' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Adoption may cost us our grandchildren

Monday, August 24, 2015

Adoption may cost us our grandchildren

Jane
I am at a small resort near Bend, Oregon with my husband Jay and my youngest grandchild, ten year old Katie. I've known Katie all her life; she's the daughter of one of my raised daughters. Never any question but that she would be in my life.

Not so with the four children of my daughter, Rebecca, lost to adoption. Their mother had another mother who they knew as Grandma. I was fortunate that Rebecca introduced me to her children when we first reunited. I didn't claim the title Grandma lest I be accused of usurping a position I was not entitled to; I signed birthday cards "Jane." I cringed when strangers, seeing us together, referred to the children as my grandchildren, fearful the children would be upset. Still I developed relationships that continue.

Lorraine too has a relationship with the daughter of her lost daughter. She is off this week visiting her granddaughter in Michigan. Other natural mother aren't so lucky.



Their reunited sons and daughters refuse to let them meet their children or, if they meet, refuse to tell their children of the connection, concerned that the children would spill the beans about the reunion to the adoptive parents. If our lost child should die or divorce, we may have no recourse to continue a relationship with our natural grandchildren. "Legal" grandparents, on the other hand,  may have the right under state laws to require their in-laws to allow visitation.

Parents whose child gives up or loses a child to adoption may also lose their ability to know their grandchild. Even if the adoption is "open," grandparents may not be included in visits or allowed to receive or send pictures and cards. Parents who force their daughter to give up a baby or their son to agree to adoption may suffer especially hard from not knowing their grandchild and knowing they were responsible for the loss.

Adoption is never a one-time thing. It lasts not only for our lifetimes but for generations to come. something young women may not consider when "making their adoption plans."

I must go now. Katie and her grandfather are going to try paddle-boarding on the Deschutes River. While I watch them, I'll be thankful for all my grandchildren.--jane
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Hole In My Heart: memoir and report from the fault lines of adoption
by Lorraine Dusky
"In this brilliantly crafted and compelling memoir, Dusky covers all perspectives: her own grief and pain as a first mother, her daughter's anger and longing, and the adoptive parents' fears...I was equally astounded by her ability to flawlessly weave in facts about adoption practices over the years, the impact of adoption on both adoptees and birth mothers, and the lack of progress to unseal records."--Denise Roessle, author of Second-Chance Mother, Adoption Today Magazine

87 comments :

  1. For any adoptive parents reading, this, "If our lost child should die or divorce, we may have no recourse to continue a relationship with our natural grandchildren", is something that should be considered when making a will. On top of discussing our wishes with our listed guardians, we have put it in the will that contact will be maintained between our daughter who is adopted and her other parents. I have also included all pertinent contact info in our folders, emailed it to my mother-in-law, and emailed the respective info to my daughter's other mom. These matters of ensuring an open adoption remains as defined even if the adoptive parents pass is a matter that should be just as important as ensuring financial and guardianship issues for children.

    I share this because both parents dying and leaving their children behind is something that no one wants to think about, and it's a stressful situation creating a will and trust. Our lawyer asked us a lot of questions that never occurred to us when creating the will, but she never asked about the adoption issue, and I doubt any would. It's something that is very important to consider.

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  2. One of the hardest days after reuniting with my son was the day his daughter was born, seven months into reunion. That night the reality of just how much I lost hit me like a brick. I have been lucky enough to meet them, I do get to be called "Grandma Susie", but I don't know if they have been told my true role in their lives. It's been two years since I've seen them, they are now 8 and 6, so I'm not even sure if they really remember meeting me at all or if I'm just that Grandma who sends cards for every holiday as well as Christmas and birthday presents.

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  3. I am a birthmother (a label I hate) The repercussions to giving my son up for adoption are life long and very painful. Although there was a short period of time that I had contact with my grandchildren that too was lost and partially my fault due to a break in my relationship with my son. The choices made for me along with my own mistakes will haunt me forever So I can totally relate to this blog about lost grandchildren

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    1. I hate "birthmother" too. We use it at the blog because of the damn SEO and for newbies to find us, the damn word needs to be used...But we are committed to using natural mother as often and as early as we can. If you must use it, at least in writing I think it is less offensive as two words. Afterall, adoptiveparents are not written as one word. We don't have to accept the label that others gave us to be less offensive to them. The thinking was, is we are "natural mothers" (which we are) they are unnatural. Which they also are. That doesn't mean that they are also not "real parents." They are.
      So are we natural mothers.

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  4. Good article, Jane! I was already in reunion contact when my 2 grandchildren were born and was able to visit at least yearly from my home in Arizona to their home in Michigan.
    My husband and I even got to take their family of 4 to Disney World for a week in 2008.
    But since our 22 year reunion has gone kaput.....I have lost my contact with the grandchildren too. I have no idea how much they are aware of the reasons I have not come to visit them since 2013. I continue to send Birthday cards and $ and Christmas $ to them.
    I suppose they think I just don't want to see them anymore. They are 14 and 11 now. Maybe as they age, if I am still alive, we can have our relationship outside of their parents.

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  5. I am in the unique position of just becoming a grandma to the two kids my surrendered son and his wife are adopting from foster care. I recently met my grandkids for the first time, and it was a wonderful experience. They are my first grandchildren, so this is all new to me, and long-awaited. The adoptive mother is long-dead and my son had not communicated with her for years anyhow, so there is no rivalry of that sort. My daughter in law introduced me as their other grandma (her mom is alive and well) and the kids were fine with that and called me grandma right away. I would have been fine with whatever they wanted to call me. I feel that is up to their parents. My son just recently started calling me "Ma" and introducing me to everyone as his mother, but I was fine with his calling me by my first name. It is not the name that counts but the relationship. We all met this weekend at a demonstration against the Penn East Pipeline that my son is very active in opposing. The march ended at a little park and the kids, boy 7 and girl 3, had a great time playing on the swings and other stuff there. My granddaughter was on the swings, and called me over to push her some more. I heard a little voice call "grandma" and it took a moment to realize that was me!:-) I am still amazed and delighted to have a relationship with my son after so many years, so the grandchildren are just an added blessing. As the tee shirt says,
    life is good".

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    1. " I heard a little voice call "grandma" and it took a moment to realize that was me!:-)"

      That comment melted my heart. Thanks for sharing your story.

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    2. congrats lorraine

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    3. Thanks, Kaisa. Great visit--I'm about to write about the people I met. Next blog.

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  6. I'm very glad this subject is being highlighted. I'm an adoptee with young children in a tenuous 3-year reunion. My amom does not know I've reunited. I would be more open to more contact between bmom and my kids but she, herself keeps me at arms length, I believe not out of uncaring, but out of pain.

    The hardest thing for me as an adoptee is having my ancestry eradicated. I will never be present on my natural family's trees and I've passed that on to my kids. It's awful and I ultimately feel responsible toward this being a reality for my children. Even in a successful reunion, you are legally, permanently not of your own. Girls/women considering adoption need to fully consider that; that's what I struggle to forgive.

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    1. It's sad that your birthfamily do not include you, you have a biological right to be included in their family records. My bdaughter was embraced by my family and included in all family records with her ancestry info readily available to her. She, however, believes that her 'lineage' is that of her adoptive family! Disappointing to say the least, as I feel it can only enrich her life along with that of her three children......Talk about denial!

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    2. Hope--One can hope that your daughter comes to reality and sees that while she will always be connected to her adoptive family, her lineage is not theirs and theirs is not hers. Fog of adoption....do what you can but don't press the issue. Let her come to it on her own.

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    3. I'm an adoptee. Why must I pick one lineage or another? I want it all. I have two family trees, and I have dozens of great stories from both trees. If I abandon one family tree, then I have to abandon my connection to the stories. The tenacious pioneers of the 19th century, the trendsetters of the 20th. I'm not giving it up just because Lorraine says I can't have their lineage. They are ALL my lineage.

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    4. As an adoptee, I agree with yeah right. Unless you're battling for a royal throne, lineage is more than DNA. It's not "adoption fog" that has me feeling disconnected from whatever comes from my biological family. I can see personality traits in myself that are a reflection of my real family, the defectors from Russia who fight against injustice, the farmers from Ireland who didn't give up on their dreams and fought for them no matter what. I have been a very lucky adoptee, when I was told stories of my grandparents and great grandparents (and so on) I was never made to feel that this wasn't my family because I happened to be surrendered from another group of people. Some day I may want to hear about my biological family, I will never discount that. But that doesn't make my family any less my family any more than happening to come out of another woman's uterus makes her family my "real" family. Blunt? Yes. But this post struck a chord as many of you know. My biological mother, in her berating of me, did threaten to stalk any future children I may have. While I know she doesn't represent every other first/biological/birth mother, she represents mine unfortunately.

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    5. Mashka-- as a mother who relinquished your comment makes me even more afraid to search. If I'm just a uterus, you're nothing but some blob that came out. It's hard to put berating you with stalking your children. Sounds like she wants a connection but you are rejecting.

      If I ever find my daughter, I hope she would feel connected to her family but also know that she carries the blood of mine.

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    6. A quick gripe. The term "adoption fog" is used far too often to dismiss first mothers and adoptees whose feelings and opinions don't sufficiently conform to the corresponding certainties of the true believers. Like "in denial" it's a way of pulling the rug out from under the feet of those who dare to differ. It is like saying any argument they have, no matter how relevant to their own experience, is without foundation, so it can be disregarded.

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    7. Mama Bear, I have been berated to by my first mother for not seeing things her way when it comes to having a mystical genetic connection, adoption activism, religion, etc. I am a disappointment to her because I don't focus enough on the fact that I'm an adoptee in reunion. I have a bigger life I'm not willing to scale back in order to make Adoption the ruling factor. And she resents that. Maybe everything is about adoption for my birth mother, but it isn't for me. I can totally see how a birth mother could be both a berater and a stalker of grandchildren. I want a connection, but she repeatedly rejects me because it's not the connection she envisions - it's never enough. Mashka's comment makes total sense.

      Mashka, thanks for the affirmation. The truth is, no one can be sure their lineage is genetically correct. Families keep all kinds of secrets. There may be people on the family tree who were discreetly adopted or people fathered by someone other than a husband. Or a 1st wife dies in childbirth and the child is recorded in census records as belonging to the 2nd wife. In my genealogy research I've found records of illegitimate children as far back as the early 1800's. I am sure there were more illegitimate kids I don't know about. Our "lineage" is never just about genetics. The data is too flawed for genetic accuracy.

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    8. Mashka and Yeah Right, I respect your feelings as adoptees that you have two family trees and two streams of heritage. I think that is for you to decide, not for either set of parents. Blood is important, but so are the stories and legacy of the family that raised you, going back to the ancestors.

      As you know from reading here, I am now also an adoptive grandma as well as a reunited birthmother,, so I am seeing the other side of adoption now first hand. My son has always honored his adoptive father's German heritage, and even though his adoptive mother was terrible, her Irish heritage as well. As he said one St. Patrick's Day, he gets to celebrate for both sides, as his biological heritage is Irish, Polish, and Hungarian on his father's side. On another occasion he attributed his very fair complexion and need for sunscreen to his Polish, Irish and Hungarian roots, so he is well aware of both. He also had some questions on men in the family losing their hair, he still has plenty, like my Dad.

      My grandchildren will have a mixed heritage as well, African American and various European groups from their adoptive parents. I hope they will want to hear and honor all the stories, especially of my parents who were not prejudiced in an age when many people were. They would be thrilled to welcome these great-grandkids and if there is a heaven are looking down on them and smiling. As are their African ancestors, who suffered so much and are still suffering in this generation from racism,poverty, and all the ills those bring that led to them being in foster care for years. Adoptees should not have to choose which family to honour, but ideally will be supported and welcomed by both.

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    9. "Yeah right", your views are very similar to those of my found son, who told me that being adopted was never a big thing for him, although he realizes that for some adoptees it is. Being adopted is not how he defines himself, nor a big part of his life, and he said he did not know if he would have searched for me had I not found him. I was fine with that. We are both skeptical of the "mystical connection" stuff and neither of us believe in Primal Wound as a universal condition of all adoptees. Difference between me and your birth mother is that I would never expect my son to feel as I do, get involved in adoption reform, and certainly would never berate him for anything.Far from being a disappointment, he is a source of pride that he is his own man and has such a great life despite early challenges. He certainly does not need me to tell him what he should think or feel.

      There has to be respect from both sides, and acceptance. My son is fine with what I do; he even introduced me to some environmental activist friends at a demonstration with "this is my mom, she is an old-time activist!" I have gotten involved in his cause because I also believe in protecting the environment, but I do not expect him to get into adoption reform activism because it is not a primary issue for him as it is for me.

      My son is not like my adoptee friends in adoption reform. I was wrong years ago in expecting him to feel as they do about being adopted. But I was able to listen to him and learn and get rid of expectations and deal with the real person I found, not with some composite fantasy of "an adoptee".That helped a great deal in furthering a real, loving and respectful relationship. I think any mother who searches has to be open-minded to finding someone who does not have all the adoption issues those in adoption reform have, and not try to force their adult child into a mold that does not fit.

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  7. I just finished visiting my granddaughter "Britt" in Michigan where she will be student teaching this fall and had a wonderful time with her--meeting her friends, her professor at school, the teacher she will be working with. She read Hole In My Heart and it opened a whole new great relationship with her. --I was a little frightened when I knew she was reading the book but it immediately was a plus.

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  8. My mother is in the hospital. She had liver surgery on June 17 and hasn't gotten out of bed since. She is fighting infection now. Her recovery is uncertain at his point.

    I made sure that my children go see their grandmother in the hospital. We've been in reunion for over 4 years. We had not been in contact for over 1 year when she went in the hospital. I didn't even know about it until 3 weeks later.

    Mom told her son not to tell anyone, and he didn't. I found out from a third party in another state, who thought i should know. I went to the hospital the next day.

    My mother is my children s grandmother. My kids are adults, 29.28.23 and 18. My oldest daughter hasn't been to see her yet, because she lives in California, but shes moving back Monday, and god willing she will see her grandmother too.

    My youngest daughter was struck by how much my mother and i look alike. She kept thinking, "that's my grandmother". Even though they didn't grow up with her in their lives, it's important to me that they feel the family connection that flows through us.

    I held one of my mother's frail, skinny hands in the bed, and my son held the other. I felt the love flowing through us. I'm glad that we are able to have these moments, and hope they are not the last.

    It's sad that it took this tragedy to bring us together, but so be it. Most of our time together has been spent in hospitals, when i was born for 5 days and now.

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    1. Thank you for leaving this story. I know that your travails with adoption have been difficult and as a mother who prayed for reunion, it is wonderful to read this. i can't read this all the way through without my eyes welling up.

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    2. Mom passed away this morning.

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    3. Our condolences are with you. You can at least know that at the end you helped bring peace to her heart and some, we hope, to yours.

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    4. adoptomuss, I grieve with thee.

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    5. I am so sorry for your loss, adoptomuss.

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    6. I am sorry to hear about your mother's passing, adoptomuss. But I am heartened to know that you and your children were able to be with her as she came to the end of her life.

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    7. adoptomuss, hugs of comfort and empathy sent your way. so sorry for your loss.

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    8. Adoptomuss I am so deeply sorry to hear about your mother. I am thinking of you and sending you my heartfelt condolences xx

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  9. You know, I love seeing the good stuff, like adoptees that actually want their biological roots connected to their children. The thing is, I am sad that for me, none of this will ever be real. I recently moved back to AZ in the hopes of building a relationship with the two boys my daughter walked out on. I started to and it was rocky - I started seeing my daughter's manipulative behaviors in my grandsons. The little one stopped talking to me when he realized that I am the "poor" grandma. The older one, in an effort to "assert" his independence, decided to move in with me a couple of months ago.

    His mother, upon seeing that I was building a relationship with her sons, burst into my world yet again and once again mutilated it with impunity. She immediately decided that it was time for her to talk to her son - and the manipulation began in earnest. Culminating in a very false "invite" to Christmas. One that was set for me to pay for the drive up there, food, and probably a hotel for myself and my mutt for a week and the drive back. She said "oh I will have a room for you, mom" and then talked of doing all kinds of things.... expensive and fun. After I stated that I wasn't comfortable being the one paying out yet again, and declining the invitation.

    My grandson, after living rent free, using me for a job, and whatever he could get, threw a tantrum and moved out today. At first I was hurt... because frankly he had not paid rent, put anything into my house and he lied to me (he was spending money like water all over town - in places I do business so I know it was happening) allowing me to pay for everything. When I confronted him, I realized that I didn't want him in my house.

    When I tried to discuss it, prior to his decision to move out, with his supposedly reconciled mother - she flew apart and I ended it by say "goodbye, please don't come back into my life" -

    Now, my grandson, who is about to make me a great grandmother at age 18 (54 for me), has shut me out of his life. I am relieved. Truly. Sad, but relieved. He is a younger version of my daughter and that would have killed me fast.

    I finally, hopefully, will have peace. I don't have to try anymore. I don't have to worry. I don't have to have that pain of wondering what I did wrong - because I didn't do anything except love people that are incapable of returning that love.

    I hope that all of you find peace.

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    1. Buffeted like you lori by my child and grandchild. I am done. Adoption gives some people license to treat others badly--maybe because that's how they feel they were treated. Whatever. I'm done being someone's punching bag.

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    2. I share your sentiments! For so many years I have attempted to be everything I felt I should be to please my daughter yet if it didn't suit her husband I was judged no matter what. By the way, he's a reunited adoptee as well and has his own set of rules for his First Mother....she seems to fare better than me!

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    3. Does anyone think that male adoptees are more angry? Seems that way to me. I think it doesn't seem to bother some, but those it does are really mean and angry. They cant put themselves in their mother's shoes, they really feel abandoned. anyone who says there is no primal wound is not paying attention.

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    4. My male adoptee son says he has no primal wound, speaking for himself of course. He is a very gentle person and does not seem to hold grudges or blame people and he does not blame me. He looks at things very rationally and with compassion. He has never been mean to me. He is one to remove himself from a bad situation, as he did with his mentally ill adoptive mother, and for years he avoided me, but not in an angry or vindictive way, more like self-protection until he learned I was not like his adoptive mother. One of my favorite pictures of my son is him holding a tiny kitten in his large hand and feeding it with a little bottle:-)

      I do not think male adoptees in general are angrier than female adoptees, but they are more overt in expressing anger while angry female adoptees are more passive/agressive. I have seen a lot of anger from both sexes among those adoptees who blame everything bad in their life on being surrendered by their first mother, and for some belief in a primal wound justifies that. Others deal with the good and bad in their lives without having to place blame. More female adoptees search, certainly, and on the extreme fringe of human behavior, I think angry male adoptees are more inclined to express their anger directly and violently than females. How adoptees react seems more related to temperament than sex. Some come out of pretty bad circumstances relatively intact and without corrosive anger, while others are more damaged and broken and act out accordingly.

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    5. Not my son. Adoption has undoubtedly caused him great suffering and loss, but he understands very well the social and religious pressures that led to his relinquishment. I know of other adopted men who feel the same as he does. Of those who appear to be. "more angry" than their female counterparts, well, it is known that men tend to express their feelings very differently from women. Not necessarily "more" or " less", just differently.

      I don't see what a "primal wound" of any sort has to do with your question, one way or the other.

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    6. who cares what its called but a few? does anyone deny that being given up by your mommy must feel like being abandoned? and that hurts. call it primal wound , call it whatever, its still there but those who keep banging away at it as if it were the scourge just because it has a name some recognize is silly.

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    7. Of course being surrendered feels like being abandoned, once the adopted child is old enough to understand what being adopted means. I do not think anyone questions that, and people's feelings are neither right nor wrong. But Primal Wound theory as put forth in Verrier's first book says that all adoptees suffer this wound when they are separated from the biological mother at birth, and are on some level conscious of this at the time as universal pre-verbal trauma. That strict construction of this theory is open to dispute given what is known about child development. The theory resonates with many adoptees as reflecting their inner feelings and beliefs, and helps them make sense of the loss. For others, it does not work and does not reflect their personal experience. For some the belief is destructive as they do not move on to the advice in Verrier's later book about healing but feel that they are hopelessly scarred. But as an earlier poster said, this has nothing to do with the different ways males and females express anger, which are true for adoptees as well non-adopted people.

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    8. so can we call it original permanent abandonment scar?

      the adoptees who blog about adoption and how it doesn't bother them but they gotta blog anyway, or come here to berate their mothers, prove the reality of the primal wound theory.
      you dont seem to object to the fact that adoptees are scarred but only calling it primal wound. me think the lady doth protest too much. i guess you haven't followed up with any of the research about bonding in the womb, or if you have you dismiss it. Oh well.

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    9. What research on bonding in the womb? Can you provide links? How about adoptees who do not blog about adoption because it does not bother them? I have met quite a few of those. Also, those same people could not be bothered coming here to berate anyone. Those who do come here only prove that they have a different point of view, not that PW is true. Some adoptees are scarred, some are not. Some are severely impacted by being adopted, for some it is a minor part of their lives. Why does it have to be all or nothing?

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    10. According to Carista Luminare-Rosen, PhD, author of Parenting Begins Before Conception: A Guide to Preparing Body, Mind, and Spirit for You and Your Future Child, research shows that babies in the womb have the emotional and intuitive capabilities to sense their parents' love. "Prenates can see, hear, feel, remember, taste, and think before birth," says Luminare-Rosen, founder and co-director of The Center for Creative Parenting in Marin and Sonoma counties, Calif.

      Bonding (also known as attachment), says Marilee Hartling, RN, prenatal program manager at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, is how babies -- before and after birth -- learn what the world is all about. "It's also part of their personality development.

      ...from Web MD.

      why spend so much time knocking down a theory what so many adoptees like? why not just live and let live?

      the world has all kinds of people. some mothers trn down reunion. some adoptees are in pain, some are not. they are your favorites. you often knock adoptees who have a lot of pain. at least here. you like the adoptess who say being adopted wasn't a big deal. perhaps you need that to feel better

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    11. Don't worry, anon, I feel fine without thinking about PW one way or the other, just glad my son does not feel he suffers from it, not that he did not suffer from a bad adoption but he dealt with it and now has a great life. I know many adoptees in pain and I feel for them and know that for many adoption is very painful. I know it was for me, but I feel much better now and very grateful for what I have. Disagreeing with a theory is not the same as discounting people's pain. Prenatal cognition is still open to debate, nobody really knows. Some even believe the egg and sperm are conscious entities, and that thinking good thoughts at the moment of conception has psychological influence on the potential child.

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    12. if you are so fine with primal wound why must you come here ALL THE TIME to put down everyone and you do who finds it a good theory. PW is open to debate we get that, so is prenatal cognition but leave it alone. you scare off people who find Primal wound comforting to read about it and I mean adoptees. ! because it explains so much about how they feel. just. leave. it. alone.

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    13. I agree with the last paragraph of Anon's comment on Sept 3rd at 10:09 pm and his/her comment on Sept 4th at 4:20 pm.

      I also find it notable that this comment thread has several non-adoptee first mothers who have appointed themselves as the experts on the adoptee experience, in particular in their dismissive attitude toward the PW theory. I do not find adoptee blogs to be comprised of adoptees explaining the first mother experience and telling first mothers they are wrong when they describe things from their own pov; particularly in regard to the pain they say they feel even many years after relinquishment.

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    14. Thank you Robin.
      We are also dealing with an adoptive mother on a very old post telling us that we are not aware of the good adoptions. We however do not go to adoptive mother blogs and tell them of our pain. Go figure. We all (natural mother and adoptees not happy with adoption) are supposed to stay in the corner and shut up, according to some.

      Primal Wound is a long time big seller and I guess that adoptees are the largest segment of the buyers.

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  10. Adoptomuss,
    I am sorry to hear about your mom. I do know from reading past things from you your mom has not made reunion easy for you. Bringing, your grown adult children to hospital is wonderful of you and is good for them. I do hope she recovers so you can continue trying to make it work. I do think your mom needs to do the work too. You are doing the right thing. Thinking of you and hurting for all you have lost along with your children.

    Mother

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    1. Thank you. We thought she was going yesterday, she was unconscious all day, but today she's back to normal.

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  11. The Fog of Adoption was something I had never heard of until adoptees began using it.

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  12. I found it insightful reading the comments by both Yeah Right and Mashka regarding lineage...I like the concept of having two streams of heritage. There should be no need to deny one or the other....something I had not previously considered. I am a Birth Mother and I have been in a reunion with my Daughter for over 25 years. It has been a relationship fraught with many highs and lows now bringing us to a point of calling it quits! It's complicated but, then again, show me a reunion that isn't!

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  13. Mama Bear, I am sorry to say I am definitely rejecting. My first mother and I got off on the worst foot possible with her trapping me into a meeting and yes stalking me. She did mention that I owed my children (which I don't have) a relationship with her and she'd find these unborn grandkids someday if I refused. Many have suggested, and they might be right, that her anxiety and other issues led her to be that pushy and demanding. Either way, even if it had gone right, she would never be the center of my universe, as she seemed to want. My parents aren't even the center of my universe, I have a pretty big, varied life for that! I think her biggest misstep was making it all, 100%, about her, her needs, her wants, and only her. I said I needed time and space but that wasn't in her plan so I didn't get it. I think my advice to searching mothers is to give that space if your surrendered child requests it. It can mean the difference between getting a Christmas card or being served with a restraining order.

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  14. My best advice: The people who want to be in your life will be. You don't have to go chasing after them.

    Amen.

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    1. Sometimes the people who want to be in your life are detrimental to your life and to the lives of the people you care about. When that happens you are put into the difficult position of putting up with them and allowing them to cause harm or, no malice intended, being really hard headed and shutting them out.

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    2. If they come chasing after you does that mean they are meant to be in your life?

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  15. Lorraine, what do you do when they won't stay out of your life - no matter what you do! sigh.

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  16. Lori, get a restraining order, that's what they are for.

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  17. I am sick of the attitude that you're a 'better' adoptee if you are 'just fine' with being adopted.

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  18. Why did I wait so long before I joined a blog? I am overwhelmed by all of the issues surrounding adoption yet I see a little of myself in many of them. I have grown weary of all the complexities, however, now know I am typical after reading so many comments. Reassuring, no, not really....

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  19. As for your comment on the anonymous bloggers......I lived a lie for far too long! When I made the decision to 'come out of the closet', which was no easy task, I knew from that moment on I would always identify myself truthfully. I was not ashamed of giving birth to my daughter, only heartbroken that I did not know her!

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  20. yeah right we are not posting your comments. It is obvious to some of our readers (as well as us) who you are. This is not a place for your comments when you are talking to your mother.

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  21. I'm with Anonymous. I personally don't feel a connection with the primal wound theory. But some do! Whatever comfort it brings whoever is enough. Life is rough enough, people have issues to spare, and the world isn't always fair, so why take away whatever comfort they can get?

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  22. I am curious. Truly, no judgment here... but why do adopted persons come here to "learn" about us - the abandoners - then come unstuck when, while we accept that they are unique and interesting beings, we don't agree with everything that they say? Respectfully, this is a space for mothers. I totally get the need to not know the person you fear and loath the most. I get the curiosity about the other side... but why attack us? Will this fix your issues with your own mothers? Honestly, I read mothers "siding" in an argument that really doesn't exist, and wonder what their problem is... do they not realize that we all come to our own peace at some point? Really?

    I guess I am just fed up with the drama and rage that is aimed at any woman that lost a child to adoption - no matter what the circumstances are. If you want to know the truth, from a mother, remember that it is her truth - not yours.

    Why can't you all just be kind to each other and realize that adoption attacks, attaches itself and destroys all on its own... why be part of the pain party?

    Bless you all, I hope you find your own peace.

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    1. Thanks for your insights, Lori. Absolutely agree.

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  23. well said Lori. I feel the same way.
    In regard to the PW theory ( and the key word here is theory), I know quite a few adoptees and not a single one has a "primal wound." Part of the problem with this "theory" is that the symptoms mimic depression and some adoptees, from what i've read on various blogs, don't seek tx for depression because they feel they have a PW.

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    1. Actually, Gail, if you do the research you would find that the PW theory is almost identical to PTSD. The only thing that makes it different is that it is supposedly directly connected to losing the "mother/child" connection. However, I have to reserve my thoughts on this, since there is no way to discover which is true since most adopted persons appear to have issues with abandonment that may or may not stem from the loss of mother or, alternatively the need of adopters to constantly reassure themselves that they really are parents and thus lay their insecurities over the relationship on the child. This would create exactly the same kind of emotional response. The most stable and wonderful people that I know are adopted people never have to tell their "adoption" story (the parents story of how they "got" the adoptee in the first place), but simply state that they are adopted. Which lends credence to the idea that the adoption trauma may start with separation from a known factor and then be continued by the insecurities of the people who adopted.

      Either way, it isn't as simple as the adopter wrote it - and why she would publish on her own child leaves me wondering exactly why she thinks that is okay.

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  24. Good point well made, Gail.
    What may seem to be the matter on the surface isn't always what is.
    In my opinion, the PW is like what Joseph Cambell said about religion.
    "it is true when understood metaphorically. But when it gets stuck in its own metaphors, interpreting them as facts, then you are in trouble."

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  25. I, in no way intended my observation as a judgement of the adoption experience of the adopted person. In fact, I think I was attempting to understand in a way as a mother. Since, after all, I am not an expert on being an adopted person.

    I do, however understand the psychology of PTSD and how it works.

    If I offended someone, mia culpa. Again, it was not intended.

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  26. "Adopted person" here

    I can certainly understand why a birth mother would find the idea of a primal wound abhorrent, though it is a bit disconcerting to read that many mothers who surrendered their own children do not believe that something of that nature exists and actively seek to disprove/disparage the very idea itself.

    I can acknowledge that there are adoptees out there who seem unfazed by the whole adoption process, those "good adoptees" who just behave and fall right in line with everybody else's expectations and most importantly don't rock the boat. Inside, I am not one of them, but outwardly I function very well and would appear to be perhaps even a "most stable and wonderful adopted person" as described above. I never speak of my adoption,certainly not my "story" to anyone except other adoptees. Only the smallest handful of people even know that I am adopted.

    Nobody is going to tell me that when my original family decided that I would not be going home with them from the hospital, instead to be taken care of only by strangers before being passed off into foster care to more strangers, then finally to another home when I was adopted was " a minor part of my life". As has been stated by others here, different people feel different things based off of countless individual factors, who are you to tell people that what they are feeling is wrong?

    Be thankful that your mothers and your original families kept you, it is not a really good way to start out when they don't and it does have a lasting impact on your life, regardless of how much other people may insist to the contrary to fulfill their own needs.

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    1. Anonymous - 2:30 p.m. - I never said I found it abhorrent. I simply stated that it is essentially the same as PTSD - which by the way is also triggered by an event that is psychologically damaging. As a former foster child, I get the abandonment part of adoption better than most - 6.5 years of living with 13 different families and never having familial contact makes it easy to empathize with - however, I still am trying to understand if PW and PTSD are the same thing, but with a trigger that can't definitively be stated since it is pre-verbal and/or pre-oxygen .... (That would be the scientist in me - and the mother).

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    2. I appreciate your comment, Anon adopted person, and agree with what you say. It is disturbing that in the 21st century we adoptees still have to defend the fact that being given up for adoption has had a major impact on our lives, and for many of us a predominantly negative impact. Also, I don't understand why it is accepted that first mothers have lasting pain from relinquishing their children, yet adoptees are expected to be okay with having been given up.

      The experience you describe of being passed from stranger to stranger, as a helpless, vulnerable infant, until you ended up in a permanent home would have to have had a significant and imo primarily detrimental effect, even if you were too young to remember some or all of these experiences.

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    3. I agree, Robin but I do not see where any mother here has said or implied that adoptees should be O.K with having been given up, or that they have not had lasting pain as a result of being given up, or that having been given up has not had a major impact on their lives, so I am not sure who you are talking about.

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  27. fyi - There are many adoptees who find the notion of a pw abhorrent and resent an adoptive mother making the claim that one exists for those who are adopted

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  28. It seems there is a difference of opinion about Primal Wound among adoptees as well as among First Mothers, and the book was written by an adoptive mother, not an adoptee. We are all entitled to our different opinions about any theory or generalization, but not about the inner feelings of anyone about their own life. I fully accept that being adopted has significant and negative effect on many adoptees, and would not dismiss any adoptee who felt this way, or think that those who felt otherwise were in any way better, smarter, or anything else.

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  29. I have been following this thread with interest. I have two grandchildren who I probably will never meet. It is now official - my older son wants nothing to do with me and in fact will not even entertain any conversation about me. He is very angry that I gave him away. My younger son says that he is "OK" with the adoption, but he has, in general, very little to say, and seems wary, maybe even afraid of me. I imagine he is not able to understand his feelings in total yet, much of which may turn out to be anger. I think that the primal wound exists as an emotional trauma, and there is no need to slice it fine as it is very real to adoptees, whose pain is 100x more than that of us, the birth mothers.

    Yet, I would also say that in my view, all mothers love their babies and hope that their children have a better life than we did. How does this hope manifest itself? In my case, I was becoming verbally and emotionally abusive to my children, and was no longer able to control my thoughts or words. It was very serious. Some impulses were starting to become very strong, to do physical harm to them. I felt completely without a doubt that they would be better off, not being raised by me. Every time I read some article in the news about a mother who has killed her children, it takes me back to that terrible time, when I was capable of it. We came very close to disaster. Luckily I had enough emotional health left to realize that something had to be done. So I placed them for adoption with some friends of a friend of mine, and I knew the adoptive father from high school. Today they both seem healthy and happy, with beautiful families of their own.

    What is the point? Well, I am very sad that I hurt my sons badly by "leaving" them. But I can't imagine how sad it would have been if I had hit or beaten beautiful human beings who were defenseless, unformed and vulnerable. If my son never has anything to do with me, I am sad, but I am so happy that he was raised without abuse or fear, by his adoptive parents.

    Adoptees, please know that your feelings are respected. Also if you can consider it, perhaps your birth mother had something very bad going on. I think anytime a child is adopted, it is the result of forces that are beyond the control of a birth mother, whether she is a teenager or middle-aged, or anything in between. I often think of Julia Emily, who is no longer on this board, and I felt so sorry for her. My son's feelings are probably the same as hers - that you just "don't give a person away - sorry." I realize the perspective of birth mothers and adoptees are different.

    In my case, I was hoping that some dialogue or conversation about everything would help my sons to gain peace of mind. In some ways it has, in some way it seems, it has not. So I try to be careful in what I say to my younger son, so as not to hurt him any further, but to be reasssuring. I did write a letter to my older son last winter, and he didn't respond. I will hope but be realistic. I said nothing about any abuse in the letter, as it seems they don't remember anything about it, but apologized for many, many things that were related, but not specific, to, verbal abuse. I don't want them to re-live some very painful memories, not for my sake, but for theirs.

    Adoptees, any suggestion that questions your pain and sense of loss is not acceptable; not being an expert, I am not saying it has taken place here, it's just that I can see it has triggered a lot of sadness. But even if it seems no-one questions the pain of birth mothers, their experiences and pain may be more than is said.

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    1. Well said, New and Old. Thanks for your input here. The aftermath of adoption is so complicated for everyone.

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  30. Interesting. While we, as mothers, are allowed to regret and accept blame, we are not allowed to simply state our feelings. This is why I have withdrawn from the adoption community and why I do not support adoptees rights. Because, it appears to me, that no matter what the circumstances are, unless we beg every adoptee we meet for forgiveness for not hanging ourselves out of grief at the loss of our children, we get slammed for not being sympathetic enough.

    Saying that, I am sad that adopted people can't accept that while we can't understand their trauma on the level that they do, we do understand that loss. Losing a child, that is the most horrific thing there is. I watched my parents when my oldest sister died in an accident... my father, always so strong, crying, no, wailing in pain at her funeral. My mother, so lost in grief she made little sense to anyone- even her other 6 children.

    Why is it so hard to realize that we all got screwed? That in our own way, we all feel the same depth of pain and loss?

    Realistically, if you are an average adult and you carry on as if you were a child over a toy, people would tell you to grow up and get over it. As an adopted person, while I would never even think "grow up and get over it", I would think that if you are hurting that badly, seek help. I think the same of mothers - and yes, I make sure that I have a good therapist.

    Someone told me "it is not all darkness" - and they were right. Why can't we even try? Why must there always be that crazy competition for who hurts the most or who lost the most? The fact is, there is no comparison because neither side can feel what the other feels. We have to learn to be kind to one another and realize that placing blame is not going to fix this... Just love and kindness.... that's all. Why is that so hard?

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    1. Thank you Lori.

      There is no way to compare the pain and the loss and besides that, what would be the point? It's like two schoolboys arguing over something.

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    2. EXACTLY! Two children fighting over who lost out when they dropped their cake on the floor. DUH!

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  31. thought you might be interested in this blog by an adoptee.whos not happy with the idea of grandkids and natural grandparents "swooping in" and taking her grandkids.

    http://www.dustbinblog.com/2015/09/the-cost-of-grandkids.html

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  32. Thank you for writing this Lori. Your words echo the reality that we live.

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  33. "Interesting. This is why we, as mothers, are allowed to regret and accept blame, we are not allowed to simply state our feelings. This is why I have withdrawn from the adoption community and why I do not support adoptee rights."
    That's a terrible reason for no longer supporting adoptee rights, Lori. And I see no evidence that mothers are being prevented from expressing their feelings. There are plenty of first mother blogs where they do little else.
    There is all this talk about not being able to express feelings coming from both adoptees and first mothers. For people who are claiming to be "silenced" they are sure making a lot of noise.

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    1. just a thought: Lori might be expressing her feelings about how natural mothers are treated here by some adoptees after they express an opinion of frustration with their children. A lot of attacking goes on. from what I've seen, that 's not the way it is at adoptee blogs/ mothers don;t comment unless in total agreement with the writer. here at FMF adoptees feel free to attack mothers. that may be what Lori is saying.

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    2. @ Anon 3:21
      Even if that was the case, which is isn't, it is still not a good reason for not supporting adoptee rights.

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    3. You r right. Maybe Lori meant that she wouldn't get out there and get involved in working for adoptee rights. Which is sad.

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    4. Lisa,

      As I got these comments at work today, I have a great deal of time to think about it... And of course, I have considered it carefully. First, while I find it interesting that you "quoted" me - I also find it normal that you willfully chose to misunderstand or undervalue the words I chose. You are a bully. You can't seem to understand that your rights are no more important than those of anyone else. You are not special in any way, barring that little thing - adoption.

      Because of that little thing, you assume the right to tell me what I may and may not choose to stand up for because I am a First Mother. This is bigotry at it's most refined. Bullies are usually bigots as well.

      The fact is you proved my point in your second statement - that my reason was not good enough and that for someone who claims to be silenced, I talk alot. You are mean spirited, cold and truly one of the reasons that I choose not to enter into your fight - or rather re-enter into that fight to be allowed to have your NOT LEGAL documents. Please note I did say not legal and not "incorrect" documents.

      You judged me like so many others on the basis of your right as an adopted person to tell me, the abandoner piece of shit, what to do and what I should feel.

      For those of you that defended me, thank you. But I fully meant what I said. I do not have to defend my right to support whatever cause I choose, for my reasons and my reasons alone - or, to not support a cause.

      I will not explain further - it is none of your business, Lisa, just as it was not your right to talk to me, another human being, as if you are somehow better or more valuable than I am. Be well and get over yourself. Adoptees are not the only children in the world treated like commodities.

      Annon - Actually you were right in the first place - you should not have backed off.... Lisa is a bully and had no right to judge me in the first place.

      Again, Lisa, be well... and remember this conversation every time you see a mother walk away from your fight.

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    5. Lori, I don't see that Lisa was judging you but i do agree with you that she was asking you for clarification. I agree with you that no one is any better than anyone else. But you do seem to take the stance here that because this is a Mothers forum, that mothers are somehow to be indulged here more, to be able to act entitled here. That is my analysis of many comments you have made, and you are not the only one. i neither agree or disagree with the idea that first mothers should be indulged here, but i think it is interesting to note that you seem to want to have it both ways - when an adoptee disagrees or asks you questions, suddenly it is none of their business or they are a bully. When they don't want to answer your questions, then perhaps they would be happier at an adoptee forum. Again this is not an indictment on you or your behavior, but something that i do find interesting.

      I do not think you are an abandoner or a piece of shit, i don't think any mother is on the basis that they relinquished their baby for adoption. I am sorry for your multiple losses and pains - i don't know about all of them i'm sure, but i can see when someone is in pain.

      I do however take issue with one thing you did say, and i'm gonna quote you - "You are not special in any way, barring that little thing - adoption. " If adoption were such a little thing, that in no way made either first mothers or their children special, none of us would be here having these conversations.

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  34. It is everyone's choice, including Lori's, to decide whose rights to support and whose to ignore and to let us know that as Lori has done. I do not see that disagreeing constitutes bullying. As a birthmother, I have always supported adoptee rights to their OBC because, well, I believe it is an absolute right, not something for me to grant or take away. I do not base my choice on whether or not I like certain adoptees nor on my personal experience. My own son has no interest in adoptee rights. Some adoptees have vehemently disagreed with me on some of my views, and have even gotten nasty at times. While that hurts, and I understand being angry and hurt, Lori, I do not base my support of adoptee rights on my interactions with individual adoptees. I support the cause because I believe it is just and right. That is how I deal with supporting various civil rights causes, gay rights, minority civil rights, refugee and immigrant rights, not on individuals I have met from those populations, good or bad, but because I believe those rights should be equal for all.

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  35. TIME TO END THIS FRACAS. NO MORE COMMENTS.

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