' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: When is the right time to contact your natural parent?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

When is the right time to contact your natural parent?

Jane
When is the right time to contact a natural parent or a lost child?  The simple answer is never, and now. When my surrendered daughter Rebecca and I connected, my husband and I were preparing for my oldest raised daughter's wedding to be held in less than a month in Washington DC, thousands of miles from my home in Oregon. I was involved in a law suit over my employment. I had a second daughter at home and a third in college.  In short, I was busy and low on funds. I didn't need the upheaval in my life that her contact would bring. Once we connected, though, everything moved aside. I did the things I needed to do, but Rebecca was constantly on my mind.


The fact is that, though, that no time would have been better. The nature of life is that most of us have a lot going on unless we're living in a cave. No matter who is contacting whom, our advice is to make contact when you're ready, rather than wait--and find the intended party is in a grave. You might miss meeting her by a month. Or a day.

CALL INSTEAD OF WRITING
Once you decide to move forward, we recommend calling the individual. Do not call a relative or friend to sound them out about possible responses. In truth, they have no idea how a mother or an adoptee is going to react. Plus, you won't know how close your natural mother/father/child is to the sounding board you choose, or how reliable that individual is. A sister may be on the outs with the person being sought, it may be deeply embarrassing for a a parish priest or rabbi to learn of the individual's long-ago "sin," a relative may turn out to be the one responsible for the adoption in the first place.

When my daughter was 21, I learned about ALMA (Adoptees Liberation Movement Association) and signed up for its registry. Within a few months, I received a call from someone I didn't know inviting me to an ALMA meeting. I was furious and scarred. I had lived in Salem, Oregon for about ten years, a town of 100,000, small enough that it seemed everyone knew me or knew somebody who did. My mind raced. Who was the caller? What did she know about me? Who else had ALMA told about me? I slammed down the phone and cancelled my ALMA membership.

Some searchers rely on an intermediary to make contact, something we do not recommend. Intermediaries report that a sizable percentage of natural mothers refuse contact. It is much easier to say no to an outsider--the CI--and, if the mother has told nearly no one, now she has to accept that a stranger knows the most intimate details of her life. Her reaction of fear and anger is then not so unusual. Adoptees who contact their mothers directly report positive responses more often than those who use a third party to intervene. Yes, it takes guts, but keep your eyes on the prize.

Through clever detective work, Rebecca found her natural (birth) father and learned my maiden name. At his suggestion, she tried to contact me by sending a letter to a relative by marriage who, he knew, was aware of the pregnancy and adoption. Because of various mishaps, detailed in an early post cited below, Rebecca's letter never made it to me. The relative did call me and tell me someone was looking for me. I thought it might be my daughter, but I did not know for sure. I knew little about searching and it seemed impossible that it would be her. I was scared and upset that if it were her, she had gone to this relative, someone I was not close to. I had no idea that her natural father suggested it.

Rebecca sent a couple more letters and called the relative over a decade. After receiving the last letter, the relative called me, told me who was looking for me, and I asked her to send me the letter, which she did. I called Rebecca and we finally connected--more than ten years after her first attempt. With help from more experienced searchers, she might have been able to find me sooner. I certainly would have been responsive to her direct contact. By relying on the relative, Rebecca accepted the relative's incorrect assumption that I didn't want contact, and so did not pursue other avenues.

MANY ARE STILL UNINFORMED ABOUT SEARCH 
If Rebecca and I had connected ten years earlier, it still would seemed like "not a good time." Then our lives were hectic, three young daughters involved with many activities, demanding jobs, a large house. But we would have connected, we would have had those ten years knowing each other, ten years neither one of us can ever get back.

When Rebecca first tried to contact me in 1987, I knew next to nothing about searching and reunion. I had read in the newspaper about a few reunions and was vaguely aware that there was a search movement. I had never heard of Concerned United Birthparents, ALMA, or the American Adoption Congress--or Lorraine's memoir about relinquishing her daughter. I had a demanding job, a husband and three children to raise, and did not watch daytime television. I did not think I knew any other natural parents, and I knew only a few adoptees. While I considered searching, I put it off--not the right time, kids at home, job, and so on.

After my reunion in 1997, I became involved in adoption reform and learned of the many organizations, conferences, retreats, and books which can help guide reunions. I have since met many mothers through my involvement in adoption, and found them to be as uninformed as I was in 1997. They've just been contacted or decided to search and they're reaching out for help. Thanks to the Internet, they connected with someone who steered them my way, but when we meet they say in so many words they were as isolated from information about search and reunion as I was.

The lack of widespread information about search and reunion demands patience once you search and find. The person you find may have no idea that she would be contacted, or that search was even possible. A natural mother may still be trying to forget and move on with her life--as she was told decades ago would happen. The adoptee may believe--as he was told many times in countless ways--that his adoptive parents are his only true parents; he may believe that searching mothers are unbalanced and out to cause harm.  If your mother or child is resistant, give them time, offer to share some books, send photographs, and return after a few weeks.

TELL THE TRUTH 
Searching parents may worry that their child doesn't know he's adopted. When Lorraine searched for her daughter Jane, she was 15.  Back in the 1980s, the advice Lorraine got was to pretend to be doing a survey, in order to find out if her teen daughter even knew she was adopted. This was in 1981, and many adoptive parents still operated under the fiction that not revealing this bit of life-changing information was the right thing to do. The idea was that the searcher mothers would call the teen and ask for their opinion on boys, drugs, whatever, and then turn to whether they thought adopted people ought to be able to find their natural parents. If the child responded by saying "I'm adopted," well, then you knew and could proceed from there.

However, when Lorraine  tried this tactic, her daughter Jane turned the phone over to her adoptive mother. Lorraine stammered a few phrases and hung up. She called back within 15 minutes, her daughter answered, and Lorraine asked to speak to her mother. Lorraine 'fessed up. She learned that through their doctor, they had been trying to find Lorraine. Within ten minutes, her daughter was on the phone. Developing a relationship requires trust, and starting off with a subterfuge undermines that truth.

Natural mothers wonder when the best time to contact their children is. The old order suggested one wait until the child was 18 or 21, but that is no magic age. At 18, the child may be going off to college or in their turbulent freshman year. Yes it is true that the individual is of age and has the right to do what she wishes, but most kids today are still likely to be living at home, and financially dependent on their parents.

Adolescence is a difficult enough time for anyone without knowing who they are, or where they came from, and it is a time of introspection and rebellion. Thus many adoptees would benefit from knowing the truth about their lives earlier rather than later. Lorraine daughter's adoptive mother was often asked, she said, what she thought about Lorraine contacting the family when Jane was 15, and she responded that it would be better if there had been no secrecy at all, that earlier is better than later.

Additionally many searcher mothers are in deep grieving and loss, and this can only be alleviated by actually finding their children. Lorraine, always controversial because of having written the first natural mother memoir, was afraid to stand out more by searching for an underage child in the early Eighties, but her husband and a family friend--both males--didn't know the "rules" and urged her to search at the time she did. We understand others may not be so fortunate as she was, but we repeat, there is never going to be a "perfect" time to make that phone call.

ADOPTEES HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW 
Although we have written a suggested letter to natural mothers and vice versa (they are permanent pages on the right sidebar, and links below) we really urge that contact be made via the phone. Some CIs ask for a letter that can be sent to the mother if she is reluctant to exchange phone numbers. But remember, adoptees have an absolute right to know who they were connected to at birth. It is only because they are babies at the time that they don't grow up with the information. The particulars of birth belong to both Mother and Child. Do not forget that. Everyone has a right to know where and who they came from. A (birth) natural mother may be fearful, may not have told her other children, may have a husband who is not interested or sympathetic, but she does know who she is. Unless she also is adopted and never completed a search, she is not lacking a true heritage and medical history.

It's best to send the letter to the person's home rather than their work or business. We know of one case where someone wanted to send a personal letter to the person's work address, but that turned out to be a school where the mother was a teacher, and a personal letter there, in the middle of a harried day, would have been disruptive and distracting--while a bunch of fifth graders were waiting for their math lesson. As for making contact through Facebook--we heard of a case the other day where the mother immediately blocked the other person. It's a bad sign, but who knows what would have happened if the woman called instead, and the mother found that listening to her daughter turned the tide for her.

The person you are seeking may find your voice is like their own, and that may help pave the way. Florence always recommended calling. It may be harder to turn down a person on the line. A letter can take weeks, and be ignored. Most CIs call the person being sought with a phone call, rather than a letter. Once you make the call, ask first if it is a good time to talk, and if the person can speak privately. Lorraine said to her daughter's adoptive mother: I had a daughter on April 5, 1966 in Rochester, New York and I believe that daughter may be Jane....

Adoptees can say, I was born in X on X ...does that date and place mean anything to you? Or simply, I was born in X on X and I think you may be my mother....

Searching is a journey. You can get help along the way, but in the end you have to walk down that lonesome road all by yourself. Remember, there is no right time. There is only time.--jane
___________________________
FROM FMF:
Writing the First Letter
Should adoptees leave with their first mother to an intermediary?
Using DNA to Find Family: You Can't Have Too Much Family

TO READ
Being Adopted: The Lifelong Search for Self 
A gem of a guide. Short, easy to understand, and a real window into the mindset of an adoptee. Highly recommended for natural parents, adoptees--and adoptive parents.

"A rather thin volume that nevertheless will reassure adoptees that it is usual for questions about adoption and birth parents to persist throughout life. Using Erik Erikson's stages of life as a framework, Brodzinsky (Psychology/Rutgers) and Schechter (Psychiatry/Univ. of Pennsylvania), here writing with writer Henig, call upon years of experience as researchers and counselors in the field of adoption to describe the continual adjustments that adoptees make as they grow from infancy to old age. 

Most moving is the litany of losses that move adoptees to grieve, often unknowingly. Even infants only a few months old show signs of mourning their first caretakers. Later, the authors say, adoptees may confront the loss not only of a birth family but of a personal and genetic history. The latter is particularly painful when it is time for young adults to begin their own families. Such life crises often kick off a search for birth parents. But the book's authority is undermined by what the authors frankly admit is the rapidly changing environment of adoption, where secrecy and shame are now rarely invoked and searches are often unnecessary. 

"Open adoption--in which the birth mother is known to and is often closely attached to the adoptive family--and increasingly available birth records eliminate the information gap that most often causes stress in adopted families (although open adoption may create its own set of stresses, the authors point out). Replete with anecdotal material, this offers few new insights but does lay out issues of development that only adoptees face over the course of life.--Kirkus Reviews

Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA
by Richard Hill
"Hill's memoir is well-written, easy to read, a can't-put-down tale. It's more than that, though, as Hill reveals himself in the process of discovering his roots. When he obtains a picture of his birth mother, he writes of the "delayed grief over my birth mother's death and our lost relationship."

It's a warm story of a man who finds family as well as roots. 'Looking back, I do not regret a minute of it. While frustrating at times, my search proved to be a rich and rewarding experience. I uncovered the truth about my birth parents, acquired wonderful new siblings and cousins, and built a family tree for my descendants.'" from Jane's review

Using DNA to Find Family: You Can't Have Too Much Family


THANK YOU ALL WHO ORDER THROUGH FMF. just click on any of the above links or pictures of the book jacket and you will be at AMAZON. Anything you order will be credited to FMF.

Without a Map: A Memoir 
by Meredith Hall
...this is a book that anyone who has wondered, "How could someone give up their baby?" should read. And if you have ever asked, "What kind of person gives up their baby?" this is a must read, because the answer is... someone just like any of us.

Things happen beyond our control - sometimes they just get out of hand and sometimes they are just unfamiliar and unexpected. Through everything that Meredith Hall experienced since she was 16 and her world turned upside down, she has remained steadfast in hope and Love. She was shunned, she was made to feel dirty, shame, and guilt - no just by strangers or school friends or the father of her child, but her parents.

This book is a testament to the love between a child and mother. As the years passed since Memorial Day 1966, Meredith never forgets her baby - the baby everyone was ashamed of, that everyone shunned her because of, the baby that was her only companion and solace until he was born. For 21 years she counts his birthdays and thinks of him growing up... each of them without the other. This book is also a record of the attitude that society had (and still has) about the mothers and children that form the base of the adoption industry. How Dr. Quinn talks to Meredith and his careless placement of her baby in an abusive home speaks volumes.
When birth-mother, adoptive mother, and their child meet we see three people with the same heart - a heart filled with love and forgiveness and hope. Meredith Hall has written a story - her story - that not only will open eyes but will open minds and hearts as well. All our parents stories are the beginning of our stories." --C. Ray at Amazon

PS: From us: This is a fabulous read. 

64 comments :

  1. What is your opinion about contacting other relatives (e.g. siblings) if the birth mother refuses to have contact or provide any information?

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  2. It is tricky, but as we say, you do have a right to at least getting at the truth, and medical information. I have heard of situations where contacting relatives did work out, and the natural mother eventually came around; and other times when it did not. If you go that route, I would be very clear in stating repeatedly that you do not wish to hurt her but you are just hoping for some information and medical history. You might try to explain .. why...you are interested and see what happens.

    However you go about it, be sensitive to their feelings. They may want to protect their/your mother from the unknown. They may not know of your existence. But adoptees have a right to know the truth of their origins.

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  3. This is something I feel very strongly about because I don't know whether my adult daughter will ever meet her family. If she found a relative thru genetic banks for searching family or adoptees in China and hesitated out of worry for her parents, I would still support her in making that connection. Of course, in her case she wouldn't know, but might imagine that it would be a problem. But I don't think this should deny her the right to know any relative who is stepping forward.

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    1. Totally agree, Jess. Everyone has a right to know where they came from, and if they have any relatives they can connect to. Natural mothers and (birth) fathers do not have a right to control everything about their relinquished children's life.

      Oh, the damn language thing is a problem! If I don't use the word "birth" in the posts--and in proximity to "mother" or "father," people who search for something on this topic may never find it.

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  4. Thank you for writing this - I will share this with my daughter. I am in the (perhaps) unique position of being the go-between for our daughter (teenager) and her First Mom. For years we shared a fairly open relationship with frequent phone calls, photos/letters exchanged and even a visit. Sadly the relationship became strained when our daughter's First Mom relocated overseas and elected to close communications. I understood and still do that the relationship was grueling for her to maintain; both emotionally and physically exhaustive and I believe she severed the ties with her lost child as a form of self preservation. Our daughter however did not see it in the same light and understandably was deeply hurt and saddened by the change.

    Recently she has returned to the States and has initiated contact only to be rebuffed by our daughter. In desperation she reached out to my husband and I and we have attempted to walk the fine line of respecting the very real and tangible feelings of both. Our first allegiance is to our child, but in my heart I fear that if too much time passes or too many grievances go unresolved, their relationship may never be possible. Or rather, the possibility of a truly healthy and close relationship.

    Almost weekly now we are hearing from *Ellen* (First Mom) and her pain is palpable. I have done my best to soothe and explain that from a teenager perspective, life tends to be endless and very egocentric. :) I have to respect our daughter's wishes & feelings too.

    And I am rambling now and I apologize for that; I don't wish to monopolize your board but this post has come the closest I have read to striking at the heart of what has been on my mind. I want to get this right for them both but recognize in the end that it isn't about me or how I might hope this turns out. It truly is about them and if I can serve as a more useful intermediary because of these insights, then I am grateful to those who share them.

    Thank you and wishing luck to all those still searching and waiting.

    Liz

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    1. Liz, I just wanted to say I have great respect for you. What I see in your post is someone who is respectful of the humanity of everyone in the situation. It is so easy to theorize or judge or jump to easy conclusions but the reality of us as human beings is that we are not perfect, we are all vulnerable, we try our best, and we often don't know what to do. Thank you so much for contributing here, I appreciate your voice.

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  5. Part 1:
    There might be a "right time" for the found party, and a wrong time, but the person who searches can't know that until they make the contact, and then the deed is done. I made contact to a 16 year old son who was not at all ready to deal with one more stress in his life, partly because "everyone was doing it" in my support group at the time, and partly because it was what I selfishly wanted and the consequences be damned. I convinced myself he needed me on the strength of other adoptees' needs and other mother's stories. He did not. at that time. There is no excuse for what I did, and I no longer make excuses for my own behavior. While contact to young teens worked out well for Lorraine and others, for some of us, it really was too soon and not a good thing for our kids. Consider all possibilities before making contact to anyone at any age, not just the outcomes you would like to happen or what you read about adoption, or hear in support groups. Your results may vary.

    I wish I had waited, but I just lost patience. The result was my having to learn patience over the next almost 20 years as I waited with little hope for my son to reach out to me. He finally did, but I will always wish I had waited until he was an adult and out of the house of the dysfunctional family he was raised in. For me and for him, I did pick the "wrong time". Actions have consequences, and not always the ones you can forsee. Mother's instinct can fail disastrously when you let it cloud rational thought.

    To those who have yet to make a contact, I would say do not let anyone else's story or advice influence what you do, but look within your own heart for what you would really want if the shoe were on the other foot. Not all adoptees nor all mothers want to be found. Many do, but if yours does not, that is what you will have to deal with. I take issue with the advice to always make the first contact by phone, if that is not your style. For some, a letter is the better way to do it. My son and I are both writers, awkward on the phone, but fluent in writing, and now that we have email, that is our preferred way of communicating. Think about what you feel comfortable with, phone call or email or letter, and proceed in that mode. The first contact may not work, however it is made; if so, you may have to move on to another tactic.

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  6. Part 2 (sorry this is long)
    Remember the goal of reunion is relationship, it is not a one-time dramatic event, but an attempt to build a lifetime of friendship and connection. Even if the first contact does not go well, that is not the end, and you can learn more and change and maybe it will work out in the long run. Some of the worst advice I ever got or gave, and acted upon, was to approach my son face to face. The rational was that even if one was rejected, at least you got to see each other that one time. This is a terrible negative way to go into contact and reunion, and often has the opposite effect on the person contacted than is desired. Try to see the big picture, not the immediate result.

    My son was calm and polite when I approached him and handed him a letter, but it took many years for him to trust me enough to reciprocate. I am lucky he did not call the cops or tell his adoptive parents! I had been in touch with them several years previous, and they wanted nothing to do with me and called the agency who called me. My son knew he was adopted, but they had never discussed it with him and certainly never told him they had heard from me.

    Every situation is unique, so general advice about reunion from anyone is just a guideline, not etched in stone. A contact that you can live with no matter what the outcome takes a rare combination of courage, acceptance of what is, and common sense and empathy for the person contacted. The most important thing you can do is to rid yourself of expectations as much as possible, and be willing to step into the unknown and accept what you find there, be it a loving embrace or cold rejection. Always keep in mind that the first response can change, and be ready for anything.

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    1. Maryann, you had to deal with adoptive parents who as you say were not good parents and they had already let you know they did not want you around, if I am reading this right--you have actually found them and contacted them. I can understand your going ahead, and I'm especially glad you are no longer beating yourself up over this and that your son and your have reunited and have a good relationship today.

      How did you make contact with him? His reaction was certainly at least based on his adoptive parents' feelings about you and what they imparted to him. Although there are certainly many many more adoptive parents who are open and generous with their love for their children, there are still a vast majority, I would guess, that are closed off to contact, and I'd say that situation today for a lot of adoptees is not that much different than it was for your son.

      I was only going to ALMA meetings at that time, and since I was living a hundred miles away already I certainly was a rare visitor to ALMA, and I had no other contact with anyone in our little circle of mothers and adoptees. I wasn't hearing any stories, good or bad, about contact with underage kids when I plunged forward. I had just been getting what felt like messages to reach out to my daughter--and I was right. To not have contacted her would have required beating down the sense that I got that she needed me.

      Which she did.

      Birth/first/NATURAL Mothers must listen to their own hearts and be willing to accept that they might be rejected by the children they relinquished. But that doesn't mean it's forever. People change, attitudes change. Maybe one day Colin Kaepernick will agree to meet his natural mother.

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    2. How did I contact my son? The worst possible way, I walked up to him after school and introduced myself. I cringe to think about it. He was not influenced by his parents about me until later, when the mother found a letter I had given him and had a fit. He said they had never discussed adoption to him at all, and his mother the compulsive liar at one point told me that he did not know he was adopted! That was just obviously not true from his reaction, which was low-key and no surprise.

      I found out where my son was when he was 8, wrote a letter to the adoptive parents when he was 13 and they called the agency, and contacted him directly at 16. I very much wish I not contacted the parents at all, and had waited until he was older and out of the house to contact him. I don't know about "beating myself up", but I still have regrets and admit I made a grave mistake. But what's done is done, and I am very grateful for the relationship we have today. He has no relationship with any surviving member of his adoptive family, including the sister who was their biological child, and did not even attend his mother's funeral. I thought that was sad, but it was not my call to tell him what to do.

      Nobody knows what they will find or how they will be received. In my case following what I thought was instinct was just me convincing myself to do what I wanted, and had nothing to do with what my son actually wanted or needed. For myself, I no longer trust the concept of instinct at all. I do not accept the idea that "everything happens for a reason." Rather, everything just happens, random chance, and we each must put our own meaning on actions and events in order to try and make sense of chaos and go on.

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    3. I too used to go to ALMA when it was the only game in town, and remember meeting you there, Lorraine. There were not many natural mothers, and most that did go were older and had older kids. We were among the few with minor kids, and I was among the even fewer who had found mine, although Florence forbid me to talk about it publicly. I did help you find your daughter, by hooking you up with the "underground" network that dealt with the mysterious searcher who could find almost anyone for a price. To this day I have no idea who or where he was; in the days before caller ID he called us. So I had a small part in helping you reunite with Jane at 15. And here we both still are.

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    4. Yes, and yes. I was always afraid of letting anyone know that it was you because I didn't know how you felt about it. I recount just what you say in Hole In My Heart.

      And yes, my relationship with Jennifer is amazing, and I have often related it to that of adoptee/mother; the difference is we were both adults and chose each other.

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    5. Maryanne, no one can predict what the reaction can be. You followed your heart and walked into a bad situation, and were shunned for years. The mistake was not in what you did, but in the reaction of the adoptive parents. Conversely, if I had contacted my daughter's adoptive parents when she were eight--well, they were already hoping to find me. I think their doctor wrote a few years later to the agency hoping for some information about me. That is when I started writing. No one connected our letters. Those were the rules. I wonder so often, did anybody think about looking into her file? Was her doctor's letter in there when I was writing? Did anyone bother to check? I believe the nice social worker I dealt with--and she was nice--was already gone from the agency, but it's not at all certain that even if she was still there that she would have been made aware of correspondence coming in from an old client. I had addressed the letters to her.

      And though you feel today that you made a mistake, your grown son today knows how long you wanted to have a relationship with him, and that you never forgot him. Perhaps that early contact which seemed disastrous at the time, had a positive part to play in your relationship today. Ever think of it that way?

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    6. No, I do not think of it that way, because I have no reason to think that from anything my son has said, and I do not need to think it was a good thing to comfort myself. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes, and I made a big one in when and how I contacted my son. It was a bad move on my part, which is not to say it would be bad for everyone, as your story illustrates. Your daughter's adoptive family did need medical information and the agency was at fault in not passing on the letter from their doctor to you. My son at the time and his adoptive family needed nothing from me. He was healthy, and not obsessed with adoption or finding me. That was my own delusion, that all adoptees need to meet their biological family. That is just not true. My son is not one to assign blame or to look back on the past, he is more centered in the present and I am trying to be that way too. It makes for a happier, more peaceful life.

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    7. Lorraine, it is ok to mention that I directed you to the searcher who helped you find Jane. I was glad to do it, and proud to help other mothers find their kids as someone helped me, did not charge me anything (not the same searcher, and what she did no longer worked) and told me that my payment was to carry it on and help others. It was long ago in a different world, but I feel I acted honorably. The searcher is long gone, we have the internet today, so there is no secret to protect.

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  7. Thank you for writing, Liz. It will help natural mothers understand how harmful it is to cut off contact with their children, and how difficult it will be to repair that--if it is possible at all. These relationships go deep and the hurt must have been so intense for your daughter. Her reaction, I think, is quite understandable.

    Your daughter feels abandoned by her other mother, and it is thrilling for us to read that you are trying to repair that. But there is only so much you can do, if your daughter is determined to stay away from Ellen. It sounds as if you are doing the best you can to help both mother and daughter--you, the mom in the middle. Give it time, and Ellen has to do that too.

    Despite how difficult it may be to maintain a relationship that is open, natural mothers have to realize that is part of the deal. It would help if they were made to understand this at the time they relinquish their children and enter into an open adoption.

    San Francisco's Quarterback Colin Kaepernick's mother did much the same thing--stopped contact for many years because it was too painful. Now his mother wishes to resume a relationship, but Kaepernick is having none of it.

    Thank you for writing. It will serve as a warning to natural/first mothers who cut off contact with their relinquished children. They may never get it back.

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    1. more than 3 decades passed and i never heard from my daughter or her adoptive parents...i didn't expect to really; but there was always that secret, unvoiced hope that one day we would be together again. as the end of the 4th decade approached the australian prime minister, a woman with no children of her own, apologised on behalf of the whole country to those separated by adoption...i heard "do not be afraid, the truth will set you free". so i searched and i found my child. and i was set free from despair and doubt, and i rejoiced to hear my child lived and had children of its own. i do wonder though why my child never looked for me? and if that child will ever want to be in a relationship with me and it's siblings and relatives? and how much longer might it be before my child will talk to me of it's own volition?

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    2. Hy, I'm so sorry your child doesn't want a relationship. Things can change, though.

      Here's the reasons I've heard from adoptees about why they never searched: I didn't want to disrupt my birth mother's life. I had a family, why look for another. It would hurt my adoptive parents. I didn't know where to look. If she wanted to know me, she would have looked.

      Similar responses from first parents who didn't search. I didn't want to disrupt his life. I didn't know you could. I promised I wouldn't. He might not know he's adopted. His adoptive parents are his real parents. If she wants to know me, she could search. And my excuse -- it wasn't the right time. I had young children, job, husband, community activities.

      I've also heard adoptees say they want to find their first mother to get information, to tell her she made the right decision, but a relationship, no, they have a family.

      Sadly there's a lot of misinformation and fear out there which keeps people from forming what could be rewarding relationships. Still finding your child is better than never knowing. After my reunion, I too had a sense of freedom and completeness. .

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  8. I believe that it is important for adoptees of the BSE in particular to understand that it was, more than likely, their birth grandparents who facilitated and were probably instrumental in setting the adoption into motion to begin with. You may not have any luck approaching them (if they are still alive) and I would say, from my experience, that there is a good chance that they may not have told anyone else of your existence. To them, the adoption was a way to hide their dirty little secret, the bastard child, and they may not like you surfacing, asking questions that nobody thought they would ever have to answer. In my experience, they are just as likely to deny you now as they did when you were born.
    To me, this is the true abandonment, that of my birth grandparents abandoning their young daughter in her most dire time of need and their grandchild. They were truly the only ones who could have stopped this from happening. Adoption takes the most natural of bonds, that of mother and child and twists it into something that is unnatural. In my opinion, it should be only used as a last resort when there is danger to the child.
    When I found my mother, I found someone who had lived a lifetime of lies. It was very difficult to develop a relationship with someone who is not honest, least of all with themselves. I cannot take away her pain, nor can she take away mine. Sometimes I think that it was better not knowing and I would warn others of this but I do innately understand the burning need to know, how we adoptees are driven to find the truth of our histories. You may not find the truth. Only layer upon layer of more lies and denial, just be prepared.

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    1. Adoption is so wrapped up in deception and oppression, which is tied together with many layers of secrets and lies surrounding an adoptee's true identity. The industry does not want adoptees to know the answers to their basic fundamental rights. At some point, the secrets and lies begin to undermine one's self-worth, and the adoptee may begin to question his true identity and origins. Many adoptees have grown tired of the secrets, lies, and bullchit, which are all necessary to maintain the grand illusion of adoption. An appropriate age to search is when an adoptee wants to know the truth--his or her truth about their very being, their identity, their origins. It's a basic human desire (and right) to know from where you have come and where you began. This is evidenced by the sheer numbers of adoptees who have sought and found their natural parents the last several years. Adoptees want the truth and are entitled to their truth of who am I and where did I come from.

      As far as a right or wrong time to search, I believe the searcher has to have the maturity to deal with what is to be found, good or bad, and I'm not sure teenagers have that maturity or wisdom from life experiences to deal with meeting a natural parent. Teenagers who are found are usually still under dominant adoptive parental control, influence, and conditioning (and have possibly been the recipients of biased indoctrination against their natural mothers). Adoptive parents should support an adoptee in their quest for their origins. Anything less is inhumane, cruel, and selfish. Adoptive parents should accept the reality that the adoptee has four parents, not just two, and they should realize there is enough love for the adoptee to be shared by all.

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  9. Liz, you shared what I worry about happening with my daughter and her parents someday. Open adoption is fraught with its own unique set of complications and issues. It can seem like a very good idea at the time, but it can possibly get very hard for the first mom down the line. Saying good-bye again and again opens up a wound again and again... it's not the pretty little solution it is often presented as being. Also, it can be difficult for the child to understand and deal with carrying on this complex relationship at such a young age. There are grown adults who struggle with it.

    My daughter has recently started understanding better about her "other mom and dad," and has been asking to see them. By their choice, we don't see them often- something I respect and understand. It's for several reasons, all of which make sense to me, as an adult. But it is hard to know how to respond to my daughter when she asks if she can see them. As a child, she just doesn't understand. I imagine for a teen, it's an added hurt on top of everything else she is dealing with and processing. Possibly she is feeling doubly abandoned. Hopefully, she will want to have a relationship someday. In the meantime, maybe you can continue to keep that line of communication open on your end with her mom so that it is there when your daughter is ready for it (if she ever is).

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    1. Thank you Tiffany and Lorraine,

      Yes, we will continue to keep the lines of communicaiton open with the hope that one day our daughter sees things differently or is ready to take that leap herself. Absolutely her being of the teen years and hurts of the past are playing a key role here and I believe with time and maturity, her position might change. At the very least she knows that her First Mom is wanting a relationship with her and one that respects her boundaries. I know that cannot be easy for her (FMom) when probably her every instinct is screaming for contact now. I would want that too in her place.

      Maryanne, I appreciated your insights as well and especially felt you point that reunion is not just a single moment, but rather a series of steps along a journey - very poignant and apt.

      I'm going to keep reading back over old posts to glean further insights and plan to follow along, albiet quietly as this is a forum first and foremost for Grieving Mothers.

      Thank you,

      Liz

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    2. Liz, you might of course play the bad mom, confessing you wronged her by adopting her, much, much more than her real mother ever could do her (you know good cop, bad cop, but with moms), that might get her communicating with her real mother again. Use nothing but the truth, but use the negative spin, I mean how can you have adopted her if you would have known about the suicides, the psychiatric needs,the discrimination, if you had but looked...

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    3. *. . . you wronged her by adopting her, much, much more than her real mother ever could do her . . . *

      Liz did not "wrong" her by adopting her. She adopted her in good faith. It's pretty obvious from her two comments. Such strategies seemed designed to redress your own wounds (which I am guessing are considerable) and aren't necessarily relevant to the specific situation--which, by the way, Liz knows much better than you do.

      Personally, I would never apologize for adopting my daughter. I will condemn the institution, I will rail against the near total corruption of int'l adoption, decry the lack of honest documentation for adoptees, sign any petition against pre-birth matching and PAPs in the delivery room, support the extension of revocation time . . . but to take a position that actually devalues our family and relationship and say I wish it had not happened is something I could never do. And I am fairly certain my daughter would find that message deeply confusing and hurtful.

      Your comments do not help anyone or the cause. Your advocacy for compulsory parenthood, which I have noted on other occasions, also smacks of male privilege.

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    4. Adoptive parents don't wrong children simply by adopting them and these parents don't need to apologize. It''s true that if there wasn't a demand, the supply would be much less. But adoptive parents are by and large as poorly informed as we were when we gave up our children. They wanted a child, believed that the child's mother couldn't or wouldn't raise him, and they were helping the child.. The industry manipulated them much as it manipulated mothers. The adoptive parents I've known are fine people, dedicated parents,

      All of us, mothers, children, adoptive parents are victimized by the industry. Some industry players are victimized as well. They believe they are doing a good thing by taking children from one set of parents to another. I remember Ruben Pannor, a long time adoption social worker, apologizing to mothers at a CUB retreat. It took him years before he realized that he did wrongs to mothers and children.

      Infant adoption is built on fiction, myths, lies. distortions, deceptions. We who live adoption need to continue to speak up.

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    5. Theodore, you may have thought you were being funny, and I know there is a language difference, English not being your first language, but your comment seemed to me in poor taste.

      Jane, I remember Reuben, what a sweet man he was, and Annette Baran, the first to apologize for social work mistakes in the past. May they both rest in peace. They favored guardianship at the end, but were not opposed to children who really needed homes being raised by non-related parents, nor did they feel that all the placements they had been involved in were not needed. Reuben's gay son (out and proud) was an adoptive parent, I believe.

      Anon adoptive mom, glad something I said resonated with you. I no longer consider myself a grieving mother, as my son is alive and well and talks to me.I grieved for many years, dark night of the soul, now that is over Thank God.
      "For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone, the flowers appear on the earth, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land"---.KJV, Song of Solomon.

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    6. Jess, was I talking to you? You seem to react to a mere quote, not to the entirey of the message, adopters might try to take the blame for the adoption, to shift the adopted's view from "She abandoned me." to "She was made to abandon me." or "She could not prevent my abduction", by painting their own role as rather evil, though ignorance may be used toshift it to "accidentally evil". If you get in antraffic accident and you are the one harming another person, even if lacking road maintenance was the real cause, you apologize for harming somebody by accident, and in dealing with a teen a heavy touch of the brush may be used to paint the first picture.

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    7. Jane, glazing over and excusing social workers for their participation in an industry that thrives on the destruction of original families justifies their actions and invalidates the adoptees and first mothers who were forever affected. Surely social workers knew it was wrong to coerce, manipulate, and take the baby of a scared, powerless, young, unmarried, and, many times, poor girl and give (rather sell) it to a "deserving", "worthy", married, and more affluent childless woman. Unless social workers were mentally challenged, they knew it was wrong, cruel, and barbaric. I don't think their intentions were genuine from the get-go, as the profit-driven opportunities were carefully planned and orchestrated. It was G Eliot who said "Cruelty is like every vice and requires no motive outside of itself; it just requires opportunity." The opportunities were certainly there, and those involved in the shameful practices swooped in to feast on their vulnerable prey like vultures after a kill. In my biased opinion, an apology is too little, too late.

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    8. Social workers didn't think of themselves as coercing or manipulating young mothers.During the BSE, pregnant teens came to them in droves. I remember my sister, a new social worker in Chicago in 1964, telling me how shocked she was that white girls showed no emotion when they gave up their babies. Black girls insisted on keeping their babies.

      We can look back now and realize that the white girls and their families accepted adoption as inevitable. Just like the man on the scaffold, there was no point in struggling when the noose was put around his neck .Just get it over.

      Social workers told girls they were doing the right thing and that they would forget in part to make them feel better. Many social workers and the girls families believed adoption was best. They knew the girl down the street who kept her baby and .... They knew that a young girl with a baby and no husband had little employment or educational opportunities.

      My social worker worked for the government so profit didn't play into it. She was remiss in not telling me about the long term affect of adoption on me and my baby but she didn't give me a hard sell.

      Today. t's different. The industry has to use a bagful of tricks to get babies. They have gotten the laws changed to provide less protection for mothers. Still there are some good practitioners who try to keep families together and do adoptions only when there is no alternative.

      We need to end coercion and manipulation today rather than dwelling on the past. We need to eliminate barriers to mothers and children reuniting.

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  10. Anonymous Adoptive Mom, you write about the birth mom:

    I understood and still do that the relationship was grueling for her to maintain; both emotionally and physically exhaustive and I believe she severed the ties with her lost child as a form of self preservation.

    I think this is exactly what your daughter is doing. She is not being narcisistic ... she is a girl who was abandoned by her birth mom once and then again when the birth mom stopped communication. She must have been pretty young when the b mom stopped communicating if she is only a teenager now.

    If I were you, I'd exit this discussion. It sounds like both the b mom and your daughter know where you stand and that you are there as a conduit should your daughter decide to take the risk with her.

    Your first responsibiity, as you state, is to your daughter. she is probably so hurt and vulnerable. Please give her the time and the space that you extended to her b mom. She needs to know you are in her corner. I think you clearly are, and I think you sound like a great mom.

    Theodore - in most blogs and forums your kind of a comment would be seen as made by a troll, just provocative and looking for a fight. Do you honestly recommend that? Do you have kids? Is this how you talked to them? When her birth mom gave up the baby for adoption, where would you have had the baby go????? Who would you have had care for the baby? Give me a break, you are just looking for a fight when someone posted a heartfelt comment and is trying very hard to do right by her daughter and the birth mom.

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    1. Anonymous, I guess that I am somewhat misunderstood. Recommend what? That Liz takes on the blame for the adoption (to the daughter, not in public) in a direct conversation with her? "Mea culpa, mea culpa maxima" would be a great starting point, if it fits one's style and character, of course people will not paint themselves that bad as they would plan to do, the nuances would come later, but it could lead out to a bit more mature understanding and a willingness to give "that abandoner woman" another chance. It''s up to Liz to Judge, whether it would work in her situation.
      Where would the baby go? Most likely where mother goes, foster care (maybe by the people who in reality did adopt),but another solution can work fine as well. I just tried to suggest some idea, maybe not a very good idea, though not that bad, provided it would fit Liz's character. At least I tried something...

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  11. It's pretty myopic to really believe adoptive parents adopt with the best interests of a baby in mind. Really? Do some of you really believe that baloney? Give me a break! Adopters are thinking of only themselves when they begin shopping to buy a baby, and those babies sell for $25,000 +. Adopters who shell out that kind of money for someone else's child have done their homework but proceed because it is all about them and satisfying their narcissistic needs. If more of them had a conscious and less money, they might instead buy a healthy puppy to lick their infertile wounds. Shame on adopters for supporting a 3 billion dollar baby-selling industry and then pretending it is all about the poor little unwanted babies. Anyone with a moral and ethical fiber in their body would know something is dreadfully wrong with a system that sanctions the selling of human flesh. Theodore was pretty spot on and calls a spade a spade. He apparently touched a narcissistic nerve in some of the pretending as-if "mothers", and ironically, those pretenders are pretty vocal on a first mother forum. But, then again, it does some unmitigated nerve to buy another woman's baby and then call it "your own".

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    1. Sorry I can't resist piling on this one, Anonymous. I rejected domestic, infant adoption because I wanted to adopt a child that NEEDED a Mom. My daughter did live in an orphanage with 40 other babies and not enough caretakers to feed them all consistently. I honestly did not know about bribery, child stealing, falsified documents and government corruption. Seriously, the amount of money that changed hands did not amount to enough to pay a decent bribe. The orphanage fee was used to build a new old folks home so the children living there now are not catching TB from the elderly. They now keep all children in country.
      I do everything I can to encourage adoption only from foster because I know about the corruption now.
      Don't paint with a broad brush.

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    2. You sound very angry, and anger is usually a cover for pain. I am sorry for your situation. I don't know what it is, but it sounds like you are in a tough spot.

      I hope you find some resolution for your situation.

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  12. Theodore, your explanation makes less sense than your original comment and continues to insult. If the adoptive mother tells her daughter she is sorry she adopted, that will not make the young adoptee feel better, it will add to her feelings of being abandoned and unwanted, not only by her first mom, but by her adoptive mom as well. No, not good advice at all. Anon who hates adoptive parents, all social workers, adoption in general, I doubt there is anything anyone could say to you because your mind is made up, your prejudices firmly in place.Your words show you for what you are, even without a name.

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    1. Theodore's comment makes sense in the context of telling a child, your natural mother loved you very much but believed you would be better of with me. I'm so happy to have you but I can see that me taking you caused a split with your natural mother and I'm sorry for that. Don't place all the blame on your natural mother. She very much wants to be with you.

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    2. No child can understand that their mother "loves them very much" and yet gives them to someone else, or that she "very much wants to be with you" but is nowhere to be found. I don't know why some people find this hard to understand. Probably because there is no possible way for them to even begin to empathize with this concept unless their own mother had "loved them very much" and yet gave them to someone else. Children sort this stuff out better than you give them credit for. I did.
      I am sure that this is the last thing some people want to hear but I am just speaking from my personal experience. Children, then the adults they become, figure this out slowly at each age-appropriate level and within the context of their own life experience. It is a lot to take in but it will more than likely change, perhaps quite drastically, over time. She may be horribly angry at times, she may be overwhelming sad at others, but she will find what works for her with the open support of the adults around her.
      Theodore: I sincerely hope that no one takes your advice seriously. I personally find it highly offensive..

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    3. @Anonymous, I do not see why an adoptive parent cannot try to solve that issue, in circumstances in which it is known to be factually true: "You were not given away by her, you were stolen from her (by manipulation, force or trickery) by people I paid.". I do not understand what you find highly offensive about that, it just assumes that for a moment the adopter is willing to accept (more than) a fair share of the blame.

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  13. If Theodore had actually said what you interpreted his words to say, Jane, yes, that would make sense, but that is not at all what he said. He advised Liz to take the blame for taking the child away from her mother, to say she was sorry she ever adopted. He advised Liz to "paint her own role as rather evil" and admit she was a party to an abduction! That is hardly saying "your mother loves you and wants to be with you." Not knowing the situation that led to the surrender in the first place, nobody can accuse Liz of child-stealing, or suggest that she say she was guilty of such a crime, and that will somehow make her daughter feel better about her natural mother. In this case it is the daughter who is placing blame, not Liz, who is caught in the middle and trying to mediate. It really should be the daughter's choice whether she wants a relationship with her natural mother or not. It seems Liz has done all she could in good faith. I am not the only person who finds Theodore's advice, as written, not helpful to the situation Liz has described, and a bit bizarre.

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    1. Actually, what I meant was what Jane said , but with more details, deep shadows, better acting, film noir- settings, dark skies, low light and a good possibility of working in case of a certain type of teen by way of "Jeez mum, stop being such a self accusing drama queen, I'll call her."

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    2. Do you have kids, Theodore? Manipulation is no way to treat them or earn their respect. Acting has no place in parent-child dialogue, nor in any honest relationship.

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    3. You think deep shadows, film noir- settings, dark skies, low light and a good possibility of working in case of a certain type of teen by way of "Jeez mum, stop being such a self accusing drama queen, I'll call her." do have a place in parent-child dialogue??? From my point of view manipulating them is something we do all the time when raising children, just think of something like going with or against gender roles when selecting gifts.

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  14. "Good cop, bad cop" is a deliberate manipulation strategy.

    I don't think that attempting to manipulate the adoptee into a relationship with the first mother is a strategy to be encouraged.

    Honesty and unconditional support are the correct way to deal with the situation (as Liz appears to be doing,) not attempting to play the adoptee's emotions to obtain a certain outcome.

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    1. Exactly what I thought, only not so coherently. Thank you for expressing it so well.

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    2. I also agree with what Mercer has said so well. Manipulation has no place in an honest relationship. This is Liz and her daughter's real life, not a film or play. To suggest it be treated as such is just not right.

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    3. But modern US-style adoption is not a sound base for a honest relationship. If Liz is not doing everything to make sure that the person she adopted is free to reject the relationship Liz forced on her, a relationship her manipulations created, by honestly pointing out all fouls on her own side, I cannot see that relationship as honest at all. How can somebody who forced a falsified birth certificate on somebody else be claimed to have an honest relationship with that person, without confessing amd apologizing the associated moral crimes to the victim?

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  15. Truth hurts. Manipulation can hurt more. Adoptees tend to be hyperaware of both. I would trust that the teen in this case will make up her own mind about Ellen and form the connections that she feels comfortable making.

    Having a mother leave not once, but twice, could be devastating. I don't know: not my story. It may take time and maturity for this young woman to come to terms with Ellen's reasons for cutting off contact and decide to trust her again, and if she does not, that is fine, too. There is undoubtedly more to this than is being shared, as well.

    I would *absolutely* avoid manipulation. Adoption is a messy world to inhabit; there is no need to make it messier.

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  16. Thank you, Anon. I can not come to terms with the fact that I was given to complete strangers to raise. That my own mother, an adult 35 years of age, gave me away. You said it beautifully.

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  17. In my previous comment I should have said my first mother LEFT me for strangers to raise. She did not give me to anyone, she left me in a facility and fled. And if one is not in this situation, one cannot understand what a fact like this does to a person.

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    1. Julia:
      That is an extremely sad story, both for your mother and for you. You're right, there is no way to understand what it feels like for you. If it helps, though, as a birth mother, it sounds to me like she must have been in a desperate and bad way, especially being 35 and perhaps not as physically or mentally strong as a younger woman. A big strike against her from Mother Nature. From experience, I think that no mother who chooses to have her child adopted, has a very happy life. We can pretend to ourselves at times that we are happy, but there is always something very "wrong", something elemental that "missing" - and we are always sad, worried and panicky. It's such an unnatural separation.

      I realize my perspective is different than yours. I wish you the best and hope that at some point soon your state will allow access to your birth certificate. Your experience is such a good illustration of how adoptees truly have a right to know who their birth parents are, and what has become of them. I hope very much that you are able to contact your mother, or at least find out what her story was. Obviously, there was something bad going on. Not knowing I shouldn't speculate, but I feel so sorry for you. Being a birth mother, I also feel sorry for all mothers (including me) who lose their babies, no matter the circumstances. If you could find your mother, it would make me so happy.

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  18. I think I agree with Theodore. I feel some are being deliberately obtuse with his english skills and yet others are blaming everyone else other than the demand = profit sector.

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  19. I have to share that if I were Liz, I would run far and fast from this forum, based on Theodore's absurb assertions. We have no more knowledge that Liz was ¨responsible¨ for Ellen leaving her baby ( twice) or that she forced anything at any time. That is the problem with broad sweeping accusastions. For that matter, we don't know why Ellen left her child in the first place. She may have been coerced or not. I recently witnessed a coworker's daughter ( post college I might add) make a decision to place a child for adoption (AFTER taking the baby home from the hospital) despite some familial support and the ability to raise a child herself. Also despite my sitting down and sharing my own experiences with her. STILL, she made that choice. Theodore's advice won't apply for that one day reunion. There was no ¨demand¨ or coercion.

    Some have offered real and authentic advice that maybe she can apply to her own ongoing situation with her teen daughter. Others offered judgements and glib sarcasm.

    @Jan Louise, why do we need to assign blame at all in this post? The original topic was when/how to approach reunion. The deed is done, the affects in place. Why the need to assign blame when someone reaches out in a honest way for help? I don't think she even asked for help, but rather was sharing her own situation.

    Semantics or English skills aside, an authentic question or rather a situation was shared; is it really our job to judge? And if so, to what end?

    As a First Mom, I am happy to read Liz's earnest interest in keeping the relationship open between her teen daughter and her FM. Isn't that the best possible scenario given the current situation. We can't go back and undo the past, so moving forward is the only option.

    Carol

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  20. I agree with Theodore. How can the adoptee not feel anger and frustration at the natural mother when the message is couched in terms of abandonment, no matter how coerced it was. If mothers are expected to apologize to their children upon reunion, no matter how little control they had over the situation and how they too had been abandoned by everyone who was supposed to support them, why can't an adoptive mother claim and apologize for her part in the whole thing, especially if it will make things easier and clearer for the now adult child they adopted? It just makes good sense.

    Sandy Young

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    1. The adoption doesn't even sound coerced. It was entirely open and all parties behaved with accountability until Ellen decided to relocate and taper off her relationship with her daughter. A-mom has nothing to apologize for. She didn't make up Ellen's mind for her. Twice.


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    2. Jess, this isn't the only adoption in town. Mothers are expected to apologize to their children, not just this one but as a rule.

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    3. What rule is that, and which mothers, adoptive or natural? Apologize for what? You do not give enough information. Your comment is puzzling.

      The subject was Liz' adoption and her question about her daughter's estrangement from her birthmother who had cut off communication in an open adoption and now wants to reconnect. Very specific. Advice, some relevant, some not, was given. Is this the same topic you are referring to?

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  21. Theodore, what is your personal connection to adoption?

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    1. It depends on your definitions of "personal", "connection" and "adoption".
      Either part of it is deeply offensive as modern day pet slave trade, harming the human rights of the adoptee (and so on), or it is an interesting behavioral, social, legal and ethical phenomenon, or it is the fury of the later generation of a family hit by adoption or none at all, it just depends on your definitions.

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  22. That is not an answer, it is an evasion. It reminds me of Bill Clinton's "I never had sex with that woman" then quibbling about the definition of "sex". Most of us here have no trouble identifying ourselves as natural mothers, adoptees, or adoptive parents, with a few grandparents, siblings and other relatives, natural and adoptive, here and there. Once in a while we get a social worker or a person just interested in the topic, but they too are upfront about who they are, especially if asked.

    You presume to give personal advice to others here on how to relate to their children, deal with their families, and judge them by their personal relation to adoption, but you refuse to state your own. That, I think speaks for itself.

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    1. Yes, it does, what it says is: IT IS COMPLICATED. I did state my personal relations to adoption, different as they are based on the definitions used. My relationship with a specific woman who denied her child to know her as a mother, can be simply defined as grandchild, but that was not the question, so I could not give a simple answer without knowingly telling a lie too.

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  23. Julia Emily, my daughter is in your exact situation. Her first mother gave birth and fled (abandoning her) in a facility. She was 38. I am sure that once this sinks in, it will be very painful information for her (she is currently 10 years old). Hugs to you.
    Michelle

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  24. Michelle, JE, let me say here that a lot of times the mothers do not know what happens to their children when they are signing the termination of parental responsibility papers. They can be told their are wealthy, delightful people taking their children--when that is not at all true! So before you feel terrible about this (and I know JE that you do) PLEASE consider that the mothers involved here had no idea what was happening next. JE, that is especially true in your case since you are not in your twenties.... Natural mothers are told nearly nothing except that everything is going to be fine and willing parents are taking the baby home that day! So Michelle, please present that information to your daughter when the times comes, and JE, that is almost certainly how it was for your mother.

    The lack of information given natural mothers when relinquishing was possibly done "for their own good" but we have seen here time and time again how that ended up hurting everyone involved.

    I learned that the granddaughter my own daughter gave up was raised by nuns for 18 months--while her father who had wanted custody went to visit her! I don't really know what my daughter knew, but she told me about the fabulous biracial couple whom she said she met. All BS. Obviously, since she died in 2007, I can't confront her and ask her.

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    1. Thanks, Lorraine, hadn't thought of it that way. I just always worry about what she will think about being left. But this is a good way of explaining it.

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