' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Do Adopted People feel an emotional connection to their birth mothers? One woman says NO.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Do Adopted People feel an emotional connection to their birth mothers? One woman says NO.

"What birth mothers often don't understand is that their adopted children feel no emotional connection to them. That's not about our 'anger'. It's just that we don't relate to your emotional world because we've lived in the world made possible by our adoption and we have lives that are separate from yours. I met my birth mother after my own son was born. Nada zip sense of emotion toward her one way or another. It was helpful to get some medical history, but that was perfunctory."
Well, that is bracing. It is from a comment by OnceUponADiva and posted at the site mentioned in yesterday's blog post about the Lifetime's Drop Dead Diva, after I left my comment dissing the plot lines of the last two episodes at the show's websiteIf anonymous OnceUpon is right...then we have the answer to why so many reunions go south after the first meeting, why adopted people come forward and then slink away leaving many birth/first mothers sad and clueless about the lack of relationship with their "found" children. Yes, I know it happens both ways--birth mothers slink away too, but today let's discuss it from the perspective of the adopted person.

I beg to differ with OnceUpon on her blanket statement that "adopted children feel no emotional connection" to birth/first mothers. Many do, as evidenced by the comments of adopted people who visit FMForum. If there was "no emotional connection" then even seeking a reunion would not happen; if there was no emotional connection, we would not have the adopted people writing here, writing memoirs. There would hardly be the commotion over sealed birth records that is being played out in state after state.

My daughter and I had hills and valleys in our quarter-of-a-century relationship; she would come and she would go and she would come back. Though I have to speak for her since she is now longer here to do so, she gave plenty of evidence that she felt a strong, unbreakable, emotional connection with me.

What I have noticed in my unscientific observations over the years is that when the adoptee is raised in better social, educational and financial circumstances than that of her birth, there is a greater sense of distance from the biological parents than otherwise, as well as a certain relief that one was raised in a better social class than if one had not been adopted. This is especially noticeable in the memoirs of Sarah Saffian and A.M Holmes. A man I once knew who had been adopted into a Town & Country lifestyle was somewhat devastated when he learned that his birth mother had been a laundress. He was Harvard educated and wealthy, though he had practically no relationship with his adoptive father, who had divorced his mother; he felt letdown and somehow betrayed by his mother's lowly station in life. None of this class distinction and distancing is particularly surprising, I suppose, but must be somewhat devastating for the birth mother to sense and then hear that she "did the right thing" from her child.

So, dear reader-who-is-adopted, what do you think? This blog today really needs your input. If you have met your first mother, do you feel an emotional connection to her? As far as you are able to acknowledge, have class differences between you and your birth mother come into play? Please comment here--this is a hot topic--and I urge you to leave your thoughts as well as at the Drop Dead Diva website.--lorraine


  1. I WISH that I didn't have any emotional connection. Seems to me that if you have no emotional connection with the person whose body you developed in, maybe there's a huge disconnect from a lot of things and not only the firstmother.

  2. Adoptees are a subculture all to ourselves. We have overt and covert rules (that usually surround not wanting to hurt our Adoptive Parent's feelings), many rules some are not even conscious of but are definitely oppressed upon us by the rest of the non-adopted society. I believe it's a specific form of what's called the "Family Ledger" which I believe is a Bowen's concept. The idea is that we feel we owe something to someone when we were well cared for but not if we weren't. For an adopted person where society tells us we were all "saved" from something, this is especially compounding and limiting to us. (I talk about some of those rules here: http://www.declassifiedadoptee.com/2010/06/adoptedness.html).

    That being said, there is a whole part of the adoptee community that wears it as a badge of honor that they (claim) that they have no love for for or desire to know their Natural Mothers. Some will even go so far as to make it appear as though those of us who do love our Natural Mothers are dysfunctional, must have had horrible childhoods, or "ungrateful." Having a desire for your Natural Family is often seen as an adoptee's failure to adapt. The responsibility is placed upon us to assimilate and if we cannot shake off our need for our previous lives and families, WE have failed.

    I've always loved my Natural Mother and I've always wanted to know her. I was one of the adoptees who "never said anything" because I didn't want to have to deal with the backlash from my surrounding "adoption is from Jesus and wonderful" community and also risk hurting my parents. At this point in my life, I've decided that my adoption should be about me, the adoptee, and I needed to do what was right for myself. Which is why I reunited and so glad I did :-)

  3. Oh my gosh Lorraine, this is a page out of my reunion. Although not the adoptee in this, I feel the need to comment. You are so right on target. My daughter was adopted by a very wealthy family. Even though I don't live in poverty, I work for a non-profit and could not ever compete. My daughter thanks me profusely for what I have given her by placing her. She also has no interest in meeting or having any "real" relationship other than a few e-mails per year. It has been devestating for me. I feel exactly how I felt when I placed her, every time I hear those thanks, like a poor young woman uncapable of providing the life my daughter deserved. I hear the adoption agency case-worker's words over and over... she deserves so much more than you can give her. Perhaps it is my own insecurities but all I hear when she sends thanks is thank you for not raising me because it would have sucked. Okay that's a little harsh to prove a point but losing a child to adoption can kill the self-esteem.

    I think this, along with loyalty to her family have prevented any real relationship. Reluctantly I have accepted this... maybe one day it will change.

    Also wanted to thank you for your story about your granddaughter, have been reading and looking forward to each chapter of the story. I am glad you will be meeting her. That is wonderful Lorraine! Kristy

  4. /sarcasm mode on

    Well, gee, I'm glad this woman speaks for all adopted people. I'll just tell my 6-year old daughter that the emotional connection she THINKS she feels to her birth mom is just wrong and to focus on her "world made possible" by her adoption. Awesome. I bet that does away with all those pesky feelings she has.

    /sarcasm mode off

  5. What a ridiculous statement, that adoptees are not emotionally connected to their mothers. Why would one spend their whole adult life searching for someone they had no emotional bond with. How could you explain and OVERWHELMING URGE to search, ever in the face of disapproval and rejection from your adopted ... See Morefamily/parents? It reeks of "adoption industry marketing". From personal experience, I am emotionally connected to my mother, even though she had passed away before I found her. Not to say that the emotions involved do not run the gamut from love, longing, anger, and most of all grief. How do you grieve for someone without an emotional connection? It's impossible. Truly, the only difference is instead of grieving for what was... my grief centers more on what was not. What I lost.

  6. Wow, Amanda, that was a perspective that I had never considered--that the I don't-give-a-damn-about-my-birth-parents crowd would be putting those who are interested in their roots down. It just seems so hurtful.

    But that's kinda the same BS I get from people who do not understand why I HAD TO FIND MY DAUGHTER. I didn't adjust. I didn't accept reality. Etc. There is enough pain to go around without adding to it like this. So glad you are around to think and write about this.

    And Elaine...kiss kiss. You've had to deal with way more s#$t than any three people.

  7. Kristy: thanks for commenting...now I'd like to welcome anybody who has anything to say on the subject because there are a couple of major issues in there...

    1. I am filled with emotional longing to touch, hug, listen-talk and to know my mother on a deep level of truth. After meeting her, I know that I am a genetic copy(body,tempers,impatience,frustrations).Adoption has destroyed us both in many different ways,my & mother's suffering 48 years later serious impact the way we relate to others,in close relationships,social & acquaintances.Relationships post adoption take time,empathy,trust&patience for the long run.Forced adoption survivors need to be kind to eachother and realize the other's ongoing pain that is not fixed immediately in reunion, it takes "TIME"....LOTS OF TIME,small things bring happiness to the hurt.

    2. I feel for everyone in this entire mess of adoption. I am also a birthmother, who connected with her birth daughter back in 2006, and was told she wanted nothing to do with me, now I tried again this year in 2018. And this is the nasty comment I get from her this time: I apologize for the language, however this is one nasty bitter 37 year old girl. "Things will never change and I don't know you and never want to know you or care for you! You are not my mother and never have been so you need to get that out of your head. I never had any idea who you were or what you looked like or did or anything and had no desire to find you or meet you. I live a fantastic life because of myself and my mother and father who are my only parents. You continue to harass me I will take other actions to avoid everything to ever happening to me. Get on with your life FUCK OFF AGAIN AND AGAIN!!!!"

    3. I felt like saying that to my birth mom over the years, didn't want to hurt her feelings though...but the emotions are what they are..

  8. I want and I crave a connection with my biological mother. She makes it extremely difficult. It hurts.

    I want and crave a connection with my biological father. I cannot find him because my biological mother wont help me. It hurts.

    I could care less if they are homeless, drug addicts, etc...they are my parents. All I require is unconditional love from them. My b-mom is incapable of it and my b-dad, well...

    It's extremely painful to be an adoptee. We live our whole lives pushing the pain down but it's there. Being given away by your parents is a mind-blowing rejection and trauma perpetrated on a little mind...a little mind and soul that grow older but never completely heal.

  9. I find her statement ridiculous. Anyone who has given birth KNOWS the primal, spiritual and genetic bond/connection a newborn has with their first Mothers. I truly believe some adoptees deny this because it is too painful for them to recognize.

    I will be forever connected to my first Mother, father, aunts, uncles, grandparents and siblings. I am like them. Adoption will NEVER take that away.

    Being in reunion makes this connection even stronger.

  10. I really appreciate the comments from Elaine, Amanda, Tamara, Anon -- the adoptees who posted. I'd like to compile a few sentences from your posts and submit them to the Origins-USA newsletter, Mothers in Action. Your words will be so comforting to mothers whose child have refused/cut off contact.

  11. Ok, here is my comment: I think that an adoptee having no emtional connection to their mother is crap! Regardless of how one feels about his/her fmom, there is still the mother/child bond....how can one not be emotionally connected to that? My fmom passed away before I could be reunited with her and I'm still emotionally connected to her, because she GAVE BIRTH TO ME AND is my MOTHER...

  12. I have been in reunion now for about 8 or 9 years - the beginnings are a blur. I hear the adoptees that responded and have hope.

    My daughter has no connection that I can actually feel. It is weird. It is like I am a convenience or a "look, that is my mom, if you can believe that."

    I have heard so many ugly things - it is like a bad dream that I can't wake up from.

    Funny thing is, for someone who feels nothing - I found her through her own posting on a reunion website.

    I am ready to call it quits. Is all my love worth nothing?

  13. Idk

    Being connected to my mother for me was like being connected to the planet or something.

    It wasn't a choice.

    Although I will say that I was completely unaware of how connected I was until I met her.

  14. I thought that I had a connection to my birthmother (and please don't freak out because I used that word; I use it because it is comfortable for me and my experience - it's not a dis to all bio/birth/first/n-mothers out there as I know you aren't all wicked witches of the west).

    Unfortunately, once we actually met, I realized I had a connection with the woman I imagined my birthmother was. She wasn't any of the fantasies I had. But I did TRY... because I wanted a connection.

    I called, sent letters & cards... I even sent beautiful flowers to her for the first mother's day after we met face to face. Too bad she wasn't there to receive them. Shortly after our meeting, she packed up her stuff and moved across the continent and never bothered to get in touch with me to let me know how to get in touch with her. I called and found the number disconnected and no forwarding address on file with the post office.

    It seems to me that if she wanted a connection to me, she would have made some effort as well. But, she didn't. She doesn't have to say it... she just keeps moving away every time I find her so I've stopped looking.

    For a long time, I have held on to this fantasy that we would be a happy family... me, my birth family and my adoptive family. As I get older, it just gets worse. I feel more separate from my adoptive family - although I do love them, that love is out of a sense of some perceived debt or sense of requirement for being my family. The fantasies of my birth family have over time been replaced with truths and I feel more disdain toward them for their lack of real interest in me; their lack of any emotional attachment.

    I commented earlier today on another blog which noted the author felt like a novelty to her birth family since her reunion had also gone south. I said that I wasn't a novelty... I was a circus freak show. It's true... they all wanted to see me - out of some twisted, innate fascination that all humans seem to have... the fascination to gawk at the spectacle. They wanted to see if I looked like them or talked like them. They wanted to poke and prod me with questions yet never really answered mine. They kept their distance; saying things like "She looks nothing like us" in order to distance themselves and keep emotionally unattached. Then they sent me home and although I continued to try and stay in touch, they never made an effort on their end.

    A part of me would still like some connection; an emotional one... but it's also too late to save this relationship, if you could have ever called it that. There is too much that I need from her and she can not and is not willing to give it. I have to move on...

  15. Ouch! When read comments like yours, Just Me, I think how screwed up being adopted is in the first place.

  16. well. I am an adoptee that has not had contact with my first mom. Yet I crave that. I am desperately searching for a way to find her or my first father.

    so I would have to say there must be an emotional link there- even though I love my adopted parents, I feel a hole inside where my first mom should be.

    also- I am a first mom. and my emotional link to my daughter will never fade, and will always be an ache in my heart.- Its pretty painful to think that she has never or will never have an emotional connection to me.

    Thats just my thoughts. :)

  17. Jane, you can use anything you want from my post, just please correct my typos :) Thx ~ Tamara

  18. No class differences in my case, my son was adopted by people in many ways very like my parents. I do not think he felt any emotional connection when I first contacted him too young, because he did not know me, and had a difficult relationship with his adoptive mother. I can accept that now. Why would he trust or feel connected to a woman who appeared out of nowhere whom he did not know, but acted like she knew him? He commented on this long ago, and it hit me he was right.

    We are now developing a relationship, and I do think he feels some connection, as he keeps keeping in touch. He just sent me a nice email and more photos of a camping trip:-)

    I do not find statements about how all adoptees are supposed to feel helpful or truthful from either side. What I have observed is that some adoptees are obsessed with their birthmothers, some have always felt some emotional attachment to their birthmothers, others develop an attachment as they get to know them, and still others never feel anything. Adoptees are individuals, not a homongenous group.

    I have found the fact that my son and I were raised in similar backgrounds as far as social class (lower middle) religion, education, and ethnicity has made it easier to relate, plus we have interests in common. I also admire the things we do not have in common, like his ability with math and computers and his running and other athletic accomplishments.

    I was at a party today and the subject of adoption came up. Two women, both older, were adoptees and said they had no interest in searching. One was also an adoptive mother with a son from El Salvador. After they had said a few things, I mentioned I had given up a child for adoption, and found him. Their reaction was, "that's great." And the conversation moved on. My situation had nothing to do with them, theirs nothing to do with me. It does not always have to be a big dramatic confrontational scene, if everyone grants everyone else their own story and point of view.

    1. What made you want to reach out? I recently connected with my biological mom but I’m scared that she will leave me again.

  19. Jane...If my comments can encourage any natural parent to continue to pursue a connection with her/his child, please use them in the Origins USA newsletter.

    Thank you!!!

  20. Don't know why anyone who was well prepared for reunion should be surprised about a difference in cicumstances between adopters and mother.Isn't that one of the stated reasons for adoption..to save a child from poverty?
    I certainly had strong and complicated connections to my mother but the sort of love I had hoped to feel was absent, not because of anger etc which I never felt, but because of the breaking of the attachment, the old primal wound thing.The issues are too complicated, the emotions too strong and confused and it takes a long time to work it out.Had we not met when I was 50 but 30 years earlier we may have had a hope.No regrets though whatsoever.
    I'll post a link if I may as the post and the comments are so interesting.

  21. I don't know, there are so many variables involved, including inherited personality traits and the circumstances of the reunion.
    There are lots of non-adopted children and mothers who aren't strongly connected while others have a close, sometimes almost symbiotic relationship.

    Just like some first mothers and adopted people don't buy that it's possible for an adopter to love an adopted child as much as one of their own while others remain firmly convinced that it is.

  22. well, considering I did not have a strong emotional feeling about anything or anyone before I was about 40, I guess I can at least understand her point of view. I was very clear and vocal that I had no desire to search and that I maybe was interested in medical history.

    But I was totally adapted to being the good girl, and once my a parents were gone, a whole new world of me opened up. I felt a strong need to search , to know and still do. I unfortunatly was rejected after 3 letters and only minimal health information.

    I can't help but think if I had such a turn around that it was lurking there before, just smothered by my inability to go against my and my a mothers fear.

    I also wonder if that is lurking in everyone. Alot of people search late in life. I would be an interesting study to see how many wait till their APs are gone, and how many fit the people pleaser mode.

  23. wow Amanda... I am right there with you. Got the nasty comments from other adoptees because I didn't have resentment toward my natural mother, the not wanting to be disloyal to my a-mother... if you get the chance go to my FB Notes and check out "what makes an adoptee angry" - let me know what you think. :-)

  24. @ Lorraine... Agreed. Adoption is truly f'd up. I used to have the "everything is just wonderful attitude" but I was really trying very hard to make everything work- like the baby trying to squeeze the square peg in to the round hole. I just finally gave up. They (both of my families) have never wanted to talk about any of it. Only surface stuff. But I need the "we need deep therapy" stuff to be discussed. It's the old saying... You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. Well - I can't even get the horse to the water trough. (sp?) So - I'm walkin'.

    "You don't seem angry but I do..." - Lisa Loeb

  25. Finding my mother was like finding piece of my heart that I never knew was missing. I know how fortunate I am that our reunion is a happy one.

    Part of the connection has to do with how similar we are.... But I can't imagine not loving--let alone feeling connected to--the woman who sacrificed so much so that I could be born.

  26. I always had a connection to her. And in spite of her reaction to me, I always will. It doesn't seem possible to me to not feel connected.

  27. I absolutely wanted to search and always craved connection with my first mother. It wasn't something I felt encouraged to speak openly about, though; I learned early in childhood that the "grateful" speech would be spewed at me if I opened up about this topic.

    I was adopted in a state that has a confidential intermediary system, and I first attempted contact in 2000. The CI told me that my fmom was very angry and terse, saying that she didn't want to know anything about me, and hung up after about 30 seconds. I was devastated, but stuffed my feelings down. Eight years later, I tried again, with the same unfortunate result.

    Then last year, I searched more aggressively, found her, and had another fmom call her. She again firmly denied a desire to know anything about me. I sent her a letter, hoping that perhaps a personal touch might help. No response. My fmom and Elaine are cut from the same cloth. Months later, after I had contacted my half-brother, I received a brutal letter, calling my humanity into question, and telling me that she had no interest in ever knowing me. It underscored that I am NOT family to her, nor will I ever be.

    That hurt like hell.

    At this point, I don't think I could find it in my heart to open up to her, even if she did seem to change. It would be too dangerous for me on an emotional level, because past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. That said, I of course still love her and mourn the loss of any possible relationship. I know that she is wounded on levels I can't even begin to understand, although I don't think that gives her a free pass to treat me like dirt. My half-brother suggested that perhaps after our grandmother and his father die, our mother might be more open, but not to hold my breath. That could easily be more than 30 years from now.

    In terms of social class, my afamily and first family are pretty equivalent: small town, Midwestern, college educated. I must admit, however, that after my half-brother rejected me, again brutally, at the behest of my first mother, I cried with relief to have been adopted by my afamily. They are open, they love me unconditionally, and they have afforded me a sense of self-worth that is able to withstand the repeated, heavy emotional blows from my first family.

    That said, I still wish circumstances hadn't been such that I had been adopted. I wish I hadn't been born at all. The emotional and psychological burdens of being adopted are enormous and last a lifetime.

  28. Why not just let people feel what they feel? It stands to reason to me that probably the majority of adoptees are going to feel a connection, but if they don't, that is their business. Why is this up for debate? People feel what they feel. End of story. Nobody--not even a parent--is entitled to a love connection. It's total crap that you feel a connection to someone because you are genetically related to them.

  29. For me as a male adoptee, the first hurdle was even recognizing emotional connections at all. I suspect I carry the double handicap of being male and adopted - so suppressing emotions came naturally!

    I was raised in a similar family to my birth familys' so there was no real surprise. What was surprising was how much it hurt to be ignored and rejected by both sides, and as my adoptive parents were gone (couldn't really search while they were alive and all that!) I was devastated. I was also blindsided by grief at just missing knowing my half sister. So there was an emotional connection - it's just one of the first things many of us adoptees learn is how to hide our pain, our emotions. We can be very good at faking love, at manipulating people to get the desired response, but our authentic feelings are just as much a mystery (even to us!) as our personalities are authentic when we only have part of the puzzle to work with.

    I find I still feel that I should be there to aid in my birth parents' sunset years, but am barred by their later (legitimate) families. That mixes hurt and pain with whatever feelings are there already, making a toxic cocktail of emotions which will take a long time to separate out into good and bad feelings...

  30. It makes me sad reading some of these posts. I suppose my reunion is the opposite of some here.

    When I found my son, he apologised for not being a doctor or a lawyer.
    He said that he had not searched for me because he thought I would be disappointed with him the way his adoptive parents were. His adoptive mother even went so far as to leave a message telling me that *my* son was stupid, lazy, irresponsible and nothing like them at all (well go figure). She expected my son to be just like her academically gifted bio children. He couldn't compete, so he dropped out of school altogether.

    When I found my son, he told me that he had hoped that I would find him - he had be too afraid of rejection to find me.

    I think making my son feel so unwanted in his adoptive family made us want our reunion all the more. His adoptive family drove him away.

    We are now extremely close and he is not a disappointment to me.

  31. Agreeing with Osolo, let people feel what they feel rather than telling them what they SHOULD feel, or what ALL adoptees feel. In that sense the original comment that "adopted people" do not feel an emotional connection to their birthmothers was presumptuous and wrong. But if she had qualified her statement by saying "some adoptees" I would have no problem with that. If she had said "I feel no connection" that would have been even better and less open to debate.

    As to biological relatedness creating instant connection or love, no, I don't see that. Too many examples in the real world of biological relatives who do not connect, and of closer ties to someone other than the biological mother.

    You have to know someone to love them as people. If you say you love someone you do not know, or feel connected to someone who does not reciprocate that connection, then what you love is your idea or fantasy of that person, not the person themselves. The grief at being rejected in that instance is disappointment that the real person fell short of your fantasy, which hurts like hell, not to deny that, but is not the loss of a relationship that was ever viable and real.

  32. There is a difference between an emotional "connection" and plain old emotions, isn't there? I think it's the rare human who has no emotion whatsoever about being adopted, but what those emotions are depend on the individual and their circumstance, not some mystical love connection.

    To expect to have an emotional connection based on genetics is "total crap" as osolomama so eloquently put it. Talk about setting people up for heartbreak as a result of unrealistic expectations.

    What maryanne said in the following is true and IMO we'd all be much better served in helping adopted people, young and old, cope if we were honest with ourselves and each other about the reality of these "connections".

    "What I have observed is that some adoptees are obsessed with their birthmothers, some have always felt some emotional attachment to their birthmothers, others develop an attachment as they get to know them, and still others never feel anything. Adoptees are individuals, not a homogeneous group."

    The following statement is one of the most damaging concepts (I apologize to the commenter) and it drives me crazy because people believe this! Talk about setting people up for failure, mothers and children alike.

    "Anyone who has given birth KNOWS the primal, spiritual and genetic bond/connection a newborn has with their first Mothers"

    Come on people!!

    Lastly, I think the following statement by JustMe is really one of the most important, self aware comments here. There is so much about adoption that is "wants" and fantasy that I think it's irresponsible to ignore it.

    "I realized I had a connection with the woman I imagined my birthmother was. She wasn't any of the fantasies I had. But I did TRY... because I wanted a connection." Who can compete with a child's fantasy mother?? And who is it helping to encourage the fantasy of inherent emotional connections for all??

    If we were just able to be a little more realistic and accepting of our natural and circumstantial differences would it not be helpful to everyone involved in a reunion, maybe in adoption period?

  33. What a fascinating discussion. I appreciate reading the adoptee's perceptions of their own feelings about connection.

    It makes sense to me that there can be a myriad of ambivelent and confusing feelings that an adopted person might feel about their own family of origin; and there is no right or wrong way to feel.

    My found son grew up in a family similar economically to my own - middle class. He didn't want for much materially, but I do think think that his perception of being 2nd best to his sister who was their biological, is accurate.
    So I'm not so sure it's the economic piece in our case, as much as the lack of support he felt his entire life from anyone.

    He has often told me he's a loser and he does seem to do everything he can to sabotage all of his relationships including his with me.

    I'm no longer on the pedestal I was early in reunion; but in my opinion (he might say something different) I think he still feels very connected but doesn't know how to interact in a healthy way so he pushes me away.

  34. Osolo started with "why not just let people feel what they feel?" and then ended with "it's total crap that you feel a connection to someone because you are genetically related to them."

    That's the adoptee/nmother experience in nutshell. A world of contradiction where we're told our feelings are valid, but only as long as we don't admit that our feelings are based on blood ties.

  35. The 'message' society tells becomes ingrained in your soul. You were lucky, you should be grateful etc.

    Combine that with the love you feel for your parents/family and the memories of your life creates the loyalty some or many adoptees feel. That loyalty creates an emotional barrier that some never cross. Some cross it early in life, some late in life. It all depends on who you emotionally and spiritually, where you are in life and life events you have experienced.

    My mother had already passed away by the time I could find her, but I had an instant connection to my aunt - who I with my mother - no idea because of the baggage we would have both brought to the table. I also found great solace in my family history and who they were and where they travelled from.

    Another commenter noted about the disconnect for lack of a better word - that exists between adoptees who 'never' felt a connection' and those of us who 'did/do' feel a connection, regardless of when we actually searched or were ready to search. That disconnect is far more vicious in words than even the most inscure adoptive parent...

    That said, the lack of shared history and memories also creates a disconnect in reunion because expectations are unconsciouly set up to except the same feelings and reactions as if we had always been together and that is not possible and the relationship has to evolve past those exceptations to be simply a relationship that started at that point in time.

  36. Who is to say who that commenter really was. People from all walks of life and in many different positions go and comment on The Lifetime forums. She could of been a social loser. An AP who vies for Closed Records. An Adoption Agency employee. Or just a troll who has nothing to do with Adoption and who creates chaos because of boredom or for a laugh. I think all Adoptees want to feel a connection to their Real Mother's love. Because that is how human beings are made. What varies however I think is how Adoptees deal with that primal feeling due to being separated from her....

  37. My firstmother didn't want to meet me but I did meet and maintain a relationship with my firstfather. The emotional connection was immediate and deep for both of us. We are 5 years into reunion. I would say that I was placed in a family that was comparable in "station" with that of my firstfather. So I can't speak about finding someone who was "higher" or "lower" in economic or social status.

  38. I would also like to add that feelings about firstparents are not static. For me, at least, my emotions have swung wildly over the years. 20 years ago I barely cared. 10 years ago I was curious and searched. 5 years ago I developed a strong bond with my firstfather. Today, at age 40, the reunion with my first father has caused me to open some storage boxes in my soul that I didn't even know were there. A lot of crap is boiling up and I am admitting things to myself that I never dared before. I just passed through a phase of extreme anger at my firstmother for giving me up choosing a religion over a life with me and my firstfather. So, long story short, whatever an adoptee states as fact at one point in life might be quite different from what is true for them a few years down the road.

  39. I think Osolo's comment about biological connections being "crap" was not about individual feelings but about the concept as a generalization meant to apply to all.

    In particular, a response to an earlier statement that NOT believing in an automatic biological connection was "crap"

    Bobbyjean said:I think that an adoptee having no emtional connection to their mother is crap! Regardless of how one feels about his/her fmom, there is still the mother/child bond....how can one not be emotionally connected to that? "

    Also, Linda said:"I find her statement ridiculous. Anyone who has given birth KNOWS the primal, spiritual and genetic bond/connection a newborn has with their first Mothers"

    Those are very absolute statements, and they are broad generalizations about all adoptees, not just about Linda or Bobbyjean's personal feelings. That is what Osolo was refuting, broad general statements, not individual adoptee's feelings for their birthmothers.

    By the way, I have given birth four times, have a good relationship with all my kids, and do not believe in any instant and lasting bond based only on biology. Individual feelings and beliefs are not general facts that apply to all people in any group or class.

    And although I am a birthmother, I believe good adoptive moms can have just as much a bond and loving relationship with their kids as biological moms. It is different and has other complications and dimensions, but the human feeling is not inferior in all adoptions, as some people imply.

  40. I believe that I have a genetic connection to my mother and that I bonded with her in the womb.

    I believe the scientific research on this point. Absolutely.

    That said, I don't "love" her because I don't inherently know her on a conscious level (like I do with the parents who raised me).

    I didn't feel any immediate bonding DNA connection that would suddenly bridge all the gaps and makes things "right." That's not how it happened. I didn't expect that to happen, either.

    That said... I do feel extreme grief at not knowing her inherently. I don't "love" her, but I do mourn her spiritual mark on me.

  41. Maryanne wrote, "by the way, I have given birth four times, have a good relationship with all my kids, and do not believe in any instant and lasting bond based only on biology. Individual feelings and beliefs are not general facts that apply to all people in any group or class. "

    What about biological science that has shown that upon birth both newborn and mother are flooded with hormones that cause bonding?
    Are some mothers simply lacking in oxytoncin during pregnancy and childbirth?

  42. The comments have been so revealing and some of them, so sad. As:

    ...I still wish circumstances hadn't been such that I had been adopted. I wish I hadn't been born at all. The emotional and psychological burdens of being adopted are enormous and last a lifetime.--Katharine.

    What can one say to that? Except I'm sorry.

    On other issues: Mothers get a shot of the hormone oxytocin just before giving birth and that leads to the sense of being "connected" to the child who is now their responsibility, and that in normal circumstances is maintained throughout their lives. But the posts here indicate that something happens after surrender and a fair number of birth mothers do not welcome their "lost" children back into their lives. For the child (yes, I do mean the adult "child," we are all someone's child) who wants some sort of relationship, that rejection is tragic. It has to feel like a double whammy: first, surrendered to be adopted; two, rejected when you seek a reunion.

    I'd like to smack all those women--birth mothers--on the head and get them to understand that they, at the very least, have an innate responsibility to meet their children once, and answers their questions honestly.

    Even though I thought I wanted a career (instead of a family to raise, and in the Sixties doing both did not seem an option), before and once she was born, I wanted to have her to keep and to hold and to love and watch grow up. I must have gotten a double shot of oxytocin because though I managed to have some sort of life before I found her, inside I was burning up with desire to reconnect. Emotional connection to my own daughter? You bet. The blog posted started with the woman, an adoptee, saying she felt nothing towards her biological mother. A child's connection is different--whether adopted or not.

    A mother or father usually feels more concerned/connected to the child than that child feels in return, particularly in the first oh, say twenty/thirty years of life. As one of my friends so graphically said after he became a father: Your kid has you by the balls.

    As for my daughter's feelings towards me, I think they can best be summed up with these words so said once: If I told the truth, both of your feelings would be hurt.

    Of course my daughter, Jane, felt a strong connection to her adoptive mother, but as she got older her adoptive mother seemed to pull back and resent the relationship that Jane and I had, and in time, turned into anger towards Jane. In this case, I feel that the fact that her adoptive mother also had two biological children was a factor. Jane's adopted brother, the oldest in the family, moved far away and rarely--once that I knew of--ever came back to visit. The parents did go visit him, however. The two biological sons resembled their natural parents a great deal.

    The financial/educational circumstances of my daughter's two families were roughly similar, but her adoptive family was more stable financially and had more up to date stuff like TVs, microwaves, etc. My husband and I, both writers, are still living on the edge. But Jane craved a more artistic sensibility, and that she got when she lived with us. Though I know she loved her adoptive parents deeply, I also know that she had a deep sense of missing what it might have been like to grow up with people who got her ironic sense of humor and her general mindset about life.

  43. Part one...
    "What birth mothers often don't understand is that their adopted children feel no emotional connection to them. That's not about our 'anger'. It's just that we don't relate to your emotional world because we've lived in the world made possible by our adoption and we have lives that are separate from yours. I met my birth mother after my own son was born. Nada zip sense of emotion toward her one way or another. It was helpful to get some medical history, but that was perfunctory."

    Interesting how these blanket statements always [seem] to come from adoptees or birth-parents who have had less than stellar contact experiences. And, it’s also interesting that these people want to make their blanket statements in a way that will reach as big an audience as possible… like, they want to make sure that any natural Mother (or father) that may be longing to see or hear from their child gets the word, gets hurt, and gives up; and, of course, any Adoptee who hears or reads their crap understands that they (the Adoptee) is a sap for feeling all “touchie feely, warm and fuzzy” about their natural parent(s).

    ** If anonymous OnceUpon is right...then we have the answer to why so many reunions go south after the first meeting, why adopted people come forward and then slink away leaving many birth/first mothers sad and clueless about the lack of relationship with their "found" children. Yes, I know it happens both ways--birth mothers slink away too, but today let's discuss it from the perspective of the adopted person. **
    I don’t agree Lorraine – not with OnceUpon and not that there are “so many reunions” that “go south”. I think we hear about the ‘gone south’ reunions more – bad news makes the News. I never resented my natural Mother… and, to her credit, my a-Mom never said a bad word about her (no one in my family did – but outsiders had plenty to say). I always felt something missing. I loved my a-family (well… off and on with my a-Mom but always my Grandma, aunt and uncles), but there was a feeling of someone just out of sight. I knew they were there but I just couldn’t see them, and I wanted to so very badly. If there wasn’t any emotional connection then, I don’t think there would even be a desire to know why or how or medical info. Sure there are adoptees that say they have no desire to know anything, that their adoptive parents are all they need or want but… well, I don’t believe it.
    Hell, my a-Mom and I (like any mother-daughter relationship) had our tug-of-wars, but I always – even today 13 years since she died – wanted to make up. We always wanted to make up. It’s (imho) that need for connection. We feel it with our friends as well. In f2f relationships we get our feelings hurt, our sensibilities bruised, and (more often than we realize) our intelligence shocked… as time goes by it gets harder to ‘make up’ no matter how much we want it. Uh… wow… that’s a whole other post!! LOL

  44. Part two...
    Ok – back to your blog Lorraine ;-)
    *unscientific observations* are the best… without them what would prompt the “scientific” ones?? You said, “when the adoptee is raised in better social, educational and financial circumstances than that of her birth, there is a greater sense of distance from the biological parents than otherwise, as well as a certain relief that one was raised in a better social class than if one had not been adopted.” yeah… I can see this, kinda. When I got my obc etc released to me and I saw my natural Mother’s name, her hand writing, read that she cried when she told the social worker she didn’t want to give me up… Well, my connection to her was as strong as if she had been sitting next to me – in fact, it was as if both my moms were sitting with me (cue the music and bird song LOL). As I have learned more about my natural Mother’s life (after my birth), I can admit that I do sense a feeling of relief, and gratitude, and sorrow.
    Maybe if I had met her f2f, seen her life, I may have felt like Ray Liotta when he met his birth-family because I know that what I believed was not reality (how could it be? I didn’t know her), but then I AM her daughter and we both endured much. I would like to believe that I would have known (in a f2f situation) that she (my Mother) had done and was doing the best she could. I know that now – at 63 – but would I have known it at 30 or 35??
    The feeling of connection, I believe, would have been there and that may well be what would have resulted in the “going south” experience for an adoptee. To deny the (feeling of) connection is to admit a fear… Warning! Unscientific observation coming… at one time or another we have all felt the fear of “not being good enough”, and if we find that someone in our life/family is “less than” good enough then everything we have been told (or wondered) about ourselves could be true – so we break that connection.
    hugz, love, and Blessings!

  45. CullyRay said "I think we hear about the ‘gone south’ reunions more – bad news makes the News."
    ITA. I'm not sure people really want to hear the good stuff anyway

  46. I think research says plenty about connections because of biology. Connections are there because of biology as well as the pregnancy and birth process.

    Whether an adoptee feels it or not doesn't mean it isn't there. I agree to let people feel whatever they want to feel. But I do feel there's plenty of evidence to support biological connections of all sorts. It doesn't support entitlement to a relationship. But there is a connection.

    There are plenty of racial minorities who claim they don't experience racism. Does that mean they haven't? Maybe they have didn't realize it? Does that mean racism doesn't exist because THEY personally don't feel that they experience it?

    No. Racism is there. Research supports that. Thousands of racially-biased crimes are recognized each year by the FBI alone.

    Likewise, the biological connection is there. Research supports that, whether someone personally admits to it or not.

    Whether or not someone acknowledges something does not negate the facts. That's why this should be up for debate.


  47. Ditto what Amanda wrote:

    "Likewise, the biological connection is there. Research supports that, whether someone personally admits to it or not."

    You don't have to feel something to admit it exists.

    I don't think that is one of those statements that implies a subconscious primal wound or denial, either. Something can be factually proven, even if the person doesn't feel it, nor that does mean the person *should* be feeling it. It is what it is.

    You can have an emotional connection with your mother and not feel it.

  48. My son said that he always wanted to meet me. He wished that I had been there from the word go as he felt he didn't quite fit his family.

    Interestingly, one of the first things he asked to see was a picture of my house.

    I think he was told that I was a hobo or something!

    I don't think he really understood why he felt he had to ask but after seeing some of these posts, I suppose he wanted to see where I really was in the "class" system.

    He was pleased to learn that I was not living in a cardboard box (not sure what he reaction would have been if I had been).

    Our reunion is still going strong after 7 years (sorry if you didn't want to hear that bit).

  49. Whoa! We love to hear about reunions going well! Someone may have said that but it certainly does not represent out view so please correct your thinking about firstmotherforum.

    However, most of the people who use the blog seem to have reunions that are less than they hoped for. But please, send us your good reunion stories! We don't hear about enough of them.

  50. Maybe wrote:"Are some mothers simply lacking in oxytoncin during pregnancy and childbirth?"

    Yeah, that must be it. It would account for all the mothers who turn out to be abusers and just plain lousy mothers, despite having given birth:-) That there is a physical bond at birth does not translate to an emotional bond for the rest of the person's life no matter what else happens. As a purely hormonally induced attachment, it probably has little meaning beyond the period of weaning. Human attachments and love are more complex than that.

    Hormonal induced bonding is to facilitate the mammal mother taking care of and feeding her puppies, kittens, or human babies. Since you are so into the purely biological model, you might note that in many mammals once the young are weaned that's it for the bond.

    If you were speaking to me personally as one of those hormonally deficient mothers, I breastfed the three I raised for at least two years each with no problems at all, so I think my hormones were in good shape. With the one I surrendered, my milk kept coming in despite the dry-up shot, and I suffered from post-partum depression, so I think my hormones were normal in an abnormal situation there too.

    There is a lot more going on in human beings than in critters, even though we are also biological beings. Human love comes in many forms and not all of them are dependent on biological relatedness.

  51. I thought the discussion was about connection, not love.

  52. Rereading my previous post, I was horrified to see that the haste of writing, I made a horrendous mistake: I intended to say "My fmom and Elaine's fmom are cut from the same cloth." I adore Elaine, who bears no resemblance whatsoever to these women.

    Please accept my apology, Elaine!

    Lorraine, thanks for listening. I wish my experience weren't so negative, but I am trying to speak my truth instead of bottling it up.

    I also agree with Amanda. I work as a Labor and Delivery RN, and I have read lots of articles and papers that discuss the power of oxytocin, and how maternal-infant physical contact and bonding increase levels of oxytocin after delivery. That's why we encourage immediate skin-to-skin contact and nursing in the first hour after delivery. Oxytocin is also released after orgasm. It is closely tied to fostering bonding feelings between people. There is research that proves it.

    I know that Campbell and others are sensitive to those mothers who suffer from postpartum depression, and that it makes sense to question social attitudes that suggest that maternal-infant bonding is "natural," which would make other situations "unnatural." It's not to say that bonding can't occur later, or that adoptive parents never bond to their children, or that all biological parents bond perfectly to their children. Bonding and attachment are a continuum, not an absolute. It becomes problematic when judgment is attached to someone's experience.

    I agree that there is no blanket statement that covers everyone, but it makes me sad to hear people so dismissive of adoptees who suggest that they do feel a connection with their fmoms and first families. I have never met my fmom, and likely never will. But sitting next to my half-brother was an intense emotional experience I cannot explain in words. And I know it wasn't only in my head; it changed my brother, too.

  53. "you can have an emotional connection with your mother and not feel it"

    How could you do that, since emotions ARE feelings? If there is a connection but it is unfelt, it is not emotional but something else.

    So many things are getting confused in this discussion. Desire to find one's mother is not the same as an emotional connection. Finding that you love each other when you meet does not imply a prior bond as much as fulfilling of expectations, which happens when the people you find turn out to be pretty much what you expected and wanted. Not feeling an emotional connection does not imply that you are somehow a deficient or unloving person.

  54. I'm not in reunion (yet), and although I have started the process to search, I don't feel an overwhelming (conscious, anyway) need to have an emotional connection with my n- family.

    When I was in my 20s, I would say I definitely had a need/want/curiosity for an emotional connection to my n-family. But as others have said, it could have been the idea or fantasy of what that relationship would be.

    Maybe I don't have the same urging because I'm married and my husband has filled that role or too much time has gone by?

  55. ""you can have an emotional connection with your mother and not feel it""

    Sorry, you're right, that makes no sense.

    I should have said "You can have a physical connection with your mother and not feel it."

    As in, you physically and psychologically connect to her while you were growing in her womb, but it is not necessarily the same as connecting with her as an adult.

  56. Thank you Katherine
    I for one, very much appreciate your comment.

    Both of my daughters, surrendered and raised, work with bringing babies into this world. The eldest an OB-Gyne, 2nd oldest a RN L&D. The eldest daughter surrendered, the 2nd daughter I raised.

    There is a natural continuum to pregnancy, labor & delivery and post-partum. And much is 'interrupted', when a newly delivered mother is denied her newborn...to include access to and no skin-to-skin contact.

  57. maybe is saying an emotional connection or a connection is different than love, so what exactly does an emotional connection mean then?

  58. maybe said, "I thought the discussion was about connection, not love."
    two things - 1) 'love'/need is a connection. 2) fear/'hate' are also connections.
    just 2 cents

  59. Mei-Ling, I think just the realization that you've even HAD such a momentous (the mostest,really) physical connection must in itself be overwhelming.

    I don't think that dazzling knowledge in itself equals 'connectedness', but it IS existentially important, and not just whimsey.

    It is not something to be brushed aside.

  60. There is always a connection between a natural mother and child, no matter who raises a child. That doesn't mean the relationship is glorious, only that the children and mothers are always aware of the other (connected, if you will).

    We're mammals. We're hard-wired to connect with our mothers. All cultures, all religions, put mothers in prominent places, whether it is the Virgin Mary or the Earth Goddess.

    Who do newborn babies turn their heads to? Their mother!

    Who do homesick kids at camp cry for? Their mother!

    When someone goes to a shrink -- what's the first thing they talk about? Their mother!!

    Who do soldiers dying on the battlefield call out for? Their mother!

    All of us, adopted or not, fantasize about our natural mothers. In times of trouble, it is our mothers we turn to even though we know she can't possibly help us. Intellectually, we may know her to be a drug abusing whore, but when problems arise, that's who we want. Children in foster care who have been mistreated by their mothers still beg to see them.

    An adoptive mother can fill that roll, sort of. But she cannot replace the omnipotent natural mother.

    The adoptee who says "I met my mother and felt nothing" is not telling the truth. She would not be writing about it if she felt nothing.

    We don't write about people we don't think about; we forget the stranger who sat next to us on the bus by the time the bus goes another block.

  61. I am an AP and my son is not in contact/had a reunion with his first mom and longs to do so--he's only 11 years old so he has no idea about wanting medical history of any of that.....he just wants HER plain and simple. I hope some day he can have the physical connection he longs for because the emotional connection is already there, no question.

  62. I think it is interesting that some people do feel that deep magical connection that someone called crap the moment their child is born.

    I did. I still do with my child, that we know each other in a way no one else could ever come close to.

    I also feel and much to my surprise and initial dismay felt that with my natural mother.

    I have heard other women say things about their own newborn infants that seem totally dismissive of that connection.

    I wonder if there is a difference in connectedness between biological relatives or if it is the awareness of the connectedness.

    Certainly, there are some people I am not biologically related to that I have also felt instant, deep and long-lasting connections with and others who mean little to me.

  63. Excuse me, but I think 'omnipotent' is overdoing it.

    But maybe that's just me.

  64. "omnipotent natural mother"
    Like God. Also omniscient?
    "Infallible" like the Pope too? Bit of hyperbole there!

  65. Again, emotional connections are not driven by genetics. They are not the "reason for". They may play a role, and there is definitely bonding of mother and baby--but that bond is designed to set children up for nurturance and not to seal a relationship. As people grow away from each other, it does not stand to reason that genetics continues to rule that bond. Even biological children become estranged from their parents and feel zero connection to them. Happens quite often, in fact.

    In listening to people describe their reunions, it seems like so many succeed or falter based on how people *decide* how to handle these relationships today. There's this whole piece of adoption that involves consciousness awareness. Awareness of being adopted and what it means, awareness that one was surrendered, has other family, is not mirrored by one's a-family--those are also profound experiences that generate feelings about one's origins (I'm just saying this observing the adoptee in my family) but they do not arise because of genetic connection with former family. They arise because people begin to question the implications of adoption and realize that they are cut off from essential knowledge about themselves.

    None of this means that any one will person will feel a specific connection. Some may, and some may not. Each is entitled to feel what she feels. But to say that genetics continues to define this process when there are clearly so many other factors at work is just not reasonable IMO.

  66. I thought we were talking about adopted people feeling an emotional connection to their birth mothers, not the other way around.

    I am more inclined to relate to birth mothers feeling emotionally connected to their children as I've felt and feel that. I am not so privileged though as to have some kind of ethereal emotional connection to people I don't know. I have emotions regarding my biological people but I also have emotions regarding other people I've never met. People like Charles Manson, Jon Bon Jovi, Rush Limbaugh come to mind.

    Omnipotent IS completely over doing it. "it's total crap that you feel a connection to someone because you are genetically related to them" is what was said exactly and is being twisted to suit the people who's intent is to dismiss those who don't feel the same, all the while implying they just may not be as aware(gimme a break), or going so far as to avow they are not telling the truth. Can you just see it? An adoptive parent entitling their blog post, Adoptees and Birthmothers Who Meet and Feel Something Are Not Telling the Truth.

    I for one am not dismissing anyone else's connection to anyone. People feel what they feel but to suggest that such an intangible and circumstantial thing as an "emotional connection" to be an absolute for everyone based on genetics is condescending and damaging. It promotes unrealistic expectations which almost always leads to disappointment.

    There are also huge differences between adopted people who are in open adoption situations where they've always known their mother and those from closed adoptions that have never met her. Incomparable.

    Katherine I appreciate you, as a nurse, stating the following. It's something we should all be sensitive to.

    "it makes sense to question social attitudes that suggest that maternal-infant bonding is "natural," which would make other situations "unnatural."

  67. "you can have an emotional connection with your mother and not feel it"

    I think this statement makes perfect sense and I do agree with it.

    People have emotions all the time that they do not allow themselves to feel, for a variety of reasons. They might judge those emotions to be "wrong" or "incorrect;" they might be deeply afraid of feeling them, etc.

    I searched for years for my mother. When I met her recently (a little more than a month ago), I did hold myself back at the first meeting. Because I had worked on having more awareness of what was going on with me, I knew I was doing this. The walls were up and I wasn't feeling all my emotions. Even with all my awareness, it was only with the encouragement of those who were there to support me that I could let those walls down. When I did allow myself to feel those emotions and that connection to my mother, it was like nothing else I'd felt in my life. I know there are some who have issues with the "mystical" way some adoptees describe this connection, but let's keep in mind that so much of mysticism is about mystery, love, and connection and uses the metaphor of the womb, birth, etc.

    When I let my walls down, what I felt in hugging my mother was a sense of connection and bliss and love I had never felt before in my whole life. Does that mean I had never felt connected to anyone before in my life, or loved anyone? No, of course not. I have let my walls down with other people throughout my life. But it was very, very different from what I felt with my mother. When I say I never felt anything like that before, it's because I never did.

    I do feel like this love and connection I have experienced from my reunion has the potential to deeply change my life and me. But I have to work at allowing that change. Work at allowing myself to fully feel all these emotions that this reunion has brought about.

  68. from Osolomama:

    ..."but they [feelings aka emotional connection] do not arise because of genetic connection with former [genetic] family. They arise because people begin to question the implications of adoption and realize that they are cut off from essential knowledge about themselves."

    But isn't "essential knowledge about [the adopted] themselves" the very same "genetic connection" they are missing? I agree with much of what you say but here the second part of your argument obviates the first.

    You are right in that both sides of the reunion--by that I mean the adoptee and the one who surrendered the child, call her the givee--have to deal with expectations and understanding of the other's mindset and deal as lovingly and magnanimously as possible. A birth mother gets a squirt of "emotional connection" juice at birth (the hormone, oxytocin), but the child does not--and is now growing up without her and thus any ability to bond. Yet many are aware that this lack of connectedness to their primal birth mother is a hole in their lives, and they long for reconnection and an affirmation that they were not thoughtlessly abandoned or rejected because of whom they are as an individual. Others seem to not admit to caring, or truly not caring. [see next posting]

    Earlier on someone spoke of how an adoptee's feelings about reunion and their birth parents goes through many stages, and what one feels today may not be what one feels tomorrow or next week. Adoptee and thinker BJ Lifton talks about this in her books. It seems apparent that some adoptees do not feel much emotional connection, and some feel it incredibly strongly. And that what one feels is endlessly subject to change.

    But the lack of connection that some adoptees feel must be at the heart of the reunions that...lead to silence and retreat on their part. Years of silence in some cases.

    And then, out of the blue, the adoptee pops up again. For the birth mothers who hide behind a veil of anonymity, I have no answers or excuses.

    Wow, we've opened up a whole semantic discussion here...the last comment above mine (from Liv) just blew me away. From my experience, adoptees put up walls around themselves in self-preservation, and it takes a mighty wind to break through for many of them. And sometimes it's impossible. Sad, yes, Sad.

  69. I find the arguments that if one thing is natural the other is, by default, unnatural and the implication is then lesser than or inferior. We are not talking about juice mix here. We are talking about people, feelings and lives.

    I hear this in adoption all the time...natural mothers must be called birthmothers because that makes adopters unnatural and by implication, again, inferior or lesser than the natural parents. That simply defies logic...it is no less absurd in this circumstance. One does not negate the other.

  70. ""you can have an emotional connection with your mother and not feel it"

    I agree with Lorraine that some adopted people (and mothers) do build protective walls around themselves that disallow feeling, but I think it would be presumptuous to assume that applies to everyone who says they don't feel a connection.

    As far as having an "emotional connection" (with your birthmother)" is concerned, a person can have a connection that's not felt, but not an emotion that's not felt, because emotion IS, by definition, feeling.

  71. Are suppressed emotions unfelt, or are they felt and then suppressed because they are too painful or dangerous? If any emotion is truly unfelt, can a person be said to be lying if they say they felt nothing?

    There can be situations where a person feels nothing, when they were expecting to be overwhelmed with emotion and instead go numb, or they feel nothing because they truly do not care or connect. It would be impossible for a person witnessing or hearing about a reunion where either party felt nothing to know what was going on inside. I think we should respect what people say about their own feelings or lack of same.

  72. I see Anon has been busy again.Yes I'm sure adopters do love their adoptees and have a bond.It is never the same has having given birth and experiencing the umbilical cord, the emotional umbilical cord which may never be cut.

  73. anon:

    Your comment that to say Lorraine is presumptuous is also presumptuous....

    I've been following this fascinating discussion and...the lady {anon) prostesth too much.

  74. "Emotional umbilical chord which may never be cut?" That sounds truly frightening if it were so, which it is not. If this is supposedly true of all natural mothers, adoption aside. do all of you here who were raised by your natural mothers feel that an "emotional umbilical chord" connects you forever? Are you closer to your mother as an adult than any other person you know? It seems to me that would be true if giving birth created the primary emotional relationship for the rest of your life.

    Can't we talk about connection without such extreme statements?

  75. "As far as having an "emotional connection" (with your birthmother)" is concerned, a person can have a connection that's not felt, but not an emotion that's not felt, because emotion IS, by definition, feeling."

    Plenty of people, both adopted and non-adopted, do not feel their emotions, or all their emotions. It's called repression. Pretty common.

    There is a range of repressive techniques, and how repression manifests. In addition, people can differ radically in their self-awareness. And there's always self-deception, too.

    I do think we must be respectful of what other people say they feel or do not feel. We can share our experiences, we can respectfully ask each other questions, but we cannot force our experiences or our opinions on each other.

    A friend of mine has a birthmother who is extremely self-centered. Has her experience been the same as mine? Of course not. Do I believe it's healthy for her to have a relationship with her birthmother? Based on what my friend had told me, I do not believe it's healthy for her. And when my friend has said she feels guilty about choosing not to have a relationship, I have told her that I wholeheartedly support her in her decision not to have that relationship.

    Each and every situation is not the same.

    I don't pretend to know what goes on and each and every reunion. There are so many things in a reunion that determine whether one will feel emotionally connected or not. Emotional repression is one of these factors, but certainly there are many, many other factors. This is part of what makes reunion so complex and why people need a great deal of support and understanding throughout.

    Also, as I think someone else noted, feeling connected IS about emotion.

  76. Go figure:

  77. Candy said "Your comment that to say Lorraine is presumptuous is also presumptuous...."
    Erm, didn't say that, nor IMO did I imply it.

    I said "I agree with Lorraine that some adopted people (and mothers) do build protective walls around themselves that disallow feeling, but I think it would be presumptuous to assume that applies to everyone who says they don't feel a connection."
    That means, for *anyone* to assume.
    Not the same thing at all

    As far as "protesting too much" is concerned, I think there's a lot of it going on here, and not just me either.
    The Original Quote was "Do Adopted People feel an emotional connection to their birth mothers? One woman says NO."
    Of course that's a sweeping generalization and wrong for that reason, but there's nothing there about what Liv describes as "feeling connected".
    Of course "feeling connected" involves emotion. However, that's not what the OQ said.

  78. This comment has been removed by the author.

  79. "It's total crap that you feel a connection to someone because you are genetically related to them." Wow!! Spoken like a true adopter. Ive been in reunion with my siblings for 2 years and felt more of a connection to them in 2 months than I did in a lifetime with my a sibs.

    Campbell wrote, "The following statement is one of the most damaging concepts (I apologize to the commenter) and it drives me crazy because people believe this! Talk about setting people up for failure, mothers and children alike.

    "Anyone who has given birth KNOWS the primal, spiritual and genetic bond/connection a newborn has with their first Mothers. Come on, people!"

    How is medical science "damaging", Campbell? Its been long proven newborns know their natural Mothers long before they are born It's called bonding. It's primal, it's genetic, and for some, spiritual....In addition to being a "happy adoptee", are you also an adopter? Sure does sound like it.

    The question was if adoptees felt an emotion connection to their first Mothers. Most do. That connection is based on many things.

    @ Maryanne: You "believe good adoptive moms can have just as much a bond and loving relationship with their kids as biological moms. It is different and has other complications and dimensions, but the human feeling is not inferior in all adoptions, as some people imply."

    Yes. It IS different. VERY different. Our adoptive mothers are strangers when we are placed with them. "Just as much"? Doubtful...but if that helps you sleep better at night, keep drinking the Kool-Aid.

    And just what is a "good" adoptive parent? Good on you, Maryanne. How special that you feel the need to dismiss how many adoptees feel.

  80. Linda, I did not dismiss how any adoptees feel when they speak for themselves about their own feelings, as Bethgo and several others have here. Feelings are neither right nor wrong. The problem is when anyone tries to speak for ALL adoptees, or mothers, or anyone else.

    Your comment about "drinking the Koolaid" is insulting. I know adoptees, including my own son, who did not feel any instant bonding and saw me as a the stranger. I also know lots of adoptees who did feel an instant bond, those who believe in primal wound theory and those who do not.

    I do not challenge anyone's private feelings and beliefs unless they try to generalize them to a whole class of people, not just speak for themselves.

  81. Aren't all feelings subjective anyway?
    As in specific to the person who experiences them?

    Of course some feelings are accepted as universal, but even then, they are experienced subjectively through the filter of the individual consciousness, which is influenced by all sorts of factors and conditions.

  82. "In addition to being a "happy adoptee", are you also an adopter? Sure does sound like it."

    Nope Linda, I'm not an "adopter". I'm a person who tries to look objectively at life and see things from other people's points of view and experience. Anyway, is that supposed to be an insult? Some of the most amazing people I know are "adopters", including my dad, so you'll have to do better than that.

    SO hypocritical this talk about being dismissed. The adoptees like yourself who are the opposite of the "happy adoptee" as you put it, are THE most dismissive people involved in blog land. If another adoption touched person is not of the same mindset you throw kool aid and other insulting insinuations of denial and superiority, all the while screaming "I'm a victim! nobody believes what I say, how dare you dismiss me!? What's that you say? You don't feel the same? Well then you don't know your own mind or you don't know wtf you're talking about. You're in a fog, but maybe someday if you get to be as enlightened as me, you'll realize you're just as miserable as I am and then...only then...will I respect your experience because, well, then it'll be just like mine".

    What a load of crap.

  83. Genetics is neither the cause nor the heart and soul of emotional connection. If that were the case, all biologically related families would be bonded to each other emotionally. Clearly, they are not. In fact, biologically connected kin, parents and children, brothers and sisters, can be profoundly alienated from each other because genetics does control all the factors that go into emotional connectedness and compatibility. Genetics does not guarantee connection. It only gives you similar traits, which can only ever be a starting point for forming a relationship.

  84. "Wow!! Spoken like a true adopter."

    Not quite. My comments come out of relating to my own biologically related family, not my family through adoption (or chosen family).

  85. Come, on, Campbell! Surely you don't think I can take anyone seriously who uses the phrase "Touched by adoption"? Talk about dismissive. PAL is dismissive, and created by the industry to make adopters feel better about themselves....so yes, anyone who uses that sort of "language", to me, sounds like an adopter. Or worse, a baby broker.

    YOU "started it" by dismissing my post on pre and post natal bonding- which is not just a happy idea, Campbell. You wrote, "Talk about setting people up for failure, mothers and children alike." This bonding is NATURE, and it is a fact. It is not some imagined thing that happens. It always amazes me when people are threatened by nature.

    Do you have children? Your OWN children, that you gave birth to? Did you not feel that bond with your children? Adoption trauma can cause that to happen- to adoptees, and to first Mothers when they have subsequent children. PTSD can manifest itself in many ways, to both adoptees and first Mothers.

    And Im sorry, but any adoptive Mother who has never had a child of her own, can not possibly begin to imagine the bond a newborn has with his or her natural Mother. Will an adoptee eventually bond with his or her adoptive parents? Of course they will...but it will NEVER be the same....we are NOT genetically the same. We are not part of you. Just like the cheesy poem says, we are NOT flesh of your flesh...we have a "different kind of love".

    Even my own A Mom acknowledges the difference between the bond she has with her natural child and the bond she has with her adoptive children. Sure, the love is the same- but that connection- that bond- that oneness is NOT the same. As painful as that is to my a Mom, I cannot tell you how much I respect her for recognizing that.

    I have NEVER claimed to be a "victim". And Im actually quite happy, despite losing my Mother, Father, siblings, Grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, culture and heritage. I speak MY truth. But it seems as if the "happy adoptees" are the ones screaming the loudest. If you are so happy, why do you feel the need to dismiss the feelings of so-called "unhappy adoptees"?

  86. Osolomama: It really hurts me when adoptive parents use the word "chosen" to speak about their families. "Chosen" is usually intended to make adoptees feel special and wonderful, but it is actually rather insulting (at least to me).

    I know that my aparents did have a choice when they met me: they could have refused me if I didn't meet their desires or needs. Children kept by their first families aren't "chosen." I have a blood disorder, passed to me by my fmom. In her absence, the MDs didn't know much about it and took six weeks to decide if I was healthy and "adoptable." I could have ended up institutionalized, waiting to die if I hadn't been "chosen." That's quite a burden.

    I also feel uncomfortable about where my discussion of "natural" and "unnatural" went. I feel that I am irrevocably tied to the family that I was born to, although none of them feel the same about me. Really sad. Words are human creations, though, and we need to be aware of the expectations that society burdens them with, especially in terms of judgment. Like Sandy Young said, "natural" and "unnatural" should not be a polarity associated ranging from good and bad, even though many people see it that way. I don't dismiss the emotional power of genetic ties, not one bit.

    In my work as an RN in the perinatal environment, I regularly see where the touch and smell of a mother is the only thing that can calm a baby. Especially in the NICU. To claim that all human adults are interchangeable to an infant is cruel at worst, and fallacious at best. People tell themselves what they need to believe in order to deal with what this means to them. Back when I was born, in the late 1960's, it was common practice to drug neonates with Phenobarbitol to stop them crying when they were separated from their mothers, which was the case for adoptees. That's just plain sick. We were anxious and wanted our mothers, but the answer was to knock us out with a heavyweight drug? And then call us "chosen"? And downplay our expressions of anxiety during childhood? And denigrate our desire to find our first families, if we expressed that desire?

    I want to say thank you to all the first mothers who embrace adoptees in their wish to reconnect. I wish my first mom could be among your ranks, really I do.

  87. Katherine,

    I think Osolo meant "chosen" as opposed to blood relatives about whom we have no choice. But I know many adoptees have bad associations with that word.

    That newborns recognize and are soothed by their natural mothers in infancy does not mean that connection or bond carries on into adulthood or reunion, nor that they cannot get used to and connect with another caregiver when for whatever reason, death, illness, or adoption, the natural mother is not available.

    I am sorry to hear your mother has rejected you. I find it cruel that some mothers feel that way, and do not understand their motivation. That does not make you less worthy or lovable or valuable as a human being than adoptees who are accepted by their natural mother. Your mother's actions do not define who you are. It is HER problem, not yours and not anything you did or are. I know it feels awful and wish there were something any of us could do to help.

  88. Maryanne, thank you for your words of support. I know that the issue is my fmom's, not mine, but it still affects me. How can being rejected be pain free, unless the person doesn't matter? My fmom matters to me. Despite everything. Many people say, "Oh, forget her, move on! You have a great family. Your aparents are the BEST!"

    In the big scheme of things, I think you and I will have to agree to disagree. Yes, important bonding occurs in infancy. Ideally, this is with the infant's biological mother. Both are primed by hormones and smells, etc., to expect this.

    Bonding can happen with adoptive parents, or other caregivers, but that initial first trauma has lasting repercussions, at least for some people. I believe in the research done by Eriksonian psychologists, David Brodzinsky among others, that shows that adoptees are at a disadvantage in their tasks of maturation. Trust vs. mistrust is a big one for adoptees who have an initial wound.

    If the absence of the first mother had absolutely no impact on a child's future development, wouldn't most adoptees be perfectly well adjusted? Not ever question where they came from except for mild curiosity? There would be nothing to overcome, because we're blank slates.

  89. Katherine, thanks for your courtesy. Yes, we well may agree to disagree. To clarify, I do not believe infants are blank slates. They come with a great deal of who they are already in place in their DNA. Not believing in a universal primal wound does not mean I think infants are blank slates, or that adoptees do not suffer because of being surrendered. Far from it.

    Where I differ from primal wound theory is believing that adoptee pain starts when they realize what it means to have been surrendered and adopted, usually between 3 and 7, not at birth. I do not believe the infant brain is capable of retaining memory of separation from the mother if it happens very early and the child is placed with a stable and loving adoptive mother or other caregiver. Infant recognition of the natural mother is real, but the bond as physical reality does not last beyond weaning, and can be forgotten as all memories in the first year or so of life are forgotten.

    I believe being adopted causes many adoptees great pain and difficulty. I believe individuals are born with most of who they are and will be already encoded in their DNA, not that they are blank slates, I believe infants have to be able to adapt to a caregiver other than the mother to survive, and that infant bonding is not a predictor of adult relationships.

    Yes, we may agree to disagree, but maybe we do not disagree as much as you thought.

  90. I wasn't adopted but my dad got custody of me when I was three, and then one day I asked my stepmother if I had come out of her tummy the way so-and-so-family-friend's baby had come out of hers, and she said Yes, and my dad did not contradict her, and it went on like that til I was seven, when Mom found us.

    It was like meeting an aunt I had never met before, or hadn't seen in a long time.

    No matter what the relationship is, I think you tend to lose that sense of connection with that person over time, if you do not have regular contact with them.

    I don't expect my son to feel any connection with me. I'm not sure what I should expect.

  91. And wow, it kind of amazes me, the conversation here--all the good little robots hotly protesting against the notion that biological critters who are also social animals would ever, ever, ever have any messy gooshy feeling-type things that might cause them to be less than perfectly 100 percent rational.

    I'm sorry the idea of a strong connection scares you, but that doesn't mean it doesn't ever exist.

    And Oslo, if you're going to get on the pro-connection people's cases for telling other people how they feel, you don't get to tell anyone their feelings are crap, either. Nice backpedaling... but I caught ya, and so did a lot of other folks here.

    Feelings sure can be bottled up. I remember when one of my most favorite people in the whole world died 2.5 years ago. I literally could not cry until we passed the graveyard where he was about to be buried. Then I lost it.

    Lots of people on the internets claim they have no feelings about this or the other thing. Or that they've never had X experience or Y problem. I don't know you from Adam or Eve. For all I know, you are lying.

    By the way, the mother-child bond is natural. Sorry that notion is so offensive. Was it supposed to be artificial? But then we are organisms, not mechanisms... whoops, that whole scared-robot thing again. Look out... you're feeling something!

    Yes, this stuff aggravates me. A lot. No wonder we could blow holes in the Gulf and destroy the entire ocean (eventually). We can't even admit we're vulnerable in familial relationships--we are downright humiliated by our own mortality and connection with the larger biosphere. Mah stahs and gahtahs.

  92. Were the last two comments really written by the same person? They seem to be saying opposite things.

    The second post is snide but not clever. Having a different opinion does not make one a "good little robot" or "afraid of feeling". Oh by the way, you left out "drank the Koolaid" among the usual dismissals of those with another point of view.

    Yes we are biological beings, but being human, that is not all we are. We are capable of rational thought, of morality, philosophy, of building society, of acting on more than pre-programmed instinct. We are more complex than our animal brethren. Not necessarily better, as we have caused more harm than any other species, but we are also the only species capable of fixing some of the harm. " Natural" does not necessarily mean benign or moral.

  93. I am an adoptee and searched for 31 years to find my natural mother.I have always had a bond to her so strong that giving up on finding her was not an option.I met her almost three years ago. When I met her, I felt that she was where I had always belonged.During our first conversations who questions to me were about what I had. She wanted to know if I rented or owned my own home, did my aparents leave me any money and how much money did i make.She went on to have five more children her second child before I was even adopted.None of them work and have severe addictions and mental illness.I have tried to help my mother and family, but I know her only use for me is what I can give her. She is only nice to me when I am sending her money and things.One of her adult children called me when she was drunk to tell me that they only call me to get money and that my mother really does not care or
    love me. I have love and a bond to my mother, but I do not believe she has ever had that towards me. I have walked away from her, but she has and always will be in my heart even though I know I have never been in hers.

  94. @Tamara Whitmore

    You are so on point, but instead, I am the firstmom. I never met my daughter as she died before I found her. Wow, what a total blow to me that was. I you never get over it. I too grieve for what will never be. I know that my daughter wanted a relationship with me because her adoptive mom told me this. This just made her death all the more difficult to deal with.

  95. I have only just managed to find my birth mother. I wrote her a letter and receiving a positive one from her in return was the most emotional day of my life.
    I have strong emotions towards her and am hoping to meet her.
    I agree with what others have said that I wouldn't have gone to all the expense and time in finding her if I had no emotional connection.
    I have loving adoptive parents and a loving family but without my birth mother I feel and indeed have always felt, that there is something missing.

  96. I always knew I was adopted and I knew one day I would meet my birth mother. My Mom and I wanted to do it together so we could both thank her for her courage and selfishness in giving me up for adoption. I made several attempts to go through with the search but my emotions got the better of me. I feared contesting the right of motherhood might be an issue. I feared another family and many other fears. What if she didn't like me! What if I didn't like her! Then one day, recently, she found me. I jumped at the excitement and began letter writing in an attempt to get to know her. I was on an emotional high followed by and emotional bag of anxiety. I lost my Mom to cancer 10 years ago. As she was being buried I was in the hospital 5000 miles away giving birth. I missed her funeral. I grieved for my Mom and I began to confuse my emotions about these two women. I have been letter writing (old school) for 10 months now. It has helped me get to know my birth mother well and develop a sense of where I belong with her. I am understanding her and she is understanding me and how much of a loving Mom she had an opportunity to give to me. I look forward to the day we will meet and I can thank her in person, hold her hand, touch her skin and look into her eyes and see my own likeness. I will be able to see someone I already know, from the heart!

  97. Dublin Diva, we wish you the best of luck. It sounds like you are doing a good job of getting to know your natural mother and sort our your feelings. If we have one word of caution, it would be to suggest that not "thank" her profusely for giving you up.

    She gave you away because she saw no way to raise you, but thanking her can be interpreted as, "I'm glad you didn't raise me, I had a better life without you with these other wonderful people."
    And though you loved your Mom, that probably isn't the best way to begin a relationship. We written about this at the blog before in detail.

    Again good luck! Stay calm and carry on.

  98. It is too late to post to this? I was searching the internet looking for "adoptee/birthmother connection" (I also hate the term birthmother) because I'm a year and a half into my reunion and in my case I ended up with the opposite of what my first family hoped for. They now say the only reason I wanted to find them is because things didn't go so well with my adoptive family. I was actually adopted into a family that had a LOWER social status than my first family. What I'm trying to convince them of, and what seems so difficult for them to come to terms with, is that I wanted my first mother... because she is my mother. It's that simple. To me she always has been even though I was adopted as a newborn. And not in some sort of fantasy way of that she was perfect and would come and rescue me. Not that I wanted her back simply so that she could provide medical and background information. But because my whole life she's simply been my Mom to me. Yes, absolutely I have always had a very deep emotional tie to her. The first time we met face-to-face, I instantly "knew" her. The sound of her voice calms me in a way I can't describe. When she hugs me or puts her hand on me, it feels natural and right. I don't live in some sort of world of rainbows and ponies. Oh yes, our reunion has had some HUGE fights and back and forth. There is the initial adoption of course, but also I tried to contact her years ago and she rejected me. I waited almost 20 years and then she contacted me back. There was a lot of anger and resentment on my part about that initially. She has struggled with problems in my life because she feels she's to blame for everything that ever went wrong. But at the end of it all, we are still together and still very strong. Underneath the turmoil, we love each other dearly and have both decided that the other is worth the effort. We have gone over the past but we have decided that what matters most is from here forward and how we treat each other now. I feel so badly for both sides where reunions haven't happened, or they have but with bad results. I feel truly blessed to have MY MOM in my life. She has been gracious to let me back in and accept me and I know that. In return I am deciding to forgive all the past and overlook my own hurts so that I can get to know for the wonderful person that she is. For the record, I love my amom too.

  99. I know this is an older thread, but here is my comment. I found this thread after wondering why my birth mother is a big over the top in reaching out to me and expressing deep need to see me (especially after many years of having access to me as a child but choosing not to do so).

    I agree with the commenters who say "hey, everyone is different". Some people have a deep need to see their Fmom, some are like me and do not. Many factors will affect each. I think those who do not feel that deep need and "connection" are like me and not on the boards often. I found this one after having her contact me so much and I wanted to know "what is going on?". Aside from that I may not have "felt anything" and may not have posted.

    After the process is over, that child may grow up and want/miss/feel/need their "first family" or they may not. It is not a slam to anyone, if is just part of what may or may not happen. People are different and are allowed to feel different things (or not feel them)

  100. Leah:

    I wondered after reading your comment if you had actually met your mother. Just as we suggest that first mothers meet their children at least once, it would be an act of kindness on your part to meet her at least once. If you make that choice, try to not be hurtful, but be truthful about your feelings so she understands how you feel.

  101. Hi Lorraine,

    Thanks for your thoughts and for your reply. I have met her several times but I feel more of it is more of an acquaintance relationship of someone I honestly don't really know but that she wants an instant bond, for us to profess a major connection, to step quickly toward a traditional mother/daughter manner of relating regularly and to near pretend that we are much closer as a "mommy" and daughter than we really are or might ever be. I don't feel the instant connection but I know some do, I think both are OK.

  102. Leah, It seems you have done what you can and have been thoughtful of her feelings. You obviously feel pressured to be "more" than you feel; I suggest just trying to enjoy the time you spend together without being anxious. Maybe in time she will relax--the initial feelings of reunion of as intense for first mothers, and bring up all the emotions of the past. It seems the more she wants, the more you feel the need to push back. I hope that you do not walk away totally. If things don't quiet down, perhaps a serious talk is in order where you express yourself. Don't over emphasize but tell her that her neediness is making you back away--in the kindest way possible.

  103. As an adoptee I searched for, met and have/had relationships with all my birthfamily on both sides. Initially I searched for and met my birthmother. I refer to her as my Mother (several years into reunion she died). I refer to my adoptive Mother as my Mom. She has also since died.) This language helped my afamily and biofamily and my own children (bio and adopted) understand who people were conversationally and I felt good about it. I still do. When I personally spoke/speak with (still speak to in the case of my bioFather who is living), I refer to bioparents by first name. It is what happened naturally when we met and keeping all this straight for those involved was not easy.

    At mid-life I wanted to know where I came from and who I came from and felt that I should know that part of who I am. I felt that I was entitled to know this and I wanted my Mother to know all had been well for me. Up until that time in my life, I would describe myself as curious but busy with a happy adoptive upbringing and happy married life. At midlife, time and desire came together.

    When I met my Mother I did thank her for making a good choice for me. She explained circumstances and we developed a unique relationship. She was my Mother and eventually she met and befriended my Mom who was open to such a relationship. My Mom had always provided information she had regarding my birthfamily to me. When I decided to search my Mom was supportive, somewhat apprehensive, but glad that we all found happiness in reunion. Fortunately for me, Mom was very happy for me and for the wonderful relationships I have developed.

    To answer the question posed, l felt an emotional connection to my Mother that led me to her and I continued to feel that connection from the day I met her. It took me more time to develop an emotional connection to my Father and it is not as strong a connection to this day. I almost never wondered about him throughout my life. I was shocked to learn about him when I met my Mother. Didn't really think much about him. There is a distance factor there with my Father that has prevented the years of frequent visits my Mother and I enjoyed. He lives far from me. My Father is more of a close acquaintance but my Mother became a strong supporter and friend to me. My Mother was essentially "Local" along with all other of her family members. I look very much like her. When I met some half-siblings for the first time after meeting her, I told one of them to just look for your Mom you will recognize me. My Mother felt our connection also and she was delighted to meet me and eventually my family and whole adoptive family. I was equally delighted to meet my half-siblings, biofather (she contacted him for me), other half-siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins you name the relative.

    I was raised in somewhat better social, educational and financial circumstances than my half-siblings on either side although all were raised in strong, functional families. However our experiences were very, very similar and our circle of life in terms of beliefs and values were all very closely aligned. I met someone who was like me in appearance and in general lifestyle. I do now feel emotionally connected to everyone in my family and I am very grateful for this outcome.

  104. .I was just reading your comments and I too have met my birth Mother several times over the past 20 years. The person I met was very needy and felt like a victim because of how her life had gone...but it was amazing to find out all about who I was and the circumstances of my birth.

    I listened to her story and she stayed at my house and I did feel an emotional connection - albeit a very sad and sorrowful one - since she said her life was so hard. For a few years after that - when she was in the Country - I would pick her up from the airport and she would spend some time with me. I would then drive her to her friends or family and , if needed, back to the airport. I would always feel exhausted after she left.

    She made some comments that I found hurtful (probably not intentional) like "I thought I you would be thinner" and "They said you were adopted by a lawyer" - when in fact I was adopted by a taxi driver and a housewife in a working class area. Probably the most damaging statement was that she did not have "full sex"with my Father and did not know how she even became pregnant - she claimed it was some kind of "contact pregancy".
    I eventually tried to tell her that she had said things to me that hurt - a year or two later when she came to stay - but she said she could not listen to this and asked me to drive her to her brother - she just wanted to get away.
    After that, it was just a phone call a couple of times a year and the very occasional meeting - she never stayed at my home again and I pretty much put it behind me. Now she has moved back to the city where I live and contacted me and asked to meet. I met her twice and she is clearly pushing for a relationship. I feel like I cannot trust her and I do not feel I can ever be emotionally close to her...I suppose because of what happened before. I do not want to hurt her feelings but I need people I can totally trust in my life...and each time I see her I feel it brings up hurt and pain and I feel very tired....

    1. Oh Bernadette, I understand completely everything you say because the contact between with the child/mother after the separation (which traumatized both of you more than your can possibly realize) is always fraught and weighted with issues of abandonment, guilt and for her, the inexplicable feelings that occurred at the time you were born and she gave you up. However buried they might have been, seeing and being with the child in the flesh makes them all feel new again.

      I loved my daughter coming to visit, and I was exhausted when she left. I write about this extensively in Hole in my Heart, a memoir I published a month ago. I realize this sounds self-serving , but you might find some comfort in reading about how we navigated--and sometimes hit the rocky shoals of disconnect. But always reconnected.

      Hang in there. Do what you can for your mother--some of us mothers were so traumatized that our lives never get back on track--but don't let yourself get dragged down too much. Be open with her about your feelings, and tell her specifically what hurt your feelings. My daughter did something on our first long visit to my home that always stayed with me and always was a good reminder of deep hurt and trauma inside her. I do write about that incident too.

      The fact that you were not adopted by a lawyer--as your mother was told--hurts her because she imagined this much better life that she could not give you. Hearing that it was working class is a stab and a disappointment--and she was lied to--so don't hold that against her. She is just being honest Tell her that hearing her say that made you feel bad, and tell her why.

      I have heard of other stories of such pregnancies--yes, there had to be sperm, but it is possible that some wily sperm was er, close enough to get in and swim up and Voila! you were born. I have heard about this in a context that had nothing to do with adoption, so just accept it as face value and put away any feelings that she is making this up. Stuff happens! and you were the result.

      Summing up: Be honest and open, don't say anything purposefully hurtful. Maybe you will be able to have a better relationship now--for both of your sakes. I look forward to hearing how it works out. I'm crossing my fingers--for both of you.

      Lastly, I am always glad to hear from you--and this may seem silly--and maybe Bernadette is not your real name--but Bernadette is the name I chose as my Confirmation name after much reading and thought.

    2. thank you Lorraine for your reply - I can feel that it makes a lot of sense to be honest and not say anything hurtful...I wonder does the pain and tiredness that comes up after we meet ever stop...I suppose it's a difficult relationship to cultivate and will take work..I would love to read your memoir if you can send me a link, I would appreciate that...let's see how it goes and thanks again...I hope you and your daughter are getting on well?

    3. Again, good luck. Just search for Hole in my Heart at Amazon (my name will pop up) ...
      or click on the sidebar on the right where there is a permanent link. Or maybe you can't see that:

      Hole In My Heart: memoir and report from the fault lines of adoption

    4. thank you Lorraine - I look forward to reading that

    5. I do not subscribe to the 'everyone is unique' there are no universal or natural aspects to reunion relationships. I can say that when first meeting both mother and father, I felt no connection but more than a little 'stranger danger'. When my b father said he was my father I literally felt like an imposter wanted to kidnap me. Because I am a mature middle aged woman who after all found them I acknowledged and observed my feeling but did not act on it. The second time I met him we spent five hours sitting quietly at a park watching my child play, and when he left I felt a wave of being abandoned. As I knew him more it was not like getting to know a stranger. It's like a common vibe, an ability to read facial movements, an ability to sense their emotions, like a subtle psychic link. Ditto birth mother. I tell people living without DNA relatives is like living without a sense of smell. You can do it, you can compensate for it, it's a subtle constant lack of orientation.
      Does it make for lost time? Does it cross divides of class? Of adoption trauma and ideology? No, you have to make real adult effort. I think nature does all it can to set up parents and children for a bond, but it's a potential not a complete thing.
      AND do not underestimate the fear adoptees of being abandoned by their aparents. Not consciously.

    6. Adopted--You may find the blog post I wrote today--partly stimulated by your comment and the argument about primal wound that always breaks out whenever I mention it--at the post I wrote today:

      'Primal Wound'--Why is the concept so upsetting to some?

  105. I totally agree with primal wound concept. I'm an adoptee who grew up being the black sheep of the family and am sure I had rad ...I've just recently discovered all the information on the internet relating to adoptee disorders. I just blamed myself for everything in the past as did my family.I just wish I had this information sooner

  106. Im an adoptee since birth. I believe I suffered from reactive attachment disorder and could never pls my parents. My father being an adoptee himself. Myself agree with a previous post of wishing to never be born. I've had a feeling all my life of never belonging anywhere....feeling of disconnection

  107. Okay, I stumbled upon this site when searching for "Do adopted people feel emotionally detached from their birth parents." I read a lot of the first posts to this thread, but there's a lot here. I wonder if it's different for male adoptees? Here is my story...

    I was adopted as a baby. In 2009 I got non-identifying information from the NY Health Dept/Adoption Agency that gave me the information provided to them at the time of my birth or when I was handed over to be adopted (probably the same thing). According to the information, my BM was 18 and my BF was 26, married and had one child. Yeah, at first I thought "What a horrible guy!" but then I realized that I wouldn't exist if this didn't happen. (Still don't feel good about it, but it doesn't bother me because I love the life I have. So they kind of negate each other and I don't think about it much.) I grew up in a blue collar family with adopted parents that have made many, many sacrifices for me over the years. My Dad has an incredible work ethic that has rubbed off on me, although, if I can become half the man he is - I'll be okay! As with all families (adopted or not) there have been bumps in the road, but that's just life. At 48 years old, I am extremely grateful for all my parents have given me. (In my definition - parents are the people who raise you.) I am an only child. I call my Dad every night to make sure he's okay and to chat. The part that seems to be different for me is that, I don't know any different. These are the only parents I've ever known. We've had our ups and downs, but they are the best parents ever. (I know that not everyone who is adopted is so lucky. I'm fortunate.) I usually never brought it up to anyone that I was adopted, because there seemed to be some sort of judgement there that I couldn't wrap my head around. Again, these are the only parents I've ever known, so I wasn't very curious as to who my BM and BF were. That didn't sit right with others. "How could you not be curious?", I'd hear from friends. I just wasn't. In 2009, one of my friends who was into genealogy talked me into getting the non-identifying information so that I might possibly get some health information. I did and there was no information of that nature in there. (btw - I recently chatted with my doctor about health information through DNA testing and he asked "If you find out that something incurable runs in your birth family, how will it help you?" He continued to say that "It is only going to diminish your quality of life, because you'll always be worried when it is going to effect and there isn't anything anyone can do about it." Made a lot of sense! He also said, that just because we have the technology doesn't mean that we know how to properly use it." So I decided that medical information really isn't that important, and I'll deal with things as they come up.

  108. In 2015 I decided to join AncestryDNA.com so that I could find out my ethnicity, which was always a question in the back of my mind. I did, then I made some DNA connections. Long story short, I am almost certain who my birth mother is. There is a slight possibility for it to be someone else within the same family, but more than likely, it is who I think it is (still dotting i's and crossing t's to remove all doubt.) I know who my BF's family is, but have not been able to narrow it down to an individual yet. It became a huge, exciting puzzle for me - to solve a mystery. I have no emotional attachment to my BM or BF. I continued my search because my wife and her friend thought that my BM might want to know that everything turned out OK. I agreed and solving the puzzle continued. It's time consuming. I've told my wife and others that I really don't know if I want to open pandora's box by connecting with anyone. I have the name, address, phone number, and birthdate of the woman I'm almost certain is my BM. I can reach out at anytime, yet I don't. My wife asks me why don't I just contact her, if it's not her - she'll tell me. If it is her - she'll tell me. Hopefully. The reason, I have no emotional attachment. I had a great mother, who passed away in 2012. I have a great father. That's my family. I feel as if I'm cheating on my family by contacting either my BM or BF. I never would want them to feel as though they weren't enough, and again, they are the only parents I've ever known.

    The adoption agency told my parents to tell me I was adopted as soon as I was old enough to understand, they did. To them, they know they adopted me (I liken it to adopting a pet. lol) To me, I don't know any different and the idea that there's someone else out there that is my BM and BF, makes logical sense to me, but doesn't completely register emotionally. No need.

    I thought I might have wanted to reach out to my BM to at least let her know that everything turned out alright (was still debating that), but after reading one of the early comments (above) from a mother, saying that every time her daughter said thank you for putting her up for adoption, it made her feel like the daughter was saying that life would have sucked if she hadn't put her up for adoption and it hurt her more, I'm really not sure about this. The main thing for me, I never want to hurt anyone'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, who in all likelihood - may not even know I exist.

    I've been making connections on AncestryDNA.com; FamilyTreeDNA.com; GEDMatch.com; 23andMe.com; and MyHeritage.com Nothing closer than a 2nd cousin or a 1st cousin once removed. Feeling that maybe it's time to just lay down my sword and move on without stirring people's lives up or, again, opening Pandora's Box.

    This is just my story. I think that being adopted is different for everyone, and it's hard to speak for all adoptees.

    1. Hank, Many mothers are thrilled when their lost child reaches out to them. They're happy that their child had a good life. It's the thanking that they don't like.

      Since your adoptive parents seem comfortable as your parents and you are close to them, you can explain the reasons for your search in a way that doesn't hurt them. It might help if you shared some of the many excellent memoirs by adoptees who searched.

    2. Hank, You expressed what I am sure a number of adoptees feel. It was such an intriguing issue, I answered you in a new blog: Are adoptees emotionally connected or detached to their biological/birth parents?

      FYI--I hope any others who answer will do so at the new blog because that is where more readers will engage.

  109. I most definitely feel an emotional connection to my birth mother! It’s hard to describe. My genealogist recently found her for me and I am building a relationship with her. I agree that no matter where she’s come from I love her because she gave birth to me! I haven’t talked to my birth dad yet but i do want to.



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