' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: When birth/natural mother-adoptee reunions go awry, Part 2

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

When birth/natural mother-adoptee reunions go awry, Part 2

Who suffers more, the adoptee or the birth mother? It's like answering the question, How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? There is no answer, but one can reflect that first mothers had a time before they surrendered their children, while adoptees have no period of consciousness before they were given away and adopted. Be that as it may, we mothers in reunion have to deal
with whom our child is likely to be: a grownup person who cannot be expected to treat us nicely because they have no idea how in the hell to relate to us.

Yes, there is the first flush of reunion, but then what? Can the natural mother act like she would normally relate to her other children and expect the reunited child (yes, I know we are talking about grown ups, so go along with me here) to react to her the way a kept child might? From what I can tell, the answer is NO. You might be close one day, and the next Poof! the person is gone, and there is no way to get them back until they want to come back. Is this like a normal relationship with a friend, a cousin, a sibling, a parent? NO. This kind of behavior constantly puts us off guard, and after time, we cannot help but be wary.

Do any of you, adoptees or natural mothers, have friends who treat you that way and that you are willing to put up with? I don't. Comments to the last blog* from adoptees make the point that they do not even know how to react to birth mothers after reunion because there is no backlog of experience, in their heart of hearts the sense of abandonment is primal and paramount, no matter the reasons for the relinquishment. Additionally, and they may have internalized rotten stories about us that they have been all their lives and  them, so what can we expect?

That makes a certain kind of sense. But to be the person who has to accept this ambivalence that feels like repeated rejection? To have to live with that kind of uncertainly in a relationship that many of us so desperately long for? There is no way to prepare birth mothers emotionally for what seems like continual rejection, over and over and over again. It's like having a lover you would follow to the end of the earth, but he comes and goes and comes and goes and comes and goes. Drives you nuts, it does, until you start shutting down. We cannot sustain a loving heart in a constant state of confusion and imbalance. We start setting up our own protective walls. To me it only felt as if my daughter was unconsciously trying to show me what abandonment felt like. She succeeded. I say this and--considering that our relationship spanned more than a quarter of a century--I consider it to have been a good one. Oddly enough, we were in a good place when she committed suicide.

Do we have to be hyper-vigilant about what we say to our once lost, now reunited children? Yes. I did think my friend's comment about "boys being easier to raise," while not meant maliciously, could sting. But for her daughter to walk out of her mother's life for more than a decade? To not even let her mother apologize, or accept that apology?  With my own daughter I never knew what casual remark would be deconstructed and used against me. But most of her disappearances did not seem to have any specific remark or disagreement I could point to; she was just in retreat mode for however long it suited her.

My daughter's other mother actually said some pretty terrible things to her--which my daughter reported to me--and they would make up within days or weeks. Once I answered the phone and my daughter was crying uncontrollably: Tell me that you love me, she said, Tell me that you love me. So I did.

What had happened to cause such an outburst? Moments earlier, her adoptive mother had just told her that she never loved her. Before the end of the week, her adoptive mother called and apologized. End of story. In my husband's family, everyone agrees that his son, the second child (from a first marriage), is his obvious mother's favorite. Did that make the daughter walk out on a relationship with her mother? Not at all.

Someone commented at the last blog that I had not accepted that I had given up my daughter, and what that meant. Trust me, I accepted it the day I walked out of the hospital and left her there. Trust me, we first mothers accept that we have lost our children. Those of us who desperately long for reunion understand we cannot get back the years, and that we cannot replace Mom. We are so sorry for what happened. What we did not expect is that reunion would lead to being our punished by our children, the same way we felt punished by society, or our church or our parents--and ourselves--over and over again. We  long for some kind of peace and normalcy, whatever that is. We did not expect to be on trial for the rest of our lives.

I do not mean to bash adoptees here, as someone in a comment at Monday's blog suggested. Adoptees certainly have reasons that I contend are pre-verbal and not easily recognized for their sometimes bad behavior towards their birth parents. I get it. I am only trying to explain why expecting natural mothers to withstand and eagerly accept behavior that you would not inflict on your friends is unreasonable. In the end, each of us has to protect our own souls. We cannot control what anyone else will do; we can only control what we do.

Reunion is a two-way street. It's not just about either party, mother or child; it is about both of the people involved at birth: mother and child. Adoptees sometimes write angrily that reunion is not about the birth mother! But for the birth mother, it is, just as reunion for the adoptee is about the adoptee. Reunion is clearly about both; each experiences it differently with different emotions. Both people are trying to heal the wound caused by the separation. And the feelings of each ought to be respected by the other, and as far as possible, understood, and accepted, with love. That's a beginning.--lorraine
* Why birth/natural mother-adoptee reunions go awry
See also: Adoptees ask: "Why Was I Given Away?"
Writing a letter to the child you gave up for adoption
Adoption and Recovery: Solving the Mystery of ReunionAfter the Birthmother/Adoptee Reunion: Navigating the Turbulent Waters 

Adoption and Recovery: Solving the Mystery of Reunion is an excellent book by Australian first mother Evelyn Burns Robinson that discusses the dangerous shoals of reunion from the perspective of the natural mother, but gives many insights that adoptees will find useful and comforting. Highly recommended for anyone before and during reunion.

And finally, I think the link to my husband's blog (Completely Out of My Mind) where he wrote about adoption and blood ties is not the correct link,but just takes you to the current post. If anyone reading this can point me to the right blog of First Mother Forum where the link is so I can fix it, I would appreciate it. His essay is pretty powerful, if I say so myself. Please leave it in a comment. Thanks.


  1. Ouch. First, Lorraine, I did not at all intend to say anything negative about your daughter. I apologize heartily if you in any way were hurt by my comments. This whole adoption thing, to take a word from a previous post of yours, SUCKS.

    Second, I understand why anything I would write would anger/disappoint/frustrate a first mother (not all). And I understand why reunion is so difficult - both sides got their guts kicked in, were lied to and then forced to LIVE the lie, full of unspoken, in-the-closet hope that one day the relationship could be as it should have been. I know, as adults, we realize it can't be as it should have been, but isn't the hope that we just pick up wherever we are, even if the reality and our common sense says it can't? Don't we work toward that?

    Mother and child can never be friends, buddies, pen pals, confidantes, "like sisters", etc, because we simply are not. The reality of what we are cannot be understood by the heart that has been so damaged by what has been done to us and the relationship that could have been. Trust me, I would love to just meet one person who shares my blood; if they loved me, well, it would just be too amazing to imagine.

    We can never get back what we should have had, and we never have to take, from either party, less than the relationship that we would want from a friend, cousin, etc, but this is the key to understanding so much about adoptees, whether we are 2 or 52 years old - no matter the reasons why, all we know for most of our lives is that you walked away once and you can do it again.

    And many of you do.

    Once again, we blame ourselves; this time, it might actually be our faults.

    As for the confusion over why we do not turn away from our aparents? They were there when you were not. We are trying our best to have a bond with someone who hasn't yet walked away from us.

    I can't imagine there is an adoptee who wouldn't say that we will always always always want our mommies. But sometimes, even the loving reunions hurt - "I could have had that love my whole life and it was taken away."

    I feel just as badly for my parents as I feel for myself - but I don't know that we will ever get over our own hurts enough to care as deeply as we should about the other side.

    Lastly, I do love the Lord with all of my heart, but I am human and a sinner, just the same. I apologize to all if any of my comments seemed unfaithful or mean - I'm hurting just like all of us in this mess. And it was my 41st birthday on Monday - a tough time to still be without a mother.

  2. Kristi:

    I must admit that I did not take your comment personally, but it gave me food for thought because what you said was true.

    I am sure that your birthday is difficult; I hope that your natural mother is thinking about you too and that one day you can meet and go on the rest of this difficult journey together.

    Happy birthday from this mother. ♥

  3. @Kristi Happy birthday(Wish I was only 41!) Your post sounds like you do a lot of thinking about this. I'm sorry if I was over-sensitive about something you wrote in a previous post. Believe me, I know I can never get back the time lost with my son but I do think we are friends and my life is much more real since I found him No sad songs for me!

  4. "We cannot sustain a loving heart in a constant state of confusion and imbalance. We start setting up our own protective walls."

    This is what I am finding myself doing again. And I hate it.

    The wounds from adoption are so very deep. Reunion doesn't heal them. In some ways reunion has made them even deeper...

  5. Thank you so much, Lorraine. That's just what I needed to hear. :)

  6. Kristi ~ thanks for your honest words in your comment. What you write may hurt ~ but only because it is so painfully the truth.

    And Happy Birthday from this mother too ♥

  7. My reunion never happened. I was an anonymous penpal to my natural mother for a few years, being a secret to her raised children. I tried painfully to continue this form of contact, as she denied me a face to face meeting, but I just couldn't. I wanted, heck I still want, so much more.

    Strangely enough, reunion brought on many unpleasant realizations about my adoptive parents and has cause irreparable damage to our relationship. They told me they didn't want to know anything about my mother, they degraded me for wanting to know my real family history and they admitted hiding some small details they knew when I was adopted (this among so much more). I deeply resent them and feel that I cannot have a meaningful relationship with someone who only cares about their own needs. They could not deal with the one thing that made me their child - adoption. I feel used, an object of possession.

  8. "Someone commented at the last blog that I had not accepted that I had given up my daughter, and what that meant. Trust me, I accepted it the day I walked out of the hospital and left her there. Trust me, we first mothers accept that we have lost our children. Those of us who desperately long for reunion understand we cannot get back the years, and that we cannot replace Mom. We are so sorry for what happened. What we did not expect is that reunion would lead to being our punished by our children, the same way we felt punished by society, or our church or our parents--and ourselves--over and over again. We long for some kind of peace and normalcy, whatever that is. We did not expect to be on trial for the rest of our lives"
    Lorraine you have said here exactly what I have in my heart, thanks so much for the validation. Sharon

    1. agree same... did not expect to be punished.... daughter not exactly as i would have wanted..someone who repeated false gossip about me by people I never met..who did not return my texts even at Christmas...OH PLEASE LET ME COME AND MEET YOU I WILL BE NICE..she said 4 years ago...well NO YOU WERE NOT . WHEN I had reached back out to her when she found me...she was always not getting back to me on weekend WHAT IS THAT ALL ABOUT.? RUDE.. to get back at me....finally the bratty comment YOU ARE SHOWING YOUR TRUE COLORS.. how dare she say that to her mother? and when I pointed it out she said OK AND OKAY I think this was payback... i do not like her. She does not look like me and she has an unused intellect or less capacity. She has done well for herself though Give her that

  9. I am in the place now, after 13 years of reunion, where I am pulling back from my daughter. I am building a wall because she cannot/will not come towards me. Losing her was the most painful moment in my life. Every time she refuses to answer an email or answer her phone, I feel that pain as rejection all over again. I cannot continue to subject my heart to these rejections. I love her with all my heart, and I worked for 13 years to get her to come towards me. She isn't. So I will remain open to her, whenever she comes, but I am not going to beg, plead, and hope anymore. This is the most difficult relationship I have ever encountered.

  10. Hi Lorraine...

    The "poof" and the walking away happens on both sides of the reunion, even with siblings.

    Reunion is strange and there is no preparation for it. It can be overwhelming and emotionally crippling.

    This, I believe, is not intentional on most people's parts. It is part of the dysfunction of adoption. What happened to us was so incredibly unnatural. In more civilized societies, children and parents would never be legally banned from knowing each other even if other people are doing the upbringing of the child. The inhumanity is damaging and reunification is anything but simple.


  11. Mara: You are so right, about the deep and abiding wound (yes, I think Primal Wound describes the damage inflicted accurately) that adoption without contact with the biological family does to an individual, and how that impacts the relationship after reunion; but mothers on the other side who want to have a relationship have to deal with what is, and the pull back is pretty devastating to a great many of us.

  12. Sadly, reunion has not turned out to be the panacea we all hoped it would be.

    I don't know how anyone goes through the here today, gone tomorrow relationships you are describing. The emotional rollercoaster must make you crazy and I can understand why people have to pull back to maintain their peace and sanity.

    These two articles contain some of the most powerful comments I have ever read at FMF. We have certainly hit a nerve. I just wish that girls and young women considering adoption would read these comments. They need to know that it is often not possible to relinquish a child and then just pick up where you left off when the child is an adult. Maybe open adoption would make this process easier, maybe not.

  13. One of my a-brothers found his first mother, and also a few close friends from high school. All of them have shared similar sentiments with me. "My birthmom is crazy! She is absolutely nuts! Don't even get me started." I realize this is very rudimentary compared with the eloquent posts here, but these people have told me that they choose to discontinue contact because they believe their first mom is mentally unstable. They believe that the she will take financial advantage of them, steal from them, or will do physical or emotional harm to them and their children. They choose to back away rather than deal with this looney person.

    Perhaps this is paranoia on the adoptees part? Or in some instances perhaps not. A small percentage of relenquishments occur because birthmom is unfit. Perhaps birthmoms do exhibit unpredictable behavior in reunions as they work through the pain, and this freaks out some adoptees. Perhaps adoptees don't examine their own behavior, and they are the unstable ones, directing the blame outwards. Don't know the reasons, I just know what people tell me.

  14. I find it interesting that most of the responders are adoptees... or at least that is what appears to be here. I also find it interesting that one person, Megan, seems to see that a lot of the stuff is reactionary and unexamined behaviors by adoptees. (Not sure if she meant mothers or not).

    What I find even more interesting is that in this world of massive amounts of information that are available for the asking, the idea that the adoptee has some kind of special right to act in ways that are astounding - still exists.

    When I started "my" reunion disaster, I believed all the adoption rainbow lies... all of them. I had to or I would have done myself in long ago. I even went so far as to look for her father, only to find he had died in 1985 - she turned 6 the day they buried him.

    The initial bubble was immediately burst in all ways possible. She had a crappy life, she hated me, and she not only rejected, but continued to play games when I acquiesced to her ugly statements that I should vanish and not reappear. This continues to this day - a decade later.

    I have not, until this year, built any walls, rejected her or been cruel or bizarre in my behavior. I have, however, loaned her hundreds of dollars (much to my late husband's displeasure and with the knowledge that this money will never be repaid - she has said I owe her monetary value for holidays and birthdays missed); had her in my home (only to hear through her friends that she thought I was a loser with a crappy life - unsolicited information from people that I know about, but do not know - any guesses as to who the individual was that wanted me to know this?); rescued her from a bad situation; been available for 2 and 3 a.m. phone calls from her when her current (I have been through three) husband was cheating (or she was) and she needed a "safe" person to talk to (her words); and, my family has welcomed her with happiness at her being back in the family - even the small amount she chose to be there.

    In return, I have been told that she "tried" to be my friend, my daughter and other things - but that she hates me, always has and always will.... To which, like any remotely normal person, I was kind and withdrew (I will not try again - ever) from her world.

    To this day she stalks me online - at least she has stopped hacking my accounts or getting her spouse to do it. She has emotionally hurt her cousin by shutting her out - the day before the kid's birthday - and yes, she knew exactly which day it was since my youngest grandson shares her birthday. She has attempted to use my sister to hurt me - by publicly saying I am crazy and that she loves my sister more than me (too bad that her behaviors have made my sister distrust her and not want her in her world either).

    At what point is this a reunion? And when are mothers supposed to start saying "NO!" and stop taking responsibility for their adult child's behavior? When? Because I did it and I have been slapped a few times for doing it. Tell me at what point is my right to protect myself and my family not as important as my daughter's right to beat us up?

  15. Well said, Lori. Adoptees can seem nuts too. In my opinion, it's OK to walk away from crap. You sound like a wise person, Lori. I would not slap you. Your daughter is an adult, and you are not responsible. I prefer to look at these conflicts from a cognitive-behavioral approach, not psychoanalysis.

    Some of the landmines I see occurring with reunions (including my a-brother's) are 1) either party lending or giving money, 2) moving in with each other, and 3) getting involved with extended family problems. As much as we would like this, because that's what normal families do, maybe it's too much for adoption reunions. And often, that stuff tears apart normal (non-separated) families as well. Maybe setting boundaries is a sensible thing to do.

  16. Wow. I just found this blog today from somebody's Facebook link, so I am late to the party. But I thought I would just jump in anyway (typical of me).

    I've never known what to think of my birthmother, because I have a Mom. So is my birthmother a "relative"? What is she? I found her a little over 18 years ago. I was gung-ho, looking back. But she was not. She has been the yo-yo in this relationship, not me. Why? I can speculate, but not know for sure.

    My speculation: well, to add to being a birthmother, she is also an adoptee herself. I suspect much of the emotional baggage she carries is just too much to sift through most days. There is damage from her adoptive parents which seems to play in. There is the fact that she does not want her sons to know about me. She suspects they would never get over the secrecy. And she knows them and I don't, so I have to trust that. She also says that she knows she would want to "parent" me and she knows that place is already taken. I think I could have adjusted, but she didn't give me the chance. So what to do? I stay open and let her come/go as she needs. Can I love her like this? Yes. That is my heart for her. But does it make for the same sort of relationship as we would have if she had been constant with me? No. Of course not. Maybe it is because I have abandonment issues or maybe it is just low self-esteem, but I have let friends treat me like that - come and go. There is a book I could write on the way it has happened for me, but it won't fit here.

    I would say in opposition to the way my birthmother has acted is my birthfather's family. I was his only child and they knew about me and talked about me often over the years. He was dead when I came around (another long story that may or may not be related to my adoption), so they were very happy to see me, but there was no father to relate to. I will admit that I pulled back once that family started acting like I had never been gone. What I mean by that is not only did they welcome me, but they acted like I understood years of family dynamics that were actually foreign to me. The expectations were so high that I could not keep up. So do I yo-yo with them? Yes. But much of that is in direct relation to what they are giving me to deal with. It isn't just a whim of mine.

    My thought process after seeing many reunions throughout the years is there is no right way for this to happen. You have two people with years of life experiences coming together in a situation that is packed with expectations (conscious or unconscious). It is going to get weird sometimes.

    My precious Mom (adoptive) passed away a few months ago. Dad is going to be 81 this month. Birthmother knows about these things (contact is a tad more frequent with the advent of email, but not much). I wonder if, when there is nobody left to parent me but her, she will come around more often. There is no way to predict that. She knows I am here for her. She knows I have no plans to contact her sons and start a ruckus. I just cannot say with certainty what will happen.

    Over the years, I have had many birthmothers "adopt" me. (If that isn't strange, I don't know what is)They have loved on me and nursed my wounds (even when I didn't feel the need). I try to let them. I know contact with a willing birthdaughter (even if she is not theirs) is better for some of them than no contact at all. As long as they aren't cloying (which would turn me off in anyone), I go with it. God has given me enough love to spread around.

    Over the years, I have had problems with some adoptive parents. There is a sense of ownership in the old-school adoptive community that rubs me raw (and I get vocal about it sometimes). I try to spread love to them when they aren't attacking me. God has given me that.

    What I haven't been given is the "one size fits all" answer to any of this. I wish I had that. I would spread it all over the place.

  17. No one has a right to abuse. Abuse is like slavery: it destroys both parties. In the case of first mothers it extends a reason to continue objectifying her "sins". I suspect a lot of the abuse results from honing in on all that guilt she has carries around and would like to expiate. For some people resisting the "kick-me sign" is just impossible. For others the emotions are too much and and they walk away. For the adoptee who has always been objectified by the very nature of adoption, the chance to turn the game around is often too tempting. I suspect there is a lot of over-reaction by both parties coupled with limited understanding of the dynamics.

    What Megan said about her brother's friends is similar to what my son told me. My impression/experience is that many males are reared to avoid and reject emotional issues. A first mother with a ton of issues would be just too much of a bother in a busy life. It would be more then these boys/men would expect to deal with. They are reared to think emotions are the province of women.

  18. If I was still just starting out to search for my child and I read this blog I don't think I would proceed any further. Luckily I am reunited already but I am constantly terrified of losing him again and I went into the wildest flashback ever when my son's wife lost a baby . I keep telling myself to just go one day at a time because that's really all I can handle. I agree with anonymous above who said that more civilized societies would never legally ban parents and children from knowing each other even if they weren't raising them. Amen sister

  19. Megan: Some natural families adopt their children back. My daughter lived with us for extended periods of time. That was never the source of issues between us. She wanted to live with me, and so, with her parents' blessing, she did. They were good, understanding people.

    Some lend money to their childen or pay for their trips, or pay some of their bills, and it works out just fine. Ditto on this end. I paid for part of my daughter's wedding, though it was where she grew up, and only a few members of my immediate family attended. She loved that my brothers and their wives and children came.

    Getting involved with "extended family" problems probably is an issue, as with intact families, but especially when it involves adoption, and one person is encouraging another adoption when the natural mother is saying she was devastated because of adoption, wouldn't you think? If my daughter had ever done that, I would have been devastated, and found it hard to feel comfortable around her because it would be hard to trust her.

    One size does not suit all. You may be talking about your own family, but as been said here many times, one size reunions rules does not suit all. Just like marriages, every one's is different.

  20. I have to SO agree with Phantom Mom - I too have stepped back from trying to reunite with my 42-year old daughter. She has made it VERY clear that she does not want or needs contact with me. I first contacted her a day after her 37th birthday; she requested 'no contact', but on her 40th birthday, I contacted her thru Facebook, and wished her a Happy Birthday, but again - here's what she wrote to me, which I would like to share with you all - especially the adoptees, and do you think I 'should' make ANY contact at all on her 45th birthday (2014)??

    Dear Lee,
    I was mad because I am not supposed to have to deal with this. I was very angry that you did not “hear” me in my first letter to you, although you fully acknowledge it in your letter to me from last year. You write: “I should NOT be sending this letter to you…but I will respect your decision…” But you are not respecting my decision. I told you that I do not want any contact.
    I do appreciate the last letter you sent. It was very touching to hear about my birth. I am sorry for what you went through, with your parents, society & your guilty feelings. And I thank you for the medical information. I have never been angry with you for not keeping me. I have never felt abandoned. Quite the opposite, I have always felt your love for me, for making such a difficult decision!
    I have always thought of you in my head as a special angel that God provided for me and my parents. You mention in your letter at the time you gave me up, “How can this be in God’s plan for me… God is all-forgiving.” I feel like one of the reasons you were put on this earth was to have me, so that my parents who desparately wanted a child, COULD have one with your help. THAT was His plan for you!
    You say in your letter, “ I tired of feeling like I am a bad birthmother.” Please stop feeling like this, and don’t ever think it again. I think you are an amazingly strong birthmother! I am so grateful you did this. I have had the best parenting, and the best life with my parents. I have always known how loved I am by both you and my family I was raised with.
    As I said before I am very grateful that you had me and sacraficed your feelings by giving me up for adoption. I never felt rejected by you, and I do not want you to feel that way now. On the contrary, I know you truly loved me and cared for me enough to make sure I had a loving family that could provide for me. And your wish came true, that is exactly what happened. I am with a wonderful loving family. I could not be happier. As I said in my previous letter, I do not have any holes that need to be filled, I do not or have never felt abandoned by you. I have known about you & my heritage all my life. I even know that you have twin sisters, and that I could have twins someday.
    I am very happy with the way things are right now. I know more about you, you know more about me, but I still do not want to have a relationship with you. My wish is that you will let this go now. If I want to contact you in the future, I will, but please do not contact me in any way again-not email, letters, Facebook, phone calls. I do not use this email address, so do not respond back to this address. I only have it for junk email. Do not contact any of my family members again. It really disrupts all of ours lives, and makes me angry that you do not respect our privacy. Thank you.
    Thank you for giving me life.

    So, should I wait until her 45th birthday (2014) to wish her a Happy Birthday? but will probably not hear from her... and will probably get her MORE angry with me! What do you think - adoptees??

  21. Regarding wacky birthmothers, I found by reading the memoirs of women adopted as infants, that they often see their mothers are unstable when they frst reunite. Reading between lines you can see that the mothers are so excited, anxious, thrilled meeting their lost child, that their behavior is a typical.

    I also saw adoptees working hard to find faults so that they could convince themselves that their adoption was the best/right thing. AM Homes goes so rar as to say she coud not have survived if her first mother had raised her. The only concrete negatives in her "New Yorker" article were that her mother was pushed too hard for a relationship and showed bad taste in ordering lobster for lunch.

  22. Megan, you must know my daughter, as she's convinced I'm unstable, unpredictable, and yes, crazy. And, as I've said before, yes, when it comes to my daughter, I'm crazy. Or was. Most birthmothers endure the grief of losing their children on the child's birthday, or the day they surrendered, or Mother's Day, year after year, like the movie Groundhog Day. Some, sadly, never recover.

    I'm a vibrant, intellectually assertive, fabulous woman; my daughter is not, prefers to stay out of the spotlight, yet is self-absorbed (a distant family member's observation, not mine) and no matter what the occasion, it's all.about.her. And I hold myself accontable, i.e., my decision to relinquish her to adoption created the person she's become.

    So yeah, losing my only child adoption makes me crazy. Having a push me-pull you relationship for six years, and then to be cut off without explanation, after SHE FOUND ME, made me a little crazy.

    I learned all too late that the adoptee and birthmother's adoption experiences are vastly different, and I've paid a very dear price for a decision that was a temporary solution to a permanent problem. If I'm crazy, so be it.

  23. I know there are mothers, who are met with destructive and abusive behavior by their found adult children, and my heart goes out to you and the pain, hurt you suffer because of it. There are also adoptees though, who are met with those same painful behaviors by their mothers.

    I found my mother after a 30+ year search. I was thrilled! I hoped to make something special and new with her.

    Unfortunately, the first conversations I had with my mother; revolved around her asking me if I rented or owned my own home, did the parents who raised me leave me any money, and how much money did we make? She never asked about me specifically, except to say that I was “too polite” while speaking to her and that all my ”niceness” was giving her a headache.

    I went down to meet her several months later. While I was sitting with her, I felt something brush the side of my head. When I turned to look, I saw a huge magnifying glass with her peering through it. I asked her what she was doing. She grabbed my ear and said, “Those diamonds in your ears?” I knew right away that she had no care for me and just wanted what I had. So I gave her all that she wanted monetarily, but so much more importantly, I gave her all my love. She didn’t seem to care about the love though, unless it could be attached to a check or a piece of jewelry. She called me an “easy mark” several times. I think that comment to me was one of nicest things she ever said to me during the 2+ years. I truly feel sorry for her and the life choices she and her other middle aged children have made. It is all too sad and tragic, but I know in my heart that my mother is hurting, too.

    So, who hurts more? I think we all hurt.

  24. @Jane Hi! Thanks for that comment on the birthmother ordering lobster- Gave me a much-needed laugh. One thing really good that has resulted from reunion(other than finally knowing my son) is that,while I wasn't glad when bad things happened to other people, it made me feel less alone. Now after a few years in reunion, I suddenly realized that for the most part I am happy when good things happen to others and sad when unfortunate things happen. May sound trite to some but I think I am finally an emotionally healthy person.

  25. Lee, why on earth would you contact her if she asked you not to? Do you feel like you have some "right" to that? I'm wondering. I was told not to call again. So I didn't call. And I don't call. And I won't call, unless requested. That does not mean that I don't want to. But birthmother has set a boundary with me. Why would I not honor that? Why would you not honor your daughter's request? In the interest of self-disclosure, I have never had children. So is this some "right" that mothers (b or a) feel that they have - to push past boundaries that have been set? I'm confused.

  26. One common thing among adoptees and other hurting people (no, not all adoptees are like this, I must say) is that they do not believe they make an impact on those around them. This is usually seen in trauma survivors or individuals with low self-esteem. There was a time in their life where they felt helpless and believe they have lost their ability to make a difference. Or they believe they are invisible and truly don't matter.

    The answer is no, these individuals do not have an understanding of the true impact of how what they do or say makes others feel. I suppose the best response is gentle honesty, so that they can grow to become more aware.

    There is another reaction to bad experiences and low self-esteem: self blame and over-estimating your impact on others. Every missed phone call is perceived as being in response to something you've done wrong--when in reality, the person might just have forgotten or was busy at the moment and it wasn't because the other person did something wrong at all. The fears of rejection come into play where those who fear rejection may end up rejecting someone else to avoid the inevitability of being rejected themselves. Or they need to be reassured that the other person still loves them and won't leave and in turn, the other person feels mistrusted or overwhelmed.

    I consider myself to have a good reunion. Though we are two individuals and what we do may not work for everyone else. Our personalities are very alike. Because we understand each others personalities, we are able to look past behavior (behavior and personality are two different things). By "behavior" I don't mean to sound condescending, by the way. I just mean what someone does or doesn't do. For instance, if I don't call or write for a while, she knows that I am busy and that it has nothing to do with being upset at her. Likewise, I know she has a very busy job and other children. I don't assume she is mad at me if I don't hear from her. This is because I know her as a person: she would not just walk away from me or be upset without saying something. I am able to trust this because I am the same way.

    We have also agreed that if either of us does hurt the other, to acknowledge that it is likely unintentional and to say how it make us feel to the other person, right away. No harboring anything. This works for us because it works with our personalities.

    Again, I'm just sharing my story, not suggesting someone else who has had a rough reunion isn't doing it right. Some people aren't very self-aware, are abusive, or extraordinarily unreasonable and a relationship won't work because one-sided relationships simply don't tend to work.

    I am horrible at maintaining contact with an aunt, however, and I don't know why. I have an aunt that writes me much more regularly than I write her. I've made it a goal to be more sensitive and get back to her in a more timely manner because I do love her and value my relationship with her. I am sure it hurts her feelings. Though hurting her feelings is not my intention, hurt may still be the result, and I am sorry for that hurt.

  27. "The "poof" and the walking away happens on both sides of the reunion, even with siblings.

    Reunion is strange and there is no preparation for it. It can be overwhelming and emotionally crippling."

    I think Mara said it perfectly. Adoption leaves holes that are unnatural and gutting for all parties. It's not just mothers and children, it's all family members who are affected. As I have said before, I am not the one who has pulled back, or said cruel things. I, the adoptee, have been the recipient of these actions and words, from my mother and brother, at different times. It sucks. I feel for the mothers who share my fate. It is debilitating to want a relationship with someone who rejects you so profoundly. Over and over. It is indeed like chasing after a lover, only worse: family is not replaceable in the way a lover is.

    The wound doesn't go away. Only the person being wounded can decide when enough is enough. You can love someone and have to love yourself more, in order to save your sanity. It's incredibly disappointing to have your love not reciprocated in a way that you had thought it would be, in way that it had been promised. It's hard to have your trust shattered, and to see your love object's ties to another family be stronger than the ties to you. To feel forever the outsider, whether you're looking at your child's afamily, or in my case, looking at my natural family and knowing that I am not welcome there. It all sucks.

    As Lorraine said, there's no ownership on the pain. We are all in this together, and I am glad for the support of both adoptees and mothers.

  28. I am so glad my son wanted to know me. Both he and I have stuck together talking about all the family situations involved. Thankfully, he is loving son and I am a loving mom.
    When I found him he found out his dad had died in war and he really always needed a dad as he was adopted by a grandpa who left soon after his adoption. Then he got an
    emotional abuser for a step thing.
    So the adoptive "parents" aren't always perfect either. They
    are what you grew up with good, bad or ugly.
    I am wondering if reunions are harder with daughters than son's? I do think both adoptees and their moms have issues so similar that it is hard to deal with each other.

    Civilized countries don't separate moms and babies as they
    are the foundation of our society.

  29. Regarding adoptee memoirs: I felt the same way when I read Sarah Saffian's book. That book wouldn't exist without her father's letters to her, yet her disdain for her natural parents (and her appreciation of the status of her adoptive father) practically screamed off the page.

  30. Ah yes, the crazy unstable "birth things"...

    ...but those adopter mothers aren't crazy or unstable, are they? They aren't so jealous of the biological bond they will never have they have to convince the child they covet that god ordained the suffering of one woman so they could gain. They aren't so crazy and unstable that they claim god allowed a young woman to conceive so some stranger could covet her child, then be wished obliterated by everyone who has control over her child. They aren't so crazy and unstable that they brainwash someone else's child to believe nonsense so said child will stay loyal to her and only her. SURE they are. I happen to know one on a very personal level, the woman so stole my son with lies and false promises. The thought that my child has regular contact with this wack job makes me physically ill.

    Once again, it is always natural mother who is perceived as being crazy and unstable; when in fact I think infertility makes adopters more nuts than anyone I have ever met.

  31. "No one has a right to abuse." The truest thing I've taken out of the discussion. Thank you, SameOld.

    While I haven't done everything right in reunion with my son, and yes, even hurt him I admit, I have never ever abused him as he has abused me. I am clear on this, which took me many years. And then I had to say, no more.

    As far as I know, he has never thought that I am crazy or needy. What he seems to resent is that I'm doing okay (at least on the outside... he has no interest in my feelings), that I didn't crash and burn after giving him up. I sense that he was looking for a bag lady. He even said when we first talked that he wanted to take care of me. He seemed to hate that I didn't need taking care of, only to know him.

    That's when the abuse began. He said I owed him because his life wasn't as good as mine. Even though he has made many, many choices that have let to that (such as five marriages and divorces before age 40).

    I've got to say that every reunion is different, because there are different personalities involved, different circumstances, good and bad adoptive family experiences. different rates of recovery (if that's even possible) among both first mothers and adoptees. I no longer see the point in comparing one to another.

    The point of blogs like this one is to express our opinion, share our experiences, and learn from each other. No reason to get heated over comparisons.


  32. quote: Carolyn Counterman:
    Lee, why on earth would you contact her if she asked you not to? Do you feel like you have some "right" to that? I'm wondering. I was told not to call again. So I didn't call. And I don't call. And I won't call, unless requested. That does not mean that I don't want to. But birthmother has set a boundary with me. Why would I not honor that? Why would you not honor your daughter's request? In the interest of self-disclosure, I have never had children. So is this some "right" that mothers (b or a) feel that they have - to push past boundaries that have been set? I'm confused.

    THe reason I contacted her after she asked me not to - was: I had waited/not contacted her for about 2 years, and then I suddenly got sick (lost 60 lbs in a very short time), and I thought I "should" let her know ALL her medical information, plus all the "things" pertaining to her birth, etc. Since then I have refrained and have been going on with my life... Don't you think she should have her medical info - I thought she should!

  33. Anonymous posted (respectfully snipped...)

    ...but those adopter mothers aren't crazy or unstable, are they? They aren't so jealous of the biological bond they will never have they have to convince the child they covet that god ordained the suffering of one woman so they could gain. They aren't so crazy and unstable that they claim god allowed a young woman to conceive so some stranger could covet her child, then be wished obliterated by everyone who has control over her child. They aren't so crazy and unstable that they brainwash someone else's child to believe nonsense so said child will stay loyal to her and only her. SURE they are.

    re bold - I don't know if you posted that because of what my daughter wrote in her letter to me - but it sure struck a chord with me!! And yes, her A-mom was NOT very happy that I had made contact - she said - "that I had signed an agreement NEVER to search or look for her child!!" Well, I did answer and say to her - "no, I never signed THAT kind of paper, but I did sign over my parental rights!" So, it wasn't a very "good" beginning with my so-called reunion. I can't say "reunion" as we have never met or talked on the phone.

    Oh and Carolyn - I just wanted to say - the letter (last one) I sent to her has been over 2 years ago - so you don't think I should 'contact' her in 2014 and wish her a Happy 45th birthday??? Just curious! As some say, you should try again after a while another contact. No a good idea??

  34. To the first Mom who asked adoptees opinions on if she should contact her daughter on her 45th birthday.. (forgive me if I have the birthday number wrong.)
    My opinion is... to leave her alone. She will contact you in the future if she wishes. I would not delete any e-mail addresses she might have for you.
    I think in the future she might contact you. If you write her again you may lose her for good. ((hugs)) I am sorry it has to be this way for you...

  35. Who suffers most? As much as I would like to say: me, me, me! I think pain and suffering are like a bottomless pit. No matter how far you go, there is still further to travel. However, being able to hold hands with someone along the way, makes it just a little bit easier to bare. We all just have to be brave enough to take our hands out of our pockets.

  36. Lee, no, not a good idea to try again for another contact no matter how much time has passed. Your daughter stated very clearly that she wants no contact. It would be best to honor that to save both you and her more pain, anger, and rejection.

    If your daughter had just been passively ignoring your contacts, I would say, yes, sure try again in a few years, but she spelled it out in a pretty cruel way (God's plan for you was to have me for them!) Let it be.

    She does not want to hear from you. Take that at face value. Think of the situation as being pursued by a suitor you have told you were not interested in and did not want to hear from. Would getting a card from that person after several years make you feel good, or "oh, no, it is starting again.""No means no" in more situations than dating.

    Nothing is harder than letting go, but sometimes you have to, for your own sanity and not to set yourself up for more pain. Honor her wishes. She may come around some day, but the chances are slim. In the mean time live your life and leave the door open, but do not pursue her again.

  37. I'm on the fence about trying every five years to make contact. Someone (an adoptee) earlier stated that adoptees may want their mother to come after them, to let them know the door is still open. This is not like stalking a lover who wants to break up with you; a child is your flesh and blood. My feeling is that if you will go to your grave wondering of you should have made that one last step, it is probably better to make it than die feeling, what if?

    But you have to prepare yourself to be rejected all over again.

  38. Adoptees who want their birth mothers to come after them need to say so. Depending on the mother to be a mindreader and assume that "no" means "yes" is too much game-playing and manipulation. You can't base any kind of relationship on that premise. Same goes for mothers who play games with the adoptee who found them.

    A truly ambivalent person says "maybe" or "later". When someone clearly tells you not to contact them again, after you have already done it twice, you have pretty much used up your chances and need not think "what if?" It is easy to cross the line to being seen as a stalker, even if contacts are infrequent, if they keep up after being told to stop.

    It does not matter that this is "flesh and blood". A blood relative can have reasons not to want to ever hear from a family member again just as much as an ex-lover. Whether those reasons are valid or not is another issues, but if that is how the person feels, there is not a lot one can do to change that except to hope that they eventually have a change of heart and come around on their own. Leaving the door open is not the same as going back when you were asked not to.

  39. Just a few observations from my own reunion. I think everyone is hurt by the separation of mother and child and while I as a mother was not really aware of what I was doing(I was somewhat manipulated and angry at my son's birthfather and scared of being a single mother) it was I who left him physically and he was the baby who had absolutely no say in anything so I felt that it was my responsibilty to find him and to try harder(within reason) when things got tough. Also if he is having financial problems I see nothing wrong in helping him out. In fact I am happy to do so if I am able. I know a lot of people disagree with this

  40. I am in the early stages of a non-reunion. My daughter turned 18 over a year ago - I have sent three short emails with no response. (One after she turned 18, one around Christmas, and one near her 19th birthday)

    I don't know quite what to do, especially after reading the responses of the adoptees here over the past series of blog posts. It feels like I am in a Catch-22 situation.

    Do I continue to send the short, succinct, semi-annual emails to let her know I am thinking of her? Will that make her feel better or worse? Or do I stop sending them? Will that make her feel better or worse? Is she one of those adoptees who wants me to "prove" myself by continuing to contact her? Or is she one of those adoptees who could not care less about her birth "thing" and these semi-annual emails just give her more grist for the mill?

    I feel like I am damned if I do and damned if I don't.

    Honestly, I wish I had done more reading about adoptees and reunion outcomes prior to contacting her. If I had, I don't think I would have never sent her that initial email last year.

    I have come to understand that successful reunions are in the tiniest of minorities and the rest of us...well, it simply is what it is.

  41. Oh Lee, I just want to wrap you in a big hug. It is so obvious that you want to love your daughter. I understand that you want to wish her a happy birthday - a day that you will always remember when this lovely creature entered your life and then went to be raised by another woman. I get that. I do. But she doesn't want to hear from you. Yes, she has a RIGHT to her medical background, but if she has not asked you for more information, she obviously is not too concerned about it. She knows how to get ahold of you, doesn't she? But she hasn't. I hate this. I just want to say this so gently and with love, but I have no guarantee that as you are reading this that you will understand that. Lee, you will always think of her as your daughter. But she might never think of you as her mother. That is one of those nasty, unchangeable facts of adoption. I love my birthmother. I wish she wanted more contact. But I don't think of her as my mother. My mother, that precious woman, died this past March. My birthmother knows that. She extended sympathy. I appreciate it. I am allowed to email her when I want to. I am NOT allowed to call. And I have not pushed it. I do not send her emails on my birthday trying to get her to respond to in the manner I would like. My birthday is in 8 days. Except for the day I was born, it will be my first birthday without my mother. Except for the day I was born, it will be just another birthday without my birthmother. She had her husband tell me never to call again on my birthday one year, so I get it. I don't like it. But I respect it. And you want to know something kinda sad? My birthmother is adopted too. She knows what it feels like to be adopted. Yet she has had a totally different reaction to adoption than I have. There is no way to love her into changing her mind. It doesn't work like that. This is just more proof that a lot of sucky-ness is attached to adoption. I wish it wasn't.

  42. Patty - no - I won't be changing my email address - and no plans on moving soon either!!

    Maryanne - no, I don't need more pain, anger or rejection!! Definitely leaving the door open for her - actually in her 1st letter to me - she did say "maybe" on wanting to contact me - but unfortunately, in her 2nd letter - it was a definite "no contact"!!

    Melynda - I too wish I had researched further than I did before first contact - oh, well - such is life - what's done is done!

    And Thanks Carolyn for the big hug! I definitely needed that!! I know she doesn't think of me as her Mom - she has one as she told me in her 1st letter - and I never told/asked her to be one! Just to be a "friend". And HUGS ((((Carolyn)))) to you re your mother's death. And it's a shame that your bmom doesn't want any phone calls - I really can't understand these types of women!

    Thanks all! I will NOT be wishing her any more birthday greetings - but I will be praying for her to a have "change of heart" in letting me into her life! By the way - I do follow her Facebook - and have been collected beautiful pictures of her and her new baby boy (born Dec 2009)!! I can live on that! LOL!

  43. Melynda, don't give up yet. 19 is very, very young and a lot can change in the coming years. There is no reason to think that "successful reunions are in the tiniest minorities". What you see here is just a small sample of the many people who reunite who do not post at sites like this, many of whom do go on to have decent reunions, work out their relationships, and live their lives.

    Your daughter has not told you not to contact her, and you can't be a mindreader to know how her contacts affect her unless she tells you. It is a different situation when someone tells you point blank "leave me alone" than one who just ignores and does not answer.

    I would say to keep up your semi-annual contacts until told not to, and keep them light. Make no demands, just little updates and good wishes to her. It may take years for her to respond, but that is not forever. There are no guarantees but it can't hurt to keep contact for as long as you can stand doing it and she does not tell you to stop.

    You don't know what else is going on in her life, what pressures she is under, what fears she might have. Don't assume anything, just be there. It does work for some of us eventually.

  44. @Lee,

    I think your daughter has made it clear that she does not want any contact with you. If you ignore her request you will jeopardize any slim chance of having a relationship in the future. She will consider you to be disrespectful and untrustworthy. Her feelings are quite clear by the fact that she is using a junk email address to write to you.

    I DON'T want to get your hopes up but I did find it interesting that she wrote such a long email. It showed a level of engagement I wouldn't have expected.

    Although in line with Lorraine's comment, I think you mentioned something about being ill and losing a great deal of weight. I certainly hope this is not the case now but when you believe you are coming to the end of your life I do think you have the right to contact her again. But as Lorraine said, be prepared in the event that you are rejected again.

    I am very sorry that your daughter is not interested in a relationship with you. As an adoptee I find this behavior unfathomable. Adoptees who have no interest in their first families live on a different planet than me.

  45. Melynda,

    I share in your frustration of trying to make contact and not receiving any response. I have tried to contact my birthmother about a half a dozen times and have not heard a peep. It is weird to be stuck in this purgatory between search and reunion - I'm just doing my best to accept that I achieved great success in finding her 'scooby doo style' (i.e. beating the streets in the community where I was born) and have learned a little bit more about family history. I'm slowly turning my attention toward the next great adventure which involves finding the needle in the haystack (my birthfather). I may never find him, but I am going to have fun trying.

    I would recommend that you send a certified letter in which you introduce yourself and your intentions as well as enclose some pics. At the very least, you will know that the information has arrived (what if your emails are going to the junk folder?). Once you do that, the ball is in your daughter's court.

  46. As an adoptee, I would have loved it if my first mother had found me. Everyone talks about adoptees feeling abandoned by their f-parents but actually I felt rejected more than abandoned. Having my mother find me would have gone a long way towards healing that hurt. However, I am one of those adoptees who would have welcomed contact and would have been interested in a relationship right away (that is of course assuming my n-mother was a reasonable person :)

    I think you should try some other form of contact. Email can be frustrating because you aren't sure if the person received it (or when). And like Maryanne said, keep it light.

    I sure hope search and support groups are telling people the truth that many people get rejected and that it's important to be prepared for that. The one I was in basically made it sound like almost no one gets rejected and that our missing halves are just dying to hear from us.

  47. Melynda,

    You might try another method of contacting your son like a snail mail letter, but do not send it certified, as that can cause some unforseen bad consequences, especially if he is still living at home and his parents might be angry at you contacting him. A certified letter is a red flag and usually not good news. Especially to a young guy like that. His parents will certainly want to know what it is, and chances are he will not be home when it is delivered.

    Find out as much as you can about where your son is before making any other than email contact. Does he have a Facebook or other social media page? Is he away at college, living on his own, or still living with his parents? If he is still with his parents, proceed with extreme caution. It might be worth it to wait until he moves out to send anything to the house.

    Have you sent him your contact info via email, like your phone number and home address? If not, try that. Above all respect his privacy, do not get anyone else around him involved if you can help it.

    You are in this for the long haul, being cautious now may prevent derailing your reunion before it starts.

  48. "I have always thought of you in my head as a special angel that God provided for me and my parents. You mention in your letter at the time you gave me up, “How can this be in God’s plan for me… God is all-forgiving.” I feel like one of the reasons you were put on this earth was to have me, so that my parents who desparately wanted a child, COULD have one with your help. THAT was His plan for you!"


    No.Way.In.H***. were you, I or any other natural mother walking this earth put here to make some self- entitled adopter a 'mother'. The thought that my own child just very well may believe the same hogwash makes me physically ill.

    I was put on this earth to provide my first born son to some woman who lied to and manipulated me out of him, then brainwashed him to believe that 'god' willed it all? Nothing could be farther from the truth! I should have never knew she existed and to this day wish I did not.

    The children we created, carried and gave birth to are OUR children and we were meant to be their mother's, not anyone else. It is no one's duty to provide someone else with our children, just because they can't conceive one. It is no ones duty or problem.

    I truly believe that they simply want to transfer the pain of their infertility onto us; making us pay because we could conceive and they could not. There is not one shred of doubt in my mind that is what my son's adopter has been trying to do since day one.

    The people who brainwash our children to believe this nonsense are sick, deluded, arrogant, narcissistic people who have not one ounce of compassion or empathy for those who lost, while they gained. All they cared about and will continue to care about are themselves and their selfish agendas; that of coveting the flesh and blood of some other woman.

    I am so sorry that your daughter is brainwashed in this manner. I understand where you are coming from 100%. She sounds exactly like my own son, whom I lost to a fraudulent open adoption some 21 years ago...

  49. Thank you Stephanie!! I thought that was a strange comment that came from my daughter!! Definitely brain washed by her adoptive mother... PLUS amom divorced her husband when my daughter was 15. Unfortunately, I can do nothing to change either of their minds about me wanting to 'just' a friend to my daughter - they think I want to take over as the mother - which of course I do not!
    Thanks again!

  50. Lee,

    I'm thinking that instead of sending your wacky daughter a card for her 45th birthday, you might send her a diuretic to wash out the poisoned kool-aid her adoptive mother filled her with.

  51. Wow, Jane. That is harsh. You know, it is possible for adoptees to come up with these kool-aid ideas on their own. If an adoptee was having a good a-fam experience (it happens), they could decide on their own that God must have planned it to happen this way. That does occur to people when they end up in a fortuitous situation, you know. It sounds like the kind of thing I would have thought before I met enough birthmothers/first-mothers/reluctant-relinquishers/insert-PC-term here to know that not all of them were happy about not getting to raise their own children. But that is not something that I EVER heard from my a-mom. She was so glad to have me in her life, but she had compassion for the conflict that relinquishment would have caused for a 16-year-old girl living at the tail-end of the Bible belt (it is the tip that stings) in 1969. My Mama was so supportive of my search. She went to see the judge with me (freaked him out). Told the maternity home to help me out(which they didn't do). She met every member of my birthfamily that she had opportunity to meet. When I was in a back room at the church getting ready for my wedding, she came in all excited to tell me that my biological Aunt had brought the better part of her family (kids and grandkids) to the wedding (complete surprise). When my Granddad was alive, we would stop by his house on our trips and he and my a-dad would tell each other stories and try to top each other. Of course, all these people that I'm talking about are my birthFATHER'S family, because after one meeting, my birthmother can not bring herself to see me again. She saw me graduate from college, but I didn't know until after the fact. I made arrangements for her to watch my wedding from a secluded place in the church where she would not have to interact with me or anyone else. She had a plane ticket but her mother-in-law died, so she had to deal with that. Anyway, the good that I have had with any of my birthfamily has been with full encouragement of my loving a-Mother. She didn't force Debbie to sign those relinquishment papers (they've never met) any more than she forced Debbie and David to have sex in the back of that pickup. And she never brainwashed me to think birthmothers were baby factories. She just considered herself blessed. There is so much more I could say. There is so much more that you could say. And we would probably both be right about a lot of things. But just think - adoptees can come up with hare-brained ideas without help or coercion from a-parents. It happens.

  52. I keep thinking about this post and contemplating the word "fail." First, if one party or the other denies a face-to-face meeting, is that a still reunion? If they've communicated at all, by phone or email? Is it a failure to reunite? And if things go south after a few months or many years, is that a failure? I say no, as long as the door isn't permanently shut. As in most of life, things change, people do reconsider. I don't hold much hope for a relationship with my son anymore. But I can't say for sure that we will never speak or see each other again. Adoption reunion is probably the most changeable relationships of all. I've seen it so many times. Accept, deny, change mind and reconnect. Or deny, accept, deny again. I think it's never over.

  53. My daughter and I reunited 5 years ago. First we met with our husbands for an afternoon. Then one week later she and her husband came to my home for dinner to meet my extended family. Then a week after that my husband and I went to her aparents home for dinner. I left there early because I became so overwhelmed with emotion I thought I was going insane. We exchanged a few emails after that and a couple of Christmas cards. Then neither of us initiated any kind of contact and I felt much more comfortable, although I really wished she wanted me in her life.
    A few days ago I found out my sister has been corresponding with her on birthdays and Christmases all this time!! I felt so betrayed and left out by both of them! It was just as bad as if she had had an affair with my husband!! I am so furious with my sister for doing this behind my back!
    I confronted her and for one thing she has no clue the pain I have suffered through losing my child. She said that she and my daughter felt such a "strong bond when they hugged for the first time, and she has every right to communicate with her"!
    Anyone else see this as my sister severely overstepping her bounds? Anyone else understand my feelings of betrayal and jealousy?

  54. Anonymous from August 29, I feel your pain. And I'm afraid there's no magic wand to make things better. My younger sister and my estranged daughter are 13 years apart and thick as thieves. They have a lot in common, and thrive on chaos. My husband and I (and later my sister) were invited to my daughter's wedding back in 2005and my daughter hasn't spoken to me since; I instinctively knew then that would be the last time I spoke to her.

    Meanwhile, my sister has vacationed with her niece, has bounced my two young grandsons (who I discovered through Internet searches, was never told I was a grandmother) on her knee, and is in touch with my niece regularly and apparently sees here several times a year (we live 600 miles apart from one another). My niece attended her cousin/my nephew's wedding a year ago and completely ignored me (her overall behavior was beyond the pale and honestly there was nothing to like about her); I left the event early because I had had enough emotional abuse. Suffice to say my sister and I haven't been close for the past six years. She doesn't know the meaning of the word "sister" or "loyalty," and thinks she's "helping" by keeping my daugther in the family loop. My sister is only interested in what's in it for her, whatever that may be. I had visited my sister's home (she wasn't there, I was there to visit my niece) and you can imagine how much fun it was to see a family photo taken at my nephew's wedding of my niece and nephew, his new bride, my sister and her "insignificant other," my mother, and MY DAUGHTER. I, of course, wasn't included.

    If you'd like to discuss privately, please forward your email to Jane and Lorraine and they'll put us in touch...Jane/Lorraine, you can also offer my email to Anonymous.

    Meanwhile, the best advice I can offer it so keep moving forward and surround yourself with people who love, value and respect you, and pursue your passions with a venegance :) Good luck.



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