' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: How shame keeps birth mothers from embracing reunion

Sunday, February 10, 2013

How shame keeps birth mothers from embracing reunion

What is the most shameful thing about yourself? Quick, answer the first thing that comes to mind.

Me: I got pregnant when I wasn't supposed to. Thus, I am a stupid--didn't I know about birth control? Should have, I was 22! So, I failed.

This thought ran through my head when I was reading New York magazine and came upon a discussion of shame. Shame is more crippling than guilt, I read, because while guilt focuses on an act that we can recall doing--I can't believe I did that--and pinpointed enough that we can apologize for--I will never do that again.

Shame, however, is global, all encompassing: "Those who feel it aren’t energized by it but isolated. They feel unworthy of acceptance and fellowship; they labor under the impression that their awfulness is something to hide." The piece goes on to quote a social psychologist who has studied shame since 2000, Brené Brown, a researcher at the University of Houston, calling it an "incredibly painful feeling that you're not lovable or worthy of belonging...."

Bingo! That's the reason that some birth mothers cannot deal with reunion and reject their children--even before reunion. They are unwilling to go back to that time when the shame they felt was the most intense emotion they have ever felt. They are frozen in that time and cannot get past it.

Brown says that most of us use of one three strategies to cope with that shame: We move away from it, "by secret keeping, by hiding"; or we move toward it, "by people pleasing"; or we move against it "by using shame and aggression to fight shame and aggression".

I'm thinking back now to those first years after I had to admit I was pregnant--the shame of telling my parents I was dumb enough to get pregnant--my mother who stopped talking to me for a while when I announced I was taking a job in another city after college and thus moving from home (only bad girls did that), and my father who was against my going to college because I was only going to get married and have kids anyway. Now I had proved to them that I was both a bad girl and dad was right--I was just gonna have kids anyway. So there goes the career I said I was going to have. The thought of telling them --since living in a faraway city I could avoid that at the time--was more than I could do. I was so engulfed by shame that I could not do those things which might have led me to keeping my daughter--that is, go home and tell my parents.

I'm so ashamed of my inaction now, dammit, coming up on five decades later, partly because after I finally came out of the closet with my mother (my father had died by then, making this a whole lot easier), she said that she and my father had talked about what if the unspeakable happened--I got pregnant. She said they had decided they would raise the baby. I can hardly admit that this conversation was held, and who can know if it would have actually happened, but I am so ashamed. And telling you all this makes me feel incredibly vulnerable to the brick bats that I can feel already coming at my back. So why didn't you do this, you bad person?

As for the other shame of the pregnancy, and the giving up, obviously I first hid my secret, from friends, from lovers, from employers. For a health insurance examination, for my first job after my daughter was born, I lied to the doctor when he asked if I'd ever given birth. To this day, I can remember sitting up on the examining table, after an internal, saying No. Did he know I was lying? Could he tell I had been pregnant? Did he think I had had an abortion? In 1966, abortion was somewhat shameful too--even to some girlfriends--but not nearly as bad as being so stupid as "getting caught," as the euphemism was then for getting pregnant outside of marriage. And like Jane, I was twenty-two--old enough and supposedly smart enough not to "get caught." But the world's attitude towards sex, and birth control was so very different then.

Consider this: Not until 1965 did the Supreme Court rule in Griswold v. Connecticut that it was unconstitutional for the government to prohibit married couples from using birth control. In 1967, the year after Jane and I had our babies, activist Bill Baird was arrested for distributing a contraceptive foam and a condom to a student during a lecture on birth control and abortion at Boston University. Baird's appeal of his conviction let to the United States Supreme Court case, Eisenstadt v. Baird (1972), which finally made it legal in all states to allow unmarried couples to have and use birth control, and thereby legalized birth control for all Americans. While these rulings were catching up to the fact that unmarried couples were having sex and not hiding it, they do indicate the puritanical ethos of the era that Jane and I  came of age in. How different it was back then is hard to convey to many adoptees today.

Fast Forward five, six years. After reading in The New York Times about the pain of adoptees who wanted to know and Florence Fisher, ALMA, and the burgeoning Adoption Reform Movement, I felt immensely freed up. The adopted want to know the other side of the story, they want to know who their parents are, barreled through my mind like a Mack truck. Maybe she does. And now, it wasn't just me who was so screwed up. I wasn't alone. I had told my then husband when he asked me to marry him--I told him before I responded, this he had to know about me, I felt--but I hid my sordid past (older married man at my office, me old enough to know better about birth control) from the outside world.

Yet the shame of being a "one of those women who gave up their babies," was still so great a few months after that piece that when I first went to interview Florence, as a magazine writer doing a piece for Cosmopolitan, it took me well over an hour of nervous tension, sitting in Florence's aqua living room on a steamy August day, to come clean and admit I was a natural mother myself. Florence said she had guessed I was either a mother or an adoptee by the way I acted, the questions I asked.

After that, my "coming out" as a mother proceeded by steps, and each step helped clear me of some of the shame: first I wrote a couple of magazine pieces as merely an interested journalist who found a good story; then I was asked to testify in court for adoptees in search, hoping to get their records unsealed, and I used my own name, timidly at first, then boldly the second time. But my real name. Then I knew I was going to write about this more thoroughly. I told my mother, and my two brothers, all separately so I had to go over it again and again, over a weekend. Then I came out in a magazine piece, in Town & Country, of all places in a section on children I was editing at the time I worked there (my co-workers and people at the magazine I barely knew were incredibly kind); that led to the Today show, and then another magazine piece for a magazine called New Woman, and then I wrote Birthmark. Each step of the way, the magazines and I got hundreds of letters.

Jane and I would fall in the category of using shame to fight shame. If it's not a secret who I am, or what's the worse thing I ever did, you can't shame me.

JANE HERE: "When I met someone who had lived in Alaska about the time I was pregnant, I was always nervous--did they know my secret? Would they tell others? I told no one after I moved to California, and then Oregon, about my lost child except my husband, just before we married.

"Unlike other first mothers whom I've met, particularly those raised in conservative religious homes, I never thought I did anything wrong in having sex outside marriage. After college, I was fairly open about relationships with men I dated. I was not an innocent sixteen-year-old (they were supposedly innocent back then), a Tess of the d'Urbervilles, more sinned against than sinning. I knew about sex and birth control. Admitting I had a child "out of wedlock" was admitting I was not the competent, educated professional, a wife in a solid marriage, the mother of three fine daughters, the image I wanted to project, but a woman whose life once had been out of control. I remember my high school English teacher saying Tess was a foolish girl. Foolish, that was the epithet I feared. Fear of being thought foolish would keep me in the closet for years.

"Fifteen years ago my daughter found me, and I began telling others about her, including the three daughters I raised, close friends, and my and my husband's relatives. Over time, I have come out in many ways, including being photographed in 1998 for a full-page newspaper advertisement for Measure 58, a ballot initiative that would unseal Oregon's birth records. That actually wasn't as hard as telling my raised daughters and other relatives because I didn't have to actually face people. I've written letters to the editor, as well as numerous book reviews and articles on adoption-reform and law publications, and spoken in the media about the experience of being a first mother. Currently, I'm serving on a work group preparing adoption-reform legislation in Oregon. It's no secret what my connection and expertise is."

After reading the incredibly poignant comments from adoptees who say they did nothing like fellow blogger Jane wrote about in her recent post, Why first mothers walk away from their children after reunion, but whose first mothers still retreated, and thinking about a woman who wrote me last week because she is freaked out by the prospect of celebrating the birthday of her newly reunited son (he found her) with him, at his request, and her husband supports this reunion, but she is still thinking of walking away--I thought about shame. I thought about all those mothers who cannot deal with reunion, who reject adoptees, who simply can not wade into the awful swamp of feelings that reunion causes to re-emerge.

They are the women who refuse reunion; or who walk away. My Confidential Intermediary friend in the Midwest sweats bullets every time she has to call either an adoptee or birth parent because she fears the individual will reject reunion. If that happens, she says she goes over and over in her mind what she might have said differently, how she might have brought them along. When she realizes that the birth parents have married each other, the likelihood of a rejection is higher. Now the couple feed on each other's shame--the man because he is reminded of the shame of feeling weak and vulnerable (and what is worse for a man) and the woman because she is reminded of the shame of being less than good, less than perfect, a slut. Put those two giant stumbling blocks of shame together, and you end up with a couple unable to move. They are so engulfed in their shame that they cannot feel their child's pain, or think about what why their child is desperate enough to track them down, even with the knowledge that she might be rejected. 

Everyone's story of shame is different, but the sense of shame, the awful feeling of what we want to hide about ourselves in the same. Both Jane and I today, despite how open we are about our children lost to adoption, and our reunions (consider First Mother Forum!), neither of us are at ease when talking about adoption, and our lives, outside of adoption circles. Both of us do it only because we believe it is necessary if we are to champion reform in adoption. I avoid it at most social events, and will say, when I encounter someone who wants to explore this subject with a magnifying glass--and will probably have some  "happy" adoption story to tell me--that I don't talk about adoption at social events. Or I will just come out and say, "Can we change the subject?" That almost always works.

For everyone, the steps moving away from shame and into the sunlight will be different, but they are all hard. Those of us who have embraced reunion have found a way, often stumbling, through the mounds of shame that we feel when this comes up. Certainly the shame is greater for us old birds who gave up decades ago; those involved with promises of "open" adoption may feel the shame less strongly. The way adoption is treated today, wrapped up in pink and blue ribbons with "love" written on them, with role models such as Catelynn and Tyler, may convince some young and needy teens, they are "proud" to be a birth mother. I suspect they are from conservative religious backgrounds and are buy into the idea that God had this plan for them. I've seen such comments on Facebook, and one recently told me she was a "happy" birth mother after I wrote, "Show me a "happy" birth mother and I'll show you a delusional woman." But for many, if not most, of the mothers today whose children are looking for us, the shame factor still looms large. It is the unspoken elephant in the room.

In the past, I've explored the subject of birth mothers who reject reunion, but I couldn't figure out their motives. But reading these few paragraphs in a piece about shame in a story about how high school shapes us made it heart-breakingly crystal clear. I don't have the answers as to how to reach these women, still imprisoned by shame, for they are not trolling the Internet looking for answers. Yet we can hope that talking about this subject is a start. Secrets only hurt us as long as they are secrets.--lorraine
Why You Truly Never Leave High School

From FMF
Why first mothers walk away from their children after reunion
When birth/natural mother-adoptee reunions go awry, Part 2
Why did my mother keep me a secret?
After the Birthmother/Adoptee Reunion: Navigating the Turbulent Waters

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

Researcher and thought leader Dr. Brené Brown offers a powerful new vision that encourages us to dare greatly: to embrace vulnerability and imperfection, to live wholeheartedly, and to courageously engage in our lives. There are over a hundred five-star reviews at Amazon, so she must be saying something right. Personally, I can't wait to get this book, her latest.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; . . . who at best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”
—Theodore Roosevelt

Every day we experience the uncertainty, risks, and emotional exposure that define what it means to be vulnerable, or to dare greatly. Whether the arena is a new relationship, an important meeting, our creative process, or a difficult family conversation, we must find the courage to walk into vulnerability and engage with our whole hearts.

Tess of the d?Urbervilles: A Pure Woman  The whole title. Jane says the 1981 Roman Polanski movie of the Thomas Hardy movie is being re-released in art houses.


  1. The saddest thing is one feeling could of outdone shame. Ostracized it. Outcast it. Destroyed it. A feeling all of the Christians. including clergy SHOULD of had in their hearts to counteract hypocrisy.
    Adoptees were made to feel shame to.
    Shame for being born, shame for wanting to know who our families are.
    And as long as closed adoption exists, so will those Anti-Christian feelings.
    Forgiveness however HAS to start within all of us to ourselves, because we all deserve that peace.

  2. I believe her shame played a major role in our reunion failing. I keep asking myself- what could I have done to convince her that she was important and worthy and I wanted her in my life?

  3. I believe it is far deeper.

    Adoptee Clayton Shaw describes what adoptees experience as Stockholm Syndrome. Their feelings of indebtedness and gratitude; fear of biting the hand that rescued and literally fed them is what keeps them from marching in the streets en masse for their rights as gays do, and has them search in secret or not at all, at least while aps are still alive...

    How are we to embrace a reunion that is often a SECRET and thus tells us are WE are still something to be ashamed of??? Mothers told not to allow their grandchildren to address them as grandma lest the aps will find out and feel hurt. After all, THEIR feelings are far more important than ours! And of course we must comply and acquiesce to this lesser-than position...

    For us there is no syndrome to compare it to but it is *far more than shame.* It is the total deconstruction and annihilation of our self-esteem as women and mothers and even as human beings. The brainwashing that we endured to get us to the point of believing that we were unfit to care for our own loved children is incomprehensible to anyone who has not endured it and far worse than the shame of disappointing our parents IMO.

    This is not something that happened to us in the past. I continue to this day to be subjected to reading demeaning comments on my blog and elsewhere about mothers and fathers who weren't strong enough to just say no. "I kept My baby and I was only 17!" and “No one had a gun to your head.” And the fierce public hatred toward those who dare to contest an adoption! We remain societal pariah! The shame is ever present, not just a remembered as a past event.

    Australia is recognizing what was done to a generation of women and publically apologizing...something we will never get here. We still must endure ongoing ridicule and shame…verbal tar and featherings.

    How can we enter into a reunification feeling so totally and utterly UNWORTHY and undeserving? No wonder so many reunions fall apart with self-sabotage from either or both of the wounded parties.

    1. Well said, Mirah. In the words of my adoptive father "most people who adopt are self centered." My biological family (maternal side, not paternal) gulps down the Kool Aid of the adoption industry. My adoptive family despises the industry now and has strongly advocated for OBCs and more.

  4. I am the personification of my mother’s shame. I wish I could magically take it away from her. But, since I am the living, breathing representation of her shame, I cannot break through her walls. The product of the “shameful” act has no clout. In her mind, off course, I am going to say it’s okay, right? Otherwise, I wouldn’t exist. (It’s kind of like lung cancer saying, “Hey, it’s okay to smoke.”)

    I wish things could be different. I cannot imagine the energy she has expended attempting to uphold an image of herself. The shame shows that she sees a discrepancy between who she is and who she presents to the world. In her mind, if people knew what she did, they would not like her, or they would respect her less.

    What a heavy burden to live with all these years! My greatest wish, even more than being allowed to get to know her, is that she find her way out of her self-imposed prison.

    1. Like we're born from the same woman.
      Here's my answer. Oh well. I stopped feeling sorry for her when I realise she has zero remorse for how I am treated.

  5. I'm not ashamed -never have been- but my son, his parents, and his parent's friends have tried very hard to instill shame in me since I found him over three years ago. It may still work on him; dunno. I have to admit that their friends got tome for a bit with the public snubbing and "how dare you come back into his life after you dumped him!" (HA! nice to know the specific lies), but it didn't last long. What the amom has resorted to is posting cute little statuses like "I'm the best mother in the whole universe and no other mother in the universe loves my child more!!!!!" Okay, I concede, my son doesn't need me and never has, but their ostracism of me and insistence upon lies to make me "other than" DOES NOT MAKE THE CRIMES GO AWAY. That's on them, not me. If that makes my son happy, so be it. I cannot 'fix' that. Perhaps if -WHEN- my son realizes he is an adult then the imposed shame will go away, but never the crimes.

    1. Yep, not surprised. My adoptive dad told me a year ago most people who adopt are self centered.

  6. I have a deeper shame than getting pg and surrendering. Actually I was never ashamed of getting pg...honestly. My shame in giving birth outside of wedlock, came afterwards...with the 'surrender'. I often asked myself, years ago.....what mother does that? What kind of person are you? I had just turned 18 yrs old, when I signed the surrender paper. But like I said firstly, the first thought when it comes to the word 'shame', is not with my pregnancy nor surrender. I held a shame as a child, that an adult should have carried. When I hear the word 'shame'...my first thought is of my step-father sexually abusing me. And I'm now 66 yrs old!! I've made peace with myself about that 'shame' (pretty much so), but still it is what would be the crime against me as a child that would 'shape'/affect me for many more years to come, straight into adulthood, long after losing my newborn to adoption.

  7. @Maru67

    "What the amom has resorted to is posting cute little statuses like "I'm the best mother in the whole universe and no other mother in the universe loves my child more!!!!!"

    My good god some people have clearly been driven to the brink of insanity due to insecurity and possessiveness. Astounding.

  8. For me the pregnancy was never shameful either. It was the relinquishing.

  9. Jane wrote:" I never thought I did anything wrong in having sex outside marriage or giving up my daughter".

    What you wrote in the rest of this paragraph contradicts thinking that you didn't do anything wrong by giving up your daughter. I'm confused.

  10. It took me a long time to understand my nmother's guilt. Shortly after reunion I was trying to explain to my amother how guilt was still plagued my nmother. Unbeknownst to me, my amother wrote my nmother a card and told her to never be ashamed again. I did not learn of it until my amother died 4 years ago.

  11. For me, shame is what caused me to have to relinquish my daughter...bottom line. My parents were SO ASHAMED of me that I wasn't allowed to tell anyone, other thsn my Mother's mother. I was, of course, made to move out of my house and into a foster family provided by the adoption agency, pulled out of my school and enrolled in "pregnancy school," and had to wear a big coat when "sneaking" into my parent's house to visit. Didn't want the neighbors finding out! When I voiced my hurt over feeling so ashamed of, my lovely social worker said "Well, do you really blame them for not wanting to hang out on the fence post the fact that their teen-age daughter is unmarried and pregnant?" It has colored every segment of my life...knowing I had done something SO BAD that I deserve a lifetime of punishment. The other shame comes from finding out that the way my parental rights were able to be terminated was through "abandonment." I signed a paper stating I left my baby with no intent to return. What kind of monster does that?? I did it...under duress or coercion or whatever...I still did it. It makes me sick. This was 1985.

    1. Hello Amy...I'm replying to your post as "Anonymous" and I hope Lorraine posts it (although I'm replying almost three years after you wrote). I go by "Anonymous" because I am terrified that if I choose another option, some identifying information will pop up. So intense was the shaming heaped on me that I am absolutely TERRIFIED to be exposed to it again.

      Your experience echoes mine. My pregnancy occurred in 1983. The additional pain now is that I am afraid people think I am lying, because most of America was much more progressive than my judgmental, unforgiving parents.

      I was hidden in my parents' bedroom when relatives came to visit and told not to flush the toilet in the master bath lest they hear and know that I was in the house. You see, the lie was that I was at university when really I was hiding out in their home. Had to wear my mom's wedding ring when I went to the Ob/Gyn, since she was so damn embarrassed of me. I was sent to an unwed mothers' home run by Catholic Charities for the final four weeks, because my folks were afraid I'd go into labor in their home and maybe a relative or neighbor would be there. Even though I was already 20, I and the other women in the home -- some younger and some older -- were not allowed to leave the premises without a chaperone. Maybe they were afraid we would meet our boyfriends and run away with them and they would lose their "commodities." I remember one day when the social worker took us out for a walk and some ice cream. We were taken on a "field trip" and were treated like immature babies.

      In the hospital, you would have thought somebody died. I received no pat on the back or on the hand from my parents with a "Honey, this was rough, and we are so proud of what you've accomplished." Nope, nothing. Not a word was spoken about it. Oh, except that my mother had some 24-hour lapse in judgmental judgment, and while I was in the hospital, she went baby clothes shopping, came back and held my son and smiled and cooed and showed off these clothes she bought. I cried and my dad told her to put the clothes away. Nobody, however, offered to help me keep my son. Now when I look back, I see how cruel that was, what my mother did. She never invited me to buy baby clothes; they never let me feel any joy about it. I had to put up a wall to protect myself, and here my mom was allowed to feel the joy, even if for only one day. Funny thing is: when I cried, she didn't come over to comfort me. How can you love your grandchild, but hate his mother? When I left the hospital on day 3, my son was never mentioned again, (at least not until years later when I grew up and expressed my anger at my parents for how they treated me). My dad was happy as a lark the day I lost my son, chirping "time heals all wounds" and that was supposed to be the cure all. He was so happy to be rid of "the problem."

      Now in reunion, I wonder if my son believes me or if he thinks I'm exaggerating. He's met my parents and thinks they're great. (I think he thinks they are great for not disowning me.) Why would they? I did exactly what they wanted me to do. And to disown me would be to let the secret out, heaven forbid.

      I kept my secret for 30+ years, shared it finally with relatives, who didn't bat an eye. Now my mother claims she offered to help me keep my son! She is in denial because she is ashamed of how she treated me. My parents are freaked out that now the ugliness has come out into the light, because for them all that matters is what the neighbors and relatives think of them. About 10 years after my son was born, I wanted to talk about it with family, and my dad told me to not tell his mother, because "she will have a heart attack." Can you believe it? Even in his 60's, he was still mommy's little boy, worried about getting her approval.

    2. If it makes you feel better the day your parents and that social worker pass away they'll be getting a way one ticket to hell. The torment you have in this living world is awesome in comparison to the torment they will have eternally in hell.

  12. Robin,

    Thanks for catching that. I don't know how that phrase "I didn't think I did anything wrong in giving up my daughter" got into the piece. Something got messed up in editing. I'm taking it out.

    I have always thought I did something wrong in giving up my daughter. In fact, in my mind, I likened it to having killed someone.

    My daughter often said to me "You made the right decision." I always responded with "No, I didn't."

  13. I want my birth first mother in my life. Not a thing I write nor phone calls get response. She says love mom in past letters and just drops me again. It's aweful.

  14. My CI found my first mom in August 2012. I wrote my first mother immediately....never heard anything....I recently sent her a thinking of you card. I hope she responds. I feel she must be ashamed and this makes me so very sad. My birthday is on 3/1...I'll be 47, it's been so long the greatest gift would be a letter from her.

  15. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/books/article-2270662/No-sense-shame-FAMILY-SECRETS-LIVING-WITH-SHAME-FROM-THE-VICTORIANS-TO-THE-PRESENT-DAY-BY-DEBORAH-COHEN.html
    "So which is worse? The shame that once drove people mad, or the lack of it that results in people behaving as though there were no boundaries at all between the public and private self?
    Cohen is a historian, not a polemicist, so she refrains from moral judgment, but she does note one rather endearing side effect of the current fashion for discovering family secrets: the passion for amateur genealogy that keeps so many people harmlessly occupied in tracing their ancestors and - in its telly incarnation of Who Do You Think You Are? - once brought a tear to the flinty eye of Jeremy Paxman, a chap whose personal boundaries you might have thought utterly impregnable."

    "Paxman was the subject in January 2006 of an episode of the BBC genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are?. . . .
    The programme generated much publicity prior to its transmission by displaying the usually pitiless Paxman teary-eyed on camera when informed that his impoverished great-grandmother Mary Mackay's poor relief had been revoked because she'd had a child out of wedlock."

  16. In Victorian times an unmarried woman who became pregnant was forced to leave home in disgrace and move to an area where she was not known, scorned by family and friends.

    This is from the above link. Victorian Times? How about the swinging sixties in America?

  17. Oh its not just aparents who get crazy with possessiveness and insecurities - there is plenty of that land of insanity with nparents too.

    After reunion with my nmom went south at her own hand, she resorted to name calling, reminders that she could have just as easily aborted me and shouldn't I be thankful????....

    I want to understand shame as her motives but frankly in the end I'm left to wonder this....if she still can't make peace and act suitably after all these years, after I have readily welcomed her back into my life, then would she really have been able to raise me all those years ago? Been strong enough? Mabye if shame had been taken out of the equation but the blog authors indicate even keeping and parenting a child in the climate of societal frowning is shame inducing....

    It has actually helped me to recognize that the answer to that is probably "no". She was not ready then and it seems she isn't now. I want to be patient but a part of me grows weary of the drama and the mean of it all.

    Understanding nparent shame is helpful but not a free pass to hurt someone again whose only crime was to be born.



    1. I'm sorry you experienced this. It makes me sad as a father to see you both go through this. I lost my daughter and it hurts period. I wish you some sense of peace, but I know that is like blowing air in the wind.

  18. As a Birth Mom, I can empathize with Maru67 and how the adoptive mom is acting. Have the same type situation, although without the public postings. I know part of the A-Mom's "problem" is that they feel threatened by the B-Mom coming "back into the picture" and feel "that we, the B-Mom is trying to be the only Mom" and I can understand that, but the A-Mom and Dad need to remember that they wouldn't have that child without us so it really is a package deal!!

    I truly don't think I've ever felt shame or ashamed of my choice to place my child for adoption. I have felt regret that I wasn't able to parent myself but I felt then and still do now that I made the right choice for my child and I refuse to let anyone tell me or make me feel that I should be ashamed of making the best choice for my child.

  19. I am more than my tears and more than my pain

    I am more than my fears and more than my shame

    I am more than this body that keeps growing old

    I am pure and I am hope

    I am love I am SOUL

    Kim Yarson, "I am Soul"

  20. Yes, Alexa we know, Nmothers are the craziest and most responsible for everything, right?

    At least I don't and will never think some god willed some strange woman to become pregnant just for MEEEEEEEE. Sounds pretty nutso to me.

    No, name calling your child is not right; just as judging, dehumanizing and degrading a natural mother is not right. She get's that from her own child and his/ her adopters and their families and their friends... the list goes on and on.

  21. Mom 422,

    It never ceases to amaze me how very much like both groups of mothers can be. Nmoms consider amoms to be self centered and entitled and the list goes on.....but when an adult adoptee points out the same behaviors in nparents adn shares their experiences its labeled as dehumanizing and fingers are pointed suggesting we blame them for all ills of society.

    Please, reconsider what I wrote or don't...but don't you dare imply that my experiences and feelings such as they are less than rational and in need of patronizing from others.

    SHE stopped the contact, SHE called the names, SHE has been verbally abusize.....I have been left to imagine her rationals and attempt to move forward yet again.

    If describing her brand of crazy strikes a little too close to home for you??? well...that's your baggage to work through not my own.

    I will NOT make my nmom out to a hero when I clearly know otherwise. I responded in kindness and welcoming when she reached out to me; I will not be subject to her brand of punching bag, regardless of whether she is motivated by shame or otherwise.

    Finger pointing only takes you so far Mom 422; so what if some amoms are crazy ~ does that excuse my own nmom's behaviors?

    I think not.


  22. On this side of the pond, we do not know who Paxman is, so I Wikipediad (new word) him:

    Jeremy Dickson Paxman (born 11 May 1950) is an English journalist, author and broadcaster. He has worked for the BBC since 1977, and is known for his forthright and abrasive interviewing style, particularly when interrogating politicians. His regular appearances on the BBC2's Newsnight programme have been criticised as aggressive, intimidating and condescending, and also applauded as tough and incisive.

    So...the mighty can be brought down when their past is revealed to be full of sorrow. Now we need to do this to some of our dear legislators.

  23. Sarah asked "How about the swinging sixties in America?"

    Sho nuff, Sarah. The "swinging sixties" left millions of unmarried mothers twisting in the wind. However, it occurs to me that my own mother, who sent me off to an M&B home at the beginning of the 60s, was daughter to a mother born in 1877, the late Victorian period. My grandmother lived with us until her death when I was ten, and it was her Victorian attitudes that formed my mother's mindset. I see it now as almost like having being caught in a generational time-warp.

  24. Reading over the comments from the adoptees, that while I think the shame issue is huge for a lot of birth parents, there is a second part--they are afraid of admitting they were not strong enough to cope with a baby, just as Alexa said.

    Alexa: She was not ready then and it seems she isn't now.

    And there are mothers who don't seem to have that motherly feeling. Their focus on themselves prevents them from thinking how much their child needs reassurances from them.

    People "accuse" Jane and I of being anti-adoption"? My question to them is: why in the hell not? Given all the heartache that spills across FMF and others like it, what sane person would be "for adoption" except in extreme cases of parental abuse, addiction, mental illness, death of both parents?

    The unequal division of resources that perpetuates many, if not most, adoptions. I would have to say that evangelical-style religions (and that includes Mormonism) also encourage it. God's will. A child "deserves" a mother and a father bringing them up in the straight moral path, etc.

    God spare us.

  25. I'll take "selection-bias" for $1000 dollars, Alex.

    You don't have a good handle on

    a) how many adoptions don't end in some sort of horrible emotional/physical trauma


    b) how many children who weren't adopted were severely traumatized by their "natural" families.

    Before you're allowed to talk intelligently about this, you must look at the full data set.

    Yes, small studies have been conducted, but none of them have a large enough sample size to make the date conclusive.

    This website is a magnet for unhappy people, so of course the stories are going to be sad and horrible. That doesn't mean that the vast majority of adoptions have some sort of dark secret. In fact, we have great proof that they don't.

    We know roughly how many adoptions happen in a given year, and if a vast majority of them are terrible...where are those people? Where are the hundreds of thousands "natural" mothers, fathers, and adoptees complaining about their horrible treatment and abuse?

    Ohhhh, right, they are still in the "cloud". They are denying their "actual feelings". What's more realistic? Hundreds of thousands of people are going around in blissful denial or just some of you had the short end of the stick. Isn't it possible that there is no grand conspiracy? Isn't is possible that you are really dedicating your life to eradicating an institution which has saved millions of children?

  26. Sci-Guy

    Could we see those studies about well-adjusted, blissful first mothers?

    I propose you consider offering your daughter to that group.

  27. Alexa:

    I never once said you had to make anyone out to be a hero. You can see your situation exactly as you choose, as we all do.

    I do think natural mothers get dehumanized and kicked down, but that is not saying they don't have their own issues. Sure they do. Take any other issues toppled with losing a child to adoption and yeah, you are bound to have a woman not always so "mentally stable" at all times. I do not personally know your natural mother so I am not speaking for her, nor am I excusing any behavior of anyone. There are two sided to every story.

    I don't condone abusive behavior from ANYONE in the "triad" and it quite clear we have all been abused emotionally and verbally by the people we hoped to reconnect with. We all have our different stories. Unfortunately, many are so damaged that their is no rationality to their behavior. Again, not making excuses for anyone. This is just my opinion.

    Why would describing her brand of
    "crazy" strike close to home for me? I have personal experience with an adopter who I know to be delusional. That is MY story and you have yours. Nothing you say will affect me on a personal level, I am certain.

    Yes, finger pointing does get one so far. I, for one, am not finger pointing. I do think that it is accepted and even encouraged by society to degrade and dehumanize natural mothers. How dare anyone say anything to any OTHER member of the triad about their own behavior; though. The double standard is alive and well in adoption land.

    Believe me, no natural mothers bad behavior is being excused by anyone, especially by society as a whole.

  28. I have to pick out a tiny part of what was said...and Ive seen this attitude on the blog before...the statment that women who are in open adoptions today that are suddenly closed "might" have less shame...

    How do you measure shame...or pain...I have seen you do this before on this blog and as a first mom from the mid 80's who had an extremely open adoption you cannot tell me my shame or pain is less than yours...because of society, that I had an open adoption..whatever. No one person has had it worse than the other. We all lost our babies.

  29. Sarah,
    I believe you didn't quite understand what I'm saying. I'm saying that the proof that there isn't thousands upon thousands of natural parents and adoptees who are torn apart by adoption: is that they aren't standing up and complaining. Look at the media in America today. If there's a hunger protest in a jail, a cheating ring at a college, or a break-in at a gas station, we hear about it. So, where are the vast numbers of people who feel that adoption is evil? As far as I can tell, the "adoption is evil" campaign is limited to a relative handful of people who had a bad experience.

    And, yes, should my 13 year old daughter get pregnant tomorrow, I would HIGHLY recommend she give her child up for adoption. Fundamentally, blood matters less than quality parenting.

  30. "Isn't is possible that you are really dedicating your life to eradicating an institution which has saved millions of children?"

    No, that isn't possible, if you use standard meanings for "eradicating", "institution", "saved", "millions", "children" and "life".

  31. SciGuy, i agree with you about selection bias, and that adoption can be a blessing for many children, although I also agree with Lorraine that it needs to be reconsidered as a last resort rather than a an easy uncomplicated solution..

    But I tell you frankly, if MY thirteen year old daughter got pregnant tomorrow, I would HIGHLY recommend that she had an abortion.

  32. SciGuy:

    I believe we do quite understand what you are saying and I also believe I find it very, um, interesting that so many folks like yourself lurk on this forum when we are all nothing but "unhappy" people crying about our bad experiences; when everyone else's is so full rainbows and sunshine happy dappy! I think you just may be threatened about the very real truths we speak. Care to share why?

    Oh, yes we are complaining. Our voices are being heard. That is what brings you here, correct, because you don't like it.

    Moreover, I would hope that should your daughter be sexually active you would allow her birth control to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. Don't tell me you are against birth control, too? You mean to tell me that you would allow your daughter a lifetime of ambiguous grief, possibly destroying her life because you thought it best for your own flesh and blood grandchild to be raised with strangers? "Quality parenting" is something I HIGHLY believe you are lacking in. I feel sorry for your daughter.

    All one has to do is read the following quote to see what a sick society we live in. Enjoy it while it lasts, SciGuy, because I HIGHLY believe domestic infant adoption, as it is practiced today will be very different in the future, thanks to the voices of the oppressed being heard. Fundamentally, blood DOES matter and it always will. It most certainly does for you and most everyone else. Why does not matter only if you are not a traditional married wifey with a nice house and lots of material possessions? Because after all, THAT is what "quality parenting" is, right? Wrong. Nice try, though.

    "And, yes, should my 13 year old daughter get pregnant tomorrow, I would HIGHLY recommend she give her child up for adoption. Fundamentally, blood matters less than quality parenting."

    WOW. Just wow.

  33. @SciGuy

    Your entire comment is really just a fancy way of saying, "just because YOU had a bad experience doesn't mean adoption is bad."

    Since we are talking about human beings, it is not necessary for the "vast majority" of adoption stories to be tales of horror. If just half of the stories I have read are true, that is more than enough to come to the conclusion that adoption in this country needs to change.

    Adoption stories do not need to be horror stories for them to be valid. Many adoptees have wonderful adoptive parents and have had a great childhood and yet, many adoptees are fighting for change. The same is true of many first mothers.

    As far as "saving millions of children" what exactly have they been saved from? Are you suggesting that most first mothers would go on to abuse their children if they were to raise them instead of giving them up?

    I ask you, what exactly is it that you see so right in the current adoption system? Is your argument that the majority of adoptions are full of happiness and sunshine so those who experience the opposite are outnumbered and therefore do not count?

    Why is the idea of making adoption less corrupt and more ethical so abhorrent to you?

    And a final question, how are you related to adoption? I like to know who I'm speaking to as it relates to adoption.

  34. Daughter Left Behind:

    Good point. I guess I am trying to compare at least knowing my daughter was alive to the state of "not knowing." After I found her, of course, at 15, ours was an "open" adoption, and much more open than most that I hear about, as my daughter started spending most of the summer until she was on her own with me and my husband, and then, she did come here for a while. So, from my point of view, despite whatever problems there were, that was easier than before when I had no idea where she was.

    But yes, you are right, we all lost our children. And the promise of openness is being used as a club to encourage women who would not otherwise give up their children to do so. Yet we know, that a great many of those adoptions end up closed tighter than a drum and the first mother now only does not have her children, but has to accept that she was duped, and what she lost is her baby. One figure we have heard is that in a couple of years, 80 percent of open adoptions "close." Some of the women come here, and there is a Facebook page devoted to them.

    Bur I say "might."

  35. Sci Guy: Recommend to your daughter, or in your case "force" her to give up her baby, and you will have destroyed a part of her, as well as a part of your family.

    Of course, however, let me guess--Is she is adopted? So if she gives up a child, she can then join the group of adoptees whose adoptive parents think it's all so cool to give up a baby, because adoption works, right? Sadly, there are more of these cases than the world knows, but delve into adoption, and you will find plenty of them. It's a sick sick practice, encouraged by adopters because the grand child is not really "theirs" by blood and so they feel no connection to him.

    1. Omg that is such a sad hateful statement. do u really think adoptive parents cant love their adoptive children as their own? If love only exsisted w biology then who would we marry? What is the world comin to? My heart aches at ur statement. do u think people who adopt r monsters w bad intensions?

    2. She might not but I am not comfortable with adoption being done like a supermarket option. open to get a child then close it. Speaks volumes to me. besides My daughters a-mother pushed her to give my grandson up to adoption like it was a grand thing. I can tell you it is not. I want nothing more than my family whole, adoption took that from me permanently.

  36. SciGuy: It is sad to hear that you would abandon your 13 year old as well as her child. One would have to wonder about your parenting techniques. A baby removed from their mother ALWAYS suffers a trauma. A mother ALWAYS suffers a trauma. Some hide it better than others but there will be lifelong grief. Just because you seem to have found some 'happy' adoptees doesn't mean the risk is worth it. Its like saying grandma drank when pregnant with uncle billy and he turned out ok so what's the problem with drinking? Just because 'some' children were born with FAS and a host of issues doesn't mean 'everyone' will. It is a distorded view of the data set, isn't it?

  37. SciGuy,

    Is everyone involved in adoption permanently marred by it? Of course not.

    Is everyone who is okay with adoption just drinking the Kool-Aid? Again, no.

    But, we may never know how broadly this affects adoptees and biological parents (and families) because the mothers were told it was a good decision and were shamed into silence. And, while adoptees know intellectually that we were not abandoned, there is often still a residual emotional scar that quietly whispers to us that we were not good enough;our biological parents didn't want us, and we need to be loyal to our adoptive parents.

    Many people don't want to venture into the unknown. They will move on as best they can, like they were instructed to do.

    I'm an adoptee. It does not define me, but it is a part of who I am. Within the past year, I obtained my original birth certificate and contacted my mother. SciGuy, you have no idea how much the women on this site have helped me to navigate through my experience with my mother. I needed to hear their experiences in order to better understand my mother's reaction.

    "We know roughly how many adoptions happen in a given year, and if a vast majority of them are terrible...where are those people? Where are the hundreds of thousands "natural" mothers, fathers, and adoptees complaining about their horrible treatment and abuse?"

    I don't think the vast majority of individuals on this site believe that adoptees have been treated horribly or were abused by their adoptive parents. I don't know how you made that jump.... I wasn't abused by my adoptive family. But, I still felt the pull to know my people, my heritage.

    And, yes, quality parenting is crucial, but let's not discount blood. Until recently, I knew virtually nothing about the people who brought me onto this Earth. Typically, the people who are glib about the importance of blood ties actually have knowledge of their blood ties.

  38. Lorraine-
    Thank you for the clarification. I agree having an open adoption close is a double whammy, I know a few young women this has happened to and it is heart wrenching.Pain is not measurable.

    Love your blog!!

  39. oy, lorraine, i thought i had edited that out. i tried to edit that comment at least twice, and yet it posted twice. let me try again:

    No selection bias on your part, SciGuy. Nope, none. Nope. Nor confirmation bias. Nope. Nor bias blind spot. Nor illusion of control. Blah blah blah blah blah.

    Just for the record, the entire data set isn't available, as you know. The records are closed. Small problem there. And you acknowledge that. Small data set, so there are problems. AND YET YOU DEMAND THAT WE HAVE A COMPLETE DATA SET BEFORE WE SAY ANYTHING. Small problem with your demand, isn't there?

    You just want us to shut up and go away. That's your demand.

    About your daughter. What exactly is your connection to adoption? Because you know, most "sciguys" spend their time doing "sci" and earning "money" instead of trolling chick blogs. Cos, you know, 13 year old daughters are "expensive."

    So, what's your connection to adoption? It has to be there, because the world doesn't give a flaming fig about adoption. No one but us spends any time on it, much less a blog like this.

    Do you think your experience with adoption, whatever it is, doesn't predispose you to a teensy tiny bit of confirmation bias?

    Sure it does.

    Having raised four to adulthood, my opinion is that forcing a pregnant woman to give up a child is NOT quality parenting. It's abandonment...punitive abandonment. Here's hoping that such a tragedy will never happen in your family.

    I personally have only contempt for grandparents who choose that course of action. That's not unconditional love, or family values. That's just taking out your anger and disappointment on your kid.

  40. Kidnap, If I could click on a "like" after your comment, I would, so count this as one!

  41. As an adoptive father, I suppose my perspective is about as opposite from birth/first mother as you can get. I stumbled onto this blog looking for insight to help my two young daughters (ages 4 & 2) understand their adoptions and, I hope, minimize the inevitable trauma/anger/sadness they’ll experience.

    I’m most interested in adult adoptees’ perspective, because I’m most concerned about my daughters’ feelings and well being. So admittedly, maybe a First Mother’s blog is not the best place for that, but I thought it would be useful reading the perspective of birth mothers as well. Unfortunately, in the few months I’ve been reading this blog, I’ve encountered too much nastiness to be able to gain much insight. And no, not just from First Mothers (this means you SciGuy). Obviously adoption is an emotional issue for all involved and although I can understand the anger many have, I can’t get past the nastiness.

    I wish you all well and sincerely hope your pain and suffering goes away or at least abates with time. Lorraine I know you say “Adoption is the pain the goes on giving,” but I guess I’m by my nature a hopeful person. So again, I wish you all the best.

    Hawkeye Dad

  42. Hawkeye, I appreciate that you came here to learn, and by that standard alone, you are likely to have more insight into your daughter's feelings, than many if not most adoptive parents, if only from reading the adoptee comments left at FMF.

    For first mothers, however--though we make new lives that are much more than a vale of tears--the scar of adoption remains just that: a horrible, disfiguring scar on our consciousness that is permanent.

  43. "For first mothers, however--though we make new lives that are much more than a vale of tears--the scar of adoption remains just that: a horrible, disfiguring scar on our consciousness that is permanent." So, is it possible for us (adopted persons help to ease their pain or is it something that has to be done from within?
    And in the place my mother is, how does that shame override making the family's health history available to me and my family? The lack of health history does not just affect me but also my children and so on. Even if she is never able to open herself up to the love me and my family would like to share, I hope she finds peace and find in her heart to at least share the health information if she can share herself.

  44. Sci Guy is thought to be a man who has a closed Facebook page, and who regularly trolls blogs that do not buy into the happy-version-for-all of adoption. If that picture of him is our guy, his daughter is a toddler, or not quite. Adoptive father, just as I thought.

  45. Let me clear a few things up.

    Neither I, nor my daughter, are adopted. I make a very good living, at the moment, I'm on a research sabbatical from my job (for those of you skeptical as to why I am on a "chick blog"). My daughter (and her two brothers) are happy, smart, amazing young adults. And, while you won't believe me on that, I know it and that's good enough for me. My wife and I both believe that if you're old enough to be having sex, you're old enough to pay the consequences of those actions. Should my daughter become sexually active, she will have access to birth control and very good health care. But, we've made it clear that having sex is an adult decision with very real possible, adult outcomes (STIs, pregnancy, heart break, emotional pain). And for the sake of my daughter's future, I would want her to allow her child to be raised in a two-parent home, and allow my daughter to finish her education. Frankly, if you're not having a similar conversation with your teens, you should be ashamed.

    So, I'm not here for myself or my daughter. I'm here for my brother, John. He's adopted. His "natural" mom has been playing some very f-ed up mind games with him. He and I have been trying to figure out the reasons for it. That's what brought me here.

    And Lorraine, fine, let me use my name since you seem to be confusing me with someone else. I chose SciGuy because it's a nickname from my baseball team.

  46. Since you are using your first name, how about being brave enough to use your last? As I do.

  47. If your daughter does get pregnant at whatever age and cannot raise that child, I hope you will talk to her about the abortion option. Please take a look at our permanent page, Response to the Adoption Option.

    Your daughter might finish her education, but if she is a normal person and gets a blast of the love hormone when the child is born, she will be forever f--ked up. Sorry, that's just the way it is.

  48. Peter, your comment makes me very sad. I have had the same conversation about sex with my 15 year old daughter. However, with a very different end. You see, I am a single mom (horrors). Surprisingly, my daughter is a happy, well-adjusted young adult. Even more horrifyingly, I was on my way to placing her for adoption when she was born. Yes, I am the adopter's worst fear, the birth mother who changed her mind.

    When my daughter started dating (a few months ago) I sat her down and told her the history of hyper fertility in our family. (Her great grandmother, her great aunt and her cousin all "had" to get married). I told her I hoped she would wait to have sex since I think 15 is too young, but I have to be realistic as well. I told her condoms are non-negotiable but she should also be on the pill, because condoms are not 100% effective. I told her she was the result of one breaking. I told her I had also been pregnant when I was 18 and had an abortion.

    And then I told her that keeping her was the absolute best decision I had made in this lifetime, and if she would happen to get pregnant, which I fervently hope would not happen for many many years, that she had two choices - well, three actually - she could get an abortion, she could raise the child with my help, or I would raise the child. Because there is no way in hell that baby would be given up for adoption. She would have to climb over my dead body to do that.

  49. seems, I type too fast- it should have said,
    " I hope she finds peace and find in her heart to at least share the health information even if she can not share herself- her life."

  50. h20_girl. There is nothing wrong with being a single mother. My mother in law was a single mother (widow) and she raised three kids as a single mom. But, it took a toll on her kids. My wife never really saw her mom or spend time with her. She was, essentially, raised by various family members and babysitters. I applaud you for doing what you've done and hope that life treats you better than it did my mother in law.

    Lorraine, I appreciate the suggestion that I share my name, but I will respectfully decline. Your readers, from what I've read, can get a bit rabid if someone disagrees with them. I am easy to google. So, for the safety of my family (and my job) I don't think I'll share my full identity.

    And, should my daughter get pregnant, I will help her discover all of her options, not just adoption. Right now, she's focused on being a kid, her schooling, and an upcoming vacation to Scotland (Harry Potter sightseeing).

    I'm sorry, but your idea that "love hormones" will cause anyone to be f-ed up for life is nothing more than bad science (and highly misleading). There are three main substances which are released during birth and breastfeeding: oxytocin (hormone of love), endorphins, and adrenaline. All of these can be found in the bodies and brains of people doing lots of different everyday activities. Just because oxytocin is pumping through our brains/bodies, doesn't mean that whatever we set our eyes on is ours forever. If that were the case, teenagers would have an even more rough time with puppy love. Oxytocin is present during orgasms, sexual arousal, trust exercises, and when we're anxious.

    I truly appreciate that you're fighting for a cause, and I appreciate that. What my brother has been through with his "natural" mother borders on abuse.

  51. Peter, aka SciGuy wrote: "I'm here for my brother, John. He's adopted. His "natural" mom has been playing some very f-ed up mind games with him. He and I have been trying to figure out the reasons for it."

    I commend Peter in trying to learn about the effects of adoption but it's clear he's built a big wall of denial which can only hurt his brother. Putting " " around natural and extolling adoption reflects this denial.

    Peter may be in a lot of pain, perhaps because he feels betrayed that his brother wants to have a relationship with his first family.

    Instead of venting his frustrations and anger on FMF, Peter should try patience and kindness.

    I also suggest that he continue to try to educate himself. Reading the memoirs of adoptees and first mothers with an open mind would be helpful.

  52. Peter,
    I respectfully point out the obvious: you are never going to know what it is like to give up a baby that has been part of your body when everything in you is telling you not to do that. I could go on from the nightmares I have had about losing my child, or throwing her down a step of stairs to a bottom I could not see, but I leave it at that.

    I do believe that some natural mothers do not handle reunions well, and cause further pain. I am sorry for anyone going through that, including your brother, and it sounds as if you may have found FMF in an attempt to figure out why she is acting the way she is. Obviously, if she were healthy and well-adjusted, you probably never would have stumbled onto our blog. It is of course possible just might be damaged because she relinquished your brother.

    I suggest you and your brother also look at Jane's previous post, if you haven't. Reunion is hard.

  53. Come on Sci Guy/Peter whatever your name is. Quite a few questions where asked of you following your original post, but you've hardly answered a single one. I'm dying to hear your answers.

    Hawkeye Dad: Lost Daughters provides great insight into the adoptee experience.

    David Toomey.

  54. Peter (Sci-Guy) is not at all qualified to come here and tell us that we are just a small handful of malcontents who don't know what we're talking about, and who just want to rain on everyone's parade by telling them that adoption is not always so wunnerful, so beautiful.

    Sci-Guy is actually one of the most dangerous of people as he has a SIBLING who is adopted and therefore thinks that qualifies him to speak about being adopted or relinquishing a child. Well, my siblings are bio-kids, too. I am the only adoptee in the family. And I know that my siblings (raised by their own bio-parents) are not as opposed to adoption as I am. Why should they be? They didn't lose their entire family on both sides, they weren't given away, they don't live with a false birth certificate and no medical history. They weren't supposed to grow up in a family a thousand miles away with people who look like them, share their traits and half of whom have a different religion and cultural background.
    Non-adoptees with adopted siblings think they understand the issue of being adopted. They know nothing of the kind.

  55. Hey Peter/Sciguy,

    There's a job going in Rome ... you sound like you'd fit the bill.


  56. Peter,
    I was going to let this go with my last comment but I was taken back by your suggestion that FMF readers might try to harm you or your family. Our readers have strong opinions but they have never written anything to suggest they were considering harming anyone.

    You say your brother's natural mother has been f-ing with his mind. Maybe he is f-ing with her mind.

    Likely your brother's mother was damaged by losing him and he was damaged by being lost.

    Let's hope they can come together; perhaps counseling would help them.

    You're doing your brother no favors by denying the natural connection between mother and son. Using a smattering of science as a sword to pierce their natural affinity may be making things worse between your brother and his mother.

  57. Hawkeye Dad wrote:

    "Obviously adoption is an emotional issue for all involved and although I can understand the anger many have, I can’t get past the nastiness."

    If the people who live adoption, first mothers and adoptees, don't write the truth, who will?

    Of course it's easier to ignore the truth if you label their words nasty.

    To put it another way, nastiness is in the (hawk)eye of the beholder.

  58. There is plenty of nastiness in adoption. I was told while growing up that my mother gave me up willingly, because she had raised her little brothers and sisters and wanted her freedom. I was told time and time again how she didn't want me.

    Now I've found her and she assures me she did want me, but she calls me names and cuts me and my children with her angry words.

    I love my mother, and always have. My a mom not so much. She told me, "if it wasn't me it would be the next one on the list, she wasn't coming back for you". And I have to admit it's true.

    How do you get over that? How do you feel for her pain, when she walked away from you?

    Too much for one lifetime. Bio Dad says my adoption was the best thing to happen to me. What an asshole!

  59. Sciguy,

    You would actually give a family member away, your own flesh and blood for WHAT??? A college education? IS that worth more then an actual human that NEEDS their family? As much as I love my adoptive family...I wish I din't have to be adopted to begin with...it should only be for a last resort...not a way to make your child(albeit you) look like the oh so successful one...success is in family and taking care of them...college can come later.

    I remember a first mom posting on another forum...she had her PHD and was very successful. But angry...had a reunion with her son and stated that with all her money she would think twice about giving it to her son unless HE PROVED himself..meaning was a good bson to her if not she didn't know what she was going to do...I told her give it to charity...with that kind of attitude she does't deserve have her son. She had her college education but is rang hollow without her son. The adopttee MUST fall into place whether it b3e for aparents or SOME bparents to get what they should have had to begin with.

    Family is more important, college education does NOT equate happiness. I see something terribly shallow and ignorant with your attitude. Scary!

  60. Jane,

    One need not be nasty in telling the truth, even if the truth is nasty. The all-too-frequent insults are the nastiness to which I refer. When people use insults to make a point, whatever truth they may be stating is negated by the insult.

    As I said in my initial post, I found your blog as I was looking for adult adoptee stories/perspectives to help my young daughters as they learn about their adoptions. I’m not looking for a website that’s all bubbles and rainbows either. I’m interested in good stories and bad ones, if those stories help me better understand what my daughters may be feeling. So no, I’m not ignoring the truth, nasty or otherwise; I’m choosing to ignore what I view as nasty and counterproductive behavior.

    For instance, it helps me to read Adoptomuss’s comments:

    “There is plenty of nastiness in adoption. I was told while growing up that my mother gave me up willingly, because she had raised her little brothers and sisters and wanted her freedom. I was told time and time again how she didn't want me.”

    "…if it wasn't me it would be the next one on the list, she wasn't coming back for you."

    Although our story is different (whose isn’t), it’s Adoptomuss’s perspective that I’m looking for. I would never say those types of things to my daughters, but her story (and those of other adoptees) reminds me to choose words wisely. To always consider how my daughter’s might interpret what I say about their birth families and how they came to be part of our family.

    So thank you adoptomuss for telling it. And thank you Jane and Lorraine for providing a forum for it to be told.

    Hawkeye Dad

  61. Dear Peter

    In my opinion you have come onto this blog like a bull in a china shop and have then been hurt and disappointed by the reaction that you received. Had you stated you goal at the outset you may have received a very different response.

    My adopted brother is having a hard time understanding his natural mother, how can I help him? Would perhaps been a better way to introduce yourself.

    For what its worth my advice would be to provide him with the tools of understanding, books as suggested by Jane. Once you have suggested the books that may help him to understand, butt out and let him do the work for himself. In an ideal world adoption reunion should be about mother and child; however both parties have other people in their lives (spouses, raised children, family and friends) each with their own opinions, views and advice, which needless to say totally confuses the issue.

    I also think that your brother needs to be quiet frank about what he wishes to achieve in his reunion, does he just want medical information, to build a family tree or to build a relationship with his natural mother. Once he is clear about what he wants he should politely and respectfully put that to his natural mother and give her the space and time to decide what she is prepared to give. Should his goal change, he should let her know, that way each party can adjust and manage their expectations.

    It is obvious that you care about your brother otherwise you would not have come to this blog, but it is wiser to know what you want to achieve and state that and not cloak your intentions with sci talk and unconfirmed data.

    On a more personal note adoption hurts and brings forth a multitude of emotions, if your daughter should ever be in a situation where it may be considered, I would advise you not to choose that route. Love your children unconditionally and support them when they are doing well and achieving as well as when they are in trouble.

    Kind Regards

  62. There is also the strong possibility that SciGuy's daughter could be so depressed after losing her child that college won't matter, and she'll drop out anyway. That's the irony to my story...forced to give up my daughter to make sure I went on to college and become a professional blah, blah, blah. I got into college alright, but I cut classes more often than not, and dropped out after a year because I was pregnant again. (surprise...I'm part of the high percentage of bmoms who get pregnant again within 2 yrs). So, my point is, just because you strongly encourage/influence/push your daughter to give up her child in no way guarantees that she will go on to finish her education. There's also the likely chance that she will resent her parents for pushing adoption on her, and it will negatively effect that relationship forever. I speak from experience.

  63. I think anonymous is right, I should have started out on a better foot with my comments. I didn't. It wasn't because I was saddened by what I found here, but because I know my brother's story. In a nutshell: habitual drug user raped multiple times by cop (promising her drugs). The baby that resulted was "sold" for more drugs. My brother was that child, and adopted at 2 months by my parents. Now his "natural" mother won't give him medical/genetic information unless he gives her money and supports her continuing bad habits. She actually won't talk to him about anything, unless he gives her money (or drugs/alcohol).

    So, yes, I see adoption (especially in this case) as saving a child.

    I'm browsing this forum, other blogs, and reading books at the behest of my brother. He's doing his own research as well.

    Oh, and please, if you're going to talk smack about me on facebook, at least have the decency to post the same comments here, so I can respond to them.

    I don't know who "Matt" is. I don't have a toddler anymore, although sometimes I miss those simpler times of parenting. I have a legitimate reason to be here and that should be respected.

  64. Peter is right. Let us assume he is who he is, and not the other individual some thought he was.

  65. Peter,

    It was very good of you to attempt to help your brother with his reunion.

    Since his mother was an addict prior to conceiving him, I would guess that the problems he is having with her have more to do with the fact that she is an addict who will do anything to get her fix--and less to do with her issues surrounding being a mother who relinquished her child.

    I would recommend that you and your brother--if he wants to attempt any type of communication with his mother--should research drug addiction and learn more about the behaviors of people who suffer with addictions.

    Also, if he found her, he may be able to find other relatives who are more stable who might be able to provide him with the information that he needs.

    But, let him know that her behavior is undoubtedly because of her addiction. She's not necessarily a bad person. She's just in the grip of addiction. Since she is under the influence and not in her right mind, he does need to protect himself first and foremost.

  66. If I had known all my daughter wanted was medical information, I would have never agreed to talk to her much less meet her. That information was provided when I signed the adoption papers. Meeting her did nothing but cause more pain than I could have imagined, and I regret agreeing to it. She broke off contact for no reason. I had made no demands on her and got negative comments and pretty much hate from her. Reunion was not worth it and I wish I had done more research before I went out looking. She also has little respect or love for her adoptive parents if her comments are any indication. I feel bad for her since she seems confused, angry and just depressed. She has been in therapy off and on for 13 years. I am not putting up with abuse from anyone. I backed off and haven't heard from her in two years. She has a little contact with her bio-sisters through facebook, but never calls or visits them. She has limited capacity for acceptance or love for others because of adoption. It was the single biggest error in judgement I ever made and I will always regret it.

  67. I think anonymous is right, I should have started out on a better foot with my comments. I didn't. It wasn't because I was saddened by what I found here, but because I know my brother's story. In a nutshell: habitual drug user raped multiple times by cop (promising her drugs). The baby that resulted was "sold" for more drugs. My brother was that child, and adopted at 2 months by my parents. Now his "natural" mother won't give him medical/genetic information unless he gives her money and supports her continuing bad habits. She actually won't talk to him
    about anything, unless he gives her money (or drugs/alcohol).

    Thank you for coming back to clarify your position. It makes me very sad to read what you have written and cannot even imagine how this impacts on your brother and indeed other people in your family. If all he desires is medical/genetic information, I feel that under these circumstances he is entitled to contact other members of his natural mother’s family and request it from them.

    So, yes, I see adoption (especially in this case) as saving a child.

    In this case adoption did save the child, Lorraine and Jane have repeated themselves on many occasions as to when they feel adoption is necessary, and drug abuse is one. However what we fight for here are the millions of unnecessary adoptions. It would also be wise to keep in mind that very few natural mothers are actually drug addicts; we come from all walks of life, education and class. If most people were absolutely honest with themselves they would realise that out of wedlock pregnancy could very easily have happened to them.


  68. http://www.dailylife.com.au/life-and-love/real-life/when-your-real-mum-isnt-thrilled-to-meet-you-20130215-2eh59.html?rand=7436966

  69. An adoptee posted on FB:

    "Allowing for reunion (on the part of the mother or the adoptee) means that you have to face head on, that there is a reason for a REUNION! And that reason is that there was a separation in the first place. It took me years to understand that my reticence in entering reunion after I was found was because the pain, loss and grief from the separation were so huge. I spent decades pretending (repressing) that the separation didn't hurt, after all, I was happy, my adoptive parents loved me very much. What was I missing?? When my natural mother found me at 23 and said, "I think you are my daughter." I experienced a flash, a glimpse of what I had been repressing, and it was too big, too painful, too foreign to handle. So I didn't. Not for another 15 years."

    For mothers it can be a stab into the heart of their denial and need to protect their darkest secret or having to accept that their BABY is really gone - replaced by an adult. mny mothers have told em that they thouht reunion would brring joy and were very surprised that instead it brought excrutiating pain and grief bubbling to the surface.

  70. This was made into a Lifetime movie:


    It shows the stigma of teenage pregnancy....just last year!!

  71. Why do adopted daughter find birthmom then cut off relationship with Bmom but talk with other relatives of Bmom.

  72. Annon12:44am, Really a marriage and an adoption are 2 different things. the love for a spouse and the relationship with a spouse is VERY differentent then a love for a child. The most glaring is all is that with marriage 2 ADULTS make a CHOICE TOGETHER to live their lifes and support each other. In adoption the only "choice" is with the a aprants who might demand gratefullness from the the CHILD that had NO CHOICE in where they ended up.

    Its almost as bad as saying in a reunion the peole involved have felt like its an affair...that makes me sick.

    your childs life may be filled with joy and love if you understand and treat your child as the indivual taht they are. Born of one and raised by another. Can you trully respect that or does that threaten you?

  73. Love ya Lorraine, but excuses excuses excuses. At the end of the day all of these "reasons" are excuses that these first parents use as a crutch. It's to take the crutches away and make everyone deal with their past like a mature adult.



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