' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Do you have children? That invisible barrier that separates first mothers
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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Do you have children? That invisible barrier that separates first mothers

Lorraine
Do you bring up your story--that is, when asked by near strangers, Do you have children?--or not? For those of us who never had other children  (approximately a third of all mothers who relinquished children for adoption), the question is a perennial that never goes away.

Case in point: Last night we met the couple who own the house behind us. Our properties are divided by a hedge. They've owned the house for several years but largely rent it out, and use it only sporadically. They rented it last winter, will be there through the end of June, but good friends of ours will be occupying it for July and August. That's life when you live an a resort area.


So after years of nearly no communication, they sent us a note about a communal large oak tree on our property line and last night they ended up in our back yard for drinks, arriving through a break in the hedge between our houses. We knew nearly nothing about each other. They are academics. They have written books. Etc.
We are chatting along pleasantly enough and the four of us are revealing bits about our selves--the wife's difficulty in getting tenure (she got it), the husband's book about China, my husband's and my backgrounds (including books we have written)--and at some point the woman asks if we have children.... We are all old enough so that there have been no signs of young kids or teenagers about.

My husband Tony offers that he has two, and that I had one (the fact that I had a previous husband had already been mentioned) and when we married it was clear that we were not going to have more children. End of story.

I do not jump in to explain further, adding the kicker: Yes, but I had a daughter but gave her up for adoption, and Yes, we reunited...but she died. You know saying any of that is going to take up all the oxygen in the room, shift the mood, cause a mental OMG on their part. I was not ready for that, nor did I want to be the focus of such an intense conversation. I passed.

It was nothing about them that made me hold back, but I didn't want that part of my life to surely lay a solemn layer of gravity on the pleasant getting-to-know-you conversation. So when the four of us talked about our careers, I simply left out the central fact of my life, and unquestioningly my professional life too, especially in the last several years. I mentioned other books I'd written, the magazines where I'd been an editor.

No big moral to be gained here today. Sometimes I tell people the facts of my child when it feels right--it's just a feeling I have, to tell or to hold back. If my memoir was about a new language program I had devised (as their winter renter apparently did), I surely would have told that. But our stories--mother or adoptee--are tragic and the heart instinctively understands.

Knowing how my reveal last night--even when we were talking about books we have written--would have shifted the mood so dramatically down, I made the choice to let the pleasantries continue. The morning I mentioned to Tony that I consciously made the choice last night to say nothing when we were talking about our lives, and he said he was glad I did. There are times when it is just better not to be the center of attention and focus, and let the mood stay on an even keel.

If I get to know them better, or maybe if someday I am just talking to the wife, I will of course tell her my story. I am certainly not hiding it. Not every moment of our lives has to be teaching moment. Last night just wasn't one of those moments.--lorraine 

I'm interested in hearing about your experiences telling or not telling people, whether you are a first mother or adoptee.
_________________________________

FROM FMF (you might also enjoy)
The awful legacy of adoption

Philomena: A forced adoption, a lifetime quest, a longing that never waned

TO READ
Birthmothers: Women Who Have Relinquished Babies for Adoption Tell Their Stories
By Mary Bloch Jones

This book came out in 1993 and was written by a woman who seemingly had no connection to adoption, but she had an  understanding heart. I read it when it came out and was struck by how much the Ms. Jones "got" about our stories, our heartbreak, our lives. One passage she wrote always stayed with me, and I ended up quoting the last part of it in Hole In My Heart:

 "As I explained, repeatedly, that I had no connection to adoption, no affiliation with and 'side' or interest group, no ax to grind, I began to realize that, to birthmothers, relinquishment was, more than merely a life-altering turning point. For most, it was an invisible barrier separating them from the bulk of humanity."

Today is just one of those days. I'm worried about finances, and I've been stressed out, and just seeing that thought brought tears to my eyes. ...invisible barrier separating us from the bulk of humanity.

35 comments :

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  2. I'm sorry Kaisa, that must have been difficult. In my case it was a little bit the other way around. At first Jane wasn't sure she wanted to be introduced as my daughter. But she introduced me as her mother all the time. After a while, everybody know who she was--but then she began living summers with us when she was in high school.

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  4. Will keep this short as don't have a URL and am not sure what I can do about that.I am a little like you Lorraine. After a whirlwind reunion my daughter stepped back. Her Amom had even called her "our daughter" at the beginning. A few years ago when I could feel the pull back and rather than spend my time trying to guess what was wrong asked her. "Do not introduce me as your daughter" was one of her answers!! Hole in my heart? Knife in my heart.

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  5. Dear Kaye,
    I am sorry about the loss of your son, and 2008 is not very long ago. My son departed in 2007 and I could barely speak of the loss for years.
    Now, if I meet a new person and he or she asks if I have children, I say " I had a son, but he has passed away." Most people just say, "Oh, I am sorry." I just say, "thank you." And then I leave it at that.
    And I am always prepared to continue the conversation with other topics because I know this will come up, as Lorraine has said.

    The pain doesn't go away, but I feel I have honored my child's memory without having to go into detail.
    wishing you well,
    Kitta

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  6. EVERY SINGLE TIME the door opens, I tell my story - I explain exactly how many children I have and when it goes beyond casual conversation, usually because of their ages, which it almost always does, I tell the whole story- my lost son is just that, my son and to deny him his truth/my truth and his place in my life and his family will never be acceptable to me again.

    Yes, sometimes the conversations are tricky, but I have never ( and I do this often - for whatever reason, it comes up once or twice a week) had anyone make the conversation unreasonably difficult. At least every other time, the receiver of my story of loss and reunion comes back with their own story - a lost child, their own adoption, the choice to have an abortion, you name it. But, everyone expresses how beautiful it is to be reunited with a lost child - itʻs made me realize that despite how society portrays adoption, everyone knows the truth about it underneath it all.

    Every time we speak our truth, it is an opportunity to speak the truth about adoption and change the common story to slowly change the perception that the best thing for our children is to grow up with strangers, when it is NOT - please take the opportunity to tell your story even if it is difficult for you. Empower people to keep their family members and to believe they are worthy no matter their truth. For me, at least, the openness has led to amazing connections with many people with whom it wouldnʻt have happened otherwise.

    When people are exposed to an example of others owning their truth, accepting their humanity and believing in themselves despite their imperfections, it gives them permission to do it for themselves. We are all worthy of telling out stories and changing the world - one conversation at a time.

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  7. Beth--Obviously I do not keep my child secret--I've written two books about it, been on national television speaking about it when it was shocking to talk about it (the Seventies and Eighties) etc., have told people on airplanes, on trains, in a dressing room even, and yes, I've sometimes gotten wonderful responses back, even from adoptive parents--but I have also become the focus of countless conversations that shift the mood so dramatically and I then become the woman with a story no one can top. It's sometimes not possible to go back to...and your last book is about....?

    So yeah, I have done it more times than I can count. But in my case, the whole conversation has to end with a suicide. Talk about sucking the oxygen out of the room! My husband actually is the one who said, when we married I did not want more children, I already had two and Lorraine had one....

    Because of how public I have been since 1975 when I came out as a mother in the New York Times and have been since then, I've also had people come up to me at social events to attack me and go into a long harangue about how great adoption is, or tell me what I'm doing wrong. Then a social event becomes an uncomfortable debate, and you know, I'd rather not have everything turn into an adoption event or have the foursome conversation of getting-to-know-you turn into something about me.

    Once I was introduced to an adoptive grandmother (who was not sympathetic to me being out of the closet) like this: This is LD, she is a birth mother. The look of disapproval on her face followed by, I don't like what you are doing...ended conversation on the spot and I spent the rest of an uncomfortable hour--until I could leave--avoiding her at that lunch. A lot of people in the area where I live already know my story and so I don't have to come out. These people are obviously not very involved in the life of this community and don't read local newspapers and seem to have very few acquaintances out here.

    I've taken an enormous amount of grief for my stance over the years; I've been peppered with angry questions endlessly and sometimes I just want to be a person meeting other people who isn't "that woman." Yes, I know it is good to speak up when you can, and educate educate, but you know, I can't do it every time I meet someone new. The conversation at that point (above) was about how Tony moved to Sag Harbor, and how we met.

    I saw my daughter turn the focus to her problems all the time and become someone people shied away from. It created a social wall around her. For me, I chose to make a decision every time the question comes up. And ...so how do I answer the question, Do you have children? It depends. Certainly I never deny I had a child--that would be absurd for me--but do I always want to say: I had a child, gave her up for adoption, and we reunited when she was 15. She committed suicide in 2007.

    Because that is the whole truth.

    But having said all that, I appreciate all and everyone of us who does speak out like you, Beth, because that is the only way we can change the public perception of who we natural mothers are. So keep it up. And maybe more people reading here will be able to do it too.

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  8. I had surrendered a son in the 80's,and when I had my daughter (who was taken from me due to the lies of hospital staff), one of the excuses of the doctor who had done this was, "Well, she gave her other kid up for adoption." Not that I am having any more children, but from now on I don't tell the truth with doctors. I HATE doctors, especially arrogant ones. If I have to mention for real medical purposes that I have given birth in my lifetime, I say, I had a child in the 80's but he died. And I give NO MORE information to anyone than that.

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    1. From the time I left the hospital in the spring of 1970, without seeing or holding my first son, I would tell new friends that my child had died also. That is how I felt, so so sad. I told this lie even in front of the one girlfriend who new the real story and she never called me on it. Until I found my first son 35 years later, I realized how much damage keeping this lie inside hurt. So now I am upfront and tell my story when it is the appropriate time and place. My managerand a fellow coworker at my part time job are both adoptive mothers and I have not revealed my surrender to them because they are older than I am and it would not be as comfortable working with them afterward. Of course if they are internet savy, they would have already found out. Speaking from a bad medical experience, I believe asking your doctor if he/she is an adoptive parent/family member is a wise precaution before mentioning your birthmother status.

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  9. So many of us (FMs) have been in "hiding" and invisible for decades, forced into hiding by a society that frowned upon out-of-wedlock pregnancy. Hiding and being invisible became a way of life so to speak, and lurking in the shadows of "respectable society" was more comfortable and less painful.

    I, for one, was so frightened of anyone knowing or finding out I had been a young, unmarried teenager whose baby was lost to adoption. What kind of mother loses her baby to strangers? I would and still do break out in a cold sweat and have a panic attack if I run into an old classmate or anyone who knew or might have since known.

    Becoming pregnant was the most shameful, embarrassing, and worst thing that could happen to a white, middle-class girl. Talking about it 40 years later means being humiliated, shamed, and embarrassed all over again. Doesn't matter that my parent made all the decisions about the "problem". After all, what kind of a person gives her baby to complete strangers? Society still has this attitude years later.

    Telling my story after that meant being re-shamed, re-humiliated, and re-exploited. I had to become invisible and silent. In reality, NO ONE can really understand except another Mother of Loss (to adoption). Many adoptees cannot even understand or fathom the horror their natural mother had to endure and still does by committing the unforgivable sin of being an unwed pregnant teen.

    Is it any wonder that a woman who has been disdained, stigmatized, and shamed so badly by society will become silent and invisible about such a traumatic event in her young life? We traded our voice for our silence. Relinquishment was the atonement for our sin in society's eyes.

    Is it any wonder we are years later hesitant and conflicted about ripping the scab off our still-oozing wound and bleeding all over again? Telling anyone now knocks me to the ground all over again. Telling someone about my past is saying I fuk'd around as a teenager, got pregnant, and then gave my baby away to married, entitled, wealthy strangers because I was young, unmarried, and unworthy. Usually it is less painful to be invisible and to keep the scab on my grief, anger, shame, and sadness.

    People, still in 2016, continue to see relinquishing mothers as sluts, abandoners, villains, and horrible women who give their flesh and blood to complete strangers. APs, though, are still seen as rescuers, saviors, and blessed.

    Does it really matter to anyone how many children a woman has had? Those people who matter already know. For those people who don't matter, it's none of their business !!!!

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    1. Despite my years of being public, I still can get a small panic attack when the topic turns to me and I have to go into it. Last one went like this: I was on a boat and talking to a husband of one of the women. We'd met before but never talked. I quietly said what my last book was about because I sensed the man was not going to grill me, just accept it and move on.

      However, the hostess on the boat (her and her husband's boat) overheard me and brought it up knowing the 3rd woman on board--wife of the guy I'd mentioned it to) and suddenly it was WOW and how did it happen that you got pregnant and why didn't you have an abortion and how did you find her and what was your relationship like and how did it work out for her?????!! and and. Everyone on on board is now part of this discussion.

      Panic attack. I totally felt under siege, even though the woman was not hostile, just amazed because you know, she had never met another woman who..I found myself getting flushed and upset and finally had to say, I CAN'T TALK ABOUT IT NOW.

      Women is embarrassed and apologies profusely.

      Hostess says: I heard you mention it to X and so I thought you could talk about it since your book just came out....

      So that's where I am more than a half century after my daughter was born.

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    2. Thanks, Susie. I think some people assume that because I've written about giving up a child--and wrote two memoirs about it--I can talk about everything without any anxiety. Not true. People have said, Most authors want to talk about their books, won't shut up about them....

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    3. I agree with Heather. I only "came out" because I was in reunion (I was the found party), and the social worker who contacted me (an adoptee herself) said that I should tell my (raised) children "right away." Up until then, I had only told my husband (NOT the creep who impregnated me!), my close friends at the time, my parents, siblings and the creep.

      I also told aunts, uncles and cousins after the reunion began. Faced no judgment or cruelty from anyone, except one "holier than thou" church lady/bitch when I foolishly shared the news in the privacy of a ladies' bible study.

      Now the reunion is fizzling out (surprise, surprise!) and I've told these people and now it's so dang awkward. If they ask how my "son" is, I'll have to say, "oh fine," when I doubt I'll hear from him often anymore. I wish I had not taken that social worker's advice. As Heather wrote: the people who matter know.

      The only ones who needed to know were those in my life at the time, and of course my husband. My children haven't judged me, but I hate that they know this crappy awful thing from my past. There was no need, as I am very wary of the birth son. He has issues and has not had contact with my children, and it all stay that way.

      I am not responsible for those issues -- his adoptive parents are. I was guided, as a teenager, but adults who appeared to know best. I had zero life experience. I cared for my body, took my vitamins and ate well, which was VERY responsible behavior for a teenager. I gave him a good start in life. The adoptive parents are at fault if he did not fare well emotionally, as they promised to take care of him and raise him "as their own."

      I'm so grateful I married a wonderful man years after I became a birth mother and became what society calls a "real" mother. I always said "no" when asked if I was a mom, except at the doctor's office. After I had my first child with my husband, I was able to join the "mother's circle," although I had been one all along.

      My advice to first moms who are reading: If you are still young enough to have kids, find a great man to marry and have some. Have a lot! YOU deserve it! Any woman who would nurture a baby in her womb, knowing that she was going to give him away, and then walks away with empty arms, is the exact type of woman who should raise a child. That is real mother love. I've read blogs from first moms who think they don't deserve to be moms, because they think they did an awful thing. Under the circumstances, they did the best they could.

      Believe me, if reunion comes your way (God help you)....having children of your own will soften the blow. (I didn't have children to fill a void, but I've been in reunion for a couple of years and can only imagine how much worse the pain would be to have my nose rubbed in the fact that A-mom got my my only kid, as well as only grandkids.)

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    4. Hi, I'm "Anonymous" who posted above on June 29, 2016 at 12:59 PM. I am horrified as I re-read my post. When I wrote (4th paragraph) that I hate that my children know "this crappy and awful thing from my past," I did not mean my son!! I mean the painful experience, (I was one of the first mothers who was hidden away by my parents). Yes, I am concerned for my son. I think his issues are attributed directly to adoption, as he did not fit in with his A-parents, and it appears they made that very clear. "In the best interest of the child" -- yeah right.

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  10. I have been speaking out for decades, ever since I lost my son in 1968(to adoption). Speaking out enabled me to meet other people who had lost children in the BSE, including some fathers... whom we don't often hear from.


    Back in the 60s and 70s the people my own age understood that it was pretty easy to get pregnant and that our parents/society ruled. At least, that was how my words were received back then.

    Things changed somewhat when I/we got older and my peers, some of them,became infertile and entered the adoption market. People who had been my neighbors and friends suddenly viewed me as an enemy because I was the "birth mother" who would either keep her baby or come back later and disrupt their adoptive family.
    But, I was out of the closet for good. My friends have all known for decades, my neighbors know, I have worked in the state legislature and public policy for years.

    My son and grand-daughter both visited me at my home and I sure have not tried to hide them!! My son is gone now, but granddaughter is still here and we still have a relationship.

    I have been in the local daily newspapers a number of times (and I get hate mail because of that.)

    I do not feel that I have to answer every person's question every time they ask. Being honest about one's life does not mean that we have to leave ourselves vulnerable to every person who approaches us.
    And I think that some people are voyeurs. They get a kinky thrill out of us and our stories, and they will push us as far as they can.
    Ugh to that.

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  11. My reunion began and abruptly ended, over a span of five years. I remain completely damaged and disgusted by the situation I created and put myself in.

    At the onset, when our reunion was impossibly perfect, my daughter took the initiative to break the ice by introducing me immediately as her birthmother to every one we came in contact with. Even on the first day we met. This surprised me, but warmed my heart – it also made me feel comfortable enough to follow suit. I began introducing her as my daughter and ‘came out’ to a lot of friends & family about her and obviously my title ‘birthmother’ – something I rarely did before then. I even had a gather of friends & family to ‘introduce’ her.
    Once the relationship started to falter, due to extreme, unrelenting pressure from her adoptive parents, she started to remove the word ‘mother’ and I became just ‘Hilary’.

    Eventually, I became ‘nothing’ and have remained as such for the last 3 years. I have reverted back into my shell: a childless woman. I’m sure I slightly hesitate when someone asked the question “do you have children”, but the answer quickly becomes a resounding “no”. It may be selfish, but I prefer to think of it as self-preservation. The mere mentioning of her or this torturous experience causes spontaneous, embarrassing crying and I will do everything I can to avoid that. So, if this means I am weak, I accept that label too.

    I only speak of her to immediate family and very close friends… and even then, I try not to. I write about her here, as I feel this is the safest, most accepting place to release some of my pain and sorrow.

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    1. I'm sorry Hilary for your pain. Reunions are difficult and if the adoptive parents do not accept them, and us as the other mother, it becomes incredibly difficult for the adoptee. Nothing is ever as what if....I'm glad you think of this as a place where you can share your story.

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    2. Not only are we treated like crap at the time of relinquishment, we are also treated like crap in reunion. The social worker who found me (adoptee herself) did not warn me. She listened over the phone as I reacted with excitement about the fact that my "son" wanted to make contact. She told me that he "seemed okay," but I think in-depth psychological analysis should be done every time a child goes searching for "mom." In hindsight, I see how naive I was and how this was actually very dangerous for me to open my life up to somebody who I believe harbors anger/hate/resentment towards me.

      I have been used simply to satisfy his curiosity, to obtain info about the sperm doner jerk who used me, and perhaps I've been used as a pawn in his relationship with his A-mom.

      If only I had known that at the moment of relinquishment a death occurred, and something that is dead can NEVER be brought back to life. Also wish I had known that adoptees are not grateful for being adopted. And also wish I had known that reunion is hell. Social worker knew this and just laughed on the phone about how "wonderful" it all was.

      First mothers -- protect yourselves ALWAYS!

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  12. Great post, Lorraine. I totally get how and when you decide not to tell. After losing my son, when asked if I had children I simply said no. Of course all of my long-time friends knew, but they didn't bring it up, assuming that I didn't want to talk about it (mostly true). Once I was married, I answered that I had a step-son. When Josh and I reunited (20 years ago), I told everyone! Friends and family members who didn't know, new people that I met. Often with the whole dang story. Now when new people ask if we have children, I reply that we each have one son. I let the rest keep until I know them better and trust them to understand and react with kindness. Of course there are some (new friends and neighbors) who know because of my memoir. Some have questions. Others do not. That tells me something.

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    1. And some pepper us with questions endlessly, and then you feel like an object in a reproductive studies class, because you don't feel any empathy. It's good that we have at least found each other through the internet.

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  13. I was outside my house recently when a man in a car drove slowly by, staring , so I pretended not to notice until he got out of his car and said my name and then his name. Turned out he was someone I knew from when I was a teenager and haven't seen in over 40 years There were no bad feelings from the past and I suddenly felt very happy like when I was young again. We talked for a long time-he told me about his kids,etc and when it was my turn I didn't want to say I had no kids because I am very proud of my son but I also felt guilty claiming him as my son since I didn't do the work of raising him so I said I have a 39 year old son-sort of. He looked confused and then I felt guilty again for saying "sort of" "Sort of?" he repeated,looking confused. "It's a long story,but he is my son" I said and then the conversation reverted back to reminiscing about happier times and not thinking about today's troubles for awhile. I'm glad he stopped.

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  14. This has to be so hard for those who never had another child, even harder for those whose child has died. It must hit hard every time the question is asked. It is also hard for those who have searched and been rejected. I was once in that position and did not like to talk about it.

    I had three more sons after the one I surrendered, the next one very soon, so did not have to deal with "do you have children" but the number I said I had varied over the years depending who I was talking to and the situation of my reunion at the time. I was more likely to answer "3" rather than "4" in the long time my surrendered son was not communicating with me. It was depressing to explain. Now that we have a relationship I just say I have 4 sons and add some details about them where that is warranted. If I talk about having given up my first, I keep it short. People have been overwhelmingly positive and understanding for the most part.

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  15. @ Maryanne,
    for me, the situation kind of evolved over the years. The people who knew, knew and there were lots of them so there was no point in denying.
    Since my son's death in 2007, I have reached the point where I appreciate people asking about him. The one thing I always feared the most was that people would forget about him, forget he existed, forget his connection to this life, to all of the people who knew him when he was here.
    So, now I welcome the honest chance to speak of him, with caring people, and I have reached the point in my grief where I can usually speak without totally breaking down.
    And, as always, Maryanne, thank you for your thoughtful kindness towards those of us whose children have died.
    It means a great deal.
    Kitta

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  16. Hey!
    It depends upon "who" I'm talking to - I didn't have any other children, after I gave up my daughter for adoption in 1969. Of course, to doctors I do say I have given birth, especially the gynecologist. Otherwise, other people don't need to know, I believe. All my close friends know about my daughter; in fact just this past week a friend from childhood was here visiting with me - keep me company after my husband died. And she was looking at pictures - and said "who is this?" - I told her... she did not say much after that. LOL! She was a friend of my parents, so I didn't see a need for me to tell her earlier. My parents were "quite afraid" all their friends would know! Since they have both died - I don't mind telling people; but since we had no reunion, and still await any word from her - I usually don't go into it.

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    1. Lee2:
      I'm so sorry your husband passed away, and am thinking of you. Well I'm in kind of a similar boat with my older son. There's no way to know whether he will ever want contact with me. Today, as I do sometimes, I was traveling and saw a woman wearing a T-shirt from the town where he lives (a small but well-known town). She looked as if she were originally from this town. I wanted to say, "My son lives there!", but what would come next? I don't dare expand on the conversation - in case she may know him, or of him, or his wife or children. He has made it clear (to my younger son) that he wants nothing to do with me and does not want to hear anything about me.

      Hang in there, I hope for the best for you, and perhaps the passing will do something, as far as your daughter.

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    2. Thank you new and old! Actually, she did not say "she wants nothing to do with me", instead, she said "I told you that I do not want any contact at this time.

      I do appreciate the last letter you sent. It was very touching to hear about my birth. I am sorry for what you went through, with your parents, society & your guilty feelings. And I thank you for the medical information. I have never been angry with you for not keeping me. I have never felt abandoned. Quite the opposite, I have always felt your love for me, for making such a difficult decision! ...I am very happy with the way things are right now. I know more about you, you know more about me, but I still do not want to have a relationship with you. My wish is that you will let this go now. If I want to contact you in the future, I will."

      So... Maybe the "future" is closer than it was in 2009.

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    3. Oh Lee2 that must have hurt. It's so calm and disassociated.

      One of my first mother friends once said this to me, that someone had said to her: We lost them when we gave them up for adoption. That may not help but sometimes reality is better than hope, but here you are, at this blog. Many kindnesses to you.

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    4. Words that are so true, Lorraine. Also, as my husband has said to me (of my younger son), ". . . he can't understand the intensity of your feelings, since he was raised as someone else's child." That made it all a bit easier to understand - although not happy, easier to understand - it's actually simple and the reality, it's very hard to logically get around that fact.

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  17. I think the test to consider how you answer people is if you can answer "how is your (relinquished) child? If you don't know the answer, or don't want to know the answer then it's probably better to not share that you are their mother. Otherwise you not only have to deal with your emotions, but their questions, pity or scorn which most of us don't need or want. Some first moms (like Lorraine) go balls to the wall because I believe they truly want to make a difference in adoption. I admire their courage and their willingness to put themselves out there for scrutiny. For me, I just want to have a good life and don't need any more negative emotions. So I chose to say I have two kids and not three.

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  18. If I won't be getting close to them I say no I don't have children. If they ask about me and my ex I say no we never had children. I used to think I had to say yes every time to honour her but I need to protect my heart.

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  20. I think I have no real problem telling about my first son, just because I have recently been confronting the terms of his adoption again through the Church and made a formal complaint. In their inept estimation they warned me they would talk to friends and relatives, and after 47 years I realized how little I cared. That said, I am still nervous telling some people for the first time, in this process. It may be because I have reached "that age" where I little care what people think as I once did. I was coerced into adoption with my first son, and my next son was stillborn, then I had two children...then adopted four kids at once. When I took on the four kids, aged 2,4, 6 and 8 I was constantly called a saint. When I gave birth to my first son I was a sinner who committed a grave mortal sin equal to murder. Yet I am neither saint nor sinner. I may chose not to tell some, but if give the full story to others. It is me, my life and who I am, why I. Am and what I went through. I can no longer be silent as I feel I owe a debt to make sure no one ever suffers they way I did. Heck, I'd march in the streets with a placard if it meant people opened their eyes to adoption and that there are more than one side, more than one story out there. Not just the one the adoption industry hands out.

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    1. roseglow3--We have been trying to tell the other side of adoption for years, and that was the great impetus when I was writing Hole in my Heart--to make people see how much pain and lifelong sorrow adoption creates, that the warm and fuzzy glow adoption has is the cover for a whole lifetime of grief for mothers and adoptees. We may not feel the fullness of it everyday, but poke it with a stick and there it is.

      When you mentioned the Church, and made a formal complaint, was that LDS? Many churches have adoption agencies, but which are you talking about?

      As for speaking out, that is the only way people will ever learn the truth about adoption. More than ever, the adoption agencies sprouting fairy tales about adoption. My belief is: if you are going to have a baby, raise that child.

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