' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Natural/Birth Mothers who search and are rejected

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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Natural/Birth Mothers who search and are rejected

Jane
When I gave up my daughter Rebecca in 1966, I promised myself I would search for her when she turned 18. It made it easier to give her up. I've since learned that mothers commonly made this promise.

I didn't tell my social worker of my plan because I was afraid that if she knew, she might send my daughter to China or some place where I could never find her. I was aware that records were closed, birth certificates altered to show adoptive parents as THE parents. I told myself I would go to law school (which I had been considering for several years) and as an attorney I could figure how how to beat the system and find my daughter.


I did go to law school but when 18 years rolled by, I hesitated. Better to wait until she's 21, I rationalized. When that deadline came, I vacillated. I was married and had three more daughters, a demanding job. Besides, I thought, Rebecca isn't really my daughter. Oh, we might look alike but that would be it. We'd have nothing in common; she'd be a complete stranger.

CONFLICTING FEELINGS LED TO INACTION
But then I'd think perhaps she needed me. Maybe she was living in a hovel, addicted to drugs, in prison, enslaved somewhere. Mostly, though, I thought that meeting her might alleviate the enduring pain of my loss. Then I would remind myself that finding her would not reset the clock. What was done was done. As in Hamlet, the native hue of resolution sickened with the pale cast of thought. I did nothing. Eventually Rebecca found me.

Stronger mothers take arms against the sea of misfortune, throwing caution to the wind.  Mothers like Lorraine don't even wait until their child's 18th birthday to search. Some mothers find children delighted to meet them, eager to become a part of their lives, a part of their families. Others find reluctant children who are at least willing to meet, perhaps due to curiosity. After meeting they accept an on-going relationship.

Some mothers have a door slammed in their face. I know a couple of mothers who received letters
from the adoptive parents' attorney threatening to have them arrested if they contacted their child again. (An empty threat, I should add but frightening enough to discourage some from continuing). Rejected mothers may try again in a few years only to be rejected again. "I have wonderful adoptive parents; I don't need or want another family. Please don't contact me again" their child writes. Further attempts are met with silence or a letter returned "REFUSED" in bright red type. Some mothers maintain contact clandestinely, driving by their child's house, attending an event where their child is performing, searching the internet for mention of their child. More years pass. Their children are in their 40's and 50's yet still react like school children warned about stranger danger. Mothers who persist may be labeled as mentally unbalanced.

I know fine mothers who were rejected. Sheila Ganz and Jane Guttman, have told their heart-rending stories publicly. And for some mothers their persistence paid off.

WHAT'S WRONG WITH HER? PLENTY
In adoption circles, we hear about rejected mothers who go off the deep end, stalking their children, denouncing them as ungrateful. The natural mothers blame the adoptive parents for their loss, which is not wholly irrational. The adoptive parents were, after all, eager players in a game which perpetrated the injustice against the natural mother. The natural mothers' obsessing with reuniting distorts their thinking. They convince themselves that if their child met them, the powerful connection between mother and child would overcome their child's resistance, Once in their arms, the past would be erased.

In spite of their bad, even criminal, behavior, I have sympathy for these mothers. They continue to be victimized by a system designed to perpetuate the patriarchy by punishing women for having unsanctioned sex. They're more sinned against than sinning. While no one should put up with threatening or even annoying behavior, I encourage adoptees to respond with compassion. If you can do it safely, have at least one meeting, perhaps commence a dialogue. As for rejected mothers, don't hold you breath--life is too short to spend pining for what is beyond your grasp--but do continue to send an occasional card.--jane
____________________________
From FMF:
When a first mother decides to search
How do natural mothers fare?
When Reunions Go Awry: What Memoirs of Adopted Daughters Tell Birthmothers
When the Reunited Child Pulls Back

TO READ
The Gift Wrapped in Sorrow: A Mother's Quest for Healing 
By Jane Guttman
"In this profoundly moving journey, we are invited to join this author as she weaves a story of truth, of innocence, of blind trust in her parents, of soul-shattering pain and ultimately of healing. In "The Gift Wrapped in Sorrow," Jane Guttman cracks open her heart and unravels the events which led to the relinquishment of her baby in an unconscious world. After three decades, Dr. Guttman has emerged from these events shattered but still whole, and at the doorstep of transparent illumination...For those who wish to heal any life loss, this is a quick read that will remain forever etched upon our hearts."--Patricia Meyer on Amazon

TO WATCH 
"Unlocking the Heart of Adoption" 
Unlocking the Heart of Adoption chronicles the filmmaker’s journey as a birthmother interwoven with diverse personal stories of adoptees, birthparents and adoptive parents in both same race and transracial adoptions.  These stories span 70 years, from ALICE, a birthmother whose child was adopted out without her consent in 1922; to RON, an adoptee who uncovered the truth after his parents died when he was 36; to PHYLLIS, a birthmother and ALISON, an adoptive mother in an open adoption with twin boys born in 1991.  The film includes interviews with three mixed-race transracially adopted people: DEBBIE, a Japanese American woman; PAUL, a Filipino American man and MARTIN, an African American man with HAL, his Caucasian adoptive father.

118 comments :

  1. Adoption takes the most natural and fundamental of human relationships and twists it into something completely unnatural and just plain wrong. It is impossible to undo the damage it causes, the family ties that are severed, the years that are lost. Sorry but as an adoptee I live it every day since I was left at the hospital by my mother's family in the late 60's. I will never understand how they could simply drive away, leaving a newborn family member there. How?
    I have learned the true meaning of family from my adoptive parents who have struggled to adapt and do the best they can with a difficult situation, as a family should do. They are not perfect but they certainly were not vultures waiting to pick off a hapless babe. It was my mother and her family who left me, certainly somebody was going to pick me up. I know that she cannot accept this now and wishes it were different. I do too, but it is impossible for me to grasp how she could just walk away. I will never be able to get my head around that, it is better for me to try to just not dwell on it too much. I cannot heal her pain, nor can she heal mine. Adoption just brings perpetual sadness, I wish every day that she could have found the strength to fight for her child, that her parents (my grandparents) would have found the strength to support her. In the face of adversity, that is what families do, I am thankful to have learned this lesson for myself. Family is not necessarily always defined by blood, I think that is the optimal environment, but certainly for those of us left behind, we have to learn what defines family in our own way.

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    1. This breaks my heart. As an adoptive mom, I know that it is far from an easy choice for a mother to walk away from her child. So far from it.

      I can't really say much more without sharing a story that isn't mine to tell, but I know that I will be able to unequivocally and steadfastly assure my daughter that it wasn't as easy for her parents as "simply driving away." Not at all.

      My daughters will always have our support, and I would never, ever encourage them to give up a child for adoption, let alone force and coerce them to do so. But having been raised by parents who would have done just that to me had the situation presented itself, I can at least try to imagine how it would feel. My daughters will never have that experience, and somewhat for that very reason, I wonder if my daughter who is adopted might think something similar to what you express. While I, as a result of how I was raised, totally understand how a lack of support, a pressure from parents, and a desire to please the people who raised you can cause you to do things that tear your own heart and soul to shreds. Easy? Absolutely not. An act of self-preservation when you are too young to realize the fallout or find in yourself the strength of wisdom far beyond your years? Yes, sometimes those are too strong to fight against, even when you feel all the love in the world.

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    2. Anon, you really should study Baby Scoop Era thinking and tactics. You are apparently are a BSE baby but don't understand the setting in which it happened. You must educate yourself so you have some empathy and understanding of the times in which single mothers were punished by "respectable" society. White married couples were designated as rescuers and saviors who would rescue and save those poor illegitimate babies.

      Childless couples were rewarded, while single mothers were punished in the most inhumane and degrading way for their having sex before marriage. (Oh, the shame and horror!!) Societal pressure was strong and unrelenting, condemning and shaming and punishing those young women who were phouking around before marriage. The promiscuous girls who ended up pregnant were told by their parents, their school counselor s, their Sunday School teacher, their pastors, their doctors, and later, their social workers and agency reps they were unfit and unworthy of motherhood. They were told in exchange for keeping their sins under wraps through adoption secrecy, their sins would be atoned, and they would be given a clean slate as for as their reputation and chance for a respectable "man" were concerned. By relinquishing their illegitimate baby to a respectable couple, they wouldn't be labeled with a big scarlet letter on their forehead. We were also told we were unfit to be mothers because we were sluts and were unfit to be a mother because of phouking around before marriage.

      We were counseled, manipulated, coerced, lied to, and "advised" to give our babies to strangers, and the younger the pregnant girl, the greater was the power imbalance. There was lots of brainwashing, coercion, and manipulation involved, and many pregnant girls in the BSE were sent to sterile institutional environments, where their street clothes were removed so they couldn't run away, and many were given new false names. Many sent away did not have the emotional support of family or friends but were at the total brainwashing power of the powers at be. These powers at be had one goal in mind: secure the consent and get the baby. Many of these young women could nt even see their newborn until they signed relinquishment papers, and many signed while under duress right after delivery. Also, many were not released from these holding facilities until their fees were paid in full.

      We were rendered guilty, shamed, voiceless, opinionless, optionless, defenseless, and powerless. We were shamed because of our sexual involvement, which was a powerful tool and which was used by the adoption industry to break our spirit, our will, and our spirit. We were broken and humiliated, and the process made consent-taking much easier, like taking candy from helpless babies. Ironically, they were taking our helpless babies, and we were helpless to fight the powerful vultures who psychologically held us down and broke us down in every way possible.

      Our mental, physical, and emotional capacities were greatly diminished and broken down, and many many times, the final straw was the abusive and inhumane labor and delivery experience. Powerful hypnotic drugs were frequently used (without our consent), and we had no way to protect ourselves or our helpless babies. Some of us went into labor fully intending to keep our babies, but the powers at be had other plans, and had the power and the drugs to follow through in getting our signature and our baby. BSE was baby-snatching at its zenith.

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    3. The adoption monster even during the BSE had had years to perfect its evil vulture tactics of immobilizing the mother and removing her baby. We were no match for such a manipulative fine-tuned machine. We were drugged, helpless, and powerless.

      Many BSE adoptions were conspiratorial from the get-go, or as soon as those in power (the doctor or those saintly social workers) had an inkling that there was a single mother "in crisis". Once in the web, the single pregnant girl didn't have a snowflake's chance in hell of keeping her baby. The odds were stacked against her and her baby.

      Those we trusted betrayed us and betrayed our innocent babies in the worst, most cruel way. Our needs, wishes, desires, and intentions were trampled and disregarded. What happened during the BSE was nothing short of evil......just do a Google of the BSE and please read "The Girls Who Went Away". Then try to understand and realize that this really happened just a few short years ago. Chances are, your own flesh-and-blood mother never intended to lose her flesh-and-blood baby, but she may have been out-powered, out-manipulated, and out-maneuvered. Read up on the era and then re-evaluate your thoughts. Also, many adoptive parents indoctrinated "their-as-if-children" by telling them for years their first mother did not love or want her baby. Of course, these adoptive parents never dreamed their BSE children would be seeking their first mothers in droves. The truth is setting us free.

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    4. Supplicant:
      Please see my reply to OnlyFran below.

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    5. Thank you, Anon, for saying very well exactly what I am feeling.

      How, On God's good earth, could a woman give birth and leave a newborn in a facility, not knowing what will happen to that newborn? HOW? I can not wrap my head around it either.

      It is up to the adoptee to search, if the adoptee cares to do so. The first mother can not show up after so many years have passed, and just expect to be accepted.

      I am being told by my state that the "birth mother in the closet", who DOES NOT WANT to be contacted, is why my records are still sealed. OK. There are adoptees who do not want to be contacted as well. My mother gave me away, disappeared, and I ended up with AP's who are still driving me crazy almost 60 years later. Let me decide if I want contact with the person who put me in this position. Let the adoptee decide something, for God's sake.

      I was told when I was a young teen (by a member of my extended A-family) that "some lady had you and threw you in the garbage." And lately, that's exactly how this whole mess makes me feel. If a first mother initiates contact and is rejected, so be it. Adoptees have felt rejected all their lives.

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    6. I don't know what the odds were against her being able to do so, but I also wish your mother had found the strength to fight for you.

      But did she really " *just* walk away"? Was it as simple and callous as that? Somehow it's hard to believe.

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    7. JE, you ask how a mother could leave a new born baby in a facility. Beginning in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the medical and social work professions began promoting new methods of child care based on "science.' Mothers were told not to listen to their mothers but to the experts, mostly male physicians and childless female social workers. Doctors took over baby delivery from mid-wives, using lots of drugs and cutting tools. Mothers were discouraged from breast-feeding, parents were told not to help their children with homework because parents didn't know the proper teaching methods, mothers could only hold their babies in the hospital with the supervision of a nurse because mothers might do it wrong. etc, etc. The natural child birth movement which swept the country in the 1970's was a reaction to this over-medicalizing child birth and child-rearing. A novel of that era, "The Woman's Room" covers this.

      The white middle class believed that social workers knew more about what was best for children than a teenager dumb enough to get pregnant and her neglectful parents,

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    8. Anonymous:
      Whatever the odds were, if that is not the time to put up the fight of your life then what is?
      I don't know how else to put it, I was a newborn in the hospital. She and her parents left me there. Walk, run, drive, does it matter? However you want to put it, the end result was the youngest member of their family was left behind and they went on with their lives. Simple-no, I have never thought it was simple. Callous - perhaps on her parents part toward their relationship with their daughter and their first grandchild - definitely. It is what it is, sugarcoating things and trying to pick more delicate language really doesn't fool adoptees anymore once we come out of the fog.

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    9. Could you be any more disparaging? I am not "sugar coating"ma damn thing.
      It matters how you express yourself because words mean something.
      "She just walked away" implies that she did so with callous indifference. You don't know that, but I know it is not true of the vast majority of women who relinquish their children. It certainly doesn't reflect the experience of the first mothers who contribute to this blog, and I'll thank you to keep that in mind.

      How do you know what kind of a fight she put up? I put up a fight until there was a family conference to decide my fate and that of my unborn child, a conference from which I was excluded that included three aunts and their husbands, the social worker, my parents and two couples who were their closest friends.
      After that the machinery was in motion, I caved and was "sent away" for seven months. My son was wrested from my arms.

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    10. It is not my intention to disparage you or any of the mothers here. What you went through is unforgiveable. Truly. There is so much ignorance out there on this topic. I was told just this week by a well meaning individual how "fortunate" I was to be adopted, My response was not what she was expecting to hear, believe me. Hopefully she will think more deeply on the topic now.
      I am well aware that the mothers suffer, we adoptees suffer as well. I think the most important thing is for adoptees and first mothers to speak out so others can be educated about just what adoption really does to the human beings who have to live in it's aftermath. I truly applaud the people here and elsewhere who work so hard to bring these topics to light, because it is not easy and it is certainly not pretty a lot of the times.
      Unfortunately, I know too many facts. My mother was not much of a fighter back then, much less now. It was her parents that did this to her primarily, once they left the hospital I was never spoken of again. To their grave. I know this is not unusual, I have heard it from the mouths of many mothers from the BSE. I would love to see it galvanize her now as it does with so many of the mothers here but I don't see that happening, so I just fight double hard for the both of us against the system (the machinery as you put it). One individual at a time.

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    11. I don't know about unforgivable. The concept of forgiveness is something I have never really been able to wrap my head around. It doesn't seem necessary to me. I think understanding is much more important, and I have some understanding of where my parents' generation came from in terms of experience and influence. That's not to say I don't get angry now and again, of course. However, there but for the grace of god go all of us, and I am sure I have made and and am making my own grievous mistakes along the way.

      By the way, you don't need to tell me that adoptees suffer. I've never thought otherwise. I'm sorry your mom is a wet noodle. I'm guessing part innate, part conditioning. But nevertheless - and of course this is based on my own experience and may not be applicable to her - I find it hard to accept that she "just walked away", without a care in the world. If, as you say, she says now that she wishes things had been different then, I think you have a clue there. It may not be enough to follow upon and to develop into anything substantial, but I hope it is some consolation to you and doesn't just make you feel worse..

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    12. I have no real understanding of my grandparent's generation (who orchestrated this entire mess) other than it was a prevalent part of Society back then (some of it is still around in small pockets). To me, understanding implies a certain level of empathy or at least an ability to reach common ground on a subject and I am completely unable to understand/empathize with their views and solution to their daughter's (my mother's) pregnancy as well as a host of other views they held on things such as race, homosexuality, I can go on. I understand what the BSE was but I cannot fathom those grandparents who failed their daughters, to me it was appalling.
      Sometimes anger is justified and a necessary agent of change, sometimes people's views are just plain wrong and harmful to others. I can honestly say that I would have been thrilled had my natural grandparents welcomed me into their family in reunion but they were instead appalled that somehow the bastard child had resurfaced. Not really hard to see that one coming in retrospect I suppose. Theirs is a story of shame, deceit and self-righteous hypocrisy that never changed, evolved or grew into anything else. As I said, they carried all of this with them to their graves, that to me is one of the saddest aspects of this entire mess. For my mother, her life turned into a perpetual could have/should have/would have, not just with the adoption but many major decisions to follow. Your choice of words is ironic, I have sometimes thought "There but for the grace of God go I" as well, which of course takes on an extra complicated meaning as an adoptee, it is a double-edged sword.
      All parents make mistakes, this goes without saying but there are mistakes and then there are life-altering. multi-generational impacting decisions, these are two different beasts entirely.
      Here, I feel I have returned to my original post at the very top in which I was trying to provide a glimpse, at least in my own situation, as to what goes wrong in reunion. The sad truth is all adoptees feel abandoned at some point, some can never escape the feeling no matter what explanations are put forth, they are never sufficient to justify the severing of the mother/child bond.(It goes without saying that this does not apply to situations of child endangerment. I think that is understood). I am sorry if that hurts. In my experience, the only adoptees who deny this are the ones still lost deep in the fog. I was there once as well and I would have staunchly denied feeling abandonment issues, but they were there slumbering. It was not until reunion that the feelings of abandonment and really difficult reflections and questions began to awaken.

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    13. I was told, as a 16 year old, that keeping my baby would ruin his life.
      I was told that giving him up for adoption would secure him a fantastic life.

      There were absolutely no doubts about either.

      That's how I could leave him behind in a pre-adoption foster home.

      You think I just 'walked away'?
      You think that was easy?

      I was no different to any other mother.

      Can you POSSIBLY imagine what that does to a mother's mind to have those - and only those - two 'choices' put in front of her?
      Keep and consequently crucify your child.
      Or lose him forever and he will be happy.

      It is a form of torture. As is the lack of understanding, compassion and empathy from then on, from everyone.

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    14. Cherry you said it! Keep and murder your child by the very act of wanting and keeping and trying to raise them... or give them up so they don't die. Some choice. It's not a 'choice' at all. (and some wonder why their natural mothers are "crazy".... oh, yes, what it does to the mind.)

      They (oh sorry) the '''''''''adoption machine''''''''''' does this!!! Truth...it's NOT a machine! It was and still is human beings. It is NOT a machine... saying that, is avoiding truth and fact and diverting responsibility which will NEVER change this monstrous practice as long as others are unwilling/unable to acknowledge the fact that it is human beings that make/allow this to happen. There is a big responsibility pie....many pieces... and when ALL the ''responsibility'' (fault/blame) continues to be cast on the mothers .................. It's no wonder that the practice doesn't change and the records are not opened AS THEY SHOULD BE. When will they wake up? When will ...no, adoptees cannot get with the program. They are the one (child) split in two... as in the story of Solomon and the two whores.. the one who's baby died and tried to LIE and say the baby was her 'born to' baby..... Solomon was going to split the child in two. Which is a lesson for all --FOREVER-- that is what is done when the baby is "split between two mothers". The (hurting)want to be mother and the true loving mother who will give up/ surrender/ """""abandon''''''''''' to the arms of another to save.......her ..........child's.......life. Threaten (in whatever fashion they choose to) the child's life and welfare (tell me that is not extortion and a 'holding for ransom'/kidnapping) and a loving mother WILL ''walk away'' even though it rips her heart to shreds and destroys her. Thank God Solomon USED the **wisdom of God** (which is the point that ends the story) and placed the baby BACK in it's MOTHER'S arms where the baby belonged. For the --child's best interest-- whether she was a WHORE or not.. the child belonged with it's true mother. Stop splitting children in two and creating a lifelong (for many) sense of abandonment because you (whomever) profit off the separation. Adoption is NOT in the best interest of the child. I don't want any of your (whomever) arguments about ''oh what about the children in this situation (poverty or less than ideal) or that country that is SOOOO _____(poor, whatever) they '''MIGHT"" grow up to be a prostitute or this or that. 1). you don't know that. 2). poverty does NOT make an unhappy (feeling unloved/abandoned) childhood. Other situations can have that effect.. like, you know, adoption. Which, by the very act of adoption (the transferring of """born to"""" status) requires a child to be 'abandoned' FIRST by their true parent/s (or abandoned by those controlling the parent/s.).... does it not?!
      Does it or does it not require removing the true parent/s from the child's life? (or in many cases, removing the child from the parent/s life. Many of us had our babies ''walked away'' FROM us...by others.) See I don't think that "machine" cares though... cause hey, if you feel abandoned by them.... you'll be grateful to -these- parents. You will be 'loyal' to them. another win-win. Right? Cause the ''machine'' has calculated and processed all this information and come up with adoption is a win-win. ''Machines'' have no heart or feelings. That explains things.

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    15. @ Cindy:

      Words like 'murder' or 'die' don't reflect my experience at all and I find myself recoiling from such descriptions.

      Perhaps my use of the word 'crucify' has caused misunderstanding. I used that word to mean 'completely ruin'. As in: I believed that if I kept my son rather than give him up for adoption, I would completely ruin his life. That's what I meant.



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    16. "...Whatever the odds were, if that is not the time to put up the fight of your life then what is? I don't know how else to put it, I was a newborn in the hospital. She and her parents left me there. Walk, run, drive, does it matter? However you want to put it, the end result was the youngest member of their family was left behind and they went on with their lives."

      There are so many assumptions in these sentences. Assumptions that were not true for me nor, I believe, for many others.

      The fight is an internal one, between head and heart, and has already been lost because most mothers like myself deeply want what they believe is best for their child.

      So being repeatedly told, by those with influence, that your child will be happier being raised by better people than yourself, and that if deficient little you keeps it you will ruin his or her life means the fight is internal, between what you want and what you believe you should do.

      In my own diary at the time, when I was 16, I wrote - while he was in the pre-adoption foster home - 'I want him back! He's mine!'. I wrote about how beautiful he was, how excited I was to see him, how much I loved his smell and everything about him. I wrote about telling the social worker this. And then I wrote about how selfish it would be for me to consign him to a hopeless life with a teenage mother like me when he had such an opportunity with people who had everything ready and had planned for him. Where do you think that last sentence came from? Can you see the fight here between head and heart?

      You have assumed there was no fight but there was a terrible and unwinnable fight and it has left wounds that do not heal.

      Someone once said to me: 'It's not just the events of your life you have to deal with, it's also the story you tell yourself about those events that you have to deal with too.'
      That really struck a chord with me.

      The events I have to live with is that I lost my son to adoption when I was 16.

      The story I have long lived with and internalised, and now am working to overcome, is that I do not matter to my son and am of no consequence to him.
      I learned this from my adoption experience all those years ago.
      My son's words and actions say the exact opposite - everything he does says I matter to him greatly.

      Similarly he has a story he has to contend with, alongside the actual fact of being adopted. He was not unwanted or unworthy. He was not carelessly tossed aside. His mother, me, did not just go on with her life as if nothing had happened.

      I hope that one day the truth of our particular lives and feelings can be heard, unhindered by the well-worn narratives of adoption which, no matter what the evidence to the contrary - and this blog provides plenty - continues to obscure what really went on for us mothers.



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    17. @ Tiffany

      Thank you so much for your compassion and understanding.

      I wish so much that my son's other mother was like you. We would all be so much happier, especially my son who would not be pulled all ways and guilt-tripped to death.

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  2. Hi Jane, I'm curious as to your thoughts and advice to mothers who initiate contact and ultimately reject their adult child, who, is as normal as they are. After reading this blog for some time I feel that it is a piece of the puzzle that has not been discussed.

    I agree, if a mother wants contact, she should go for it ! But what if she is accepted? What happens next? In my case, I feel my mother placed so much emphasis on the meeting, what she would have to say and defend, and she seemed prepared for an uphill battle - she really didn't have a plan once i simply accepted her. As a matter of fact, I think that may be one reason she rejected me soon after.

    I feel that a part of my mother wishes she'd never started a relationship with me as an adult, that she'd never met me face to face, and only seen me from afar, or only met me once, and as you allude to, sends a card on occasion but otherwise is free to live in denial, where she doesn't have to deal with me. Then she could believe whatever she wanted about me, about the situation, without having to face the reality. Now that we are in our second chance at a relationship, i feel a part of her feels that still. A part of her is with me out of some obligation. A part of her is with me in order to confide in me the strange (but understandable) feelings that she has towards me as a result of the adoption and its estrangement.

    I know that she feels guilt, and a host of other negative feelings, and long history of that. I accept her but i cannot absolve her of those feelings.

    Sometimes I see her dropping all that in the moment and having a good time - but it is tough to get there and is more seldom than the rest. I thought maybe you could (?) offer some perspective on that ? I am at a loss.

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    1. Kiasa, Lorraine here.

      I don't recall all the particulars of your story so forgive me if I am asking questions that have been answered. Had she told the other members (husband, kids) of the family about you? She may have come to the meeting totally prepared to meet you once, expect anger and rejection, but not that you would have been open and loving--and thus be someone who she should proudly welcome back into her family.

      I think you presented a situation that she totally did not expect, and she was not prepared for that. Nor was she prepared for how meeting you would make her feel.

      What happens upon meeting the child--at any age--is the the old wound is scraped free, and the emotions of that time feel as fresh as they did back when. For all the years that your mother has been tamping them down, unable in most cases to talk to anyone about her feelings because we are not supposed to talk about what happened to us, we are not allowed to publicly grieve, and so those feelings, fresh as the day they happened, are overwhelming. She simply may not be able to cope.

      I know that doesn't help you much, but perhaps they will help you to understand.

      If that's not the case, I have no idea why she s

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    2. To add to what Lorraine wrote -- I think you're right that your mother did not think past the initial meeting. She saw the trail ending there and doesn't have a map to help her continue. I'm sure you mean much more to her than an obligation.

      Some thoughts: She may not have told others about you and doesn't know to begin these conversations. She may be afraid that if she is too eager, you will leave. She may not have anyone to discuss her feelings with except you and that may make her feel guilty and uncomfortable.

      Reading about adoption, joining a first mother support group, attending a CUB retreat, reading posts at First Mother Forum may be helpful. If you feel comfortable with it, suggest these to her.

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    3. Lorraine, Jane, thanks to you both and maryanne too. thinking about what you all said. many thanks <3

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    4. Kaisa ~ if not for finding other moms on the www, I probably would have had to go back into denial just to mentally survive life after reuniting with my son. If your mom hasn't found a support group or writings by other natural moms, please suggest this to your mom. I hope she finds a way to open her heart to you soon.

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    5. Thanks Susie :) as she opens up more maybe we will talk about these things, i hope :)

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    6. I don't know Kaisa but maybe she cannot believe you've just accepted her because she cannot forgive herself.

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  3. Jane thank you for posting on this subject matter, had a reunion with my son 15 years ago, reunion went great, he told me we would spend all our holidays together after his amom died, kept mentioning his am, seemed almost too protective of her, Actually the reunion went so well, that I sent a couple of gifts for the grandkids every year, and his wife seemed like she wanted more contact, started sending pics of the kids , then, bam , things started subsiding and in 2011 after 10 years of only cards, I sent him a letter telling him time was passing up by, that year he still sent a xmas card but I didnt sent one , and then in feb got my valentine card returned back, return to sender, and then saw on the internet where his wife had entered politics big time, like to tell my self that is why they cut me off, they are big time religious fanatics, I thought maybe having a 16 year old unwed mother in the background might not be good forher campaign. ran across a facebook posting last night on his adopted sister;s site where there was a pic of the a mom and dad, sister posted something about somebody elses womb brought her here, and then God placed her into the arms of (adoptive parents names) to educate her on the ways of Lord and bring her salvation and on and on , I could tell by her entry she probably had no idea she could search for her birthmom, all this was discouraging because I now figure that southern Baptist upbringing may have brainwashed him, however the sister's blog said nothing derogatory about her birthmom, ohwell, I wont give up, just emailed my son's wife about my melanomas and will continue to send a card every now and then, any feedback from any other moms who have had difficult reunions would be appreciated,

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  4. I resent what Anonymous wrote. I signed the surrender papers because I was backed into a corner and badgered by the representatives from Catholic Charities while I was ill and in a postpartum condition. I was abandoned by the man who promised to stand by me. I regret that I didn't fight for my child but I've been told "you would have lost anyway." It was more than just adversity that unwed mothers fought. If you were unwed you were consider UNFIT. No one would hire an unwed mother. No one would rent to an unwed mother. Social policies were strictly enforced. If I'd tried to place my child in foster care I would have had to pay his board. Family is defined by blood. If you choose to define it some other way because you reject those who are actually your flesh and blood, that is your right, but don't act like anyone who was single and pregnant from 1945-1973 had a CHOICE because they didn't. You don't have a clue.

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    1. It is very hard to explain what it was like back then, when it doesn't seem that long ago.

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    2. OnlyFran:
      I really wish that I didn't have a clue, it was in some ways easier before I knew the truth surrounding my relinquishment, believe me. I could at least delude myself back then with those fantasies.
      Reject those who are my flesh and blood? No, I was not the one who rejected my flesh and blood first at birth and then later in reunion.
      It is not by my choice that I have to define family means other than blood.
      I think I am very familiar with the BSE and have done my research You are the one who doesn't have a clue about my situation.
      It was not my intention to offend you or anyone else here, merely speaking my mind about the evils of adoption.
      The positive that can come from this is that adoptees and birth mothers have to do everything they can to prevent this mindset from ever taking hold again, to educate others about the lifelong consequences and destruction that adoption leaves in it's wake, the unspeakable price that is paid.

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    3. Anon: you are saying what many adoptees are thinking, as I stated earlier. And, yes, those around us are the ones who have no clue. problem is, no one wants to be educated about it . Here is the life of an adoptee, in a nutshell:

      Baby is born and relinquished. In my case, relinquished to a foster care facility. But, don't worry, the baby will find a two-parent, acceptable family. She is a blank slate. She will have a better life.

      Baby is adopted. Adoptive parents went through so much pain to get this baby....she will be OURS if it kills her. The girl who gave birth ? She doesn't matter, and the adoptee had better understand this. The adoptive parents are the only parents that matter.

      Adoptee goes to school. Endures bullying and teasing. Endures teachers who tell them not to tell such a lie as being adopted, just because your genetics homework doesn't make any sense. I was asked on many occasions why I made up such a story. Adoptive parents were never contacted. I was just called a liar.

      The state tells us our first mother wants to remain anonymous. records must remain sealed. You were issued false documents that are useless? Oh, gee, sorry, but you should be happy that you were adopted. It's a better life, don't you know? Adoptee rights? No, they don't have any.

      Adoption is glorified in the media and on the internet. Let's adopt! Celebrate "Gotcha Day" ! We can wear tee-shirts and charms that shout to the world how wonderful adoption is. All this while adoptees are speaking out, and no one is listening. No one wants to hear the truth.

      Decades go by. First mother re-surfaces, eager for a relationship. eager to explain, knowing the adoptee will be happy to see her. If it does not play out as hoped, they feel rejected. The adoptee has felt nothing but rejection since day one.

      No one is listening.

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    4. Julia Emily, this is YOUR story, your life, and it is very sad, and you have every right to be angry. It may also resonate with some other adoptees. But it is not" The Adoptee Story" for all adoptees as you have written it here. Every adopted person does not live the same life, have the same feelings, have the same reaction to being adopted. We all have our own stories, and we all should tell them from our own perspective, not as broad generalizations speaking for people we do not even know. You are not every adoptee, and your story is not every adoptee's story, no more than mine is every natural mother's story. Yes, it is true for you and valuable for you to tell it and others to hear it, but it is not the same for everyone.

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    5. Julia Emily, are you listening to the many mothers here who have told their stories and stories of others and the small amount of choice they had in the era when you were born? You have to listen to others if you want them to listen to you.

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    6. JE I have immense respect for you but your synopsis of the adoptee life does not apply to me. The points you're emphasizing aren't in my narrative at all, and instead, other issues that are much more relevant/formative are not mentioned. It's all wrong, including my awareness of the adoption media. I never heard of Gotcha Day until I came to this forum... it's horrible, but, I don't know anyone around here who is even aware of it.

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    7. Julia:
      I know many adoptees who feel as we do, it is not a truth that certain people want to face but I know that many adoptees arrive at these same exact feelings, certainly not all, but many. It is not until we are in a room together that the truth begins to come out, that we realize those feelings we carry at our innermost core are indeed shared by many others and we are not alone as we always believed we were. How can anyone know what this feels like but others who were unfortunate enough to find themselves in our situations?
      I have listened to many of my fellow adoptees, we understand deep things about one another instantly, things we have hid from the rest of the world for so long out of fear, out of shame, out of our innate sense of feeling as if something inside of us is "broken" as I heard one fellow adoptee so aptly describe. Many of us cannot connect very well in normal relationships, many of us have difficulties trusting another person. No, many people do not want to hear these things, they do not want to listen. Like you stated, no one wants to hear the truth. It is too painful. It is easier to label us as angry or ungrateful, or as Jan Louise does in her post below, just make fun of us.
      The thing referred to as "pull back", which I have seen several posts on this site refer to, seems to be another common aspect of being an adoptee that many of us arrive at, when it all just becomes too overwhelming and we cannot process anymore, we have to pull back, it is about sheer survival. I want to have a good relationship with my mother but as I stated above at the very top, we cannot heal each other's wounds. Something very fundamental was broken, a bond that was not meant to be broken was shattered into so many pieces that it will never fit together again like it was meant to.

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    8. Only Fran wrote: "...but don't act like anyone who was single and pregnant from 1945-1973 had a CHOICE because they didn't. You don't have a clue."

      Some women who surrendered during those years did have a choice, even though they were in the minority. Some chose to raise their child alone despite rampant prejudice against single mothers, and some freely chose to surrender, and did not have to be pressured. The other side of this is that pressure from the adoption industry on unwed mothers to surrender did not magically end in 1973, and still goes on today in the practice of unscrupulous adoption brokers when they get their hands on an ignorant pregnant woman in dire straits. It is wrong to say that those who surrendered after 1973 all had more choices than those who surrendered before, because many did not. There are plenty of post '73 surrendering mothers who can tell you that. The tactics may have changed, promising open adoptions that nobody intends to honor or keep, but some mothers are still victims, and some mothers do have a real choice and still decide to surrender. Others decide to abort, still others to raise the child or have family members raise the child. All that has changed is the numbers and proportions, with many more mothers raising their children now than in the past, but there was never a time when NOBODY had a choice as you assert.

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  5. seriously...I thought about leaving a link for some awful country music singer whinging that song " what about me........."

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  6. This is such a complicated and heartbreaking subject. I was a rejected mom for many years, and truly, none of us know when a reunion may turn around again, either way from good to bad or bad to good. The only comfort any of us can hold on to is that we tried to do the best we could, and tried to take into account the feelings of our found child as well as our own. Love never dies, but love should never excuse hurting the beloved either.

    Kaisa, only your mother knows why she acts as she does, but part of it may be that she had such a fantasy of you as her lost perpetual baby that she has trouble seeing you as an adult, not someone made in her image, not someone with the problems she imagined you should have as an adoptee, but just as yourself as you really are. It is easy for mothers to get caught up in the fantasy, having had nothing else to hold onto for many years, and miss the reality right in front of them. No, you cannot absolve her of her negative feelings, nor can my son absolve me, as he so wisely told me early in our relationship. She has to find her own way. You seem a very grounded and patient person, and hopefully she will come around to seeing you as you are and being grateful to know you today, rather than being stuck mourning the lost past and what might have been, but is not.

    I do not think that endless compassion and understanding is in order for those few mothers who really are stalkers, abusers, and criminals, those who will not leave their adoptees alone when explicitly asked to do so. It is not adoption that made them that way; often these women had long-standing relationship and emotional problems with others in their life, not just their found son or daughter. As to anyone, either adoptee or mother, who has requested specifically not to be contacted again, the other party has to honor that, not keep sending cards or emails or any other form of contact. Saying it again, "no means no." Even when it breaks your heart to back off, sometimes that is all you can do, out of love and respect for the person making the request. Stalking behavior of any kind towards any person, relative or not, is never motivated by real, healthy love, but by selfish, sick motives. It should not be encouraged in anyone, nor condoned.

    By the way, I would not recommend the book, "Gift Wrapped in Sorrow". Tastes vary, but I found it badly written psychobabble and not at all inspiring. Sheila Ganz' work, on the other hand, is excellent and very moving, both her films and her sculpture. Sheila is another mother whose long-term rejection turned around, and she was a mother pregnant by rape. I have the greatest respect for her talent, kindness, and courage.

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  7. @OnlyFran - great response - you wrote what I was thinking

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  8. Ugh yes. I am no longer delusional thinking I can change anything, mean anything to her, etc. but still, yes, I can relate to the sentiments here Saddens me.

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  9. Jane said in the OP:
    When I gave up my daughter Rebecca in 1966, I promised myself I would search for her when she turned 18. It made it easier to give her up. I've since learned that mothers commonly made this promise.

    Yes, I too promised my daughter (at age 18 days when signing the adoption papers) that I would find her one day!

    Jane:
    But then I'd think perhaps she needed me. Maybe she was living in a hovel, addicted to drugs, in prison, enslaved somewhere. Mostly, though, I thought that meeting her might alleviate the enduring pain of my loss.

    I was working with an adoptee in 2004 when I found out I could search the internet for my daughter. And the adoptee at work said Yes, go for it - your daughter might be looking for you. So I started my search... it took me 2 years to find a lady in California to give me her "real" name. But I could never find a current address for her. I did find one for her amom, so I wrote to her first. My daughter was now 35 years old when I started searching. My only way to contact her! So I went for it. But then I received a letter from her amom saying "What? We were given reassurance that the adoption was CLOSED! and WHY am I now searching for her?" Oops!! She told me her daughter would contact me when she was ready and I really messed up her emotions... shoot! But I did receive a letter from her asking that I stop contact with her and any member of her family. She thanked me for her adoption, and it was "meant" to be. It was in God's plan. I waited another 3 years and sent her a 10 page letter explaining how the BSE era was, about her birth, and all medical information (since she said in her first letter that she did not have any medical info). She sent me an email saying again, please no contact, I went against her wishes when she asked me the first time that she did not want contact. But she did say she loved the story about her birth and also the much needed medical information.
    Also sent pictures of me at the time of her birth and of me in 2006. I had a girlfriend up in Oregon where my bdaughter graduated from high school go to her high school and sent me her graduation picture - oh my god - she looks just like me! Maybe that's why I want so much to meet her in person - to "see" myself in someone else. By the way, I never had any other children after her.
    And I disagree with sending ANY cards now and than, since she did ask for NO contact; so I wait... She had a baby in 2009 and I thought maybe she would change her mind. But nothing so far... I still hold out hope! As that's all have right now!

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    1. Lee: I hope that you can reunite with your daughter some day, and I hope that it happens soon. But if nothing else, maybe you can reach out to your grandchild in 12 years when he or she turns 18. Maybe he or she will be shown your letter at some point down the line and will have some empathy.

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  10. I wanted to add - you are probably wondering "how" I knew she was pregnant, since I didn't have any contact. Well, at the time I was posting at the forum Adoption dot com and hadn't found this site yet! And one of the search angels there found a blog of my bdaughter's, which had pictures of her pregnant and than after birth with a TON of pictures! Oh I was grateful to have a look, and of course saved most of those pictures. Also, found her Facebook page, so have current pictures of her and her family. I know - but that's not stalking, as she doesn't know that I "look", is it??!!!

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    1. No, that's not stalking. I'm sad to hear your story. I just can't understand adopees who behave like your daughter.

      My daughter's a-mother also chanted the common refrain: "We were promised this wouldn't happen" when my daughter searched. That adoptive parents believed that a social workers' words could/should bind two people (adoptee and mother) for the rest of their lives shows considerable arrogance and ignorance about human nature..

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    2. Jane: It is amazing that Rebecca's parents saw their a-daughter as being bound by a supposed agreement that adults had made when she was an infant.

      But it is not surprising that they didn't have any regard for you. As you know, the mentality of the Baby Scoop Era was one of disregard for natural mothers at best, scorn at worst. My aunt is about the same age that you are and she knew a girl in high school who "went away." I know that back then there was often no choice. Unfortunately, most younger people today don't seem to understand what it was like during the BSE. They can't quite grasp a society in which all unmarried mothers were "whores" and the babies were better off without them.

      Here is a lovely quote from Canadian social worker Dr. Marion Hilliard:

      ”The father plays absolutely no part in this. That is part of her rehabilitation. When she renounces her child for its own good, the unwed mother has learned a lot. She has learned an important human value. She has learned to pay the price of her misdemeanor, and this alone, if punishment is needed, is punishment enough...We must go back to a primary set of values and the discipline that starts with the very small child"

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    3. "Jane: It is amazing that Rebecca's parents saw their a-daughter as being bound by a supposed agreement that adults had made when she was an infant."

      But isn't that what all parental indoctrination is? As a couple we agree to raise you a certain way, with a certain "story," in a certain faith (or whatever), and you will stay that way forever? I think this idea extends outside the BSE into many areas of parenting.

      It's like with LGBTQ youth coming out to heavily religious parents. They think God played a really mean trick on them sticking them with a gay child because it "wasn't supposed to be this way."

      Hilliard represents the ultra-punitive side of the BSE. Others ratiionalized it in softer language, claiming that this gave the young woman a chance to start over as if nothing had happened, thereby returning her lost social status. I personally think this is why some rejecting mothers have trouble with their adult children communicating with them, Their children represent the shame foisted on them; their lived lives represent escape from that shame. It takes a certain fearlessness and willingness to reject what one was told to think it through. Ultimately, though, that's your child standing in front of you. Sad.

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  11. Anon: she gave birth, and fled the country. Yes, she walked away.

    Jane: I am the first to admit that I am no fan of babies. I do not enjoy infants, I can't bond with them, I do not care to be around any child until he/she is at least 18 months old. But.... I had two of my own and I repeat: how in the world does someone give away a human
    Infant!? How? I will never understand it, no matter what the explanation. As the one who was given away, how else should I feel?

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    1. As far as your own situation is concerned, you are entitled to your feelings. But I hope you understand that not all mothers "walked away".
      In some cases our children where taken by people who "walked away" from us.
      And we had no means of stopping them.

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    2. "she gave birth, and fled the country. Yes, she walked away."

      Do you have evidence to confirm that, or is it a supposition?

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    3. It is possible that J.E's mother did not leave the country, but that the information she has is false, which sometimes happened especially in private adoptions of the black or grey market variety. I know several people who searched for years, one who even got her OBC in NY through court order, and none of the information she got including names ever led to a real person or could be verified. There were some baby sellers in the NY area who were notorious and changed everything on the OBC, so the information was worthless.Nobody knows what really happened to J.E's mother, so it is useless to suppose and make up scenarios especially if they make one miserable and vengeful.

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    4. Yes, without verification it is hard to know if JE's natural mother really left the country or not. Adoption attorneys handling private adoptions did have the leeway to say whatever they wanted. They did assume the records would be sealed for all time, after all, and that none of us would be able to find each other and learn the truth. Surprisingly, the attorney who handled my private adoption told my aps the truth about everything except my natural mother's age. He said she was a teenager when she was, in fact, in her twenties. Maybe he thought it sounded more 'reasonable' that a teen would be giving up her child. Or maybe he did it to reassure my aps that she really was freely choosing to give me up and wouldn't be coming back. I speculate that the attorney who handled JE's adoption made up the story about her first mother fleeing the country to make JE's adoptive parents feel more secure that the fm was completely out of the picture, and that JE was truly theirs, and only theirs.

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  12. I think that all adoptees that want to meet their first parents, and those first parents who lost their children to adoption should have a clearing house to make the matches when they occur. BUt there should also be recognition that some people do not want to meet their children and some children do not want to meet their parents . I do know of both sorts. And I know of some situations where after a meeting, the situation is that one side doesn't want much or anything to do with the other. Just the way it works sometimes, and I'm sorry when the feelings are not mutual. I know of three cases where the first mothers were just overwhelming to their children, and so those adoptees just wanted backing off. I also know first mothers who are in fear of being found. THey to this day want the deal they understood honored and would have had an abortion had they known how things were going to happen. THey ONLY had the baby because they were told it would be kept a secret. It's not just the adopting parents who are not happy that the promise was not kept.

    So I'm glad that there is that acknowlegement that the adopted kids are not always going to welcome the first parents

    These days, all of the ones I know who got pregnant before they wanted children aborted them, as well as a lot from my days. That seems to be the cleaner solution, and that is what I would advise with this sort of thing going on where you can now pretty much count on meeting the child given up for adoption whether you want to or not. Yes, the ones I know don't even want to mess with this.

    I think it's great when the want for a reunion is mutual between parent and child, but if not, that's just too bad that you gave up that child, pressured or not. It happened, and life has gone on. Put in your info and if the kid seeks you out, hope that there is a good outcome from the reunion.

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    1. My life is a product of an unwanted pregnancy, and the idea that i would repeat my first mother's mistake (and that of my a-mom's mother) hung like a cloud over me from the moment i had my period. When I was a teenager, abortion was THE option. (Not contraception.) I think the promotion of abortion as a solution is not a solution at all - it is more of the same misogyny and cyclic oppression - economically and culturally.

      Many young women have had abortions under horribly unsupported and secretive situations - echoing the circumstances of the girls who went away. Many have guilt and believe that misfortunes later in life are a result of their abortion choice, including the inability to conceive at a more convenient time. I support pro-choice legislation but i would never advise someone to abort a baby-in-the-making who could become a person, like me.

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    2. Kaisa, you have pretty much stated my views on abortion. I am in favor of choice, but choice that considers abortion a serious and permanent ending of a potential life, not an easy way out and certainly not the choice for everyone with an unplanned pregnancy. For some women, abortion is as painful and life-changing as surrendering a child. For others it is easier and they have no regrets. It should be done early and like surrender, be the result of informed choice, not something a woman is pressured into by others. I know a woman who had a legal abortion when in her 20s, married later, and had all sorts of complications trying to have a child, including a horrific failed attempt at in vitro. She and her husband are now resigned to not having children and devoting themselves to their animals and animal related business. They are not considering adoption. She deeply regrets the abortion.

      Women did have abortions before it was legal, even back in my father's day, and I am in my 60s! My Dad said the rich could always get and do what they wanted, abortions, booze during prohibition, drugs etc, but they imposed their laws and phony morality on the poor. Abortion was a more dangerous choice before it was legal, but many women made that choice anyhow, just as some women in the BSE did keep their children despite society's disapproval. It was not so much legal abortion that changed the amount of choice for unwed mothers, but better social programs that allowed single moms to raise their kids, and less stigma on doing so. I consider the cut-off to the BSE at 1973 and legal abortion an artificial distinction, as pressure for young mothers to surrender continues to this day, and many women after 1973 were just as much coerced into surrender as those of us who went before. The numbers may have changed, and the tactics, but the end result for many mothers did not.

      Some of us who were unwed mothers never considered abortion, and never would, legal or not. My boyfriend was a medical student, he had connections, but if he had ever suggested such a thing I would have been horrified. My unplanned child was never unwanted. I never will regret having him, he is a credit to the world, What I regret is losing him to adoption, due to post-partum depression and my inability at the time to plan or say no to what others suggested, then pressured. I would not advise anyone to have an abortion, nor to surrender the child unless that is clearly the best they can do under their own individual circumstances that are temporary, but permanent and serious. I would not advise every woman who gives birth to raise the child either. Any of these choices have to be the mother's own, not part of anyone else's agenda or what they wish they had done years ago.

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    3. Correction: that should read:"....that is clearly the best they can do under their own individual circumstances that are NOT temporary, but permanent and serious."

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    4. Cath Young, I am pro-choice, but "cleaner solution" sounds like Drano.

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    5. Maryanne wrote: 'My unplanned child was never unwanted. I never will regret having him, he is a credit to the world'.

      I feel the same about my son. I feel that both my life and the world itself are blessed by having him in it. He was never unwanted, my pregnancy was just unplanned and I did not have the support I needed to mother him myself.


      'What I regret is losing him to adoption, due to post-partum depression and my inability at the time to plan or say no to what others suggested, then pressured'.

      Again, I agree with Maryanne.

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  13. @Steve - Thank you for your understanding.

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  14. JE...
    Another adoptee here.
    Maryanne's advice about generalizations is right on target. Speak for yourself , but do not label the adoptee experience. We have heard the specifics of your story on almost every topic string.

    Cath, there already exists a clearinghouse and it is called Vital Records (which sadly most cannot access )

    Kaisa, I too struggled with the pro-life/pro- choice issue as an adoptee and hadn't heard another speak of this ever. Big impact on my coming-of-age.

    And Jane, I loved your "stranger danger" comparison. I am experiencing this with my natural father and am stunned by this lack of maturity and that image is a fit description. Mind you, have I always acted maturely and respected his wishes , but respect for him has taken a nose-dive as a result. (I never overstepped a stated boundary). My porch light is always on as the saying goes.







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  15. Ajja said:
    JE...
    Another adoptee here.
    Maryanne's advice about generalizations is right on target. Speak for yourself , but do not label the adoptee experience. We have heard the specifics of your story on almost every topic string.


    and what is wrong with that?? Let Julia Emily speak her mind! I want her to keep writing; she has another perspective on adoption that should be banned... just saying... :)

    Jane said to my post above:
    No, that's not stalking. I'm sad to hear your story. I just can't understand adopees who behave like your daughter.

    My daughter's a-mother also chanted the common refrain: "We were promised this wouldn't happen" when my daughter searched. That adoptive parents believed that a social workers' words could/should bind two people (adoptee and mother) for the rest of their lives shows considerable arrogance and ignorance about human nature..


    Oh good - about it not being stalking! LOL!
    and on the bold part:
    Yes, that is exactly what my bdaughter's amom said. I replied (I had to!) by: I never signed ANYTHING with a "no search" comments or never to contact my child in the adoption papers. They were never in the papers that I signed! I even told her I'd send her a copy of what I did sign, but she never asked for it! She had some other "nasty" comments, such as when my daughter got engaged and than married, she said there is a new "triad" for her daughter. Daughter, Amom, and new mother-in-law! Gaah!!!!!
    At least I'm thankful to the amom/adad for telling my daughter she was adopted at an early age and told of her heritage, a small Baltic country.
    But I can say I have "hope"!! And still live my life!
    And thank you again Lorraine and Jane for this site! I've learned so much from everyone that posts from their perspective! And to know that I'm not alone; I thought I was before I read "The Girls Who Went Away"!

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    1. Just to clarify, I do not think anyone here was saying that Julia Emily should not speak her mind about her own story,or that she should be banned, just that she and others should stop generalizing and applying their own story to every adoptee or every mother. We can and should each speak for ourselves, but none of us should attempt to speak for all who share our life experience. Nor should anyone continue to insult all mothers who surrendered and imply that none of us cared about our children. Some people have gone way beyond their opinion of their own mother and what she did to condemn all mothers who surrendered, even after being told repeatedly of the dire circumstances and lack of choice many of us faced. Respect and listening to the experience of others has to go both ways, which is usually does here.

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  16. As I have said... no one is listening. No one wants to hear what adoption has done to the adoptee. Now I understand fully why my adoptee cousin took her life. And unless you are the ADOPTEE, you will never understand.

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    1. I think most of the first mothers here agree that they can never fully understand the adoptee experience, just as the adoptees who comment here know that we will never fully understand the first mother experience. But I do think Anon 4:28 pm makes a good point, that if a suitable adoptee group could be found it might provide a better form of support.

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    2. I am listening. I want to hear about how turned upside down your life is by adoption. Your comments remind me every day to be a sensitive AP and HELP me be a better second mother to the 15 year old young lady in my life. I do not always understand, but you make me think. Thank you

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  17. Maybe an adoptee support group would serve you better, JE.

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  18. Julia Emily, could you explain to us what would make you feel heard and understood? People here have really tried.

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  19. Listening and understanding go both ways.
    This is a first parent forum. People who are not first/birth parents who come here and, not once, not twice, but repeatedly, say they don't understand, "can't wrap their head around" how a mother could give away her child, no matter what the circumstances, are never going to feel listened to because they don't listen. All they can hear are the voices in their own heads telling them what they want to hear, and they are never going to be convinced otherwise.

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  20. I can understand why my natural mother gave me up for adoption, although I don't like it. But intellectual understanding doesn't change the impact of being adopted at all.

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    1. Robin, what you say is exactly what I say about my daughter when I write about her understanding of what happened to us. I don't mean to turn this into a plug for hole in my ♥ but those are some of the same words I use.

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    2. I get that, Robin. although I like to think that understanding of circumstances would help, to some extent at least.

      Unfortunately it seems that some people don't have the grace to make even the effort to understand, either emotionally or intellectually. It's all about them, and their message is that anyone who relinquishes, voluntarily or involuntarily and regardless of circumstances, is some kind of monster, never to be understood and certainly never to be forgiven.

      It is beyond passive aggressive and beyond anything to do with the effects of pre-verbal trauma. In fact it is just plain bullying, barely concealed. The only thing that can be said for it is that it can't help revealing itself for what it is.

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    3. Anon 8:30 pm wrote:"I get that, Robin. although I like to think that understanding of circumstances would help, to some extent at least."

      Oh definitely it does. Perhaps my original comment didn't make that clear enough. I think intellectual understanding of how my n-mother had no choice but adoption can eliminate, or help to eliminate, the anger over being given up. But the emotional aspects of being adopted are unfortunately harder to overcome.

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    4. "The emotional aspects of being adopted are unfortunately harder to overcome."
      I am sure nobody here would disagree with that. Nobody except an idiot would expect sympathy or understanding to entirely eliminate the feelings of anger and loss that come with being given up. That is why I added "to some extent, at least".

      Like I said and you agreed, although that comment seems to have disappeared, if someone is unable to moderate their feelings so that they can't help directing their anger at people who had nothing to do with their particular situation and they don't appear to get any relief from their outpourings, they might do better to find a suitable adoptee centered forum where their free-floating rage can be heard and hopefully soothed without it hurting others

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    5. Robin, I have found your comment where you agree with me about adoptee support forums being better for those who have trouble reconciling their feelings of anger towards their mothers with their mothers' actual experiences.
      Sorry for the glitch. It was just not in the sequence that I would have expected.

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  21. Couldn't intellectual understanding help some adoptees have some sympathy for their natural mother, and not hate her, and by extension, all other natural mothers too? I understand it can't take away the hurt and the feeling of being abandoned, those are your inner feelings that nobody else including your mother can change. But the complete lack of understanding displayed by some adoptees (not you and not most) makes it seem futile to even try to explain what it was like for us as unwed mothers, and the deep regret we have for a situation we did not really want and cannot change years later. I for one am very sorry for any pain I have caused my son by surrendering him. But I can't undo it, any more than he can erase my grief over what I did. Can't intellectual understanding at least help you to see the other side, even as you still feel your anger for being surrendered?

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    1. We can only hope intellectual understanding helps but doesn't take away ... the emotional damage. All we can do is move forward. and do our best to explain, and hope for understanding as much as it can be given. I think it is harder than we otherwise realize because the loss happens pre-verbal for most and the adoptee cannot truly fathom how to express the hurt, and therefore...can't intellectualize it away. It just is.

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    2. I guess what I was talking about was more understanding, empathizing, and sympathizing rather than intellectualizing pain away. I do not think that is even possible. One can still feel pain yet understand that the other person did not mean to cause that pain, and put themselves in the other person's shoes were they in the same situation at the same time she was. That does not seem so big a stretch, and the concept that every adoptee's pain is pre-verbal is controversial, not a given fact. It is clear that being adopted is painful for many adoptees, maybe most, but whether that pain began at birth or at cognition of what being adopted means some time later is still open to question. Childhood wounds run deep, and some things cannot be forgiven, but it does not hurt to at least try, from both sides, even when it is painful. If none of us can do that, truly there is no hope of understanding or connection.

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    3. maryanne, i struggled to answer this. maybe it is mincing semantics but to me the question is like putting the orange cart before the apple horse. understanding or the lack thereof seems like a red herring to me.

      the sympathy /empathy i have for my mother and compassion for others comes from my love for my mother, and the compassion i feel for myself, and not from an intellectual understanding. i can't rationalize what happened and i don't try to, i don't think it can be explained, and, for me, it would serve no purpose.

      i don't hate my mother or any mothers... i don't feel anger about being surrendered. (i do feel pain and loss.) but i don't think understanding has anything to do with it. the reason i try to understand now is to bridge the distance between my mother and me, so that i can let her know i do understand (some) of what happened, some of the origins of her feelings towards me, and let her know it's ok.

      i do feel there is a great, great benefit from this process of sharing with mothers and adoptees that i cannot quite describe the mechanics of (yet.) i'm pleased to see that sometimes what i've said has been meaningful to someone else, too. <3

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    4. ok no offense Lorraine you know i adore you but i find no science behind the pre-verbal theory. i have memories of being small with a limited vocabulary and various things that happened to me - for instance a birthday party where i wet my pants and was embarrassed. i didn't know the words embarrassed or humiliated or surprised back then but i do now and i can look back on that day and tell you exactly what i felt.

      the pre-verbal theory irritates me because i feel that it serves to take away the verbal adoptee's voice. i have no problem verbalizing in great detail the feelings of loss and pain and on and on... hahaha :)

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    5. K--I think both things can be true--your experience with memory, and also a feeling of hollowness that can't be intellectualized or verbalized away.

      I was apparently verbal when I was a year old. Smiley face here. My father used to talk about it. I could talk before I could walk and apparently quite clearly. I think I have memories of him bringing family members to my crib and trying to get them to stump me with big words. But of course I heard about this so I may have invented the memory, which seems quite clear to me.

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    6. Lorraine, I have a cousin who was extremely verbal as a baby. it was so cool. So many stories about that. I totally believe it about you if there are stories then I'm sure it was true because those kinds of things you don't forget when you witness it. :)

      Another issue I have with the notion that adoptees cannot ever truly verbalize their emotions from that time is - what are the magical words that would satisfy this requirement? No matter how i describe my experience it is subject to 'legitimate reinterpretation' by others who know more about my experience than apparently i do. who are these people? please come forward and give me that vocabulary. If it turns out that i use the same words to describe my experience, am i still wrong?

      is it that anyone besides me and another adoptee can apparently understand our experience better than we can, maybe just by reading a book about it in school? we werent verbal - but other people who weren't even there can apparently speak for us? do first mothers feel especially insightful in this regard? are they the ones who can speak for us with authority? if not them, then who?

      if there is no one who can speak about my experience with authority, then how can anyone say that what i report is incorrect?

      if instead it is meant that adoptees can never fully process the experience because they were not verbal at the time - then am i to believe that first mothers can fully process their experience - away? since they were post-verbal? is there a first mother here who has intellectualized or verbalized their experience away? please share, i'd be fascinated to read it.

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  22. IMO, intellectual understanding is one of several key pieces necessary for a positive reunion relationship. It may be akin to the need for an adoptee to know that her mother is sorry and regrets that adoption took place.

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    1. I agree. It certainly makes a difference learning that my n-mother desperately wanted to keep me. I would not describe what she did as 'choosing' to give me up for adoption. I don't see how she had any choice when my father refused to marry her. I wish that knowledge could take away all the pain, but as other commenters have written, it doesn't.

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  23. To Anonymous, June 5, 2:52 pm:
    So, what I am understanding from you is that you are angry at your first mother as you emerge from the fog due to your awakened abandonment issues? Why aren't you angry at the adoption industry who separated you from your first mother? Have you sat face-to-face with your first mother and heard HER story?...The real story, and not the story told by your adoptive parents?

    From what I am hearing from adoptees, many "happy, grateful, well-adjusted" adoptees are emerging from the fog and either finding themselves angry at the adoption industry; or adoptees who are seeking their first parent(s) only to find a genetic link and not an emotional link while remaining loyal to their adoptive parents as the primary parents; or adoptees who find their first mothers, only to direct blame and anger on them for abandoning them as helpless babies.

    I am one of those first mothers whose parents made all the decisions regarding the fate of my baby. As a 16-year-old unwed pregnant girl and a dependent minor, I had to acquiesce to all decisions decided for me and my baby by my father. Yes, I was a "wet noodle" in that respect, as were most pregnant minors, and my only recourse would have been to run away.

    What do some adoptees NOT understand about the plight of pregnant girls still living at home under the dominance of their parents? Adoptees coming out of the fog need to direct their anger toward the adoption industry who couldn't sell our babies fast enough, and adoptees need to direct their anger toward the adoptive infertile couples who stood "in line" salivating over and coveting newborn babies with their checkbook in their hands. The industry supplying the adoptive parent demand for newborn white healthy babies are the real culprits in this travesty, along with childless couples who believed it was A-okay to buy newborn babies.

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    1. Conundrum, I'm an adoptee and i understand the plight of pregnant and merely menstruating girls living at home under the dominance of their parents very well, no problems. i personally don't have any anger towards my mother or other first mothers.

      I can tell you that as an adoptee, it is one thing to be asked by my mother to understand the circumstances, and a completely different thing to be asked to take on her struggle. Coming to terms with the physical and sociopolitical circumstances she dealt with at my birth is my first mother's struggle, not mine.

      If she is angry about the industry, or my adoptive parents, or their infertility... that is her struggle, not mine. I would thank her and other mothers not to place that on me. If she or other mothers were to insist on doing so, well then i would definitely avoid her/them.

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    2. Conundrum:
      No, I am not angry at my mother, I fully understand that she was helpless in this situation. I am angry at her parents who abandoned her and fed her to the system. Of course I hate the industry, it was deplorable then and it is deplorable now. My mother was far too young, I just wish that her parents would have stepped up and done the right thing by supporting her in her time of need. Or his parents, somebody...seriously, what was wrong with people back then? At least I would have been able to stay with my family then. But they didn't, they were going to ensure that I was a non-issue for them no matter what and they did just that, thereby abandoning their daughter and me. They were the real wet noodles. It is a two way street you know: supply and demand. Parents like them were dead set on doing anything they had to do to make the girls disappear and their babies disappear. I don't even want to think about what the other options were out there for me, I was fortunate to get placed in a good home. My adoptive parents had no information and did not try to make up any stories, they simply told me that my mother could not keep me. I can only speak for myself but I had good parents who struggled to do their best with a very difficult situation. My adoptive mother is both a natural mother and an adoptive mother, ironically, she is the one who taught me the value of family and instilled in me the tenacity to fight for the truth in all of this.
      And yes, I have sat down with my mother, honestly it is difficult to get the same story out of her twice, she lies frequently and it is very frustrating. I try to be patient but I have finally just given up on getting anything more than half truths that have to be deciphered.. More often than not, I am not even sure she realizes that she is lying. My father- that is a big question mark, I have learned that you cannot drag information out of somebody if they don't want to tell you the truth. Sad, but I think this happens more often than some would think by listening to other adoptees in support groups. Issues surrounding the father are really big and yes, I see why but you know, the proverbial buck has to stop somewhere. Or not as I have learned, it can get passed around till anybody and everybody connected to the adoption is dead and gone. I get tired of it all and just drop it at times, it takes a lot of effort to deal with all of this and sometimes I just don't want to even think about it anymore, at least for a little while.

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    3. Conundrum i've been thinking more about anger, i'm glad that you brought it up. I would be interested to read about the anger that first mothers had on the day(s) of birth and/or relinquishment. (as opposed to the anger felt about that day/time now.) Were any first mothers angry at that time? Who were you angry with?

      I can't help but wonder about Conundrum's case, in the abstract, when i see that she said her father was calling the shots. Were you angry with him at the time? Are you still angry with him? Are adoptees allowed to be angry at their first mothers' parents for their involvement in the system? I noticed that he did not appear in list of who we should be angry at. If you have worked things out and forgiven your parents, or even if they have changed and grown, can we still be angry at them?

      Was anyone angry with your child at any time during your pregnancy? I'm asking in an effort to understand, not judge. If someone was angry at their child I would appreciate hearing about that experience.

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    4. Opinions differ, it is not fair to dismiss all those adoptees who do not hate or blame adoptive parents as "in the fog". One can be quite clear-headed and come to that conclusion. The "fog" metaphor is over-used and has become a cliche that says nothing and is just a way of putting down those with a different opinion of their own lives.

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    5. You are right that "out of the fog" is a dead metaphor. Another cliche I can no longer stand is "drinking the Kool Aid". Both sound like parroting.

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    6. Anon asked, "Seriously what was wrong with people back then?"

      Maybe this will help explain the disconnect between the current era and our values around sexuality, parental authority, social status, and so forth. Just putting it out there.

      John MacArthur is an influential conservative pastor in the US who urges parents to shun their gay children. In a Rolling Stone article that exposed the consequences of this ideology, “Jackie,” a college student, describes what happened to her after she told her parents on the phone that she was gay:

      “. . . she got a call from her older brother. 'He said, 'Mom and Dad don't want to talk to you, but I'm supposed to tell you what's going to happen,' Jackie recalls. 'And he's like, 'All your cards are going to be shut off, and Mom and Dad want you to take the car and drop it off at this specific location. Your phone's going to last for this much longer. They don't want you coming to the house, and you're not to contact them. You're not going to get any money from them. Nothing. And if you don't return the car, they're going to report it stolen.' And I'm just bawling. I hung up on him because I couldn't handle it.' Her brother was so firm, so matter-of-fact, it was as if they already weren't family.”

      Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/the-forsaken-a-rising-number-of-homeless-gay-teens-are-being-cast-out-by-religious-families-20140903#ixzz3cIAlYVPH 

      Apparently, Jackie hasn't seen her family in four years.

      So what do people think of how Jackie's parents treated her? This is not unlike the treatment that many natural mothers received at the hands of their own parents during the BSE, only the parents usually orchestrated their exile and the whole society backed them up. Imagine living in this society—where basically everyone is against the idea of you keeping this child—and deciding that you are going to go about it a different way. How realistic is that? Any adult with an adult brain ought to be able to understand this and sympathize. Being adopted is no excuse unless you want to tell the world that your brain just doesn't work that hard.

      Note: In my experience, most adoptees do. Empathize deeply.

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    7. I'm thinking, cards? car? phone? seriously? oh to have the problems of affluenza !

      i do get the point you're making. i have sympathy for Jackie - for any child that their parents cut off. a lot of kids like myself grew up with domineering, and downright bullying parents so it shouldnt be a stretch for those of us to to believe that parents were that way in the BSE.

      i do think a survival instinct kicks in and makes springs bounce out of my head when i try to imagine my mother (and her family) not wanting me, even for a moment, or for her to be able to give me away. frankly the same for my father ! where the hell was he? why wasn't he there? he was there before, and he was there after... where was he day of?

      it is hard to emotionally process that someone had or has an issue with your very existence. i've decided for me there is no way to rationalize it. for me to sympathize someone taking steps to erase my existence from their presence (no matter their feelings inside) is to sympathize with a feeling that threatens my survival, my existence.

      i don't talk with my mother about these things, for her it would be a landmine. But if she were for some reason talking to me very plainly about it, these words coming from her and no one else, the one who did actually physically surrender me - i would feel a panic, a threat. a threat to my survival, my right to be. i know this for a fact because conversations approaching the topic have caused this in me and i've already examined it heavily. perhaps other adoptees also share this existential resistance.

      i do sympathize with her situation and the pressures, and i'm extremely sympathetic to the loss of a child that she suffered. and i don't see that she could have done otherwise. but in order to not betray myself, to say to myself, hey, it wouldve been ok if i hadnt existed, i can't. i cannot see ever saying anything like that to her - the closest i will come is to say, if she asks and we are talking and she is doing ok, is that i don't think adoption is the best answer. i think she would agree to that and hopefully not hear that as an accusation.

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  24. Kaisa, my comment wasn't directed to you. Since you are such a well-adjusted adoptee, I wonder why you are so active on a First Mother's Forum ?

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    1. Conundrum i thought you were addressing all adoptees, and that you had divided us into basically 3 camps. I understood that if i'm not angry i must be a well-adjusted adoptee that is simply still in the fog. I agree with Anonymous directly above when she/he says that the 'fog' is overused - i feel that angry adoptees overuse it too - i'm not in a fog just because i'm not angry.

      but that is not to say that i am "such a well-adjusted adoptee' either. I'm not well-adjusted. It is not a lightswitch. I listened to my feelings and thought it through and responded honestly and thoughtfully. If it is of no value to you then i guess that can't be helped but it has value to me, and maybe to other people here.

      Should i not be here unless i'm angry? if i must justify my presence here, it is primarily because i'm in reunion and I'm learning about her - or at least the possibilities of what might be going on with her - so that i can build a relationship with her. I guess the point i was trying to make to Maryanne's question regarding sympathy was, i'm not sympathetic because i understand the situation intellectually or otherwise; i'm trying to gain an understanding because i'm sympathetic. Everybody's different but most people need compassion from others at some point in their lives. I think it is difficult for many of us when we're in that position, needing sympathy, to believe that someone just can't be sympathetic or compassionate, but uncompassionate people are everywhere. Some are angry or damaged, some are not. Some are awful people some are not. Some understand everything about the situation but just are not sympathetic.

      I think i've also mentioned that i find a great benefit to myself personally in the things that i learn here. maybe some day i will be well-adjusted but after almost 50 years i just take it day by day and don't worry about the future.

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    2. Kaisa, I love the way you think.

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  25. Kaisa, I agree! What happened to me is my struggle, not my son's and I do not expect him to see things the way I did. He is more like you than some adoptees who are very angry, feel traumatized, see adoption as a huge thing in their lives. Yes, he has had problems, but the problems do not define him. It has been a huge thing in mine but not in his, and he has no interest in adoption reform, which is absolutely his right.

    You seem like a person who has a great deal of empathy and sensitivity to others including your natural mother. It was not those like you that I was addressing in my comment, but those who refuse to see how any mother could give up a child under any circumstances and condemn all of us who did. That is not you, and nothing you have expressed sounds like that.

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  26. To Anon, June 5, 2:52 PM,
    You say "I cannot fathom those grandparents who failed their daughters, to me it was appalling". Of course it's appalling. People like your grandparents would have found our value system appalling. Change is what they sought to resist, because they believed theirs were the only values that were right. They weren't, certainly not when it came to attitudes towards sexuality. Much of their value system was governed by prejudice and bigotry and relied upon fear to make it work. They were wrong and we know that now. Unfortunately the evil that they did in their unswerving belief that they were right lives after them in the form of suffering.

    Of course sometimes anger is justified and I very much sympathize with your feelings of anger towards your grandparents. However, unless your mother has shown a lack of empathy towards you on reunion, I am less sympathetic with your attitude to her, whatever you perceive her personality flaws to be. She sounds like a mess. Maybe she is one. But her problems are her problems and not yours. Even if she's dithery and passive and isn't galvanized into indignation like some of the mothers here, she deserves more consideration than contempt.

    "I am sorry if that hurts." Never having thought otherwise it doesn't hurt me at all to hear that adoptees experience feelings of abandonment and loss at some point in their lives. In fact it would seem unusual if they didn't. In the same way, mothers who lose a child to adoption, unless their emotions are somehow deadened by mental illness or addiction, experience feelings of loss, turmoil, conflict, guilt and grief. Reunion for both parties intensifies their emotions because it makes the losses tangible. There are real live flesh and blood complicated people right there, and that means a lot can go wrong. Sometimes simple love and acceptance can help, especially if it goes both ways.


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    1. To Kaisa about anger: you ask some hard questions. Who was I angry at when I surrendered? Most profoundly and deeply I was angry at myself for failing my child. I felt I was lower than dirt, getting what I deserved, and that my poor child was being rescued from me who did not deserve him. I honestly believed he was going to a better family and was shocked to learn some years later that he did not. I was not angry at the adoptive parents because I knew nothing about them and had no hand in deciding who got my child. It was just the luck of the draw. No thoughts at all about infertility, it turned out they already had an older biological child so that was not an issue. My son once said he had no idea why they adopted him.

      I was angry at society for not supporting me, somewhere I have a scap of paper I was writing on while waiting to sign the surrender, and I remember the phrase "I hate you society..." was part of it. I was angry at the agency that was supposed to help me but did not, and at the social worker who never saw me as a human being, just another statistic to process through the mill. I was angry with the incompetent medical professionals I dealt with from the clinic and after, and at the Catholic church I had been raised in. I was angry with God, if there was one which I was not sure at that point.

      I was angry, furious, and brokenhearted at Michael's father for abandoning me and his son for another skanky woman. Her I wanted to kill, she knew I was pregnant and took my man anyhow. Reference the song "Jolene" by Dolly Parton. I was angry at my mother for not rescuing me and her grandchild, but could not be really angry at my father, because when I signed those papers was the only time I ever saw him cry. I was angry at the completely senile grandmother my parents were taking care for continuing to live a life that was a living death, and taking my parents attention away from me and my child. I eventually forgave my mother because she always supported finding Michael, as did my father, and they were proud of my work in adoption reform. My father saved everything about Michael, including my surrender paper which I did not know he had, and found years later. He also included Michael's birth among the family births and deaths.

      Never, ever, not for a second was I angry at my baby, before or after his birth, not even when he did not want to know me years later. I always felt he had his reasons whether I understood them or not. I really can't be angry at him no matter what. I have forgiven his father, sort of, because he finally came around and contacted our son and they now have a small email connection. In some ways I never got over him, and he has had a lousy life as far as relationships go, while I have been married to same guy for years and have great kids. His only other child is estranged from him.Life goes on, for all of us, but still impacted by the tragedies of years ago. Anger can be a poison if you feed it and hang on to it.

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  27. Rereading these comments, I think the battle between intellectual understanding and emotional acceptance is the key to why so many reunions are problematic. From what I'm gathering, many first mothers expect, or at least hope, that their relinquished child will understand the pressure they were under, and that understanding will lead the way to forgiveness and a positive reunion. But I think the soul damage, the heart damage, etc. (and I realize not everyone feels this way) that adoption causes many of us adoptees makes it very unlikely that even understanding the thinking of the times or acknowledging the powerless of the expectant mother will ever be enough. Some adoptees will be angry with their mother, and first mothers in general, no matter how much understanding they have. Other adoptees may have sympathy and it may lessen the pain somewhat (as it did for me) but the pain still runs too deep to be overcome. It's kind of like Humpty Dumpty. All the King's horses and all the King's men (aka all the intellectual understanding in the world) can't put mother and child back together again.

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    1. I agree Robin. The pain is separate from forgiveness and from anger. I took the long way around but that is what i was trying to say, too. I can see that first mothers would want to focus on adoptee anger, that it would be hurtful to know that some or even many adoptees cannot understand the situation in such a way as to alleviate their anger - but that is separate from alleviating the pain we feel and farrrrrr from leaving us well-adjusted. I'm functioning within normal parameters, but i'm not well-adjusted !

      In my case, I would say some of my pain comes from the unacknowledged and unresolved anger that i believe my first mother and my aparents have towards me. (I'm not sure if my father has it but it doesn't seem like it.) Honestly i feel that some of the passive aggressive comments - and some less passive than others - that i have seen first mothers make here may come from an anger towards their surrendered child, too. Actually I would really like to hear a first mother share about that candidly if they care too if that is something that they feel.

      I'm not saying that all first mothers are angry at their surrendered kids. I'm not saying that all mothers here are passive aggressive. To those that are - this is your safe haven and i appreciate that. I'm not judging. And I definitely see that adoptees make passive aggressive comments too, myself included. But I am personally interested in this issue of anger if anyone has anything to say.

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    2. Just taking a stab at this concept of mothers angry at their children, because it is not how I feel, but I also have observed that the way some women talk about their children, unjustified anger at the adoptee does come across as an underlying theme. There is a lot of passive/aggressive stuff in reunions, coming from both sides and it makes it all so much more difficult, especially when both are afraid to say what they really feel for fear of alienating the other.

      If an adoptee is behaving badly towards the mother with no provocation, anger is justified, as in any relationship. Some mothers have found sons and daughters who are horrible people, cruel and vindictive and sometimes even criminal.Some adoptees have found parents like that too. Anger at the adoptee in those cases is understandable and probably a healthy reaction to abuse.

      But there is another kind of generalized anger at the adoptee for being who they are, not for anything they have done wrong, that is the issue, and I believe there are some mothers who feel that way, whether they even know it or not, and it comes out in passive/aggressive behavior.I think what they are really angry at is the event of the pregnancy that ruined their lives, and they displace that anger on to the adoptee, especially if they had expected the adoptee to heal their pain, or they are disappointed in how the adoptee turned out, not as they imagined. I would think it would be very difficult for any mother to admit this, especially to herself, given that we are all supposed to have these instinctive perfect mother hormonal connections that conquer all. Some mothers really did not want that child, really did not want to be pregnant by that man, really wish they could have gotten an abortion. Some mothers were relieved to surrender the child and try to go on with their life plan. That is not meant to condemn any mothers who felt that way. All our circumstances and life expectations and capabilities were so different, and all of us were in a very hard place as unwed pregnant mothers. I just think it must be harder for those who really never wanted their child or expected their found child to be a clone of themselves and that did not happen would find it that much harder to relate to the adult adoptee, and resentment could fester into anger at the adoptee just for existing and not being their savior after years of pain. Some of it could be self-loathing turned outwards. As I said, just a guess, I do not really know, but do see this as a real issue to discuss.

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    3. Maryanne, it is not how I feel either :) and never did. My son was always welcome, from the time I knew I was pregnant, even before I knew he was a he! He was not surrendered because I didn't want him. He was surrendered because my family didn't want me to be a mother, as in the eyes of society at that time it would have called their parenting into question. My "lapse" would have reflected on them, and they would have ever after been suspected of a certain weakness or lack of moral fibre, and all the family members would have been tainted with the idea of 'bad blood'.

      I think you are right too that some mothers displace their anger at the 'inconvenient" pregnancy that derailed their lives onto their child.
      It must be very hard to feel you were wished out of existence by your own mother before you were even born. I also think Kaisa has expressed herself very well about the existential aspect of being given up for adoption, using fresh language devoid of cliche.

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    4. Anon 4:48 pm wrote:"It must be very hard to feel you were wished out of existence by your own mother before you were even born."

      I was very much wished out of existence by my natural father before I was born and it is very hard. Although it would have been even worse had it been my mother.

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    5. Another factor in anger at the adoptee from the mother could be jealousy of the adoptive parents, and feeling that the adoptee, who is stuck in the middle, is choosing them over the natural mother. This can come from the adoptive parents side too, if they demand loyalty and the adoptee does not comply. Either parent trying to be the one REAL parent puts a lot of pressure on the adoptee to "choose my side" and when the poor adoptee does not, anger can result, making a bad situation worse. Jealousy is never a good thing.

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  28. anonymous@8:30 - Your points are excellent; the pain of relinquishment is enough and first mothers deserve compassion and understanding - nothing less. Those who make us out to be monsters or, in some cases "momsters" (and yes, I do know of one mother who was actually called that) are bullies.

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  29. Robin, you said "many" mothers, and you are right. But further to your point, not all mothers expect as a matter of course that their reunited children's understanding of the pressures they were under will lead the way to forgiveness and a positive reunion. Maybe they hope they can develop a respectful, eventually even loving relationship, but there's nothing wrong with hope, surely, so long as it is realistic and not founded on romantic fantasies that can't be fulfilled.

    @Conundrum. Kaisa has never claimed to be "a well adjusted adoptee", and even if she had (which she hasn't) she has the right to her opinions. She has already explained why she reads and comments on this forum so I don't get your point.


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  30. How about not looking at it as putting mother and child back together again which I agree is not possible after so much heartache and so many years, but as two related adults getting to know each other and becoming friends. That is what I feel has happened in my reunion, and it is enough for me. I never thought I would have anything at all, and for many years, I did not. Unlike Jane and some mothers, I did not vow to find my child someday when I surrendered. I had no concept of any future and fully expected to be dead long before my child grew up. I believed I would never see him again. I am eternally grateful that did not turn out to be true.

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    1. Maryanne, i am really happy for you ! and your son. you seem really cool ! I'm glad you're here to share that experience with us so we can learn from it, too and i value your insightful comments on what everyone else is sharing, too. :)

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  31. Thanks Kaisa! I have only sons, but would be proud to have a daughter like you.

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    1. thanks maryanne!! :) <3 xoxox :)

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  32. Here is another thought to be thrown out there..... I would die for my children. I was told that as a single young mother if I keep my son there was a high chance that my son would be destroyed, become criminal, and or delinquent. This in my mind at the time was very similar to me giving up my life for his. They used my love for my son against me and him.

    This is the adoption propaganda. Happened in the late 90's and is still happening currently.

    I know better now. Seriously, I am not fooled by predictions anymore, that are driven by religious, political or other evil motivations. Now, instead of, "I would die for my children", it is "I will die WITH my children" before ever departing from them again.

    I am not being stoic or dramatic. I will not be fooled again, and I for damned sure will help other women from falling prey to the very same. It is very similar to fighting big tobacco. A lot of money to be lost if you fight for the rights of the natural family and adoptee equality.

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  33. "I will die WITH my children" is a scary statement. Lots of distraught mentally disturbed parents who felt that way carried through with the threat, usually in contentious divorce cases. The other part of that idea is "if I can't have my children, nobody can", and "if they are not with me, we are all better off dead." Murder/suicide is never a good solution. Watch your metaphors, this one is really ugly.

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  34. Married to a BirthmotherJune 14, 2015 at 1:19 PM

    Most excellent forum. I have been reading for hours in the hope of finding out who the hell I am married to. My wife of 46 years VOLUNTEERED to give up her two year old son to marry me. Being 22 and knowing everything, she was able to trap me into marriage. She has never shed a single tear in the time I have known her. The emotional damage is truly horrendous. Is this Lady a b-i-t-c-h? ABSOLUTELY NOT. She is a great homemaker, good with money, hard worker, still fits into her wedding dress but simply has zero emotion. If she is asleep when I come to bed she will turn her back toward me without waking. I ache inside every day and even after all these years I fantasize that she will fall in love with me.

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    1. "My wife of 46 years VOLUNTEERED to give up her two year old son to marry me."
      And you accepted that? Would you have married her otherwise, or was it a condition you put on her? Like you couldn't/wouldn't have married her and raised her son as your own, which would have been the loving thing to do?
      Either way, it sounds like you have both made your own beds.

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    2. I accepted it only due to my own ignorance of the damage it would do to her mind. The big red flag that I drove right by was calling my Sisters home (where she was staying) the day of the relinquishment and asking if she was OK. The answer was "Yes, we're chatting and doing the dishes". Very, very, sad. When I made the reunion happen 35 years later her son was beside himself crying uncontrollably, I hugged and comforted him while stood by without a tear in her eye. Lovely Lady, no emotions of any kind. I still love her and I can tell she loves me by the housekeeping, gardening, hard work, great cooking. Her mother who is 89 has the same total lack of emotion. Sad, very sad!

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  35. I am really sorry for your wife's lack of emotional warmth, especially towards you, but having a hard time understanding what went on here.
    Did you reassure her, at the time, that you would accept her son as if he was your own, because he was part of her and you loved her, and that you wanted to include him too - for that reason? Did you reassure her that you wanted to marry her anyway? Did you initiate and follow up on the search for her son with her explicit consent?

    It is possible that your wife's lack of emotional expressiveness has nothing to do do with lack of feeling, but more a temperamental thing. Like she is reserved and scared away by overt expressions of emotion. Not everyone is gushy, and not everyone who is gushy is sincere and honest. Life may have made her sceptical.


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  36. Adoptee here. Got my OBC when Illinois decided to give adoptees a copy of their original birth certificate. That's when I found this forum which has been the best source of info I have been able to find even though I am an adoptee and not a first mother. My FM was 16 when she had me. She spent months in an unwed mothers home where she gave birth to me all alone. I spoke to her once and she was gracious enough to give me some medical and genealogical information. Although she refuses to give me any info about my father, I am grateful for the information that she did provide. In a few subsequent email contacts she told me that she told my grandmother that she heard from me, and that I am well. She also told me that other than her parents and her husband, no one knows of my existence. I offered to travel to meet her and she denied me because she fears that her adult daughter would find out that she has been effectively lying to her for all of these years. I respect her wishes and have not contacted my half sister although I have all the information necessary to do so. Yet, she refuses to tell me anything about my father even though this could provide my children and me with a more complete medical history. I feel that I have proven that I respect her need to "protect" her family, but she cannot do the same for me. I have done my research... Believe me. I know there a many possible reasons for her to react this way, but it doesn't make it any less painful for me. I suppose I just wait and hope that she comes around...What else can I do? Rejection goes both ways, as you know.

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    1. Stories like yours make me totally crazy because it is soooo unfair to you. Who is she protecting? Only herself from the embarrassment of lying by omission. Blogger Jane had to tell her adult daughters about her first daughter, but they got over it and met their sister. Although this is controversial, you do have the right to contact your sister if you are ready to withstand a possible rejection.

      You might say..Is this a good time to talk. Gulp. Please understand I am not doing this to hurt anyone, or our mother but...I was born in X on X date to Name...She is afraid to tell you but I hope you can understand that I...really would like to know someone who is related to me...or something like that.I really would like to know you...I am a teacher, student, mother, bank president, etc. and indicate that you mean no harm, but simply want a family connection and that your life has been empty without knowing someone who is like you. Obviously you have met your joint mother and I would stress that she is afraid of telling her, your sister, but hope that she understands her fears and that you are taking a chance because you hope to know her. I would actually write out a script beforehand--or an outline--so it doesn't sound canned but so that you get all the points and reassurances in. This ain't going to be easy, but sometimes simply waiting is not enough.

      There is no one way to get the information out. While many suggest letters, the anxiety of wondering if the letter got there, when it will be answered, what will happen...it seems to me outweighs the reasons to distance oneself via a letter.

      As for the father issue--it is highly likely she does not know who the father is and is embarrassed to tell you, or it is a family member and the same applies.

      Gosh, I know you are in a predicament, and moving forward will take some courage. Whether you do anything depends on your willingness to take a chance.

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    2. As a mother who told no one except my husband about my lost daughter until she contacted me when she was 31, I can relate to your natural mother. She is likely totally isolated; perhaps she doesn't know any other natural mother (or doesn't think she knows any). She may never have read a book on adoption and has little idea of why you searched for her or why knowing your father is important. She may be angry at him; she may think you are being disloyal to her in wanting to know your father. She may feel that keeping you a secret is necessary to protect her raised daughter and their respectable middle class life style.

      In other words, your mother may be where she was at 16. She still believes what she was told then.

      I suggest you try to help your mother learn about adoption. When my lost duaghter contacted me, she gave me the name and email address of a natural mother she met online. That was a life saver! I emailed the mother, Judy, in Vermont. She told me about the upcoming American Adoption Congress annual conference in Seattle and sent me a list of memoirs by natural mothers and adoptees (which included Lorraine's book, Birthmark.) Living in Salem, Oregon, I had never known of any of this. I went to the AAC conference and met a woman from Oregon who told me about a Portland support group. I also learned about CUB

      Email your mother, tell her about FMF. Give her the AAC and CUB websites. Tell her about adoption books that you have found helpful . Through CUB, she may be able to find an email buddy to share her story with. Once your mother learns she is not alone and that telling her daughter about you will not destroy her, your mother may be ready to meet you and tell you who your father is.

      Let us know what happens.

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    3. I was just going to suggest the same things Jane did. Finding other mothers after being reunited with my son saved my sanity and probably our reunion also. Good luck, I hope your mom opens her heart to you!

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  37. Thank you for the advice. I do plan to contact my sister eventually. My FM said she is waiting until her daughter finishes grad school to tell her. For now I will respect her timeline, but I will contact her on my own if she continues to put me off. I know there are many possibilities about my father but several pieces of info I've gathered make me believe that she knows exactly who he is. She just won't tell me. It is quite frustrating, but I am navigating my way through. Thanks again!

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