' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Are adoptees emotionally connected or detached to their biological/birth parents?

Monday, July 24, 2017

Are adoptees emotionally connected or detached to their biological/birth parents?

Lorraine
The question of connection between natural parents and their offspring emerges increasingly as DNA provides the links to family members who were not raised in that family. Some adopted individuals--and especially those who have been searching for their kin--are likely to feel a strong pull to their blood relatives, mother and father included. But not all adoptees feel this way. For some the disconnection may last, especially if social standing and education and religious beliefs are strongly divergent from one another. For some, the feelings of connection are likely to change over time, from cool to engaged to definitely! And if the mother and her family are rejecting, the gamut of emotions will go from hot to cold in time.

Reunion is so damn tricky. If you watch Long Lost Family
on TLC, you see highly emotional reunions and of both men and women usually finding their mothers, or relatives if the mother is deceased. You would imagine--as I did once--that all reunions end with accepting, relieved, tearful mothers. But as I said in the previous post, that is not always the case. In the back of my mind I am still pondering over a famous film and stage personality older than I who has refused several entreaties (without direct contact) from a daughter--who looks a lot like her. So I wonder, did the letters and flowers delivered to this woman actually get to her? You can see why I believe that a phone call (unless you are dealing with the producers of Long Last Family, who are facilitating the reunion) is always the best. That way you know that person you are seeking--a mother, for instance, does in fact know that a long lost child is calling. Without that, who knows who may have intercepted the letter, thrown out the note that came with the flowers?


But I digress. The other day we got a lengthy comment--two actually--from an man who posted at a blog from 2010--that asked if all adoptees felt a connection to their biological parents. He said he was an only child, had a good life with his parents who made a lot of sacrifices for him; his adoptive mother is deceased, but his father is not, and he calls him every night. He is undecided over whether to contact the woman that he is almost sure is his biological mother. If he does, it will be only because, he wrote, "my wife and her friend thought that my BM [Note: quoting him as he wrote*] might want to know that everything turned out OK.... The main thing for me, I never want to hurt any one's feelings. I don't want my parents to feel like they weren't enough, and I'm searching for a replacement for them; and I don't want to pour salt on a wound for my BM or surprise my BF [birth father], who in all likelihood - may not even know I exist." 

This last comment caught my attention because one of the last people to leave a comment at the previous post was a man who had been contacted (because of DNA testing) by a daughter he never knew he had. Again, I digress but adoption is full of ...digressions.

The man's point is, if he contacts his first mother it will be, he says, not because of any need he has, but to let her know he's all right.

Reunion is such a long strange journey for many. Some adoptees go into it excited and ready to establish a connection, others are more wary, and stay distant; others find that their feelings evolve and change over time, or change immediately, especially if they are girding themselves for feeling little or nothing, but find emotions tumbling out they did not know existed.

My daughter at 15 was primed to meet me, and had already told her adoptive parents of her desire to search for me one day. In our first phone conversation--before she knew I was a writer and journalist, she said she wanted to be a journalist when she grew up. Since both her natural father and I were newspaper reporters, it was both thrilling and affirmative to hear her say that. We shared so many traits and interests and physical similarites, all of which I've written about extensively elsewhere.

While our initial relationship was warm, over the quarter of a century we were reunited, we certainly had our ups and downs. Knowing what I understand now, many of my daughter's rejections were based on the fact that her adoptive mother's growing hatred of me, as well as the woman's Alzheimer's which brought that to the unfiltered forefront, and my daughter's need to prove to her that she, our shared daughter, was worthy of her adoptive mother's love.

After our reunion and when her life became ever more complicated, I stayed available through the rejections and periods of silence and returned mail and unanswered letters from my daughter. One birthday--after decades of a relatively good relationship--I did not send her a greeting in any way. When she called a few months later, she began the conversation with How are you?, as if there had been no break at all. In fact, we both said it those words in unison. Her silences felt harrowing and impossible to comprehend--what could I have possibly done to make her walk away, again? Yet I wanted her to know that through it all she knew that I loved her, and that she could walk away for months, and I would always welcome her back. First and foremost, she was my daughter, and I had given her up. Her confusion and the exhaustion I sometimes felt was part of the deal, a part that was mine to weather. Only later, after learning more about what her adoptive mother was saying and doing, did I understand the reasons for what she did.

I am remembering now as I write one of our last conversations. "You are my true family, I see that now," she said. I don't miss her rejections, her silences, but I think about the good times and miss her still, ten years after her death. But I digress.

My point today is that reunion with one's mother and kin is always emotionally charged. A welcoming mother or father can bring incredible highs--and lows. Adoptees have every right to be wary going in, not knowing who or what they will find, and the same is true for mothers who relinquished. Anger or disinterest might be beyond the door; so might relief and acceptance and love. One adoptee wrote that as she walked up to her biological father's house she felt, "Well, here goes nothing..." only to walk away shaken by powerful emotions of the blood connection she did not expect. First mothers who have been hoping and waiting for the reunion for decades are more likely to be ready for intense feelings. They expect to be overwhelmed; but most will not expect how vulnerable they may feel, how transported back to the time of relinquishment they might be, how undone the face-to-face-meeting will make them, how truly powerful the emotions will be.

As for myself, reliving the moment I got my daughter's name and address and phone number, the greatest emotion was relief: She was alive; she had a stable family; I would never again not know who or where she was. Relief. No matter what would happen after our first phone call, she was no longer lost to me. Relief.  I would never not know what happened to my baby. Relief. Deep, profound, life-changing relief.

Dear Hank, I cannot predict what happens at the end of every such phone call. But that is what getting my daughter's name and phone number meant to me, and how I felt after our first phone call four days later. If you proceed, I suggest you do some reading about first mothers, and the adoptee experience. You may be surprised. You said you were 48; my daughter would be 51 now, so your mother and I relinquished only a few years apart.

I wish you and your mother well on this journey.--lorraine
_______________________

* I know this is an offensive shorthand because of what is normally refers to, but let's let this man off the hook and not get upset here. He does not mean to offend. I decided to use his quotes as he wrote them. But if you, Hank, are reading this, consider that BM usually refers to Bowel Movement and becomes a slur. First mothers--a term many prefer--have been put down so long by so many that since we are now coming out of the closet, we feel irritated when someone uses the term "birth mother" let alone shorten it to ... well, you know.  For more info--

'Preferred' adoption language is bunk

Who gains when first mothers fight over "correct" language?)


And to read: 
The Primal Wound: Understanding the Adopted Child
By Nancy Verrier
Comforting to some, controversial to others, but always a consisent to-read book by many adoptees. 
In this classic work, Nancy Verrier examines the life-long consequences of the 'primal wound' - the wound that results when a child is separated from his or her mother - for adopted people, as they grow up & into adulthood. It provides information about pre- & perinatal psychology, attachment, bonding & the effects of loss.

Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA
By Richard Hill 

on July 21, 2017
The search for an unknown family member resonates with every genealogist. We dig, ask questions, haunt
cemeteries and archives, walk away in frustration until something catches our attention and we are back in
the hunt. DNA has had a major impact on genealogists. For me its confirmed and disproved relationships,
answered questions I've spent a lifetime trying to answer and raised new ones. I really enjoyed following
Richard's journey.

64 comments :

  1. I am really glad you have written about this Lorraine.
    I am crying though, so will add more later.

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    1. I can't quite explain why I found this post so moving, but I did.

      It was your experience Lorraine, and your daughter's, particularly her words.

      It was also my own experience of reunion, where my son and I are mostly close, affectionate and loving, and then occasionally mystifyingly disjointed and fearful. And sometimes privately angry at how the other has unwittingly touched an agonizing element of this horror show called adoption.

      The difficult estranging times are reminders of the irrevocable damage done by adoption. The loving times are evidence of what fundamental connection survived adoption, despite our three decades apart.

      We are all so unbelievably vulnerable.

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  2. Oh, Cherry, big virtual {{{hugs}}}!

    If only I could turn back time, and change some things! Not only would I tinker with your life, but with mine: my parents dumped me some thirty years ago, not long after Mr. B and I married. My mother maintained a hostile silence for the next ten years, until she died; my father icily informed me both of her death, and that I was not welcome at her funeral. When he died twenty years later, I found out on my own. Nobody told me.

    So even though I'm not a relinquishing mother or an AP, I can relate more than I ever imagined to chilly distances between parents and offspring.

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    1. Mrs TarquinBuscuitBarrel...

      Thank you for your warm, kind hug. I felt it, and one is winging its way to you from me, for all the profound pain your world has contained too. I've long envied Superman that passion-fuelled flight round the globe, reversing its spin and turning back time. I'd definitely do that for you and for me.

      xx

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  3. Wonderful post. Losing one's flesh and blood child is a loss one never overcomes - no matter how seemingly successful one is in life. It is beyond sad that it has been mostly religious people who have insisted single mothers relinquish their children for the sake of those children.

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    1. Yes, and at the same time we have someone leaving a comment on an old post indignent that we are pro-choice.

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  4. I started my search fully prepared......or so I thought. I had examined my need for searching......my expectations.......and I had prepared myself for possible disappointment. I just knew that if my birth mother accepted me entering her life that there would be an instant connection. How could there not be? Wrong. Once the dust settled and we had both calmed down, the disconnect was evident on my side. Nature vs nurture. We are no more connected than I am with my casual friends....maybe because we are still strangers.....2.5 yrs later. Maybe if I had found her when I was younger. I was 48....married for 25 yrs with 4 children and 2 grandchildren. Oh how I wish it was different....that our mother/daughter connection was automatic. She didn't raise me....she wasn't there for any of the wonderful things in my life....she didn't share in my joys or my sadness. Yes, there is a big disconnect there and I'm not sure that will ever change.

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  5. i found my son in 2005 but first reached out to him via a letter in 2010. it took me 5 yrs because of the brainwashing that was handed me 34 yrs earlier. many heard the same things, dont disturb his life, if you love him you will give him up for adoption, you dont make enough money to raise him, there is a couple who wants him (gee, what about me and my baby who needed each other), blah blah blah. a lot of kool-aide out there that the money/baby trafficking does.

    i started emailing, sending cards, gifts etc. he was very slow to accept as he said he never wanted to know me, i am not his mother or his family. very hurtful things. a lot of emails has been sent by me mostly. he met a girl with two kids, teenager and a baby. they stared their affair, she finally got divorced and now they got married a yr ago. since he got engaged to this girl he said very mean things to me, but by the guidance of a psychotherapist to never give up, i continued to send emails, cards and gifts. then he continued to sent very mean hurtful things to me so i cut back but i sent a happy mothers day email and birthday card to him a couple of months ago. nothing deep, just very light. he has been telling me to stop contacting him but i continued through the advice of psychotheripist. i ent those 2 cards and now he said he is going to go to the cops and file a restraining order on me. whoa! now the psychotherapist said i can no longer send anything to him. this is a prime example of adoptee rage, anger, hurt, and disconnection. has any other moms have this experience and have their found adult kid change their mind and want to meet them? by the way after 7 yrs of me communicating to him via email and cards he would never talk to me on the phone, skype or meet me. i would love to hear from others that had this experience and what came of it?

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    1. Anonymous, your story is very sad. Still, if someone says they want nothing to do with you, I think you've got to let it go. I think your psychologist gave bad advice to you in continuing to contact your son under these circumstances. If it seems like your son will be happier living a life without you in it - so be it, make him happy and butt out. Just be glad that he is well and has found love and has a family. If he feels his wishes are not being respected, that is bad and no-one can say he's wrong to have his own feelings. It sounds like he may not come around, nor will he have a chance to even think about it at length, since he keeps receiving contact from you despite his making it clear that he doesn't share your desire to know each other.

      Be good to yourself, you are not just a birth mother to your son, but a whole person. Don't keep spinning your wheels. There's adoptee rage, and then there's feeling as if your wishes are not respected at all, which causes a very intense anger and fear, as well. I think the latter is what your son is feeling, from what you describe. It is not possible to insert yourself into someone's life without their consent that it is OK, even though you clearly love your son. If someone says stop, you must stop. You tried your best, and it's not working. Don't set yourself up for more big hurt.

      I am a birth mother; I wrote a letter to my oldest son 2-1/2 years ago. He did not answer and will not even participate in any discussion about me (with my younger son or any other relatives). You just have to hope that time could eventually make a difference. I also can say that I remember my mother sending birthday cards to my 2 older sisters (not on their birthdays!), who wanted nothing to do with her. My mom wanted an excuse to say hello to them. I felt sorry for my mother, but did notice that she didn't respect their feelings to be left alone in peace. And of course there was never any response. Let this go, and hope for better times - for your sake. As they say, what can't be cured, must be endured. You are brave for all your efforts, and I'm sorry they were not successful. Your son's position has not changed after 7 years, that's a signal that it's time to stop expending energy in this particular direction.

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    2. Stop torturing yourself. My daughter found me 17 years ago. We had a rocky, on/off relationship for five years until she cut off all contact with me twelve years ago. Like you, I kept trying. When her first child was born (I only knew because my sister was close to her), I phoned three hospitals in her city, guess right on the second, and called to congratulate her. She said "Thank you for calling," hung up on me, and the poor receptionist who connected me probably lost her job. My daughter attended two family weddings (my niece and nephew/her cousins) and she didn't speak to me, yet she posed for the "family" photo; we stood at opposite sides of the group. My husband and I were just talking about her this weekend, how reunion was the one thing I longed for for 23 years, and when I got my wish, I was more sad than glad for five years. It took a year or so, but I moved on, and found a new passion full of wonderful young adults who I consider honorary sons and daughters who call me "mama" and have enriched my life 100 fold. When I stopped caring about her, I stopped hurting. I hope you can do the same.
      r

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    3. Anon, I know several mothers whose children resisted meeting them for many years but finally wanted a relationship. Hang in there but step back. Don't let your loss dominate your life.

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    4. I come at this from an adoptee perspective. Without rehashing it all, my birth mother found me. I had no intention of meeting her. She hounded me and cornered me until yes I had to file a restraining order against her. From the adoptee side only, I felt cornered like a wild animal and so disrespected. I told her I didn't want a relationship with her, I didn't answer her calls or her emails, I had to shit down my Facebook page for a time because of her actions and behavior. Out of everyone in the adoptee triangle, adopters were the only ones who had absolutely no choice in entering it. So for a birth mother to come off as harassing, that's just another choice taken away from us by people who think they know better. Were you harassing him? I don't know but your psychotherapist was way off base. Did he feel like you were harassing him? Absolutely! If you're backing off on the attempts at contact that's a good thing. I don't know if he'll change his mind and decide to pursue a relationship but I'm pretty sure hed never consider it if he felt he was under duress. Jane is right, take a step back and take care of you.

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    5. Anon, your therapist gave you very bad advice. When someone specifically tells you to leave them alone in no uncertain terms, that is what you should do. Continuing contact makes you a stalker, at least in the adoptee's eyes. Was your therapist by any chance a so called "adoption expert"? Some who are less skilled put out the myth that all adoptees REALLY want to be found no matter what they say, but that is just not true. I suggest you find another therapist, and agree that you should step back, hard as it is, and take care of you. In adoption reunion, just as in sexual relationships, "no means no."

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    6. Autocorrect is the pits. Its hard to proof read in the tiny box on mobile devices. I didn't shit down my Facebook, I shut it down. Also out of everyone in the triangle its the ADOPTEES that have no choice, not the adopters. Sigh.

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  6. This is advice I gave myself when a granddaughter told me she was fine, see ya...
    The people who want to be in your life will be; you don't have to go chasing after them.

    I can't believe a therapist told you to continue when you were being abused. I could see sending something now and then...but not after you are really told you are not wanted in that person's life. Bad advice. Take care of yourself and let go. Find your own peace.

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  7. Thia is such a complex topic,connected or diconnected. I have always felt connected to my son, but for many years he avoided me. I kept sending stuff for birthdays and Christmas, and he never returned anything nor told me to stop but seldom responded for many years. Then he turned around, we now have a relationship. I once asked him if he would have searched for me, and he said he did not know, being adopted was not a major issue for him. Yet after several meetings when I said goodbye to him and added "I love you" he replied "I love you too". I take him at his word, because those words did not come early or easily to him.

    I would like to see him more than I have but I do believe we are connected. He is very similar to me, and to his biological father whom I see in his face and in his logical and intellectual personality. He is like me in similar taste in art, some books, love of animals, especially cats, and the natural environment. I am not sure how connected he feels to me, but I see the connection as just there in so many ways.

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  8. Truly an authentic take on the purgatory aka adoption system. While I opened up to vulnerability time and time again with my daughter, Joanna, the relentless emotional and mental beating has taken its toll. I'm done. More important to realize is that First Mothers often continue to feel guilty and disgraced which only requires a need for more ongoing punishment, and some adoptees will be happy to provide the whip. After reading numerous adoption stories, it is clear to me that a toss of the coin and forces out of our control determines for whom a reunion will be "happy" ending when, in fact, there can be no happy ending for the industry of ethnic cleansing.

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  9. Based on my experience along with the many reunion stories I've read, I would recommend that any adoptee considering entering into a reunion relationship should be anger-free toward the first mother. Any adoption-related anger issues definitely need to be resolved if the reunion relationship has any promise of ending on a positive note.

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    1. Excellent idea, Sarah, but the problem is that in many cases the adoptee does not recognize that they are truly angry. My daughter certainly did not--but the planned psychodrama that we engaged in while everything was sweetness and tears ended up with her hands around my neck as she shouted: Why Did You Give Me Up????

      Trust me, that was an incident you do not forget.

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    2. "I would recommend that any adoptee considering entering into a reunion relationship should be anger-free toward the first mother."

      Ha ha. Good luck with that. If one works on their complicated feelings towards his or her first mother, that will take a lifetime and the chance for reunion will be gone. While I never advocate accepting any kind of abuse, we must also strive to accept each other warts and all.

      Adoption sucks and reading all of this is making me cry.

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  10. My daughter would likely be classified as detached. Found her over ten years ago and has no interest in me, her siblings, her story or medical history.

    My selfish need for sanity likes to believe that some day she may change her mind, some day she may care. I tell myself that she is in fact the opposite of what she portrays - caring and full of emotion - but overwhelmed by it all so prefers to remain detached. Again, my selfish explanation to make her decisions and approach easier for me to handle. It feels more comfortable to believe she does care and has a hard time handling it than believe she can be as cold and unemotional as she projects.

    Again, selfish lie I tell myself to make myself feel better, not necessarily rooted in truth.

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  11. I can really relate to this post The years of painfully relentless worrying and not knowing whether my only child was even alive or who he was etc made it almost impossible for me to concentrate on anything but jobs where I could just daydream,listen to music or be somewhere,anywhere but here. Finally finding out that he was,indeed, still alive, had a name and another life gave me a great sense of relief. Our reunion was good partly because we lived very near each other-just a few miles, but he has since moved away and we try to keep in touch. I didn't realize how angry I was at the county social worker who wouldn't return him to me when I kept asking for him I have been trying to find her to ask her why

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  12. This comment was to an older blog post. We're placing it here. Jane

    This blog has an air of sour grapes of "first mums". But here's the reality of it, from an adoptee: You're not first mums, you're nothing mums. You're strangers. That kid that you popped out? Stranger. You to them? Stranger. By negligence &/or abuse, or free will, you gave up that kid and all rights to it. Now you only have one course of action: Make your peace with your regrets like everyone else. Adoptees don't need your baggage. They grew up with their own lives and their own parents (adopted, but still actual parents). Even the few who are curious about you are just confused, and losing sight of what matters, and ultimately things overwhelmingly end in disappointment and more bad feelings for both. Your feelings are...your own to deal with. Imagine going up to any stranger in the street with an unrealistic expectation for them to salve your guilt & regret? It's creepy and wrong. If you're a surrogate 'first' mum here then I assume you're struggling to deal with on Adoptees can't stop first mother's pain

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    1. My son very publicly on FB wished me and his adoptive mother a Happy Mother's Day. I was astounded. When I asked him why he had done that, he said it was because he was so proud to have me as his mother.

      So I'm guesing he would disagree with the contemptuous and contemptible person writing above.

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    2. What's so weird about the above post is the tone - it has that poisonous vitriolic tone that adoptive mothers use when talking about first mothers.

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    3. Creepy? Kind of how prospective adopters stalk and hound pregnant young women, calling them "their birth mother", then pretending they own the flesh and blood of another. Yes, very "CREEPY." Even more "creepy", them raising a human being that holds such contempt for their mothers and heritage, but of course, that makes them happy.

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    4. It's an angry post for sure - But it does sound like plain talk, from a person (adoptee) with a perspective that is different from our own (as birth mothers). Some of it is very good advice, if the suggestions are listened to, apart from the emotion. That's my take on it anyway. I don't agree with everything that is said, but much of it makes good sense and is good advice (albeit expressed in a rather intense way). The situation is what it is, as they say, and it would be wise to heed this post, and take from it what would actually help a first mother to understand that point of view.

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    5. I'm not going to listen to anyone who talks to or about me with contempt. I've had enough of that. I don't deserve it. I am a human being with feelings, and a reality. The days of treating me like crap are over.

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    6. Right response, Cherry. We debated whether to post the comment but thought we would let readers see how some adoptees feel. To say she is angry doesn't begin to cover it.

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    7. "Imagine going up to any stranger in the street with an unrealistic expectation for them to salve your guilt and regret? It's creepy and wrong."

      Can't help but laugh at the unthinking absurdity of that statement as that is exactly what happened, though, "in the street", should be replaced with, in the ss office, in the hospital, in the home, in the church, etc., for many of us (first) mothers when others came for our newborn infants, against our will.

      I agree Cherry, my sensors are pinging on -sounds like- adoptive mother speak. Heard it, been there, waaay too often.

      "By negligence &/or abuse, or free will.." Pretty narrow range there, completely eliminating all other circumstances such as coercion, force, abandoned mother, etc..

      Isn't adoption such a wonderful thing for all the anger and bitterness it can place into the heart and mind of some adoptees. That sure is in the "best interest of the child (and later adult)" isn't it? This "practice" has a lot to answer for.

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    8. I must say, I don't understand. Contempt? Right response?

      Isn't this person telling it as they see it?

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  13. I reunited with my 37 year old son in 2001, We had a three hour reunion which went very well and i was pretty much on cloud nine, He did strike me as a little immature but still very sweet and accomplished and educated, He was raised in a very religious home and I could tell amom had done a number on him. He told me three times she could not know about me.

    We exchanged Christmas cards for eleven years and at that juncture i sent him a very emotional letter telling him it had been such a long time and could we meet for lunch, at that point i did not send a xmas card and he sent one as usual. to make a long story short that valentines day he returned my card, or rather the po did. i ceased sending any more bday cards and think i sent a few more xmas cards but stopped. On his birthday two years ago I sent The Girls Who Went Away Book and DVD, Never heard anything and then sent his wife an email asking her to help me meet the grandkids now grown. He found out and wrote me back in a total rage, told me to leave him alone, i was not his mother, leave his wif and kidss alone, and then said "will send you a xmas card if we send them" that was two years ago, and what do i make of that craziness. my grandkids are 18 and 20 and in college, i am going to write them, i knew he must not have cared a whole let but i still held out hope, why was i so blind????

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    1. It's so hard to understand what goes on. His pullback may have something to do with his adoptive mother, because as you say, he said, She cannot know about this. I am so sorry. I understand your sorrow. I would not hold out much hope to knowing his children, your grandchildren. They are likely to take his cues from him. Take care of yourself.

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    2. The grandchildren are not necessarily in agreement with their parent. My real (that's what I call him and always have) grandfather and his second wife tried so hard to get my Dad to give them AND us grand-kids a chance. But Dad's rage-filled pain would not allow him to let US have our family. Thankfully Dad saved the cards and letters from them. He did that much at least. I love my grandfather's second wife for her great efforts at reconciliation, the cards and letters signed "love granddad and step grandma Liz" and I love having those things that connect me with them! I think my step grandma Liz is a saint for what she did. Someday I hope she knows how much her love did for the next generation. I'm furious (sad isn't it) that my Dad kept us from seeing and having a relationship with our grandparents...MORE forced *adoption separation*! Thanks everbuddy that thinks that adoption is such a great idea!!!!!!!! s/

      Family destruction at it's worst this thing called adoption.

      Dad was finally able to call his Dad his 'uncle' by the time he was in his late 60's. When he was in his mid 70's he was able to call him Dad. It only took a lifetime. He refused counseling of any kind, even when his children ended up in counseling and had counselors recommending FAMILY counseling. He refused to do it. He couldn't handle it. Oh yeah, the rest of us did really, really well.....NOT!

      Promoting and praising adoption just needs to stop.

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    3. Cindy thank you for your feedback, Gives me a little hope, I have deliberatley held off on contacting my 18 and 20 year old grandchildren, The 20 year old boy looks like my twin, and i have no idea where he is, the 18 year old girl is an avid dog lover just like me, all she posts are pics of dogs and i have my own pet sitting business,She will be off to u of florida, first time away from home, Joe Soll told me to go after them, i thought of driving down and finding out where her sorority house will be, then i though that might be too much, think i will send a package fedex with pics of me and doggie clients and things i bought for her when she was little, she just had her high school graduation and nobody was ther except her parents, no grandparent from either side, I should have been there, they are so into the Southern Baptist kool aide they are probably ashamed of surroundings of my son;s birth, My granddaughter is gay, I am positive aobut it, i am sure her parents are devastated, maybe my granddaughter could use a supportive grandmother like me.

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  14. Thank you Lorraine for this article and your feedback, I realize that my grandkids will probably take their cue from their Dad, i am still going to write a letter to granddaughter next month and let her know who I am, she can then sit on the info if she so desires, It is amazing how hard my heart has gotten, I have decided to write Kelly a final letter telling him about his dad, the gang rape, my opinion on his mother and all her religious rants on his sister's fb posts. and my opinion on his meanness, I have been grieving over someone who does not exist, the hurt is still there, but nowhere as bad.

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    1. Obviously, you are going to do what you want...but no matter how you feel when you write, consider what advantage there is by telling him your opinion of his adoptive mother. Since he obviously still has a relationship with her, or let's assume he does, criticizing her will only cause him more rage and to further tighten the circle around the family wagons. He probably already knows in his heart what you want to say about her. We all can criticize someone in our family, but we don't want outsiders to do that. Then we rise to defend.

      From your comment I take that your son was the product of a gang rape. You certainly can tell him that if you have not; I assume then that he and maybe you do not know who his biologial father is? I am so sorry that happened to you. Many hugs across the ether.

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    2. Thank you Lorraine for your wise input,you ran an article aboutthe gang rape several years back . The biological father is the one who took me to the gang rape. We were asking for opinions because i thought if my son had been in touch with the biological dad nothing good would have been said about me, i have held off all these years wondering if the attitude of my son had something to do with something his bdad said, tired of wondering after all these years

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    3. Marsha, I'll second what Lorraine says about saying anything about your son's adoptive mother. My Dad "idolized" (I think he had to, to survive) his adoptive mother. If his own mother had written something of that nature...oooh, I don't know what the results would have been. I would go ahead and write your granddaughter. If I had received a note from mine saying something like, "If you would like to know me or ever receive information about your extended family on your Dad's side, I will provide all I can. I am here for you if you so desire. Here's my contact information when and if you would like. love, grandma _______(name). Just a thought. I think I'll go daydream about my grandma now. As far as I know she died when I was young so meeting her is not a possibility. (pouty face).

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    4. My own paternal grandmother died two years before I was born. She is the one that obviously I am the most like; yes, I too am sorry that I was never able to know her. It was only many years later after learning a family secret about my maternal grandmother that I felt any emotional connection to her.

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  15. Wow,I would give up 10 years of my life to have found a first mom who was alive and wanted a relationship with me instead of a grave.

    I feel at home and real with my genetic relatives. While I have a strong bond with my adoptive siblings it's more like lifelong close friends than family.
    It is a challenge to start building history with family as an adult. Moreso if the parties have been injured by adoption. I think adoptees and first parents can be key in each others'healing.

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    1. "I think adoptees and first parents can be key in each others' healing."

      I really believe that too, Karen.

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  16. Cindy thank you for your very wise advise, I am going to do what you say, figure, hey, i cant go wrong with that!!

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    1. Marsha, you're welcome. I don't know that what I said has anything at all to do with wisdom. It is only relating lived experience and what I would have loved to have from my maternal grandmother. Every one is different and has a different experience and view of things, and how those things relate to them personally so their individual responses can vary widely. I do so hope for the best for you and your family! This is a, mmmm, *challenging* walk, this thing called adoption. I'm hoping it (the loss) doesn't "touch" (hah!) another generation of my family. 5 is enough!

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  17. Most people who read here know most of my story - but the thing is this.... I don't know what my daughter wanted. I searched and found her from HER posting on adoption.com... only to be hit over and over with the push-me-pull-you let me punch you in the face (emotionally) that went on for a very long time. Finally, when she used me the last time, I told her to go away and not come back until she got help. She was furious - not understanding that love does not mean that you have a right to abuse anyone... and has not spoken to me for almost 2 years. Sadly, I am at peace for the first time. I feel sorry for her - her son wants nothing to do with her (karma bites) and now, as her sons soon to be ex is getting ready to give birth to her first grandson, she is not allowed near them.

    To me, it is heartbreaking that she chose to keep the cycle going and even more so since it seems to carry over.

    While it is good that if she is stalking me, she is doing it through others, and not commenting or being rude...... It is bad that she just could not let go of her rage (it is too intense to just be anger), and do what we both wanted - be part of the building rather than the destroying. I miss her, but I don't miss that.

    But I guess I will never know what she really wanted.

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    1. Unfortunately, for a lot of adoptees, a push/pull relationship is what happens. It did not start out that way but evolved over time. Your daughter is different from mine, of course, Lori, but after being put through the wringer several times by my daughter, the periods when she wasn't speaking to me were more peaceful. Being an emotional punching bag is no fun.

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    2. I would have not done that to my mother, but I can see where your daughter is coming from. I wanted to ask if my mother regretted giving me up, but knew that would betray my sister's existence meant to constitute my role.

      "How could you do that to me? How could you give me up?"

      Sometimes I still ask that, and I know both sides of the story and I've spoken to my adoption agency, and I *still* just don't get it, how my mother could give me up, send me away to be raised by foreigners across an entire ocean to potentially never see her again, never be her daughter again, never be a part of their family, and it sucks.

      It doesn't compute. In the end, I guess there aren't any good answers, just placating ones.

      Mei-Ling

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    3. Mei-Ling, you are right There are no good answers, just placating ones. It is hard to write that even now, even so long later.

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    4. Mei-Ling, The sad part - I fought the State of Arizona and a very greedy social worker for over 3 years. Not just to keep her once she was born - but to allow her to be born at all. I hid my pregnancy for almost 4 months to keep them from forcing an abortion. Not all mothers just "give up" - and I certainly have not. After reunion I spent 15 years (seriously) fighting to put my family back together (her adoptive family is toxic - from her own lips, and what I have seen, since I have met them).

      I still don't know what she wanted.

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    5. What is the one thing that can make a mother give up her child?

      The belief that her child will suffer if she keeps him, and thrive if she does not.

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  18. [Adoptees don't need your baggage. They grew up with their own lives and their own parents (adopted, but still actual parents)]

    This adoptee doesn't speak for me. On one hand, it is good to know my original folks didn't suffer all their lives. On the other... I want to have mattered.

    Actually I would like to be able to pick up the phone and have a conversation with my mother, but my language skills are shite. So there's that.

    Mei-Ling

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  19. Apparently, some families deserve bountiful "gifts" of babies. Tracking adopted infant No. 5 for the "R" family, with picture of the mother depicting her "gift" to them:

    http://www.therhouse.com/redfern-party-of-7/

    I hope the day comes when the characterization of adoption as "gift giving" is completely eradicated - makes me ill.

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    1. Jay Iyer, I actually looked at therhouse.com website. Did I NEED to make myself indignant?!? Evidently I did!

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    2. Jay, Gross! The pregnant woman holding that sign is srsly demented. In this case--If I read the blog post correctly--it seems as if the woman is counting on this couple to raise any children she might have. This should not be happening to these children.

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    3. Mrs TarquinBiscuitbarrel, I too am a glutton for punishment - I periodically check that website and upset myself all over again.

      Lorraine, I have to wonder how they managed to find FOUR vulnerable young women to hand over their newborns to them!! And yes, the most recent "find" handed them two babies. I think they are happy to keep on "acquiring" babies. I have read other articles by the adoptive mom about how much she loves all her babies' "birthmoms" and appreciates their sacrifices. Anyhow, I'll stop. Lorraine, you are right, this should not be happening to these children. The trading of newborns in this "first world" country is mind-blowing to me.

      And speaking of the blue ribbon tied around the pregnant mother's ("prospective first mother's") belly, some photographers specialize in "adoption maternity photography," where they take pictures of the adoptive parents posing with the mother's pregnant belly. I found one such site years ago, but was pleased to see that in recent years she has taken down those pictures and now no longer advertises "adoption maternity" as one of her services.

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  20. Thanks, Lorraine for this thoughtful post. My daughter and I are coming up on 19 years in reunion. In the beginning, we both marveled at the things we had in common--we are both in advanced medical fields, we are both musical and play piano, we both sew, we both love to write. It was during the election of President Obama (about 10 years into reunion) that things began to sour. Now we saw the differences. She was raised in a very conservative Catholic family in a very conservative state. I, on the other hand, live in a very liberal city and as a Certified Nurse Midwife, I had very liberal beliefs about women and their choices. While I do not post anything on Facebook about these beliefs, she and I had a couple of private conversations about it. She began to back away. While before I got a phone call (usually I called her) every couple of months, that time lengthened. When I began to miss her and asked (via email) for a regular time we could talk, she responded that she didn't like phone calls or email and just wanted to text. I obliged and didn't call. After about a year her husband asked why I wasn't calling and I told him what she wrote. She immediately messaged me back telling me I "made that up" and she never said that. I hadn't saved the email so I couldn't prove it to her. Nevertheless, our relationship faltered. I backed way off. Normally I go to see her once a year (we live 800 miles apart) but I skipped that year. When I did finally see her again, she was in a new job and introduced me as her "mom." First time for that. But nothing has changed. She still rarely calls, as do I. Our only contact is via FB. 20 years ago I thought our relationship could be re-established. Now I know it never can be. I am tired of trying to make it work. I will never reject her, she is my baby. But I cannot continue being the only one that will work on the relationship. If she wants me, I am here. I think she knows by now that I want her.

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  21. My mother and I had a deep connection that was obvious from the moment we met. For me it was amazing and confusing. For her, I think it was troubling as she felt a deep loyalty to the children she had kept and raised even though they themselves did not seem to have any issues with our connection. I just think it freaked us both out a little. One time, she came on a visit and brought all kinds of food with her. As she pulled it out of the cooler, I kept saying things like "Oh I love that salad!" And then pulled an identical cranberry salad kit from my own fridge. Over and over, she had brought me the exact same quirky food that was already in my fridge. I laughed. It freaked her out. She asked out loud why the children she raised were so different from her but the one she had given up was so similar. I suggested that adoption had made us our own Science experiment. The bond was not all good, it seemed to create hurt feelings and competition and shame. But deep down, there was love and a bond that was created before I was even born. Now, my mother has been gone for almost a year. I thought the connection would die with her but it hasn't. So now I just try to give love to her children, my siblings. The love that often seemed to upset her and perplex her. It's actually easier with them. But still I miss her. Who else would travel miles and miles to bring me my favorite salad?

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    1. June, I thought your comment and its sentiments were beautiful. I so rarely hear deep loving feelings being expressed by adoptees for their mother of origin. Usually it's the opposite. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings.

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    2. Believe me,it has been a lot of personal work to get to this place. My mother and I both went into reunion very much wanting to know each other. But it was difficult. It was years and years of walking on eggshells, never knowing what would set the other person off. Our main issue, I now believe, is that we were so very similar. Two fierce, highly sensitive, quirky, outspoken, strong women separated by adoption. It was a recipe for disaster from the beginning. I feel like our reunion failed in many ways however I have no regrets. And the thing is, even though there were times we literally went years without speaking, we still kept trying because it was important to both of us. Tenacity seemed to be another thing we shared, either that or we were masochists. We couldn't really make it work but we kept trying and it mattered. In the end, it mattered.

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  22. Wow, June, your comment made me cry.

    Though my daughter and I certainly had issues as time went on, we had the same kinds of connections that blew me away. She was very young (15) and didn't seem to grasp how strange it was for me to see the really weird similarities, like us having the same sandal, made by an Italian company with a limited output. I bought mine in Manhattan at their own store; she got hers in Madison. Some exact sandal, just a half size different! There was other weird stuff like that so the cranberry salad mix totally hit home--also I make a semi-sour cranberry relish I use year around with peanut butter on grainy toast....

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  23. As I read, it strikes me that while my non-reunion was like an inferno and simply insane, I think that I understand more reasons of why it was.... that similarity with my daughter was overwhelming.... as we sat close together during our first face to face, while I wanted desperately to touch her hair, hold her face and look at it-so similar to the tiny face that I had kissed so many times, I could not do it... I was terrified that it would distance her. Over time, I realized that she did not really "care" about me or anything of mine, she made sure that I felt as if I should have died quietly and before I became something real to her. Her temper, poor child, was one I learned to deal with as a teen - she never did. Her depressions and rages something I could have, had I raised her, helped her to control and understand... they continue to this day if her children and spouse are to be believed.

    The differences were terrifying. At least to me they were. She stole from me, lied to me, used her husband to steal off of my computer, used me and, as a whole, made sure that I felt as if I somehow had created the situation. I didn't. I don't even know what she does. I simply live.

    But I feel the confusion and pain she has through the voices of other adopted persons.... I feel bad that I banned her from my life, but I know that it would never have changed and would have, ultimately, ended very badly for me - I was suicidal after my spouse passed.

    All I can do is pray that one day she will understand the story she was told - by me - and do the research herself (the lies mounted by social services and her adoptive parents reached colossal enough that the courts had begun to wonder at the legitimacy of her adoption when I requested records... the judge read the paperwork and asked me exactly how they got custody - there was NOTHING in the court records that backed up the social worker's stories that allowed the judge to finalize an adoption of a child illegally removed from the United States.

    I wish I could just sooth her rage, help her to learn to love living beings instead of money and things..... and hold her face that is so much like the little face I kissed so often.

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    1. The similarities hurt. It's a gazillion more things and moments in time that were lost when we were forced apart from our children.

      At times I wonder if it would have been easier if my child had looked nothing like anyone in the family with no other strong similarities at all. Not seeing that they look just like; mom, dad, a brother, a sister, etc. or sound just like ______(whomever).

      I can't put up the pictures I have. They are tucked away in the bookshelf. It hurts my heart too much. With or without pictures makes no real difference but I can't add to it. Especially when coupled with the years of learned adoption propaganda and "positive" adoption language that has been spoken, as if the truth of what happened, since reunion. I can't blame any adoptee for speaking the language and phrases they have grown up hearing, like 'you made a loving choice', 'you made an adoption plan' even when it's not what happened. They have lived that it DID happen that way for 20, 30, 40 or more years. So many don't know the extent that mothers voices have been controlled and shut up and shut down. Our voices taken from us as well as our child.

      Our voices and experiences of what we truly thought, and felt, did and didn't do, and the things that were done to us, if our voices were allowed, would turn adoption into something other than sainthood or a noble calling for those that practice and promote it.

      Except for very rare occasions, only the sanctioned agency and societal narrative is permitted, told and sold. I'm so tired of it all. Tired of fighting. Tired of hoping for some kind of reprieve from this ghastly hell. This sick thing called adoption, it's secrets and lies, closed records, and the controlled narrative by the promoter's of same goes on and grows even more insidious every day, like a cancer.

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  24. For the first time in 36 years, I'm reaching out because the push-pull scenario that's being talked about is exactly what I'm going through.
    My daughter was placed in an open adoption 36 years ago. She had a letter from me waiting to be read for whenever she felt the time was right. She read it five years ago and through Ancestry she contacted me.
    We started communicating via email and her first letter was very enthusiastic. She expressed gratefulness and appreciation for being placed.
    Well, not having read this forum first, I had a lot of uneducated assumptions and so I jumped in with both feet, going so far as to ask for a time and place to meet. Oh boy.
    Four months later, I've gotten to experience the pulling-pushing.
    Thank you to everyone for sharing their experiences. I know how painful it is to re-live those memories and, because you all do it anyway, I'm deeply grateful.

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