make her feel pain. Your pain. This blog calls for compassion, not punishment.

      While I'm thinking about it, I wonder how all the children being adopted today by women who "Make adoption plans" for their babies today are going to feel about that "right decision" 15, 20,30 years down the road. The more I read, the more I see that adoption except in dire circumstances is a crock.

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    4. Mama Bear wrote:"While I'm thinking about it, I wonder how all the children being adopted today by women who "Make adoption plans" for their babies today are going to feel about that "right decision" 15, 20,30 years down the road."

      I think they're going to feel even worse than us BSE adoptees do, because they will believe their mothers had a choice. Women have more power now, and being born out of wedlock doesn't have the same stigma it did 40-50 plus years ago. I think these younger adoptees are going to think their first moms (and dads) have some serious splaining to do.

      "The more I read, the more I see that adoption except in dire circumstances is a crock."

      You got that right.

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    5. In reply to Mama Bear: you obviously have NOT been reading my comments. I have always stated that I would communicate.....and keep those lines of communication open to the best of my ability. I just can not meet in person at the present time. Doesn't matter, because she is gone anyway, in case you haven't read that, either. Kick my first mother to the curb? How dare you? I have never stated any such thing . Please do not put words in my mouth.

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    6. and I quote JE: ' and expect the adoptee to collapse into your arms."

      Only the delusional woman would think that, but how do you think that sounds to mothers who have been grieving for years? You might not meant it to sound as harsh as it does, but that is how it comes off. Thus my reply. I was offended when I read your response. Since this is open to all sides of the adoption scramble, people need to think before they hit publish how a comment is read.

      And Julia, I have read enough to know that you are in a bad situation, but I find it troubling that you keep repeating that you would not be able to meet your mother, when there is no real mother to deny. What if she too, were sickly and wanted to meet you once before she died? Would that be asking you to "fall into her arms"?

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  3. I am glad this was posted. It touches on something that bothers me as an adoptee and it is hard to say and explain without sounding a little cranky. I have seen a lot of birth mothers say things about how their lives changed so drastically when they got pregnant and placed their child for adoption and that it has caused them so much pain afterward. I do understand the pain they are feeling it is only natural and must be awful. Sometimes when they do find the person they placed, or the adoptee finds them, the birth mom ends up disappointed with the outcome and sometimes expects more than is realistic IMO.

    First off if you tell your adoptee that you have suffered so much as a result of the adoption and maybe how hard it was when you were pregnant and were alone then it strikes me as an adoptee that you are blaming the adoptee. I'm sure no one intends it that way but it just ruffles my feathers and makes me want to same something like "do you expect the adoptee to apologize for being born and ruining your life?" I know that sounds awful but that is my gut feeling and reaction. The pregnancy, unless it was rape, happened because at some point the birth parents chose to engage in an act that could result in a pregnancy and I respect anyone that owns that. I realize if you were a minor at the time that you really had no choice in what happened after the pregnancy and may not have had any support and that had to be really hard to handle at a young age. Even if you were older it could not have been easy and no doubt was very painful. However the adoptee was a helpless baby who had no control over anything that happened to them or to anyone else.

    So I can empathize with the adoptee in this article who is annoyed that her birth mom feels she "owes" her something. She did not cause the birthmom's angst and it is not her duty to make her feel better. I don't know the people involved or what was said in the beginning but I have to feel that if her birthmom had approached her by saying she is so glad to find she is alive and doing well and wanted to stay in touch and get to know her, and let the adoptee have some time and space to process this, that this might have gone better. Saying her daughter "owes" her is just going to annoy her and push her away. Reunion is something that happens with people who really don't know each other and takes a lot of work on both sides and is not a pain remedy. I guess I am somewhat of a hypocrite maybe in that I do think the birth parents do owe the adoptee at least relevant medical information and some information on how they came to be. But after that it is up to the people involved on how they proceed but trying to guilt someone into a relationship is not going to end well.

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    1. That is why abortion is the best route for an unwanted pregnancy. The natural mother is supposed to go through a pregnancy, in many cases today be lied to, coerced and proclaimed a selfless saint (until she hands her infant over, that is, then she an irresponsible whore) go through the rest of her life devastated at the trauma of this, then be a doormat for all involved. As long as she kisses everyone's arse for the rest of eternity, she will be okay. If not and express how she feels used, dehumanized and degraded, she will be a whiny, miserable person who expects everyone to "heal her pain." She owe's everyone her child, her life and/or her soul but no one owes her a damn thing, right? Seems she owes her womb to the human being she bore too, but only to furnish "medical information or the back story" when she wants to know her child she should have never lost in the first place, but no understanding or empathy for her. The hypocrisy in adoption is astounding.

      I am no advocate for reunions at this point. Just leave well enough alone. Keep kissing up to your almighty adopters and perhaps get a brand new shiny car out of the deal. Leave burfmummy alone to her misery, bless her poor little heart, and yours too.

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    2. You are making a lot of assumptions here. If you want to be angry at the people who did not support you and made you feel bad while you were pregnant and during the adoption process then fine and it very well may be justified. And maybe the agency, your parents, the birth father owe you something. But the adoptee did nothing to cause this anguish. The adoptee exists because you and the birth father set this whole chain of events into motion, a simple fact of biology. Can you possibly try to understand what it is like to know that when you came into the world no one was there to welcome you and everyone was unhappy that you even existed? To have people assume as a child that you would be a problem because you came from the gutter (assumptions here from society) and that you were lucky someone let you live? To know absolutely nothing about your medical background and to bring your own children into the world not knowing what you might pass on to them and to be told that your birth mother's privacy was more important than you or your children's lives should that information become vitally necessary? And then how it would come across to then have someone show up in your life telling you how your very existence make her life miserable and that you owe her for all she has suffered? I don't know if you can get past your anger to see what the other side may have faced but I hope you can come to some peace with this for your own sake. As for shiny new cars, the only one I ever had was one I bought with my own money in middle age and I grew up poor and anything I acquired from the age of 16 on I bought myself with money I earned working.

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    3. adoptee 123, I hear what you're saying. But I just want to respond to a few of your phrases, as a once-16 year old who lost my darling son to a closed adoption.

      You said: '...Can you possibly try to understand what it is like to know that when you came into the world no one was there to welcome you and everyone was unhappy that you even existed?"

      I just want to say, I loved and have always loved my son's existence. I couldn't keep him, because of my circumstances at the time, but his existence, his very self in the world, has made the world so much richer than it ever, ever was. Being parted from him was unbearable. Knowing he suffered, and still suffers, is truly agonising. But I am so so happy that he exists, and have always felt that way.

      You also said: "...then have someone show up in your life telling you how your very existence make her life miserable..."

      I don't know whether my son understands the difference between how much joy he brings me, and how much pain adoption has brought. They are two completely different things, and he is in NO WAY in the slightest bit responsible for the second. I think those two things get used interchangeably, when they are completely different, just as an unplanned pregnancy is completely different from an unwanted one.

      Just my view, from my own experience. Thanks for sharing yours too, it helps me understand more.

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  4. Oh I forgot to add that I think Jane's reply and advice are very good and spot on.

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  5. Jane writes, in response to Mashka's comments: "Mashka, you don't owe your first mother anything but being kind and understanding to someone in pain is the decent thing to do. This doesn't mean you have to let your first mother dominate your life."

    Mashka, if you are not comfortable, do not let your first mother get involved in your life, at least not at the moment. I agree with Jane, try to be kind and certainly treat her decently.....but that's a two way street and she should afford you the same courtesy. From the sound of your comment, she is not doing so.

    My first mother gave me up 58 years ago. She was 35 years old, was educated and had a career. She certainly had the means to raise me, but society and her family told her that was impossible. OK, I am trying to understand that. But....58 years have passed. If she were to appear now, I could not just let her into my life. My life is complicated, as are the lives of many adoptees. I have lived a life that my first mother knows nothing about. She does not know how I was treated by my adoptive family. She doesn't know the negative attitude everyone in my family had and still has towards her. She may not realize that I am in pain, as you are, Mashka. I think this is the adoptee's call to make. The first mother already made her decision, as miserable as it was for her. Adoptee's never got to decide anything. Maybe, when the first mother is insisting on a meeting or reunion, it is , finally, the adoptees turn to decide.

    After being brainwashed for most of my life about my first mother, I am desperately trying to come to grips with this whole thing. I know what the thinking was back in the BSE. I am dealing with AP's who still think that way. But, if I allow myself to dwell on it, I can not understand how a woman could relinquish an infant, and not have a clue where the baby was going to go for the rest of it's life. My mother gave birth to me and took off, and I was in a foster facility for almost 2 months. She had no couple lined up planning to take me, she signed with no adoption agency, she left no information that is of any use.....she just left. No offense to first mothers, and I mean that sincerely, but the whole idea leaves me feeling sick.

    So, yes, the first mother is in pain, and some may feel the adoptee owes them something. But, the adoptee is in pain as well. No one has the right to force themselves on another person. No one, on either side of this, should be nasty or hurtful. But, this is the most complicated of relationships, and sometimes it just can't work as those involved might like it to work. We are only human. There is too much pain in adoption. Emotions run high. Feeling have been hurt, and will continue to be hurt. And I really wish I was not involved in it at all.

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    1. Julia Emily, I am unsure whether you are still writing on this blog, but I truly hope you are. Yours has been a voice that has helped me understand so much about your experience as an adoptee, and your feelings too, both of which my son may share.

      A sentence you wrote here really jumped out at me. When I read it, I was on a train going to an emotionally tricky situation, so I couldn't answer at the time. But I've reflected on it.

      You wrote "...I can not understand how a woman could relinquish an infant, and not have a clue where the baby was going to go for the rest of it's life."

      When I read that sentence, my insides literally curled up. But the truth is, I cannot understand it myself, even though that is what I did. In my deepest self, I wrack my soul to understand how I could have done that.

      I actually think the answers are many, and are also outside of me, because there is and was nothing inside me that wanted to give up my son. I could list them but I think they could just as well be summarised as stemming from my own lack of strength at that time (I was 16 and dependent), my family's situation (rocky) and the social attitudes and practices of that time (BSE and its pervasive echoes).

      I think I will always ask myself how I could have done that, but I think that is the mother in me, wondering how I could have let go of my darling son.

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  6. I was part of one of those "successful" surrenders. After I had my son, I went back to college, graduated, married and had three subsequent children, a professional career and a post graduate degree. NO ONE, including myself, ever mentioned my loss. Then, my son found me. I was thrown back into 1959 with every detail of the four months I spent in the maternity home back in living color. I remembered EVERYTHING including my desperation after my lover abandoned me. I was overwhelmed by the reality of my 40 year old son and became literally speechless talking to him. The few feelings I managed to share with him made him think I was crazy and he told me so making the experience worse for me. I was lucky, though. I was able to get professional help and recover myself. Try to understand where she is now. I had buried my grief for 40 years and I had to "feel" to recover. It took me over 3 years and professional help to get past it.

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    1. Thank you for sharing Anonimous, your story gives me a little glimpse of what my mother might have felt when I found her, she didn´t want to have further contact though. Hope she worked on healing.

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  7. Mashka: I just read your post on an older thread. I had not seen it until now.

    Your first mother is going about this all wrong. Take your time, do not answer her if you are not ready, step back, and think. You have that right. Your first mother is coming across as if it is all about her, and it's not. My hope is that most first mothers would not handle things in this manner.

    If it were me, I would say that you can not move forward with this until you are ready. Then YOU will contact her. You deserve respect and consideration, and this is a situation not to be taken lightly .

    Keep us posted. And good luck!

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  8. Jane is spot on.... and at the same time, I have to say it: As a mother can't expect an adoptee to fix their pain, the mother can't fix the adoptee's pain. To say it only one way is to say exactly what Jackie D said - WE DON'T MATTER.

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  9. Adoptees are not responsible for stopping first mother's pain, but for some, reunion can go a long way towards healing some of that pain. It did for me. It is not the adoptee who heals the mother, but the mother who must heal herself by her attitude and acceptance of reality. This mother is wrong in expecting her daughter to heal her, blaming her for her suffering,, and even more wrong in demanding her daughter respond. She is her own worst enemy.

    Pressuring the adoptee is a wrong move on the part of the mother who searches, and usually drives them further away rather than bringing them closer. Nobody likes dealing with a needy person obsessed with the past. Before anyone takes offense, let me assure you that I WAS that needy person and it set my reunion back years. It was only when I got my head out the past and looked forward to the future that my son began to respond to me.

    I do not blame Mashka for being very wary of her mother, because of the mother's demands. In this case the mother is the one out of line. Our surrendered children do not owe us anything. I agree that Masha should explain to her first mother just how her demands are turning her off, and see if anything changes. Some people change and come around, others are too damaged or narcissistic to do that. You won't know until you try.

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  10. I searched for my daughter in 2006; finally found her in 2007, 2 days after her 36th birthday. I did not have her address, but did find one for her amom. I wrote to her asking to please deliver the attached letter to my daughter. The amom answered right away, but it took my daughter until the beginning of 2008 to answer my letter and asked that I don't contact her or her family again. A year later I again sent a letter to my daughter thru her mom, but addressed it to my daughter - giving her all medical information, how her birth happened and other trivial things. I told her I was very happy to know that she was alive and well. She had little information about me from the very beginning. She knew her nationality and that she could have twins (my sisters are twins). Anyway, she wrote an email back saying Thank you for all the medical info and the story about her birth and me being in a home for unwed mothers, but please don't contact me again! If I want to contact you, I will. And so I sit and wait... I have gone on with my life after her last email, and try not to delve on it. I hope one day she will contact me and want to meet up. I was "thinking" of sending her best wishes on her 50th birthday (2019) - and then "think", no, I really should not. And that's after reading stories here at FMF.
    Anyway - that's my story!

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    1. Lee: you are doing the right thing by NOT sending your daughter a card or greeting on her 50th birthday.

      From the adoptee POV, not too many people care about our feelings. Many adoptees are not told they are adopted, because AP's probably think it doesn't matter and the adoptees feelings are not taken into account. Then you have the defensive, secretive AP's like mine, who told me but made it clear they never want to mention it again. I guess my feelings never counted. Then you have family members, or even just the general public telling us we should be happy and grateful for having been adopted. Our real feelings don't count, we are to just do as we are told. The judge at the Surrogate Court I petitioned obviously thought my feelings (about knowledge of my beginnings) didn't count: petition denied. The laws say "sorry, adoptees, but your feelings don't count. Records will remain sealed."

      So, if you respect your daughter's decision not to contact her, she may start to get the feeling that you think her feelings actually count. In time (because it does take a lot of time to work though all this) she might realize that you respected her decision, and she may come around. Mashka's first mother is doing all the wrong things. It is going to take patience on your part, but you are doing the right thing.

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    2. Hey Julia Emily! Yes, I'm not going to contact her until she contacts me... the thing is - in 2010, I think it was, I received a "Linked-In" request from my daughter, and of course I said "yes". Nothing has happened with that. I thought at first that was going to be her way to communicate with me instead of her Facebook account, as I "assume" her amom reads that. She hasn't sent me anything thru there though - I don't know - but we are still "friends" or whatever they call it on "Linked-In". I'm happy with that! LOL!
      Also, you mentioned some APs don't tell their child that they are adopted. That's what happened to my sister's husband. After his mother died, his father told him; he went looking in Austria where he was born (father was a U.S. serviceman-this was after WW2) - found out his mother had died a year earlier. He was sad about that, as he didn't know his father's name.

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    3. Lee-One thing Linked-In does is offer the option to send invitations to connect to people by searching your email. When you do this a list of everyone who is on LinkedIn who you have ever had any email communication with will come up and you can "select all" and it will auto-send and invitation to all those people. It will say some thing like "______ I would like to add you to my LinkedIn network." Not sure if this is the exact wording but it is very short and just one sentence. You have the option of customizing it when you send out invitations one at a time or you can just send out the auto generated one. So I don't know which category your daughter's LinkedIn invitation was and I hope it was a personal invite but it may not have been. I do hope she reaches out to you. I am in the reverse situation. My birth mom never wanted to meet me and never did and I would have liked to talk with her and gotten to know her.

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  11. Lori, you are spot on as well. Healthy relationships cannot be developed when either party depends on the other to fix the "pain." Likewise, they cannot develop when either party has the "debt" mentality and tries to extract something under the guise of "you owe me."

    Maryanne, I wonder if your comment would also hold true if the words mother and adoptee were switched? Sounds to me like it might.

    Lee, my heart goes out to you. I'm sure that when you allowed your child to be adopted, you did so thinking that you were doing what was in her best interest as many of us did. Those of us who were taken advantage of would obviously take a different path today. I think your choice not to send her a card is the right one - but then again, who knows???

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  12. Sara, you are not even trying to understand, and I resent you saying adoptees are "kissing up" to their adopters. I am not kissing up to anybody, but what would you suggest? I have only so much patience and can not handle these two old,sickly people AND my first mother at the same time. I do have to try to keep what is left of my sanity, as does Mashka. What should I do with these AP's? Shalll I put them somewhere under lock and key until I do everything my first mother wants me to do? It's not an easy position. My first mother disappeared. My AP's, for all their faults, did raise me. And if I am to have any kind of calm
    In my life reunion has to be avoided. I think Mashka should avoid it as well. At least for now.

    This has always been a blog where first mothers and adoptees tried to understand one another. Your comment, along with Jackie D's, is blowing that idea right out of the water. There is no need to be so rude. We adoptees are trying very hard to unbrainwash ourselves and understand. You could do the same.

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    1. Do you try to understand, Julia Emily or are you here to scold and dictate to others how they should feel about their own life experiences? You getting so defensive at a comment shows how little you try to understand anything you don't want to hear. Rude? Yes, I know all about rudeness and being condescending. I have dealt with that for many years, on top of being lied to and dehumanized.

      Avoid your reunion all you want. I happen to agree. In my experience, they should just be avoided altogether, for the sanity of EVERYONE, not just adoptees.

      Contrary to what you may believe, other people are hurt and damaged in the process of adoption too.

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    2. Sara wrote: "Avoid your reunion all you want. I happen to agree. In my experience, they should just be avoided altogether, for the sanity of EVERYONE, not just adoptees."

      I agree reunion can never 'cure' the adoption separation. It can never erase what happened, give us back the years, or completely take away the pain. But in my case, at least, it did lessen the pain considerably and gave me some measure of peace about being given up for adoption. I have to say that I certainly prefer an imperfect reunion to the alternative of living my entire life never knowing who my natural parents were and where I come from, and on a practical level, never having a medical history.

      Also, the powers that be may have decided that it was best for my mother and I to go our entire lives without knowing one another, but I had no hand in that decision and never agreed to it. So I don't see why I should have been forced to adhere to the tenets of the closed adoption system that I disagree with.

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    3. JE: I've been out of town and only peeked at someone's else computer now and then and I see that things have blown up. But I think this comment of yours...is right on the mark and thank you for making it here: We adoptees are trying very hard to unbrainwash ourselves and understand. I've got more to say but want to write a new blog.

      Delete
  13. PS: a brand new shiny car? From AP's who never had any money. All I was given was a two parent family as opposed to a single mother. And these two parents came complete with a miserable, roach infested apartment in a bad section of town. They came complete with arguing and fighting, all because I was not their first choice and they really couldn't afford to adopt in the first place. It was so luxurious I can't even begin to tell you...
    Brand new shiny car? Where is it? I must have misplaced it.

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  14. I must add one more thing. Yes, abortion is the answer to an unwanted pregnancy. My last comment brought back memories of the miserable apartment, the screaming, the lack of money, etc. All the while appearances were very important. Everyone thought I was a lucky little princess and my AP's angels sent from heaven. That's all my AP's cared about. There was never any real demonstration of love, and no honesty at all. Yes, adoption is terrific.

    So before I write any more on this subject, and get myself even more upset, I think I'll get in my shiny new car and drive away.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is wrong to say "abortion is the answer to an unwanted pregnancy" because it is not and would not have been the answer for some women. If your choice would be abortion, that is fine. If you wish you had been aborted, that is sad. But don't make sweeping statements for the rest of us. I would never have had an abortion and am very glad that my son is alive and well. It was not a moral option for me and I never considered it. Other women feel differently; it is a highly personal matter. I believe in real choice for pregnant women, and those choices would include early abortion, surrender, and having the help needed to raise one's own child. I could not make that choice for anyone else, only for myself. neither can you. No mother should be coerced into any of those choices, or made to feel that she has no real choice but the way others are pushing her. I did not feel I had a real choice at the time but to surrender my child. I was wrong, but the past cannot be undone. Abortion was not the answer for me. Life is not that black and white.

      Delete
    2. Well said. Abortion may well be the answer for some people, but it wouldn't have been the answer for me.

      Delete
    3. Abortion was one of the options proposed to me by my doctor when I discovered I was pregnant at 16. I am pro-choice, but I remember feeling that - although I had messed up my own life - it wasn't my son's fault and he shouldn't have to pay, so I chose to continue the pregnancy (knowing that he was going to be adopted - a decision I grew increasingly unsure of but found I could not change even when I wanted to).

      So even before his birth, my son's life had worth (though the dominant adoption narrative has it otherwise. As always, that narrative is like looking through the looking-glass - everything is opposite to how it appears.)

      Back then, I had no idea of what it felt like to be adopted. That's why views such as Julia Emily's are so important. The invention of the Internet allows us to hear what, back then, was silenced. Not any longer.

      Delete
  15. One more thing - my daughter says she is very happy with being adopted, and has "no hole in her heart"! I was God's way of getting to her parents... : )
    She is happy with where her life is right now (that was back in 2008). I do know she did get married in 2007 and had a baby in 2009 at age 40. I thought her baby might bring her some "feelings" for me - but obviously not... still I hope!

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  16. I agree that it is unrealistic to expect one party to heal the other. But what is OWED the adoptee is the medical, family history and birth history. that is often not given. Big difference with adoptees is that they were born, adopted at very crucial ages and have had to deal with the fact that they were born, and given away from a very young age and it does effect who they become. So for people who claim "tit for tat" your off base. We are not coming into the reunion on the same level. Yes, we all may be adults but we reached adulthood in very different ways. Amazing the level of hate I am sensing from some of these mothers...hmmm...that really helps. Sometimes the self centeredness of some mothers...both birth and adoptive astounds me. No wonder adoptees want to run and they do...from both birth and adoptive. So sorry that you have resentment that we may have loved our adoptive parents....guess you would rather we were miserable our whole childhoods pining for you... many of us were! Happy?

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    Replies
    1. dpen, as a mother I agree that our surrendered kids owe us nothing, but we owe them any information they want and need, including medical and social, anything we know about the birthfather including his name, and at least one face to face meeting if the adoptee wants that. We also owe them respect and acceptance that they are adults with their own life who now can make their own choices about what relationships they want in their lives.

      I never wanted my son to be miserable and was devastated when I found out his adoptive mother was abusive and that he cut her out of his life after his father died. I did not want him to pine for me, and was glad he did not, but made his own good life for years before he reached out to me. I understood why he was so wary of me for years, once I knew what his adoptive mother was like. Nobody needs two of those!

      Yes, some adoptive moms and some first moms are indeed selfish and think only of what they want and need, but not all. There is good and bad in every group of people.

      Delete
  17. Lee: I prescribe even more patience on your part. I know that is hard to swallow. The birth of my children was a big turning point in my coming out of the adoption fog. But.... It took me YEARS to turn the corner and experience the light bulb moment. If you try to abide by her wishes, so to speak, she may come around. You do not come across as threatening in any way. Someday, I predict, she will want to know you. I certainly hope so!

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    Replies
    1. Julia Emily said:
      If you try to abide by her wishes, so to speak, she may come around. You do not come across as threatening in any way. Someday, I predict, she will want to know you. I certainly hope so!

      I sure am trying to abide by her wishes, JE! I have not said anything to her, that I believe would be threatening anyway; i.e. meet me or else! I have ALWAYS left it up to her about any kind of meeting or emailing, letters, etc. I hope she knows this! I have hoping your "prediction" comes true too! I have seen pictures of her when she was about 12 and my gosh - she looks SO like me! And even know in her recent pictures, a "hint" of me in her face. Maybe that's why I am so anguish sometimes about wanting it so bad. I've sent my pictures and my family pictures to her in the second letter I wrote her with ALL medical info, about her birth, etc. and "thought" maybe if she saw the resemblance in us she might want to write or meet; but alas, no such deal so far. I have hope! Someday... I have a lot of patience in waiting... but I'm not getting any younger either! Thanks Julia Emily for replying! I wish you could have found out more about your bmother; maybe someday for you too!

      Delete
  18. Lee: I am very sorry about your sister's husband. That is the worst thing, IMO, that can happen to an adoptee. My dear friend was never told she was adopted(black market). I told her when she was 48. I am helping her through this, but basically she is destroyed.

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  19. this is actually "first mother forum" - as a mother i wonder if my mature adult daughter would benefit from havng a relationship with her 3 young adult half sisters? the 4 are well educated and financially well off - i think having siblings is a big advantage in life...the adoptive mother may not concurr.

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  20. Two hearts beat
    they're linked as one
    torn apart
    they're both undone

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  21. Cindy: yes, indeed. Adoption tears apart two hearts, and eventually destroys two lives.

    Dpen: I am amazed at some of the hate coming through in certain comments here as well. No one here is telling Mashka NEVER to reunite with her first mother. It could certainly happen for her in the future, if her first mother stops pressing the issue and gives Mashka some time and some space.

    In my case, I never said I would not communicate with my first mother. I would not slam the door in her face. I would certainly correspond by letter or email. I have tried to explain that I can not handle any face-to-face meetings, either logistically or emotionally. That is what I have been saying, but some first mothers here got very defensive and read in my comments only what they wanted to read. If they want to believe that I am kissing up to my AP's because I got a shiny new car, so be it. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Doesn't matter. She is gone. I hope she was able to cope with this mess, and somehow move forward with her life. I am still here trying to make sense of this, but I hope she is resting in peace.

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  22. The issue seems to be--Can adoptees show some compassion for their first mothers, who in most cases didn't want to give them up in the first place? My answer is yes. It is society who conflated the issues of being a 'wanted' child with the mother's marital status. I was very much a wanted child, albeit, an unexpected child, and my mother's unwed status had no bearing on that. Now, having compassion is not the same as being required to have a relationship with one's natural mother. I do agree with dpen that natural parents and adoptees come at this from very different places and situations and that the adoptee is owed medical information, her family history, and her story. Imo, the mother is also owed understanding for her predicament and at least an open-mindedness to hear her out.


    Abortion is not the easy, peasy solution to the problem of an untimely pregnancy (and I say this as one who is and always has been pro-choice). Many people do not believe in abortion and no one should ever be forced or encouraged to have an abortion if it is against her moral and/or religious beliefs. What I feel needs to be done is eliminating all the garbage about adoption being such a loving, selfless and brave thing to do. The truth about the devastating and long-lasting negative effects adoption can have on both mothers and adoptees is what needs to be front and center. Because the truth is; we can never heal one another's pain.

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    Replies
    1. So wise, Robin. I have this fantasy that, some day, you will help my son navigate his life as an adoptee.

      I am sorry to see the negativity hurled at adoptees on this thread. We non-adoptees can never understand what it is like to be in your shoes.

      Delete
    2. Here, here.

      When it comes to trauma there can be no hierarchy of pain. But it does seem that some mothers - and not only Ist mothers, mothers of all sorts - put their own personal feelings above those of their children and expect compensation from them - as if the children themselves are responsible for their coming into existence - for whatever pain they have endured. It's like there's a pecking order of suffering with mothers expected to be on the topmost rung. I can't help wondering why this attitude at all.

      Delete
    3. Robin - well said. Another point is the simple one - I owe my daughter NOTHING. She was raised with more than I ever had in life, came at me with guns blazing claiming I should give her gifts, then "borrowing" money to never pay back in an effort to obtain the "gifts" that she felt first mothers owed their children..... because we should have been there.

      It is really easy to say that I should put my feelings and well being behind that of my child - but the truth is - she is NOT a child, but a grown woman with children of her own. There is a point in life where parents must, for their own lives sake, put their own feelings and needs first - no matter who the child is or the circumstances. Parents who do not have issues with their own self esteem and tend to live shorter, less productive lives.

      So, I don't buy the put the kids first crap once they are grown. That is unrealistic and wrong!

      Delete
    4. we owe eachother nothing?? I guess if neither party wants anything that seems ok to me< but as an adoptee in reunion (that has not been easy) I think it worthwhile for both parties to at least explore reunion> yes I know we cannot bring back time I cannot be that baby and she cannot nurture me as a newborn>
      I think with a little education empathy respect and open communication there are many wounds that can potentially be made more tolerable or promote some level of healing>
      we have both suffered greatly I spent so many years angry and bitter I have no anger left I have resilience and forgiveness> I chose to dare greatly (great book) fell my pain and experience the possibilities>

      Delete
    5. Jay,
      Thank you so much for your kind words. If you'd like, feel free to contact Lorraine through the blog. She has my permission to give you my email address. Needless to say, I do not wish to put it out here publicly.

      Lori,
      My only suggestion would be that you have no relationship at all with your relinquished daughter, but I will not listen to anyone state or imply that most adoptees are a bunch of sh*ts.

      And I am tired of comments that imply it would be better if I were dead (i.e. had been aborted). My n-mother very much wanted a child and would not have had an abortion in any case.

      Delete
    6. Robin, Actually, I did not say most adoptees are a bunch of sh*ts. I said, for myself, that I believe that NO CHILD is owed anything as an adult. This does not include things like respect, etc. I love my daughter, but I do not want anything to do with her and I do not have a relationship with her because of her behaviors. I don't ask for anything from her beyond simple respect. The same kind of respect you would give a person that you are introduced to at a function. This is beyond her ability and thus, I can't entangle myself in her world.

      I wanted my daughter, planned her, fought for her - and I lost. You missed that part.

      Also, I believe that my statement is simple - you are adults, do not allow the past to define how you behave in the present. If you allow this, then you are the children that the law is trying to force you to be by not allowing you to make adult decisions about your life, your personal information and your relationships. That's it in a nutshell.

      Delete
    7. Robin, I look forward to corresponding with you! I will be in touch with Lorraine shortly (in fact have something to send her that's been sitting awhile due to being utterly swamped with work - sorry Lorraine).

      Delete
  23. Sara: you believe whatever you want to believe. I haven't "hijacked" FMF.... I am here with the other adult adoptees to try to learn about first mothers. How many times must I say I am trying to understand and learn? I am also trying to present the ither side of this miserable adoption.You, on the other hand, are not willing to try to learn anything. The hate and anger coming through in your comments is unbelievable.

    I am very tired of trying to make everyone else happy, because that is the adoptee's life. If you don't want to learn about it, simply skip my comments.

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  24. Thank you ladies for your viewpoints and opinions. Just an update, as suggested I emailed her and told her I thought her demands were moving too fast for me to feel comfortable with and I was declining AT THIS TIME (I am evolving I think!) to join in big family gatherings and parties. I told her at this time that I am not comfortable meeting her but that I did appreciate her viewpoint. I shared with her that I graduated high school, expect to graduate college this year and am seeing a great guy. I assured her that I had not been abused or neglected and was not mistreated, that over all, I have had a good life with no major missteps or health problems. She emailed back within the hour and said she was relieved I was happy but that if I was not "all-in" she couldn't emotionally take it. I respect that, but unfortunately I'm not "all-in". I don't think I can emotionally take it. It appears she might be closing the door, unfortunately. It was such an emotional whirlwind really. I'm not sure what to think and yes I'm starting to think I did something wrong. Only time will tell.

    Oh and Sara, my adoptive parents--though they loved me---never bought me a shiny new car. My first car was a 1990 Ford Escort and this was in 2008. I loved that car!

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    Replies
    1. Poor Mashka, if I were you I would send her a message that you do not want to meet her, because that would be too emo..., but that you would still like to go shopping with her, and that that is sort of complicated, follow with adoption complaints: feelings of rejection, lack of genetic mirroring, being forced to live a lie... and that you never learnt to know her, so that it isn't your fault if you respond in the wrong way to her. She cannot demand you understand her, the time apart was too great. Ask, no demand that she understands that you cannot get her the way you should, so of course you communicate the wrong way.

      That said, can anybody help this mother:

      http://www.adn.com/article/20150131/stronger-love-anchorage-teenager-gives-breast-milk-baby-she-gave-adoption

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    2. Thanks for the update, Mashka. You did nothing wrong. It looks like your first mother has turned her disappointment that you cannot fall into her life as if you had never left into anger at you. Counseling might help her see things from your point of view but she is likely not at a place where she's considering about counseling.

      She may be closing the door but I doubt that she is locking it.

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    3. Mashka,

      I agree with the others that you didn't do anything wrong. I also admire your mother for being upfront about what she needed too. She knows herself better than anyone else and she obviously feels that she cannot handle a relationship that has major brakes on it right out of the starting gate. As long as she does not disrespect your feelings and needs and go overboard (i.e. becoming a stalker) then I do think she had the right to say what she needed for her sanity as well. I feel hopeful about the two of you. As long as you both keep being respectful of what the other person needs, I think your relationship has lot of potential. Just give it time.

      Delete
    4. Well said, Robin, well said.

      Delete
  25. Mashka I don't think you need to feel you've done anything wrong and you make a good point about evolving. I think birthmothers and adopted people view time so differently with all it's opportunities and disadvantages. As a birthmother who experienced a failed reunion relationship I know that I am a generation older than my relinquished daughter. I see my life in the present because I know how fast the years go by. I make decisions based on being in my 40's, experiencing the deaths of people I loved who were not much older than I am now. I want to live my life everyday without emotional pain that will prevent me from being engaged with my children and my new grandbaby. Therefore when my daughter shut the door, I shut mine and had to process and accept the new normal.

    As my relinquished daughter grows older she may regret that she closed the door. But that doesn't mean she did anything wrong. She did what was best for her at the time as she saw her future with the years spread out so far ahead. I can only hope if as she ages if she has changed her mind, that she will try to understand why I cannot. I see my life in the now and years left, versus years to go, and it is at this stage in your life you may make pretty concrete decisions. For some birthmothers experiencing this they may feel desperate to form a connection to try to achieve some closure. It's complicated.

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    Replies
    1. "As my relinquished daughter grows older she may regret that she closed the door. But that doesn't mean she did anything wrong. She did what was best for her at the time as she saw her future with the years spread out so far ahead."

      This really touched me and spoke to me. This is a mother's heart, right there. To understand that even when your child has done something to hurt you, to have the understanding and compassion for her... you amaze me and fill me with hope.

      I hope your daughter changes her mind someday. It sounds like she is missing out on knowing an amazing person in you, and maybe she will realize it before it's too late.

      Just as a note, I'm an adoptive mother. I will always encourage my daughter to have compassion and love and understanding for her mom. I was there, and I know how incredibly painful this "decision" (if that's what you can call feeling like you only have one choice) was for her, and I will always make sure our daughter hears that from me. But I will support my daughter if she does not want to have a relationship because that is her right as a human being to determine her own needs and emotional limits. I support her mom, too, who has pulled away from an open adoption; we don't see her often at all. But I understand how incredibly difficult this is for her and the heartbreak she must endure with each goodbye. I am sad with her choice, but I completely get it and I will try my best to help my daughter understand it, too.

      I can't imagine not encouraging compassion for one another in all this. There is enough hurt and brokenness to go all around between mother and child. Must we add vindictiveness and trying to one-up each other's terrible circumstances? It makes me sad to see that here, between adoptees and first moms.

      Delete
  26. I too am amazed at the amount of hate coming through on this. Having found this site a few months ago I found it so reassuring to know there are other people out there living the same lives. It has helped me to understand viewpoints and anxieties from all involved in adoption. Usually I come away from reading the posts feeling much calmer and with a sense of peace. Not today, I am crying as I write this as I feel that people can be so unkind to each other and my hopes for any sort of contact are slowly dying. Some of the posts have made me feel that it is not worth it. I am glad that people can be candid on this site but I don't think it should be used for personal attacks. Haven't we all gone through enough upset, shouldn't we support each other????

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  27. I am so relieved to see the recent comments here, after the mud slinging that went on here yesterday. I was amazed at the one sided hatred that was evident here.

    Adoption is painful. I am so glad I found FMF when I did, so I could unbrainwash myself about my first mother, and learn about first mothers in general. Of course there is enormous pain, but both mother and child in adoption experience pain. The adoptee is the one who never had a say in any of the decisions. As we grow older and realize this, it hurts.

    My AP's have always gone on about their pain. They wholeheartedly believe that theirs was a very painful ordeal. Adoptee 123 said to try to imagine being born and having no one be happy about it, and she's absolutely right. Now try to imagine growing up and hearing about your AP's trauma and pain and suffering, coupled with how lousy your first mother was. It was not easy.

    This is the type of thing the non-adopted public needs to read and hear and be made to understand. Otherwise, there is no hope for adoption reform, at least not any time soon.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, JE, the non-adopted public needs to read and hear and be made to understand adoptees' pain. The only way for that to happen is for adoptees to speak up in situations where they have a chance of being heard. Too often we read about an adoptee searching for his first family reinforcing the popular view of adoption by stating "I'm glad I was adopted. I want to find my first mother so I can thank her." The few adoptees who do speak up are blasted by the adoption industry and some adoptive parents as "anti-adoption."

      Commenting on FMF helps get the word out but much more needs to be done. I encourage adoptees to respond to the pervasive media misinformation about adoption. Adoptees also need to get behind legislation to open records.

      Delete
  28. Jane: Amen!

    I wish I could attend rallies and hearings and such in person, but it's impossible for me at the moment. So, I write letters and emails and make phone calls. I'll talk to anyone who asks me my opinion on adoption, and I tell them the truth. I recruited two friends, both adopted, in the effort to make people aware of the need for change.i just hope it happens in my lifetime !

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  29. I can say reuniting with my son has been life altering. When I found him he was open and listened to what I told him. He then got different versions from family members. I was there they weren't or did not know what happened. I do think if adoptees listen, and allow mom's to tell their story they will have a better chance at reunion. Gale

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  30. While I agree that adoptees have a unique and special connection to pain. The truth still remains, no one has a more important pain or story. We are equal in this. To claim that it is all about adoptees is to do what has always been done - dehumanized the person that gave the adoptee life. Yes, you have all the abandonment issues - so do I, a mother, because I was dumped in foster care. Does that make my pain special or the adoptees more special? NO. It simply clarifies my space and story.

    I truly have to admit that I am not a supporter of reunion. I am also not a supporter of treating adults like small children - just because a person is an adoptee does not negate their adult responsibilities to act like adults and to seek the help that is needed to work through the emotionally charged life of the abandoned human.

    I do not believe that it is right or fair or even reasonable to come and say "I am an adopted person so my rights are more important than yours" or that "I am adopted so I can negate my responsibility to act like an adult because you are the object of my emotional issues".... neither of these things are reasonable and neither or these things are even acceptable by any other adult in any other situation on earth - including my own - the former foster child.

    Thus, while I respect the adopted persons pain, I do not respect those adopted persons that feel that they have a right to trample me or other mothers feelings in order to claim some kind of one upsmanship over who hurts most. I think that speaking up is fine and good, but if you are in that much pain, see a therapist. If you can't work through it, it is not the fault of your first parents or adoptive parents.

    JMHO

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  31. Sadly: it's not just first mother vs. adoptee in reunion. My adoptee friend found two half- siblings through DNA testing. Theirs was a 99% match. In the honeymoon phase of their reunion they exchanged photos and they look like clones of one another. All the pieces fit....there is no doubt that this is her family (they share a father).

    Now, they have turned on her like a pack of wolves. Their father is dead....so there are no marching orders coming from him. Did someone in the first family plant a seed making these sisters think my friend might be after money? Are they not able to handle the fact that their father had a affair? They are not giving her any, much needed, medical info, and are cutting off all communication. And they are NASTY. Why?

    Adoption is too much for mere human beings to handle. Reunion is another emotional story story altogether. There are lies and accusations flying left and right in all the reunions I've seen. People who have no right to be involved make sure they get themselves involved. Why can't people just try to be truthful and helpful? We don't all have to be best friends for life....but a lot of people are not even trying.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. JE, you may know only half the story. I doubt that these siblings changed their behavior because their father died. When I hear that someone is acting mean or irrational I ask whether the the narrator did something to trigger the response. I've seen this too often in reunions where each party thinks the other is a nut case or worse.

      I hope your friend can be honest with her siblings and tell them she would like a good relationship and ask if she did something to offend them. .

      Delete
    2. Maybe. But I also think that once the novelty wears off, some are no longer interested in maintaining the relationship.

      Delete
    3. as a mother i would love to help my lost daughter - as would her 3 half sisters; but the communication ball is in her court and we must respect her wishes to be in control of contact. it is not getting easier, i'm not getting any younger or healthier, i can't keep encouraging the 3 halves to stay hopeful of building a relationship they say they want and need. all living in the same town for the last few years but i can see this opportunity can't last forever - i wonder if they will reunite in my lifetime?

      Delete
    4. @JE
      I have seen this situation also, when I was actively involved with CUB, and my question would be: where is the mother of these 2 half-siblings? She would be the one the father cheated on. Is she still alive? Even if she is now deceased, the girls may feel a loyalty to her memory. If she is alive, they may be protecting her.

      The other question I have is: has the adoptee/siblings or anyone else been publishing accounts of the reunion on social media? Since the situation combines a painful family situation(affair/cheating) with a joyful one(reunion) the siblings/adoptee are all placed in a terrible conflict. And if it has become "public" then that would make it even more stressful.

      These situations need to be worked out in private if there is any hope at all. A sibling relationship is not the equivalent of a parent/child relationship when it comes to reunion. In the first place, the sibling often has no idea that the adoptee exists and does not always "miss" the adoptee. Then, the relationship itself, by its very nature, is different. Biological parents create offspring. Siblings are those offspring and they can be rivals...sometimes. This happens frequently in non-adoptive families as well, so it is not surprising.

      But, they can also be friends. It can work out with time and care. You are quite correct about that.

      I wish you well,
      Kitta

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  32. JE, even in non-blended families, death tends to make people act insane. When my father died, the brothers (my full brothers) decided that they would spread his ashes without the girls or even my last living uncle. They took the cash, divided it between them and stated that they deserved it because they had "helped" him in the last part of his life (like 6 months). All of this over the 3 living daughters he had - 2 of which had done more than take care of him in life... he had lived with me for over a year and my other sister for even longer. Did it sound nuts? Yep, but it is what happens. Same kind of insanity occurred when my spouse died and before him with his father's death.

    At times it is simply that people are so deeply into their own grief and memories, they can't comprehend that it is hurting others. At least that is what I tell myself.

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  33. At least we can all agree that adoption sucks :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Whether I agree or not, Robin, thanks for assuming that nuanced opinion on behalf of "all".
      It helps a person so much to be told what to they think.

      Delete
    2. I'm sorry anon that you have no sense of humor. I was trying to lighten the mood as there were several arguments going on at this post between various individuals.That's why I included a smiley face at the end of my comment. I was trying to come up with some consensus among those of us vehemently disagreeing. But I guess that went over your head.

      Delete
    3. You were trying to come up with some consensus among those who were vehemently disagreeing? So that explains the smiley face?
      I'm afraid it comes across as more passive aggressive snark than mood lightener. Not everyone who reads or comments here has taken a course in Emoticons 101.

      Delete
    4. Enough, Anon. You are getting ridiculous. Yes, I realize I should be tarred and feathered for using the dreaded word ALL. Aaaahhhh!

      Delete
    5. Tarred and feathered? Now you exaggerate.

      Delete
    6. It's time to stop being so cute, Anonymous...or one of the Canadians who like to come here and goad people. It appears you are at a Delta resort right now.

      Delete
    7. It's over generalizing, even in jest :), that causes trouble.

      Delete
    8. Gracious...as a Canadian reading this blog again after a few years off...that came over a little harsh! We're not all like that!

      Delete
    9. I need a nap--you are right, but there are two people from Toronto who come here and just like to be troublesome and cute and goad people in pain, and they almost never will use their names.
      That gets tired very quickly.

      Delete
  34. You are certainly right about that, Robin,

    Seems certain first mothers here can be nasty and rude, and don't want to hear anything but their side of the adoption story. Enjoy the slug fest. I am tired of having to explain myself. Go believe what you want to believe.

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  35. Just another adopteeFebruary 11, 2015 at 10:34 PM

    It breaks my heart to hear how some mothers feel about their children. I am a mother of 4, and an adoptee. I know my children are adults, but they will always be my children. I understand them on a primal level. Maybe that's what's missing when we were separated.

    I would never judge them the way some mothers here judge their children. There is nothing they could do that would make me never want to see them again. Nothing. If they were serial killers (god forbid), I would visit them in prison.

    We didn't walk away by ourselves, we were given away. I know it hurts, but we are truly innocent, in this exchange.

    I'm sorry you suffered, but it was not at our hand.

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    1. Just take notice of "And vent" at the top of this page, OK? The problem is that people are sometimes talking at different levels, with different reference frames and so on. That leads to huge frustration and even though the complaints of some mothers make less sense than 1+1=7, they may just need to vent, so do not get too much worked up about a rant, please. There are people out there who call a statement of the "an apple is an apple."-sort a circular argument, and think that because one does not stoop to their level one does not know science, compared to those irrational posts here are almost always easily recognized as outings of frustration, sorrow, pain and/or despair. Not that it isn't a good idea to state the obvious sometimes to offer a bit of balance to the unwary, so well written, but take some distance to protect your own emotional well being, please?

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    2. "We didn't walk away by ourselves, we were given away. I know it hurts, but we are truly innocent, in this exchange.

      I'm sorry you suffered, but it was not at our hand."

      Great comment, Just another adoptee.

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    3. adoptees didn't "walk away" from their mothers, they were removed by social coercion. knowing that this was wrong, but acknowledging we can't change the past...are there constructive steps we may take to encourage reunion? one never stops hoping but without activity that is futile - what can be done?

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    4. One thing that can be done now is to reform adoption laws. Mothers are continuing to lose their babies because of deceptive marketing by the adoption industry. I encourage our readers -- first mothers, adoptees, and adoptive mothers -- to join together and work on these four reforms. (1) Grant adult adoptees unrestricted access to their original birth certificate and court record. (2) Grant first mothers access to their child's amended birth certificate and court records. (3) Give mothers seven days after signing a consent to revoke the consent. (4) Require mothers to receive information about the effects of adoption on themselves and their child and on ways they can keep their child before they sign a consent.

      The first step is to find out what your state's laws are. Here's a link to get you started.

      Open records http://sbeckmanauthor.com/state-adoption-laws/

      Time to decide: https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/consent.pdf

      Keep in mind that the laws may have changed since these reports were posted.

      Once you have an idea about what the laws are, talk to your legislator. .

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    5. I have never felt that my son caused my suffering, the system did, and my own fears. My son has never caused me suffering, even when he did not want to communicate with me, because that was his choice, and he was never rude or abusive in any way towards me. Declining a relationship is not abuse. Demanding or constantly badgering is, from either side.

      Some adoptees are abusive and cruel to their mothers in reunion, just as some mothers are abusive and cruel to their kids. The comments here illustrate how it is not just mothers who are intolerant and selfish in reunion. It can come from either side, and neither group is eternally innocent and blameless. Adoptees were innocent parties as infants, they did not ask for what happened to them. They do deserve answers and courtesy from their found relatives, but it is not a perfect world and they do not always get what they deserve. Nobody deserves to be constantly berated for circumstances in the past that cannot be fixed.

      Adult adoptees are just as responsible for their actions in post- reunion relationships as mothers, as far as being reasonable, empathetic, courteous and truthful. Nobody owes anyone else love or a long-term relationship, and nobody can be eternally responsible for another person's life and misfortunes. We all have to grow up and take responsibility for our own actions at some point.

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    6. "(3) Give mothers seven days after signing a consent to revoke the consent. "

      And how about 6 weeks after birth until the mother can sign the consent form in the first place? No more signing right after delivery and absolutely no signing before the birth.

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    7. I'd be all in favor of 6 weeks before a mother can sign but it's likely not politically possible. You're up against these arguments:

      The baby will go to foster care for six weeks and will lose the ability to bond.

      Mothers can,wait six weeks or six months if they choose. They do not have to sign in the hospital.

      To counter these arguments, I'm proposing a revocation period. That way the baby can go home with the PAPS and not be in limbo.

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    8. Maryann,
      Totally agree with you. I think what happens often tho is that when one side or the other does not get what they feel they deserve in terms of attention or relationships the mud starts to sling...accusations are thrown...He/she is immature, needs therapy, needs to grow up...on one side and the other side cries SHE is an abandoner, crazy,selfish,etc. There may be facets of truth to each but me thinks its sometimes blown out of proportion based upon hurt and defensiveness. I know many adoptees that have tried to understand their mothers and its never quite enough. I know mothers that have bent over backwards to try to understand their child and its never quite enough. I think you are inferring the adoptee needs to grow up, I have seen childish behavior from bio mothers thats just shakes my head. As a 57 yo I am very much a grown up and a grandmother to boot, so maybe those that tell adoptees to act like an adult needs to look at themselves first...it does take 2 adults and just because an adoptee is an adoptee does not make them a perpetual child, just like just because mothers are mothers does not mean they are acting like grown ups.

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    9. dpen, Some mothers need to grow up as well as some adoptees, I did not mean that it was only adoptees who acted childishly. That kind of behavior can come from either party in reunion. Many reunions are spoiled by one side or the other playing the eternal victim role and demanding that the other party heal them. Sometimes this is the mother, not the adoptee. When the mudslinging starts, the relationship deteriorates. You are so right about that. Healthy relationships require two adults and the ability to leave the unfixable past in the past and build something for the present and future.

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    10. '... I understand them on a primal level. Maybe that's what's missing when we were separated.'

      I understand my son on a primal level, despite us being separated for over 3 decades. I would also visit him in prison, if he was there, no matter what he had done.

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  36. Mama Bear: I did think and I meant it to come across exactly as it did. I'm tired of tip-toeing around people and worrying about their feelings. Nobody ever worried about mine.
    No one wants to hear from the angry adoptee. Ok. Rest assured you won't hear from this angry adoptee any more.

    You won. Happy?

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    1. I hope you will stick around, too, JE. But I wouldn't blame you if you didn't.

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    2. I want to echo Robin and say that I hope you stick around too Julia Emily. Your opinions and views are very valued in my book. I too came here quite a while ago to "unbrainwash and understand" and one of the ways that I do that is by reading comments from adoptees - angry or otherwise. Your words DO make a difference!

      Sincerely,
      A grateful adoptive mom

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  37. Well said, Maryanne -

    Great comment, Hacynth - yes, our babies didn't walk or crawl away - they were removed and taken to be given to better parents - in my case, it turned out that my husband and I ended up being the "better" parents! Had we been given an ounce of support as teens, our daughter would have been raised by us.

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    1. I agree with everything you say here, Gail.

      As young as I was, my son would've fared far better with fumbling, unsure me than with the car-crash parents he ended up with. But hey, they were married....

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  38. Julia, please don't stop posting. You have made a valuable contribution here. And it seems to have benefited you. Sometimes people on the internet get caught up in the drama and feelings are hurt. But it passes.

    How did you find out that your first mother has died? Where did you learn this information?

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  39. Jane said "I'd be all in favor of 6 weeks before a mother can sign but it's likely not politically possible. You're up against these arguments:

    The baby will go to foster care for six weeks and will lose the ability to bond.

    Mothers can,wait six weeks or six months if they choose. They do not have to sign in the hospital."

    Actually, I am in favor of this and it is practically possible, I believe. Our daughter's parents had 30 days to decide, and took (I think- memory fuzzy at the moment) 26 of those days to decide. Baby came home with us under a signed agreement where they allowed us to care for the child, but their parental rights were not terminated yet. No foster care (which mom did not want) and time after the drugs and experience had worn off to be sure of their decision.

    So that countered the first point regarding foster care. Now, did we face the possibility that the parents would decide not to sign over their rights and to choose parenting themselves? Yes. I won't lie and say that wasn't scary as I fell further in love with my daughter each minute. But, it's important to see this both ways. Her mom was apart from her, grieving and sorrowing. She made a choice then, and now she will live with not being the active mother to her daughter. That's a terribly burden to live with, and an emotionally heartbreaking choice. Had she changed her mind, I would have given back her daughter to her, and I would have lived the rest of my life with the sorrow of losing the child I gave my heart to the second I saw her. That's a terrible burden to live with. In both cases, a woman is living with the fallout, and for me, I think the best interests of the child should be served by allowing the period because that is what adoption *should* be about. If a mother is able to keep her child and wants to, then she should be able to. This is such a monumental decision.

    The second point about mothers being able to wait isn't terribly on point because most women are not aware that they can wait. Agencies and lawyers usually don't tell them and heavily imply or outright lie about this and say they have to sign right away. An independent social worker should be involved (this was actually our case) to ensure the mother is aware that she can wait. I don't believe in actually forcing a mother to wait, but I want it to be blatantly clear to them that they can, and the use of scare tactics (like, your baby will be sent into the foster care system) to be illegal.

    I will always be glad that the nature of our adoption made it a 30 day period rather than signing rights away in the hospital. I don't believe it is ethical for a mother to be forced into signing so soon, and I feel very strongly about that. I support changing this as strongly as I support stopping the sealing of OBCs, and I have included this in my letters to state representatives about this issue.

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    1. Thanks, Tiffany, I'm so pleased to read your words. I agree that these are bogus arguments but the adoption industry makes them and legislators listen. The real issue is that if mothers have time to decide, the industry fears that people interested in adopting will adopt internationally so there's no risk of mothers changing their minds. Of course that road has tightened.

      We who support adoption reform need to make our voice heard.

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    2. I just have to say that I do have a problem with this from my perspective. I know the first year and the first days and weeks are crucial to a newborn's development and bonding is part of that and helps the baby's brain to finish developing. Although this process continues beyond the infant stage the first days and weeks the child will imprint and bond. Whether the child is in foster care or with prospective adoptive parents during this time, disrupting this has a big impact on the child and his or her development. I feel that if someone signs the relinquishment papers after being told what it means and explaining this thoroughly with legal council present that they mean it. It is not a decision to be made lightly and I feel concern for a child who is taken and returned on a change of heart or mind. If things are changed within a short time period I guess I can be OK with that, like a few days or a week, but even then I think there should be some sort of counseling and vetting done to make sure it is not going to change once again. I understand and respect this forum is for first mothers and I mean no disrespect but I just felt I had to speak up and give my perspective. I can only imagine how hard this must be for everyone involved.

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    3. I agree that 6 weeks after birth before a consent form can be signed is reasonable. This is the generally accepted time frame for recovery (for example, insurance companies, employers, etc., use that time frame). Also, many mothers find that it is not until sometime after the birth that they really understand the magnitude, and the mistake, of what they are doing by allowing their child to be adopted.

      And I have to disagree with Adoptee123 because her argument is what is commonly used to steal a child from a natural parent (most often the father) in the event of a contested adoption. "Oh, the child has already 'bonded' to the PAPs, s/he can't be removed now." This can even be used to an extreme, say, in a situation where the prospective couple has only had the child for a day or so.
      I agree that the first six weeks of life are important, but so is the totality of the adoptee's life. I don't think it would have damaged me if I'd been returned to my n-mother within the first month and a half of my life. As a matter of fact, when I got older and learned my story, I think it would have been a big boon to my self-esteem to know that she came back for me. It is always preferable --as long as there is not an abusive situation involved--for a child to be raised in his or her biological family.

      As for the prospective adoptive parents; yes, there would be a lot of pain involved in not being able to finalize an adoption. But anyone considering adoption has to accept that the child has another family and really does belong to her natural parents. And, furthermore, adoption is supposed to be about the child not the adoptive parents.

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    4. Funny how nobody cares about moving kids around in foster care at any age, with no preparation and no thought to the child's feelings or bonding. No crocodile tears about "best interest of the child" there.When the kid goes to an adoptive home at age 6 months or a year or 4 years or more, and can never have any contact with the people who raised him up to that point again, nobody cries about "the only parents he has ever known."All that theory about bonding and attachment goes right out the window. These transfers are usually abrupt and wrenching and the child had no idea what happened or why. He is just property being transferred.

      The daughter of a friend of mine was in foster care for a year, and was removed from a foster family who loved her right before her first birthday. The natural mother had finally been convinced to surrender, and knew nothing about any of this until years later. The foster parents were not allowed to adopt the child they loved because they were a different religion. The natural mother was not consulted about what she preferred.

      My son was moved to a dysfunctional adoptive home at over a year old from a foster home I was not allowed to know anything about. Yeah, taken from "the only parents he had known" and nobody gave a shit.They may not have even been the only parents; he may have been moved before. I was told nothing.I could not even find out years later after we reunited where he was in foster care because of "confidentiality". I was not deemed unfit in any way, but voluntarily put my son in foster care at birth on the advice of my social worker. It was the worst advice I ever took. She made it sound all informal, "nice people would care for my baby while I made up my mind". I had no idea of the legal ramifications nor that I would never know who had my child. I was able to see him at the agency a few times, but I no longer felt I had any right to him, and post-partum depression wrecked my self-esteem and confidence in myself as a mother.

      My advice to unwed mothers is never put your baby in foster care "while you decide" as I was advised to do, because you have no idea how he will be treated or how he can be moved around with less regard than one would give a pet moving to a new home. Take your baby home from the hospital with you and you do not have to prove anything. Get involved with the system and the burden of proof is on you that you are fit to raise your own child. Don't sign anything or entrust your child to anyone else until you are really sure you cannot/do not want to raise the child. Once you get entangled in the legal child welfare system it is too late in most cases. Hasty surrenders at birth are not the only problem in the adoption industry.

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    5. My social worker also gave me the option of placing my baby in foster care while I made up my mind. I agreed to do this. Then I was told I really needed to decide before she was one month old because it would be harder to place her if she was over a month. I was told I could visit her at the sw's office. When I called to discuss a visit I was told the foster mother did not want to take her out in the rain. This was November and December in San Francisco where it rained incessantly.

      I signed the surrender 30 days after her birth. When we reunited 31 years later I learned she wasn't even placed for another 30 days. So much for the importance of early bonding.

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    6. Jane, I later found out my son was also not placed when I signed the surrender, but several months later, with bottom of the barrel prospective adopters instead of the perfect Dick and Jane parents I envisioned. ( for you younger readers," Dick and Jane" was a primary reader about the perfect 50s family when I was a kid.)As the newborn infant of college student parents, white, blond hair, blue eyes, and healthy, he started out as primo product, but since I did not sign early, his value decreased as he was becoming "unadoptable" as the social worker said.

      One of my many regrets, given the eventual outcome, is that I did not surrender my son at birth, because I think he may have gone to a better family than he did as "shopworn" merchandise. Bargain basement kid got the bargain basement parents. In those days he was an older child even though barely a toddler. Today he would still be nearly top of the line, but that was when infants were plentiful and adopters could pick and choose.

      All adoptions do not suck, some are better than the alternative, but the adoption system at the NJ State Agency I dealt with certainly did.

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    7. You are right, Maryanne, in some cases adoption is better than the alternative for a particular child. But being born into circumstances where one is tossed out of his or her family of origin, even if it is for the best, sucks. I would tend to think that most, if not all, people would rather be born into a good family and good circumstances and be kept. And most mothers seem to find that giving up their child whether through force of coercion sucks, too. That's why I say adoption sucks.

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    8. As to "Adoption Sucks", it is not new or clever slogan. I even had the tee shirt 30 years ago! Really, someone made them for a march. We thought we were so radical, but it just looked vulgar and did not advance our cause.At this point, I find it too simplistic, like the anonymous posters who commented earlier. What most people would rather be there fate has little to do with what happens in the real world. Perhaps you mean abandonment sucks, but even that is more complex than any simplistic slogan.

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    9. Correcting my typo, it should be "rather be THEIR fate..."not "there". Also, no problem with Robin or anyone saying their own adoption sucks. Mine certainly did! The issue is the broad generalization. Not all adoptees nor all mothers here feel that way. Check out Mashka's final comment, for one.

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    10. Adoptee123 said "I know the first year and the first days and weeks are crucial to a newborn's development and bonding is part of that and helps the baby's brain to finish developing. Although this process continues beyond the infant stage the first days and weeks the child will imprint and bond." I would put myself in the "Attachment Parent" bucket if I had to label myself- I coslept (still do most nights with my littlest when she wakes in the middle of the night) with both kids, extended breastfed, babywore, and definitely strongly believe many of the attachment theory tenants for child raising. I definitely believe bonding and attachment is critical to infants.

      That being said, I also believe a lifetime is important to a human and deserves consideration. Throughout my daughter's life, her adoption will play a role to greater and lesser degrees, entirely dependent upon her personal perspective and emotions, which no can possibly predict when she is an infant. I believe that she deserved the consideration of her mother having time to consider her situation and be as certain of her decision, and if there was a chance for them to stay together, my daughter and her mother deserved that. Would my daughter have bonded with me in that time? Yes. And it would have been confusing and hard for her, I have no doubt. But I do not agree that six weeks of bonding means a lifetime of loss MUST be endured if the mother changes her mind.

      Also said " I feel that if someone signs the relinquishment papers after being told what it means and explaining this thoroughly with legal council present that they mean it. It is not a decision to be made lightly and I feel concern for a child who is taken and returned on a change of heart or mind."

      I could not fully describe the difference between being pregnant and how I felt about my daughter, and actually giving birth to her and holding her in my arms. I had never expected such waves of intense love and connection to flow through me. I couldn't even be apart from her without feeling intense anxiety for months after giving birth! We were intimately connected, her and I, and I could never, in my wildest dreams, have anticipated the depth of emotions. Logically, you know you will love your child. But the experience surpasses anything you could have imagined.

      My daughter's mother could not have know how she would have felt before she gave birth. There were a few things she said when we met, and I told her that I understood, but if she changed her mind, that was ok- and I completely expected, based on my experience, for her to change her mind about those things. She did. I am adamantly opposed to any agreements solidified before birth. You just cannot know until you know what it feels like. Mothers should be able to change their minds free from the pressure of "you decided already." No, this is not a decision to be made lightly. I completely agree! Which is why a time period after the baby is born is necessary to ensure everything is considered.

      Just as a note, my daughter recognized her mother's voice two months after birth on their first visit together. I would not take so lightly the connection built for nine months between mother and child that I don't believe with care and careful handling that it couldn't be repaired after a 6 week separation. Babies are in NICU sometimes for longer than that and are still able to bond with mom.

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    11. Please don't think that 6 weeks will necessarily make the huge difference to adoption that you hope it will.

      Six weeks was the statutory amount of time given to mothers like myself for considering whether to have my son adopted. During this time, my son was cared for (I did not realise I was allowed to take him home from the hospital) by an experienced foster family in their own home, and I visited him there numerous times where he seemed contented, happy and very well cared for.

      While I think it's atrocious, and immoral, that anyone should ask a mother to sign papers either before or shortly after the birth of her child, I also know that it was not the length of time that determined whether my son would be adopted, but the circumstances in which I as his mother existed. If those didn't change, the outcome couldn't.

      So, considering that, this is what could have really changed things for me and my son, and prevented his adoption:

      1. Local, friendly, loudly advertised classes in parenting skills. These would overcome any lack of support by the mother's family, and also powerfully counteract her internalised belief that she isn't good enough or knowledgeable enough to raise her baby. Doubtless she would make supportive friends there too.

      2. Positive messages about being your child's mother if you are young yourself. I heard, 32 years after my son's birth, the first EVER positive sentence about the capabilities of young parents (spoken by a midwife on a birth programme: 'Young people often make really good parents - they just seem to take to it'.)

      3. A local friendly organisation, or online facility, to clearly point the mother to where the resources are and how to reach them. The internet didn't exist when I was pregnant, and the social worker withheld all information about the help available to me and my baby son, so I believed I had to do it all by myself and knew I didn't know how to.

      4. Clear information about the effects of adoption on people. I had absolutely no idea that my son would suffer as a result of being adopted. I completely believed that there was a smooth operation behind the scenes where adoption agencies chose from the very best of couples, and concurrently that I was of no importance to my son whatsoever - if anything I was a hindrance. Had I know that my son would suffer as a consequence, I wouldve shouted so loudly for the help I needed instead of trusting everyone's word that adoption was right for him.

      I'm sure there are more, but these are just a few. Six weeks made no difference to me because my life situation stayed the same during that time, and the messages I was getting from my social workers were simply reiterated, or backed up with 'impromptu' meetings with gushing adoptive parents etc.

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    12. '...being born into circumstances where one is tossed out of his or her family of origin...'

      This phrase angers me. I cannot believe that anyone reading the detailed, deeply personal, deeply painful experiences of mothers on this blog, or understanding anything about the injustice of that period of social history (the BSE and its morphed offshoots) can choose to perpetuate the image of the carelessly tossed away baby. That is so deeply offensive to me. I also feel it maintains the false dominant narrative surrounding adoption (first mother didn't give a crap/baby got rescued by the adoptive parents - a story which is entirely opposite to the experiences of both my son and I).

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    13. I want to echo Cherry's comment:

      "I had absolutely no idea that my son would suffer as a result of being adopted. I completely believed that there was a smooth operation behind the scenes where adoption agencies chose from the very best of couples, and concurrently that I was of no importance to my son whatsoever - if anything I was a hindrance. Had I known that my son would suffer as a consequence, I would've shouted so loudly for the help I needed instead of trusting everyone's word that adoption was right for him."

      If I had been told of the effects of adoption on children I would have kept my daughter. The social worker gave me lots of time to make a decision but she just kept telling me "think it over." She never once suggested any way for me to keep my baby or even asked about family members that could have helped. She never even hinted that adoption could have any negative effects on children.

      I agree that for many mothers six months or six minutes to decide isn't going to matter if nothing changes in the six months. However I know of several cases where mothers signed papers and tried to revoke their consent within a couple of hours and were told it was too late. So while more time to decide and time to revoke won't stop all the unnecessary adoptions, it may prevent a few. It may also have the effect of discouraging people from adopting thus reducing demand and the pressure the adoption industry puts on vulnerable mothers to meet the demand.

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  40. I thought this link about "identity abuse" was very interesting. Not that I don't sympathize with the young woman in the story, if it's true, but it is curious that we would be up in arms about the few instances when guardians withhold identity-related information from the children in their care, yet we are fine with the government stealing the identities of millions of adoptees?!!! See link below:

    http://news.yahoo.com/alecia-pennington-cant-prove-shes-american-even-exists-150312826.html

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  41. yes robin,adoption (being relenquished by one's mother) really does "suck" - for all but the adopters ):

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    1. Your comment gave me a chuckle. I like the emoticon :)

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  42. I'm a search angel and it's happened twice that I found a parent's child who was not interested in contact and only once that I found a parent not interested in contact but that is out of easily 300 reunited families. Not that there is anything wrong with feeling one way or the other of course. I tell everyone that there is no law against approaching someone and introducing yourself and that goes for any and all your relatives. Nobody holds the master kin communication lock for an entire family. Someone's parent may be upset at contact but it does not mean their siblings or grandparents aunts uncles and cousins will feel the same way. This young woman may have children some day who reject her decision not to talk to her mother and will reach out to their grandmother - right out and around her and she can't stop them.

    I for sure have seen kids push back initially just to see if their parent would put up with rejection and still stay the way normal parents do when doors are slammed in their faces - they still make dinner. They don't leave when their kid says they hate them. Kids get mad at their parents and in some cases depending upon history they might be very mad maybe very justified but it does not mean the parent should just forget about their kid and walk away. There are anti-stalking laws and if her mother is harassing her or making her feel unsafe of course she has recourse. But luckily the law does not interfere with people's families when they have an annoying aunt or parent. I hope this young woman is blessed with a mom who is not going to be very far away ever again. I hope her mother sends her birthday cards and lets her know if she needs anything she's there for her. It is not her daughter's job to make the pain go away. It's her mother's job to do whatever she can for her child now that she can. God bless them both and I hope some day the daughter will slam the door enough times to satisfy herself that it's not fair weather for her mother that she loves her whether she's loved back or not. I hope she has a chance to see her mother is not contacting her because she expects to get something back but because she has a lot to give and she owes it to her daughter just for putting her on earth.

    This young woman does not understand that she's her mother's responsibility whether she raised her or not and she's doing the right thing by reaching out and letting her know how much she matters. Even if she does not care if she matters she deserves to know it.

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    1. As the young woman referenced, I feel I have to respond to this. I'm glad you find your work fulfilling, and I doubt you were the one who gave my birth mother my contact information. I didn't push back. I set limits. I am not one of the adoptees that are full of rage and sorrow and self-doubt. Some of us are fine with being adopted and know who we are and like who we are. Being adopted has always been a side story for me. I was the kid, who for the obligatory genealogical project in school prefaced my project with "I'm adopted but this is my family." For the father-daughter dance in high school, I took my dad with no hesitation. When I was eighteen, my parents offered to help me find my birth parents if I wanted to find them. I did not. I still do not. I was approached out of the blue by a woman who says that she knows that I have a hole that she can fill. As our stilted conversations went on, she appeared bothered that I was fine, that since she contacted me, I would like medical history but I was not interested in suddenly joining her family and her siblings and her cousins and be one big happy family. That there was not an emotional need that I needed her to fill. I don't feel the overwhelming aching need for her. Some adoptees, maybe a lot of adoptees, do. Maybe I'm the big exception to the rule. The only thing I am upset about is her demanding that I act like the lost child she thinks I am. I don't know what my life would have been like if she had kept me. All I do know is I like my life now, I like who I am. She has decided to shut the door because I wanted it on my terms. She found me, after all. What upset me about this is that the search angel found me, verified it was me, told me my birth mother wanted to meet me.....then before I had decided if I wanted to, gave my birth mother my contact information leading to a situation that has been, at the very least. uncomfortable for all. I don't know if this is how all search angels work or if my birth mother had found a particularly tone deaf one, but I do resent that. I guess being an adoptee means that you accept that you control nothing, which is something I won't accept. I wasn't asked if I wanted to be adopted out, and based on the parents that found me, I'm okay with. But I also wasn't asked if I wanted my life disrupted by a stranger who is demanding I be the little girl I never was to her and allow her to drag me into her family without even considering if that's what I want, then become angry and defensive with me when I said no. Could I have been warmer, most certainly.That I will claim responsibility for. Maybe my lack of warmth and excitement put her on the defensive. It is such a careful intricate dance that I didn't know the steps to, and her reaction has made me not want to learn the steps to. It's unfortunate that she was ready before I was (and may never want this). When the two parties aren't in sync, I think it makes it very difficult to navigate.

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    2. Mashka, you sound like a well-grounded person doing the best you can with a difficult situation. It is your life, and you do not have to deal with in a way that anyone else thinks you should.

      By the way, interesting Russian name. My brother married a Russian woman and my lovely niece Anya has a cat named Masha:-)

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    3. Hello Mashka! You certainly sound like my daughter I gave up. For a second there, thought you were her! But only one difference, I'm not pushing my daughter to meet or write; she asked that I don't contact her until she contacts me, and I'm going with that. It has been about 6 years now, but I still wait for her to open that door. Someone mentioned above that your mother should send birthday cards, etc. but I quite disagree with that. She asked for "no" contact, so that means "no" contact.
      Thank you again, Mashka, for your "explanation" of how you feel about being adopted and growing up liking your life - my daughter feels exactly the same way! She did tell me she loves me, and has thought of me as her angel throughout her life.

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  43. Mashka, you sound like someone who is happy and content with their life. Many of us first mothers hoped that we would find someone happy and content as that was the "promise" made to us when we were persuaded to sign our rights away. I do believe that adoptees who are filled with rage, anger, and bitterness are the minority based on what I know from wide reading. I'm sorry your first mother acted the way she did. It sounds like her emotions got the best of her and I hope for your sake she steps back.

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  44. Over the last few years, I have come to the firm conclusion that reunion, of any kind, is a minefield I am unwilling to navigate. After reading through these comments, it reinforces how much of a non-negotiable is for me.

    I screwed up when I relinquished my oldest child for adoption. There is apparently nothing I can say or do that will ever absolve me of this, not in the eyes of adoptees or society. I failed in my parental duties to my oldest child because I did what I was told was "for the best." I will not fail my other children - I will not expose them that $h!#fest and never ending mindf@&% that is adoption reunion. I am so grateful they never met their oldest sibling and I pray they never will. Ever.

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    1. Anonymous: I do hope that if your first child does contact you, you will receive her openly. To not do so would be a double abandonment.

      It is true that in some eyes we can never redeem ourselves, and adoptees abandonment issues are very real and for many must be dealt with in reunion, but I reject your blanket statement that we can never be redeemed in the eyes of adoptees or society. Like the old commercial used to say, We've come a long way, baby! Maybe there are some out there who condemn me and Jane and the rest of women who gave up their children, but most see that act as a product of the times. Even if you don't want to search, do consider how you will react if she finds out. And why should any of your children--kept or relinquished--be denied knowing any of their kin? Everyone has a right to know who they are related to, even if it is Hannibal Lecter.

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  45. The difficulties in reunion, for me, come largely from two things:

    1. It is full of many reminders that my son and I stand in the wrong place to each other because of adoption, and those reminders are deeply painful.

    2. His adoptive mum is shallow, spiteful and selfish, and insists on the 1970s closed adoption barriers remaining exactly where they are, with ultimatums of family rejection if my son doesn't comply.

    But with reunion something about my son and I is restored. We have the right sky above our heads. We are in each other's lives and, most importantly for me, I can give him the love he needs so much, which he never got till we reunited. That's worth all the difficulties, to be able to give my son love.

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  46. Cherry ,you said "Please don't think that 6 weeks will necessarily make the huge difference to adoption that you hope it will."

    I agree wholeheartedly with all your additional points, but I still maintain that giving a longer revocation period is a key component of adoption reform. I know all too well the truth in what you said with "Six weeks made no difference to me because my life situation stayed the same during that time, and the messages I was getting from my social workers were simply reiterated, or backed up with 'impromptu' meetings with gushing adoptive parents etc." Yes. This is very true. There will be mothers to whom six weeks will not make a difference.

    But there are mothers to whom 6 weeks, or 4 weeks, or longer than the time when you leave the hospital, would have made a difference. I don't know the numbers, and I don't pretend to know them. All I know is that it would matter to some, and that's enough for me to advocate for it among many other adoption reforms, including those you mentioned.

    I will continue to state that my daughter has a "different" life with us, not a "better" one. Her parents would have been wonderful active parents. Her mom is an amazingly kind and compassionate person. I don't know you, but from what I do know, I think you would have been an amazing mom. Age is not a predictor of skills as a mother;I believe that support is the key component. Plenty of older mothers who have no support also fail in certain parenting areas. I don't believe allowing further time for reflection will always change the decision to place a child for adoption because it just can't- there are so many other factors at play. But I do believe it will help, combined with the other things you mentioned.

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    1. Hello Tiffany

      I agree with you completely about the longer revocation period. I just wanted to also point out that problems often still remain that profoundly affect whether a mother and child will be able to remain together or will be separated. But I know you understand that. I'm just so thankful that you come here and that you keep contributing your thoughts here. You are the exact opposite of my son's adoptive mother, and her relished cruelties towards me ignite feelings in me I dislike intensely. Your kindness and thoughtfulness - about your daughter and about first mothers like me - is an absolute balm, honestly. Your respect, your acknowledgment of the truth and complexity of adoption situations, ahhh - you most certainly drag me back from the black hole of despair that is opened by that cruelty. Really, thank you so much.

      And thank you for your comment about the kind of mum I would have been. After all these years, I now believe so too. It has been a long and invisible journey, from believing I would've been a disaster to being sure I would've been good - warm and loving, if a little shambolic in my inexperience and scruffy in my lack of money. Thank you for saying it though, it's lovely to hear and rare.

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    2. Oh, Cherry. There really aren't words but I felt I couldn't just not reply. I'm so very sorry. My heart hurts for you like it does for my daughter's mom.

      There are so many amazing women who I have "met" on this blog and others. My daughter's mom is an amazing woman. I cannot imagine not wanting the influence of that kind of person in a child's life. I can't fathom why your son's adoptive mom wouldn't want you in his life. I'm sorry she is so cruel and and hateful and selfish. I can't imagine having to live that and endure that in your reunion.

      You know how adoption advocates have always said "all you need is love" when dismissing the importance of biological ties? As of late, I have been pondering why this never seems to work both ways. If it's true, and I really believe it's a trite statement that is cutesy but false in many ways, but if it is, then isn't that all a mom in a crisis pregnancy needs? Why is she coerced out of her child with promises of all that the adoptive parents could offer if all that is needed is love? From what you have said, you loved your son very much from that very first moment. Oh, Cherry. I'm so sorry you didn't get the support you needed to keep your son. My words are so hollow sounding... but I truly am sorry.

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    3. Thank you Tiffany. Your words are really kind and your understanding invaluable - for me and I am sure for your daughter's other mother. I so appreciate you bearing witness to her absolute grief - I've never really seen that fully acknowledged or described anywhere before, apart from by those who have experienced it first hand. You are a very compassionate person and an extraordinary mother, I'm sure.

      " I can't fathom why your son's adoptive mom wouldn't want you in his life." It was a shock to me too - I had no idea I would be met with such visceral hostility. I thought his family (the one in which he was raised) would really want to know more about their son and brother, because of their love for him, and that we could provide that simply by being his family of origin (so we would mirror things about him, as we undoubtably do, as well as sharing the story of his life before they adopted him, if he wanted us to). In turn I felt very respectful of them as his family. I actually thought that, in some way, we would all become one large family as we were all related to each other via him. It never occurred to me that it was an either/or situation, but that is what they insist on. I can't imagine how it feels for my son to have his family of origin dismissed as irrelevant and unimportant.

      Your words aren't hollow sounding at all - they are compassionate and brave, because you can face the complexity of the adoptive situation, and I really commend you for that.

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  47. Cherry: I will not comment here any longer and have certain first mothers twist my words and attack me. I am not playing the quiet little accommodating adoptee any longer. The people who were downright rude to me here do not know me or my circumstances. I was presenting the adoptee's viewpoint and it was difficult to hear. Believe me, it was even more difficult to live.

    You have been a Godsend to me in helping me try to understand first mothers. An absolute Godsend. I would love to speak with you further. Please email Lorraine and get my email address. I will let her know beforehand. I think you and I can help one another.

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