' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: What do mothers owe their children lost to adoption?

Friday, July 15, 2016

What do mothers owe their children lost to adoption?

Not every mother, we know, welcomes her lost son or daughter back with warmth and motherly feelings. Not every family does either. Jealousies erupt, feelings are hurt, adoptees are rejected. Some of the problems stem directly from the secrecy many mothers assumed, and did not tell their spouses or other children. Not every adoptee who comes back is a stable person. Some are angry. Studies and statistics show adoptees show up in greater numbers than the norm in numbers among addicts, criminals, and other troubled populations. Adoptees are more likely to attempt suicide or have suicidal thoughts.*

We know this from the research, the people who write here, and other social media. We hear from mothers who feel used and mistreated by their reunited children, now adults. We hear from adoptees who have been rejected for no good reason other than they were given up for adoption and the original mothers and families cannot accommodate their children's return.

It's a complicated world made up of all kinds of people.

But of late, we have received numerous comments from a birth mother who does not wish contact with her child. On some older blogs, she has suggested that adoptees make contact only through a letter; that she has an absolute right to left alone by her child, that her rights are being trampled, that his history is his adoptive family's history, not hers. In part, she wrote in a recent comment:
"I am responsible only for the children I'm raising and as a good mother, my job is to protect them. For that reason, I am close to ending reunion and I regret saying 'yes' to reunion in the first place. (I only said 'yes' because I thought reunion would be my happy 'payback' for the crap I went through. It's turned out to be just as bad as the initial pregnancy.) 
My adopted son has a mom and a dad who promised to care for him. He needs help, in my opinion, and I fear for my safety and for my children's safety. He is the responsibility of his adoptive parents, not mine. I think there are a lot of first moms who would agree, (they just aren't on this forum). Some of us regret getting pregnant, not the choice of adoption.

I don't think it's fair that adoptees are treated as if they are the only ones with rights. We women who gave birth have a right to our privacy; some of us chose adoption to protect ourselves, and that's okay! There seems to be this romantic notion that adoptees seek their birth mothers with only love in their hearts. Some of these people have a lot of baggage and a lot of anger. What about the safety of the woman and of the family she went on to create? Remember: the adopted child will be jealous of the raised children.
Because of the complexity of adoption and the emotional baggage involved, adoptees must pass a psychological profile before they can obtain private information about the mother, in my opinion."
Daughter and mother, reunited. Yes we had up and down times,
but that did not alter our basic connection, emotional and otherwise.
Although we do not agree with much of what she says, we have allowed most of her comments to be posted. Just as a family cannot be "protected" from a child or sibling who is troubled, or even dangerous, simply by washing their hands of the connection, the same is true of children who are adopted. Once we give birth to a child, that child remains connected to us in a way that no legal document can ever alter. We are not responsible for their adult actions, and if they are a true threat to us, we can call up the police and get orders of protection, just as we would from anyone who was a threat to our safety and well-being. 

But act as if the adoption severed all ties? As if the signing of a paper changed the actual biological connection? That such a document erased the history and ancestry of the adopted person? That it removed all emotional obligations to that individual? That it took away his or her connection to a family of siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents? That like disappearing ink, it erased the several traits that are shown to be related to DNA? 

Cannot be done. Not ever. 

Despite any problems individuals may have with their lost children once reunited, those problems cannot be the basis for any restrictions placed on them in gaining access to knowledge of their true identities, and any living kin they may have. Her suggestion that adoptees pass psychological profile tests before they are given any information is preposterous at the very least, and unconscionable at the worst.

Though as readers of my memoir know, I had plenty of problems in my relationship with my daughter. She was a habitual liar, straining her relationships with anyone, and certainly with both me and her adoptive parents. She vacillated and blew hot and cold in our relationship over the more than two decades we had. Without telling me, she would just disappear from any contact, then months later phone as if nothing had happened. She was at times difficult to be around. She told friends lies about me. The psychological consequences of her epilepsy--a poor self-image--only added to her neuroticism. She was a troubled person and I could not prevent her suicide in 2007. Yet I know I could never simply walk away and turn my back on her. For better or for worse, in bad times and good, she was my daughter. We had reunited when she was 15. 

The writer of the above comment said elsewhere that she did not have an abortion for religious reasons. Yet if you give birth, you owe that child. Unless you were forced to carry to term, you made the choice to have a child, and now you owe him or her an acknowledgement of that connection. A termination-of-parental rights agreement is a legal document, but it is only a document. You cannot undo biology. If God was against your abortion, certainly he urges you to accept that child later on, problems and all. If a relationship is impossible, for whatever reason, do not assume that your experience should be reason enough to campaign against others going forward.  If you cannot have a reasonable relationship with him--who can, for instance, with an addict or thief?--I hope he accepts that. Yet now the right thing to do is to treat him as a child you gave birth to, legal agreements aside. If he is as troubled as you say, his adoptive parents may have done all they can for him too, but nothing abrogates your emotional responsibility. If you must have him or her out of your life, seek an order of protection from the police, or in your case, the local magistrate.

Frankly, when this woman began writing about two weeks ago, I was surprised there was not more blowback. Someone left a comment today that she wrote such comments, but we failed to publish them, and asked why were we publishing the "Anonymous" comments from this women. Trust me, I was welcoming those comments refuting this woman, and in fact, deleted one of the more noxious comments from the original "Anonymous" individual. Only one adoptive mother bravely responded in the comments that we saw. Because of issues of comments disappearing like this, and not letting the comment writer know they have, we, with the help of Suz Bednarz, are moving the blog to Wordpress in the next couple of weeks. That should end the problem with the comments. Our blog is very large, we have published over 28,300 comments since we began writing in 2008, and thus moving over has been complex. However, we are nearly there, and will be moving soon. The URL will not change. More news about this later. Again, if you are going to comment, PLEASE use a name. You can still preserve your anonymity here. If you don't see the comment, do not immediately assume we have chosen not to publish it. We may never have seen it. 

The system of adoption that has flourished not only in America but all over the world in recent times is wrong on so many levels, and while this system is to blame for some of the ills that both mothers and their children lost to adoption endure, that does not mean we should, or can, allow those slings and arrows to dictate how we move forward. We must move forward with compassion, forgiveness and with love in our hearts. And that even includes any and all responses to this woman who is the focus of this blog. We may not like what she says, but she too is a victim of the adoption mentality that has encroached upon the modern world. We will be monitoring the comments carefully.--lorraine

*No statistic on adoptee suicide is likely to emerge because that appears to be a nearly impossible statistic to record. Suicides are not listed as "adopted" or "biological" in relation to the family.

Hole In My Heart: memoir and report from the fault lines of adoption
"This is a "must have" book for anyone affected by adoption, or contemplating one. Lorraine is THE pioneer of adoption-related memoirs. For those who read her earlier work, Birthmark, this book serves as an update, but stands on its own merit. For those who have never read Birthmark,this book stands on its own, offering a raw and honest view of the circumstances that can lead to an adoption and the emotions and trauma that can result. The book is also packed with information for those who may not be aware of the maze of adoption law, both now and in the past, all in the course of a compelling and entertaining read that is hard to put down.

Reunion is never as simple as it is depicted on television. Lorraine offers the good, the bad, and the ugly, and the reader is left with a much better understanding of the process and its effect on all concerned."--Amazon reviewer


  1. I think I understand both the opinions of the woman quoted and Lorraine's too. I found my daughter in 1992. I also have three other children who I raised alone since 1979, who were very traumatized by the divorce. It has been a struggle to help all of them grow up into good, stable people. Very touch-and-go at times. Enter the lost child, who looked down on us, had a lot of problems and wanted to play head games. She very much hurt my daughter and me and after awhile I began to think there was no way I could deal with it, she was going to be a wedge that was going to destroy our fragile family. I'd heard at adoption conferences that there was no way I could morally reject her, nor did I really want to, but I had to change my thinking on that somewhat. She is not a baby or small child I could spank and make go to her room. I decided to leave the decision up to her as to whether she wants to be part of our family, and by that I mean if she treats us right and acts in a trustworthy manner we will accept her, otherwise she can do her own thing by herself without us. Boundaries, basically. It seems a little better, but I still don't know how it is going to turn out. At at least this approach is respecting the needs of all the people involved. It's kind of hard to do this, though, to say if you don't behave, well bye bye.

    1. I agree, Barbara. I found my son over four years ago, and the reunion was euphoric at the beginning. Then it became difficult, then intolerable, at least for now. My son has lots of problems, with both his physical and mental health. He's a recovering alcoholic, and while I'm not a psychiatrist, it seems to me that he has real mental illness that is beyond my ability to cope with. Boundaries. That's the key. My therapist drills this into me, and it's the only way I've found to stay sane myself: set up boundaries. That doesn't mean being unkind or unloving; it does mean not enabling delusional thinking or joining the fantasies. I'm glad I found my son. Knowing each other has been good for both of us, and I am 100% in favor of adoptee rights. The truth is, the adoption of a child is not the end of the story or of the connection. For better or worse, our children are part of us. That implies a certain amount of responsibility, but it doesn't mean we have to allow our lives, or the lives of our families, to be ruined. I cringe when I see celebrations of adoptions, and I cringe when I see videos of joyful reunions, because I know that these moments of joy will be shadowed by sorrow and difficulty in years to come.

    2. I can understand this all too well, sometimes it breaks my heart not to give my birth daughter the world because honestly she guilts me quite often. I gave her up so I owe her anything her adoptive parents say no to. We have been reunited for 8 years and I still get the, "It's okay, you know I forgive you.", and I honestly want to screech at the top of my lungs. You don't need to forgive me because I have done nothing wrong! I protected my child, I did the best I could with the resources and support system I had at that time in my life and honestly, I'm tired. I'm tired of constantly feeling ill when she messages me wondering, what now. I want to be there for her, but she has so many emotional issues that she refuses to get help for that it makes it very hard to have a happy relationship. My other children feel the same way, they love her, but she makes it very hard to like her. It hurts to feel that way, it really does, but it's the truth. I've started having to set boundaries and say no, because it's making me an emotional wreck to continue giving and giving out of guilt and then having more guilt heaped on my head.

    3. Had the privilege of reunion meeting my mom in 1992. Mom decided not to reveal I was her child to her immediate family for quite a while after we met. I said I understood when mom explained why she wouldn’t tell immediate family but I didn’t & still won’t get it. Terrible for me for saying I understood.. I guess it may have been constructed as “looking down.” Anonymous- feeling ill when your daughter writes you is not great. If it’s hard to like her forget her. In an ideal world I wish I could forget ever meeting my mom then I wouldn’t have more guilt in my head too.

    4. M. Rippy--You should have no guilt! You are not responsible for your mother in the way that you feel. I am so sorry that she had or still has kept you a secret. When women do that, you have the right to say, okay, I'll give you a week but then I will contact my relatives myself. You run a risk, right, but she does not have the right to control you in the way she is choosing. Hugs Hugs. Adoption is so fraught and so hurtful.

  2. I don't think mothers owe anybody anything really. Many of us were preyed on and had our lives upended. Having a relationship with an adult child is different to the children we raise. We have lost that all important foundation and therefore it is more like two strangers that share a biological link, trying to recover what is lost. The guilt mothers are forced to carry by society, our children and adopters needs to stop. I owe no one anything. In fact, I owe myself more than I owe anybody else. Adoption strips the ability to self care and accept we are enough - so of mothers owe anybody, it is to themselves. To love, accept, care and only in that way can we be whole enough to go forward in whatever we chose in life. I feel much of what this mother has said. I didn't chose adoption and would have loved to have had a relationship with my lost child but I won't be dictated to anymore and I've had enough of the manipulation and mind games. It seems mothers are continually allowed to be the punching bags and it needs to stop. A good number of us were wronged. We didn't give our children up and so we owe them nothing. What we choose to give is another issue. We are not, afterall, slaves and thus are not in debt to anyone but ourselves.

    1. I have placed a reply and it is not shown why??????

    2. Brenda, the above is the first comment we have from you. Unless you are asked to "Prove you are not a robot" etc., the blog is not collecting anything that we see. Unfortunately, there is no vesicle to inform you that your comment was not logged it. Please try again. Sometimes coming directly from Facebook there is a problem. See the comment instructions.

    3. As it says in the post: If you don't see the comment, do not immediately assume we have chosen not to publish it. We may never have seen it.

    4. I think as a first mother, I owed my lost son my truth, his truth, our truth, which included the truth about my pregnancy circumstances, info and name of bio father, my medical history, and anything else he wanted to know about me, my life, my family. Even though I was "preyed on", coerced, manipulated, exploited, lied to, and gas lighted by the power players around me, I still owed my son his truth.

      I also think I owed him an apology. It wasn't his doing or his fault he was adopted, and for that reason, I think an apology was necessary. It was refreshing and healing to tell my grown son the "other story" he had never heard. For over 40 years, my lost son thought he was unwanted, unloved, and abandoned and thought what sort of a mother could do that to her baby?

      I also put my truth in writing, in black and white, so that he could read over and over again if he wanted. Finally, he got his first mother's story, not the story he had heard for over 40 years by his APs. I finally had a voice to speak my truth after being silenced for so long.

      Many adoptees from the BSE have only been told what their APs wanted them to know about their first mothers. After all, who would know the difference in a closed, private adoption that had been taken care of by a high-powered attorney. The girls who went away in silence were expected to stay away forever and how could they ever pop up again when all those doctored records had been sealed ever so tightly, right?

      Even though I was a young teen who was out-powered, coerced, used, minimized, and then discarded like a piece of garbage, it was ultimately MY doing, my fault for having unprotected sex and getting pregnant. That is our fault, I don't care how you dice it, our fault for getting pregnant. For that, we are still responsible for the destiny of our child. I believe we owe them all the answers to their questions.

    5. As an adult adoptee and teacher of young children for 30 plus years, the suggestion of testing parents before being allowed to conceive is a point of discussion that goes back to the 80's when I was working in day care . New Flash, it's not going to happen and neither are adopted children going to have to be tested before meeting their biological family members.
      What is scientifically proven is that genes far outweigh environment. It doesn't matter who raises a child, that child possesses "genetic characteristics" that are the central core of who they are. That can be a kind-hearted person who has nothing but goodness oozing from their being, or it could be a person who has a chemical unbalance and therfore has what some would call a "flawed" personality. That's not saying environment doesn't play a role in personality formation. But have you ever known a child who has had three strikes against them before they were even born? Perhaps adopted by alcoholic parents or having been mal-nourished since they were an infant, or worse yet physically abused by the people who were suppose to provide food, clothing, shelter and unconditional love to them. YET, they grow into the most kind, generous and outstanding young adult and those around them have a hard time understanding how this could be.
      "Genes" my friend, "genes". The intrinsict seed that both parents give to a child before they ever breathe air.
      My point is, these children who step into unwanted biological family members lives, can not be totally blamed for their "flawed" personality. As we say in education circles. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree (family tree that is).

    6. Anonymous hasn't heard of epigenetics. It trumps genes VERSUS the environment. Your genes get switched on and off in response to life. You can't separate the two things.

    7. I was raped and beaten by my husband for a month until I conceived, I was then kidnapped by him when I tried to leave him and held captive for 5 months in the middle of nowhere until his older daughter took mercy on me and called the police to come get me after he beat me and my 2 year old and 9 month old. I don't owe an apology for choosing to keep her safe by giving her to a family who could protect her in a way I never would have been able to. Believe me though, she has guilted me and made sure I know that she feels I owe her anything she wants. She is emotionally abusive to both sets of parents and I've had enough of it. She is angry that we don't have the same type of relationship I have with my other children, the reason is not because she was adopted, it's because she is emotionally and verbally abusive and causes me so much stress I wish I hadn't found her. I thought it would be good for her to know she was loved and wanted, I've NEVER told her she's a product of rape and I never will. To this day after 8 very long years she still expects me to feel guilty and answer to her. We birth mothers do owe it to ourselves to have boundaries and say enough sometimes if the relationship is unhealthy.

    8. Perhaps you should tell the full truth to your daughter. If you are the same anonymous who is upset when your daughter says she forgives you. Start by telling her why that comment upsets you. Dear daughter, I don't feel guilty for getting you out alive ...from the situation and so I don't feel you have to forgive me for anything. I was hoping to save your life and adoption was the only way out for you. But I am confused, are you now married to this man?

    9. Myst as an adopted person I disagree with you completely. Adoptees absolutely have a right to know where they come from and from whom. Two wrongs do not make a right. If you were indeed "preyed" upon, then you should understand what it feels like to have no choice in the matter. You gave your baby away. Let that sink in. Nothing in this world feels quite as awful as that. Pardon us if we do not sympathize with your selfish and callous opinions. I feel sorry for your child. And indeed, it IS your child.

  3. The woman was relating her feelings and point of view based on per personal experience, as most people do. It is very sad that she has had trouble with her son, and feels threatened. But isn't this a place where first mothers share news and opinions - and vent? As is stated on the masthead of this blog? I think it's very good that she wrote, and that you posted her comment. It shouldn't be necessary to share the view of the blog administrators, and everyone would like to be heard. As it happens, if her reunion had been happier, I don't think her comments would be as they are.

    What do we owe our children lost to adoption? Friendliness, warmth and honesty, as much as we are able. It is difficult even under the best of circumstances. Fear is always a part of the equation, whether we realize it or not.

    I noted that although she predicted she would be "slammed" here, it looked like she was not. That made me happy, as I feel for her and she was speaking her piece, maybe it made her feel a bit better. Of course I didn't realize that comments with bad intentions were being deleted.

    1. It was only one on an old post that I deleted. I then left a comment telling her that I would be writing about what she had to say.

  4. Speaking as a reunited adoptee and also as a mother, I believe original mothers owe their relinquished offspring simply the truth. If you are asked for the circumstances of the conception, the reasons behind the relinquishment, the father's name - anything that directly involves the adoptee - that is what is owed to them. Not money, or a relationship, or public recognition. If anything beyond the facts are given, then that's bonus.

    I agree with Myst that the #1 thing all mothers owe is self-care. To heal themselves. No one can do that for them, and everyone benefits when they do it.

    My original mother was (IMO) very brave for agreeing to reunite with me, and for eventually "going public" with it. She has always been truthful with me, even though the circumstances were not pretty and must have been painful to revisit. It has been over 30 years now, and I'm still awed by her strength.

    This "Anonymous" mother though - I have no respect for her.

  5. If you break it down into the bare essentials of what a mother may owe her children (lost to adoption vs raised) its their medical history, the story of how their adoption came to be as truthfully as possible, information about and access to their father if you help is necessary, information about the family reunions on both sides and geneology texts etc. Other than that you don't owe them a relationship no more than they owe you one but we are talking about a primal relationship meaning that you are the only one who gave birth to them regardless of any parenting done by others. You are and will always be their mother and if they can't give you proper respect for that which includes being socially acceptable then you have the right to not have to deal with any rudeness from them and do it without being mean or hurtful and leaving the door open should they have a change of mind. Many of us worked hard to rebuild our shattered lives. If I had read about reunion prior to experiencing it - to be honest - I would have been extremely afraid instead of naively desperately wanting it like I did prior to my reunion. If someone had told me that I'd be on medication the rest of my life, almost suffer a heart attack over it, etc. I'd have laughed them out of the room. Reunion can be not only emotionally draining it can be physically dangerous not just from an adult adoptee trying to do something harmful to you physically. I don't think adoptees need to be screened - I think mothers need to be helped to understand what reunion actually is and to be prepared as much as possible.

  6. I don't think anyone owes anyone anything. I wanted my mother to see me as her daughter, just like she saw her son. I guess that was unrealistic. I saw her as my mother, totally, completely and without a doubt. i loved her the same. It was not a choice, but a biological imperative that i was completely blown away by. I had absolutely no idea how much i would love her.

    I wanted the same back.

    My mother also said I was abusing her, but I swear, i don't know what she meant. All I ever did was speak my mind, to her and my father and his family. I was angry, but who wouldn't be? They were angry too.

    My main problem, as far as I can tell, is that I think my parents are my parents. I never saw my adoptive parents as my family. I just did not beleive it. kind of like the easter bunny and santa claus. A nice story to tell kids, but I can't understand that adults believe it too.

    I think my biological is my family, and they think different. I'm other, expendable,not one of them.

    I was certainly never, ever threatening in any way. It seems the real threat I brought was making my family face what they did.

    I'm a mother, and there is nothing that my children could do to make me not ever speak to them again. Nothing. I do not understand anyone who could do that to their own child.

    Are adopted people really abusive to the mothers that they find? Or are the mother projecting their own feelings onto the returning children?

    I'm sure there are some cases of real abuse, but is it really common?

    1. I'm so sorry you endured that. Abusive parents who treat their children like this can often scapegoat their own children when the children call out the abuse. It's not your fault. You deserve love from your family and I'm sorry they either made horrible choices- or were too damaged to carry their love for you into action.

  7. A lot of us were thrown away by our adoptive family because we didn't fit in. I want to know where is my forever family. I'm so sick of people who look down their noses at us like were some kind of defective toy that can be taken back to the store. We have feelings and for those of you with no compassion for what this country has put us through you deserve to burn in hell one day! God is going to ask did you offer compassion to my children. When you lie he is going to know. How many times did i have to hear as a very young child I can take you back where you were found. Maybe I'm crying over spoiled milk who knows. Maybe the agency should have made sure my bottle had fresh milk before my foster monster came to get me. Maybe then i wouldn't have heard that almost daily from her.
    #GreeneCountyPA The county who didn't care
    #WandaRollison Abusive Foster /Adoptive Parent
    #LethaPowell Exploitive/Abusive Foster Parent
    #CindyMoore Caseworker who failed to investigate as well as tried to intimadate a 16 year old child
    #Wilmajohnson Caseworker who placed kids in homes that abused, exploited, neglected, and traumatized kids.
    No remorse has ever been shown.

    1. Some of us were "re-homed" because we were inconvenient or too much trouble to deal with. My adoptive "mother" didn't say she'd take me back -- instead, her weapon of choice was to remind me that my birth mother didn't want me.

      What are we owed?

      The truth.

      That means names, information, whatever.

      Just be honest with us for a change.

    2. Kaye: Your comment indicts all mothers with the "just be honest...for a change. Maybe that is your experience, but it is not everyone's. Sometimes the story is so embarrassing it is difficult to 'fess up, but that is the best way to get a reunion off to a good start.

    3. Lorraine, it's actually NOT my experience, as my birth mother was (in her own mind, at least) honest with me about the circumstances surrounding her giving my brother and I away.

      However, it IS the case for many adoptees. Truthful information (most commonly the father's name) often isn't provided, even when it is known by the mother. Too many women have taken those names with them to the grave, and that's just not OK.

    4. Kaye many young girls were raped that resulted in pregnancy - in recent APS report "young men impregnated young unwed mothers for exploitative" and then abandoned mother and child" mothers do have rights and that is their truth so why would a mother want to revealed a man's name who raped her? Recently a mother advised me her son he did not want to know the name of this father (rapist) - why is it e verything is coming back on mothers shoulders when they faced the most brutal era of our Nation's history baby trafficking - what is it that adoptees do not understand - a Commonwealth Inquiry report - National Parliamentary apologies - mothers truth which relates to crimes committed during pregnancy birthing process validated acknowledged and the Nation taking full responsibility for truth when word mother is used it means two - so what is it that adoptees do not understand? = What may have occurred to adoptees is not the responsibility of the mother - suicides - thousands of mothers have suicided their pain too unbearable to live with - indigenous children lost to adoption have stood along side their mothers demanding truth and justice - most fathers denied paternity and if they had of stood up and accept their responsibilities - majority of adoptees would have grown up in their own family, culture and heritage environment - anger, revenge - hatred etc. emotions are evilness - let us never forget what recently happened in Nice - mothers and adoptees combining will save the next generation from being denied their culture, heritage and natural families'

    5. Well, Brenda, I'm pretty sure that the number of rapes resulting in adoption are FAR less than adoptions caused by plain old consensual/careless sex.

      Regardless, the man is the *ADOPTEE'S FATHER* and the adoptee deserves to know his name and decide what to do with it afterwards. The birth mother doesn't have to do anything more than provide that information. Sorry, but if you're not willing to give even that much to your child, then just have an abortion. Really, it will make things so much simpler for everyone.

      And you do understand that adoptees commit suicide, too -- and at far greater rates than non-adopted individuals. Birth mothers don't have a monopoly on pain and trauma, but they do hold all the cards with respect to information.

      Again, the only people who had absolutely no say in the adoption are the ones who continue to have their rights denied.

  8. Mary, While I do agree that medical history, the story about their adoption, and access to the father is important. My family reunions are not a place I want my daughter to be - EVER. The reunion is not between my daughter and my family or his family, but me. (I don't say her father because he passed on when she was 5 - and his family has known how to reach her for over a decade and has not done so.).... But to think that I owe someone I don't trust or like access to my family (whose dynamics are so dysfunctional that it is scary to start with), no - this I don't owe.

    1. Adoptees may not be welcome at the reunion but, sorry, birth mothers have no right to keep the children they gave away from knowing other family members.

      Obviously, there's no right to a *relationship* between the adoptee and anyone else, but we have the absolute right to know our genetic relatives.

    2. So you daughter is not allowed access to YOUR family. This is the disconnect that adoptees have. We (some of us anyway) see YOUR family as OUR family.

      I'm sorry that you neither trust nor like your child. I think my mother felt the same. She did not want contact most of the time.

      What makes YOUR family not HER family? was it the act of signing papers? Can her behavior really make her deserve to be exiled from YOUR/HER family? Would that ever happen with the children you raised, if so,why not?

      Some of the mothers speak of "mind games". That accusation bothers me. What are "mind games" and what makes that abusive?

    3. Lori can answer for herself, of course. But she had been posting for a long time about her reunion, which lasted years. It is my understanding that her daughter was consistently hostile, encouraged her children not to have any respect at all for Lori (their grandmother), deliberately did things to hurt Lori's feelings, and generally looked to Lori as a source of cash and money for purchases and trips, and not much else. Lori sacrificed much to attempt to overcome all of this and be closer to her daughter (geographically as well as emotionally), without success. It's also my understanding that her daughter is certainly acquainted with Lori's relatives, and hasn't expressed a nicer attitude toward any of them.

      Adoptee anger is justified and understandable. But how it is expressed is the core of a relationship - along with how the birth mother handles her own feelings and sense of responsibility. Perhaps it's possible to express anger or rage, without trying to cause damage or take advantage of someone. Not sure.

      In any event, I support Lori 100%, she must do whatever is necessary to protect herself from a daughter whose overwhelming attitude is resentment, anger and perhaps hate. It is not bad to feel these things, but it depends on what a person does about it and how it's expressed. As in any other relationship; but I don't seek to negate anger and rage at all; they are completely understandable and part of a big number of complex emotions facing all the parties in adoption reunion. (I'm a birth mother, that's my perspective)

    4. If you want the right to call her your daughter, consider she has the right to call your parents her grandparents. As much as adoption breaks my heart when I hear how willing some women are too abandon their own children entirely I remember it unfortunately might still have a place in the world for quite a while. And I also remember that I have to remind myself that some women are not coerced and never really cared that much about their children to begin with. It's hard to believe for me, but it's there. All children deserve the love of the people who caused them to exist. Every one. No child is less deserving, no one grows to an adult less worthy of enduring support from the family who caused them to be. Some eggdonors however fail, whether by choice or due to being to damaged emotional to fulfil their duty. Having adoptive parents or chosen family who step up to help can't fix those wounds, but it can help and it's better than nothing.

      I really dislike how some adoptees assume all birthparents are so willing to abandon their children- but then I have to remember when I hear from birthmothers who have no duty to their children- that the pain of having such a woman as ones creator will often translate to such overwhelming pain it is easy to generalize. Just as I can barely fathom some women care so little for their children- some children treated so terrible by their eggdonors, may find it hard to believe some of us who lost our children to adoption loved, wanted, and will never EVER break our motherly devotion to our kids through thick and thin.

      I'm sorry that some kids abandoned by those who most owe them support in this difficult world, can find no sanctuary in adoptive parents either, finding more abuse or neglect. We can only do our best as humans-- but setting the goal at actually being there and admitting there IS a duty to support your own children when needed-- this is a start and doing ones best to meet that obligation is all we can do. But denying the duty even exists ensures a normalization of supporting mothers (eggdonors) not even trying. If you don't even try- you ARE an eggdonor. I don't even think birthmother is a good term- it has the word mother in it and people who want nothing to do with mothering their own kids don't deserve such a word.

    5. Old and New, you are right. For those that think I am uncaring, you don't read much about my story.... or you simply are assuming. My daughter has, over the last 15 or 16 years, stolen from me, lied to me, used me, abused her minor cousins, attempted to pit my sister and I against each other, come to my home during my husbands funeral (a trip I paid for in its entirety) and stolen things from my home, my computer, and essentially been horrible. She encouraged her son, who was living in my home on my dime, to use me for whatever he could get and then couldn't understand when I didn't fight to keep him in my home when he decided to leave. I love my daughter. I fought the State of Arizona for three and a half years to keep her.... but now, I have asked her not to come back again. I can't be with toxic people. A person who goes through a grieving new widows personal things and steals things, attempts to pit sister against sister, is horrible and mean to children at the funeral of their beloved uncle, is toxic. This is my daughter in a nutshell. That and her unbelievable act of abandoning her sons for a man that was barely an adult and who ultimately abandoned her..... or trying to get her then 8 year old to stab his father..... or some of the horrific things that I know she has done.... this is why I don't support the idea that adopted persons should have unfettered access to some families. Particularly my daughter. I am sorry you think that I abandoned her - NEVER DID I EVER - or that you think that I am horrible because I am protecting those I love and who actually love me...... but that is life.

  9. I don't think birthmothers have to take on the title of mother and think of themselves as truly their children's mothers. They can just choose to be a breeder- a birthmother- in the true sense of the word- in which case you owe the person you created nothing, and they can call you what you are. A person without a heart or soul or empathy left- perhaps due to trauma, perhaps by choice.

    Adoptees don't owe women who created them and refuse to help them through their injuries anything either- not respect, not honor, not the title of mother, not the time of day, nor protection from the anger they should be allowed express on finding out what kind of person their birth vesicle really is. I use these terms only for people who act like they are only a vesicle without a heart.

    If my son who I raise is injured, suffers trauma, then it is my duty as his mother to be with him through all of it, through healing and recovery- through life long disability if it comes to that. My duty to my daughter taken from me is exactly the same.... BECAUSE I AM HER MOTHER.

    Those who are happy to just be an egg donor, act like it, but they can expect to be treated for what they are by the children they abandoned and leave in suffering. Abandoners. They are no longer mothers, because they choose when finally finding their lost children to never step up and be a mother through this horror we are living.

    I am an adoptee, and I am a mother who lost a daughter to adoption. Eggdoners, who truly prefer to abandon their duties to their children do exist, though I think rare. If you want the title and the relationship, then step up mommas, your kids need you.

    Mothers who just want contact to fulfil themselves and don't care how it impacts their kids, don't care what their kids need- piss me off because they are abusers themselves and they get angry when they hear they kids treat them as they are. For those whose children were taken by force- show your kids you DO WANT them, and that you WILL be there for the pain they've been through. For those who consented after duress- show your kids it wasn't your choice by being there as fully as you can now. Being there doesn't mean agreeing to be mistreated by a grown child-- it means that you uphold the love through whatever they are going through, and whatever boundaries of safety you need to set up for yourself. Too often though, adoptees are rightly upset their own mothers care so little about them, and if any hint of that is expressed the mother acts like she is being mistreated. How about living with the fact that your own mother who SAYS she loves you and wanted you, never stepping up and fighting to be there for you, being distant and never taking responsibility for being their through traumas and pain to help you through the way mothers should?

    Adoptees have to deal with this. Mothers owe their children mothering. If you are not willing to mother your lost children with all the same devotion as your kept children through the hardship-- that at least don't call yourself a mother and don't expect them to see you as anything other than an abandoner who fail to do right by someone they forced to exist and refuse to take responsibility for. And I have been raped and had my daughter from my abuser- even if you were raped YOU still have more power than a tiny child who still needs their mom. In such situations you can show this person who needs you what kind of heart you have within you. And if you weren't raped, then yeah, please take some responsibility for the person you forced to exist dealing with a whole lot of suffering- by being there for them through it as best you can with the commitment of a true mother.

    1. Wow, that's how I wished my mother had felt. I'm glad there are mothers like you out there. Even though my mother is gone now, I can never forget the time she told me that she and the one she kept were saying that i was probably a stalker who was going to kill them. I cried all the way home after that one.

      Your children are truly fortunate.

    2. Adoptees cannot just walk into a natural family's life - so many times they have destroyed families - mothers have rights if they relinquished their motherhood - the mothers who mostly open their arms to their adopted son/daughter are those who are survivors of baby trafficking crimes - a mother's pain can never be experienced by any son/daughter - ever - most adoptees believe what they have been brought up to believe - their mother abandoned or deserted them when it is not true - and adoptees dealing now with real truth brings out many deep emotions towards their adoptive parents but transfer them to their natural mother - we are all individuals - we have rights and no one - owes another person anything - I have heard it so many times from adoptees it is my right to know - well it is the right of the mother if she so choices as well - sad very sad so much anger lies so deep within so many people - many natural children were brought up in an environment that deemed them as children so it is not just adopted children who believe they suffered - many natural children did as well - reach for inner peace - and remember no one owes anybody anything - many mothers have reconnected with their adopted son/daughter but few reconnections work as the mother had their newborn baby illegally abducted and an adult appears - so complex - so many emotions - let's focus on inner peace as the greatest gift a mother has for her adopted child is her inner love she has carried within her - the invisible cord that runs from a mother's heart to her abducted son/daughter's heart that remains forever

  10. My personal stand on this is that mothers have a moral obligation to answer basic questions from their children, but I also feel strongly that relationships are not owed. They either work out or they don't, depending on the individuals involved. Relationships stemming from reunion are not a given, nor should they be pushed as such. I do not think it does any good to try to dictate to people In complicated situations - which often involve more people than just themselves - what they should or should not do. In situations like reunion only personal experience counts. It is not something that can be universalized.

    1. Mothers owe their children a relationship. It's in the job description. Abandoning your child's needs is neglect and abandonment and is morally (and in some cases legally) wrong. If your child is dealing with wounds from the state you left them in, even as they are an adult- yes mothers owe their children support and help with disabilities and emotional wounds. Women who abandon their children willingly are not mothers. Women who'se children are kidnapped and they decide to wash their hands of their own children because of it- are also not mothers. Mother is a verb. Do it, be it.

    2. I beg to disagree. Relationships between two adults are not "owed". If anything, they are earned, and it takes both sides to make them work. I do believe mothers have the greater obligation and should make themselves available to provide their children with answers to questions surrounding genetic heritage and the circumstances of their birth. It would be ideal of all mothers were open to an ongoing relationship, but like they say, it takes two to tango. Respect needs to go both ways, and relationships where one party is so lacking in respect that life becomes intolerable for the other are not going to benefit either in the long term. Mirah makes that point well, and I fully concur with her point about shorter marriages. A short marriage is not necessarily a failure, and a reunion that fizzles out because of "irreconcilable differences" is not necessarily a failure either.

      "Mother" is not a verb. It's a noun. As far as "doing it" is concerned, I AM a mother. I have been reunited for sixteen years and remain in a lovely on-going relationship with my adult child and his family.

    3. Lisa, I agree with everything you say. My relationship with my daughter was never going to er, end, but it certainly wasn't an easy one on my end. Because of the lies, when something fantastical come my way, I simply did not believe her. But I do want to stress, that we had many good times, good conversations, good years in the 26 that I knew her and I never for a second regretted finding her. the constant doubt and fears with living with the unknown were the worst.

    4. Children are born deserving a relationship from their mother. Are you really saying mothers can just leave their children in the dirt to die and there is no obligation there? Or leave them with an abusive family and do nothing to help with the aftermath? That's not a mother that's an abuser. I dislike child abuse being normalized to ease birthparents desire to not truly be there for their own kids. You're version of the word mother can include abusers and abandoners, but mine doesn't so we define the word differently I suppose.

    5. Agreeing with this as well. Relationships between adults, even those related by blood, are not owed, they are earned and must be worked at by both parties and desired by both. " Mother" is a descriptive noun, not a verb, and as such it describes both the good, the bad and the indifferent. We can have ideals about how mothers and adoptees should act in reunion, but in the end those ideals mean nothing if both parties do not want a relationship and treat each other decently. Each person has to work out their own relationship, if there is to be one, and for some, there will not be, no matter what anyone thinks they are owed.

    6. It's horrifying to hear how willing you are to abandon your children the second they turn 18. If they have disabilities, if they incur traumas and need care, you toss them to the streets? People to horrible things in the world, that doesn't mean I need to agree it's ok. Abandoning your family that you created, that you caused to suffer, is a cruel and heartless thing to do. When we speak of "owe" we are saying a good person would provide this because it's the right thing to do, that that everyone will act thus. The fact that so many humans care so little not only for fellow humans but the very people they forced to exist and wash their hands of responsability of them is something I hope can be changed in the world. Mothers owe their children the care they need, not based on a number age, but how and when the care is needed to become an independent healthy adult- or support care if that is not possible.

      Doctors owe their patients their best quality healing, librarians owe people the services to help them use the library- mothers owe their children support and the bonds of family. People can fail of course, as anyone can be unable or refuse to do what is right. The suffering they cause though can not be washed of their hands, especially when so willfully and boldy chosen as to say they owe their children nothing and to refuse to be there for them without even trying.

    7. @Sustainable Families
      "Are you really saying mothers can just leave their children in the dirt to die and there is no obligation there? Or leave them with an abusive family and do nothing to help with the aftermath?"
      Nobody here is saying - or even suggesting - anything of the sort. Not me. Not anyone.

      "You're version of the word mother can include abusers and abandoned, but mine doesn't so we definite the word differently I suppose."
      You keep using the word (mother), I do not think it means (only) what you think it means. There actually are some mothers who abuse and willfully abandon the children they have given birth to. It doesn't make them any the less mothers. It just makes them bad mothers.

      Of course I agree that children are born deserving of a relationship with their mothers - and with their fathers too. Ideally and in most cases, mother, father and children should be able to stay together. However, for many reasons that doesn't always happen. Reunions between adult children and first parents (in this case, mother) aren't necessarily straightforward. Lorraine has explained the difficulties she had with her daughter, but that she accepted and loved her very much anyway, and has never regretted the time they were able to spend together. The same with Mirah. But their daughters were lovely bright young women, albeit with problems, and not dangerous to their reunited families as Anon Commentator says her reunited son is. Other commentators have reunited with adult children who were raised in abusive adoptive families, but have not become abusive or dangerous themselves. I may be wrong but I would guess that situations where the reunited adoptee poses a serious threat to the found family are rare, but they do seem to happen, so we have to take Anon Commentator at her word.

      Would *you* take someone who seriously threatened physical harm to your partner or children into your family, and sacrifice other family member's safety for the sake of this person, even if that person was the child you relinquished (whether under duress or not) so many years ago? I would sacrifice a lot for my kids, all of them, but there comes a point at which it is no longer about you making a decision. Sometimes there is only one viable option.

      One more thing. I strongly dispute Anon Commentator's insistence that it is possible for adoptees to know their biological history *anonymously*. Genetic history is family history and family history is by its nature, not anonymous but personal. It does not start at the moment of birth or even conception, but stretches back for generations, fanning out widely over the millennia into the mists of time.
      I wonder how Anon Commentator (who presumably is not adopted) would have reacted if her parents had refused to tell her her great-grandparent's names, on the grounds that her history only began at the moment of her birth, and therefore she is not entitled to have this information, but they are. That they are entitled because the grand-whatevers existed with in their living memory, but she has no such right. Gah

    8. Kaisa, perhaps it is the wrong word but I mean "earned" in the sense of an exchange of mutual effort and respect. Maybe " deserve" would be a better choice of word, but even that isn't quite right.
      Of course it is quite possible to love someone very much and forever, but if your treatment of them is consistently good and kind but their treatment of you is not, and in spite of your own efforts things shows no hope of ever improving, then, IMO, it is perfectly reasonable to not to continue interacting with them. It doesn't mean you no longer love them, or that you wouldn't want things to be different/better between you.

    9. @Sustainable Families.
      "It's horrifying to hear how willing you are to abandon your children the second they turn 18."

      "If they have disabilities, if they incur traumas and need care, you toss them to the streets?"
      I don't get how you come to that conclusion. Disability and trauma are not the issues here. Serious verbal and/or physical abuse are. Most people with mental illness, whether from trauma or not, are good decent suffering people who don't pose a threat to anyone. And not all people who are violent and abusive suffer from mental illness. Some quite sane people are simply mean and nasty. Cruelty, in and of itself, does not qualify as a mental illness.

      If I had been reunited with an adult child who was disabled or traumatized, I would never have turned away from them. I would have loved them anyway and helped them to the best of my ability. But if their behaviour had become a real danger to myself and others I would certainly have sought legal protection as well as avoided contact with them as much as possible.

    10. I am reposting this, as it doesn't seem to have come through.

      @ Sustainable Families - "Are you really saying mothers can just leave their children in the dirt to die and there is no obligation there? Or leave them with an abusive family and do nothing to help with the aftermath?" Nobody here is saying or even suggesting anything of the sort. Not me. Not anyone.

      "You're version of the word mother can include abusers and abandoned, but mine doesn't so we definite the word differently I suppose."
      You Keep Using That Word (Mother), I Do Not Think It Means (Only) What You Think It Means. There actually are mothers who abuse the children they have given birth to. It doesn't make them any the less mothers. It just makes them bad mothers.

      Of course I agree that children are born deserving of a relationship with their mothers - and their fathers too. Ideally and in most cases, mother, father and children should be able to stay together. However, for many reasons that doesn't always happen. Reunions between adult children and first parents (in this case, mother) aren't necessarily straightforward. Lorraine has explained the difficulties she had with her daughter, but that she accepted and loved her very much anyway, and has never regretted the time they were able to spend together. The same with Mirah. But their daughters were lovely bright young women, albeit with problems, and not dangerous to their reunited families as Anon Commentator says her reunited son is. Other commentators have reunited with adult children who were raised in abusive adoptive families, but have not become abusive or dangerous themselves. I may be wrong but I would guess that situations where the reunited adoptee poses a serious threat to the found family are rare, but they do seem to happen, so I feel obliged to take Anon Commentator at her word.

      Sustainable Families, would *you* take someone who seriously threatened physical harm to your partner or children into your family, and sacrifice other family member's safety for the sake of this person, even if that person was the child you relinquished (whether under duress or not) so many years ago? I would sacrifice a lot for my kids, all of them, but there comes a point at which it is no longer about you making a decision anymore. The situation decides for itself.

      One more thing. I strongly disagree with Anon Commentator that it is possible for adoptees to know their biological history *anonymously*. Genetic history is family history and family history is by its nature, not anonymous but personal. It does not start at the moment of birth or even conception, but stretches back generations, fanning out widely over the millennia into the mists of time.

      I wonder how Anon Commentator (who I presume is not adopted) would have reacted if her parents had refused to tell her her great-grandparent's names, on the grounds that her history only began at the moment of her birth, and therefore she is not entitled to have this information. That they were entitled because the grand-whatevers existed within their living memory, but that she has no such right.

    11. This comment has been removed by the author.

    12. Kaisa writes:
      "do first mothers not realize that many adoptees even as adults still very much need their moms? do they really believe that we just want to know them in some sort of artificially casual way? are they ready for it?"

      For myself, I would say I did NOT know that or if my daughter wants to know me in a way other than casual...are adoptees generally aware of what they do want, esp, in the beginning of the reunion? I have known of adoptees that wanted nothing to do with their natural parent and never bothered to contact to begin with---I guess each one is different---
      Personally, I would try to give my daughter whatever she needed, if I knew for sure what she needs...she would have to feel comfortable enough to be able to tell me that I guess. It's hard when you are told that you are virtually nothing to the adoptee all of their life, and you have no right to know them, and then suddenly you need to be a mother, something you were told vehemently that you were not. For those of us who never had the privilege to raise children after that, you just never know what it really means to be a "mother" to someone. You never learned.
      I don't know if any of that makes sense.

    13. This comment has been removed by the author.

    14. Thank you Kaisa...I guess what prompted me to write what I did, was "SustainableFamilies"' posts which to me were rather harsh; people don't tell you that your child will ever need you and just beat it into you that you are a stranger...but that person kept saying how natural moms are all abandoners, sounded like the person is very angry for some reason... but I just recently found my daughter; well, we kind of found each other simultaneously. SHe has said she wants to meet, we just recently made contact and had our first phone call, but she is very tentative. When I was 19 I relinquished a son (very early 80's) but he has never wanted to meet us, it was a closed adoption then and now we know the parents but they have said he never wants to meet us...(in fact, they have forbidden him to contact us, although I am not sure how you can do that to a grown man) so I assumed all adoptees don't want to meet the natural parents...when I had my daughter I was older but was coerced and threatened, she was taken... I had bonded with her, it was very traumatic and I had no contact with her parents (thru an agency) since she was 7 or so, but then I found out who she was and you know the rest of the story. But it is scary, I don't know what to expect and have tried to ask her how she would like to proceed...but she seems to say a little and then back off when the questions get too personal, I guess...I love her and want her to know this but don't want to scare her, her a-parents were abusive, so I am not sure what she is looking for and she is only in her 20's now... still young. It makes me sad, I don't know what she needs and I don't want to scare her off. I guess that is where I am coming from...thanks for your input and honesty.

    15. Kaisa,
      Not sure if I was prompted to use the word "earned" by the word "owe" in the title or not. But you are correct - it can have icky connotations especially in the context of the subject of this discussion. It's true too that no one wants to feel compelled. I would think anyone who has experienced compulsion (as have most women who surrendered their children) would understand that. I'm sure feeling one was being forced into a relationship would help put the kibosh on any chance of that relationship's success.

      Also, you are right that it is not necessarily unreasonable to persevere working on a much-wanted relationship, even in the face of obstacles - especially if you think those obstacles stand a fair chance of eventually being overcome. You make a good point too about the kind of "ditch the relationship and move on" advice often given by psychs, friends and family etc. It can be a bit of a cliche which doesn't always fit the particular bill. It must be very difficult to assess what can be worked on and what can't, when the person in question's behaviour is difficult to understand.

      Maybe the apology thing is as much for the mother as for her reunited adult child. I think most first mothers feel they have let their kid down and that makes them feel have let themselves down too. It certainly helped me to say sorry, even though it was never asked for or expected. Never mind that, as Suz (I think) rightly pointed out, there is more than enough "blame" to spread around, which "blame" might include the first mother's parents, the boyfriend/fiancee/father, the church, society, whatever. It is still always the mother who who is expected to carry the greatest weight of responsibility for the surrender on her shoulders. It is expected of her, and she almost invariably expects it of herself.
      Incidentally, I had never heard of Nancy Verrier or her advice when I apologized to my child.

  11. PLEASE DO NOT move to WordPress!!! I find Wordpress the least friendly and most difficult to comment on!

    As for this mother, it takes all kinds. I just feel sorry for her child. And it appears to me from the one comment you posted that she is trying desperately to justify her actions and assuage her guilt. She knows damn well it is unkind to turn your back on your child!

    On the other hand, she is far from the first mother I have heard from who tried and found it too difficult to have relationship with a troubled child, and lord knows adoptees are troubled, parent & adult child relationships are difficult under "normal" circumstances (no relinquishment and no adoption) and reunions are ten times more difficult because there are steamer trunks of baggage, anger, guilt and a myriad of SHIT to wade through and get past!

    ALL relationships are hard! And post adoption reunions perhaps the hardest because they most to overcome. Many times one or other party in a reunion has been brainwashed all their life that - as in this woman's case the adoptee doesn't need her because he or she has the parents. Many adoptees are brainwashed that we are horrible people who never wanted them.

    I actually find reunions that work - like marriages that go 50 years and beyond! Amazing feats of accomplishments and the exception to the rule.

    BUT...do we look at shorter marriages as failures or just shorter marriages? Why do approximately half of all marriages end in divorce? Because it takes at least one of the two people in ANY relationship to be very easy going and forgiving....

    ALL relationships are difficult and take work and if one of the two people is disturbed sometimes it is impossible to work through the problems, and like a bad marriage, sometimes you have to accept defeat and get on with your life.

    I think we need to compassionate to those for whom reunion was a disaster. At least this mother TRIED!! I give her credit for that.

    1. Mirah - What wordpress site were you having problems with? Quite possible it was the site owner set up and not Wordpress itself. Many security options/moderations/etc. for Wodpress from fully open to sites that require you to be a wordpress user and log in first (I HATE those sites and do not go to them as I always forget my login/password). I suspect your hate is based on a particular site configuration. I would like to know what it is so I can adequately support FMF visitors.

  12. Mirah, just to bring you up to date, Anon has left several comments I posted on the Hawaii blog or maybe the one after that,
    A rationale for adoptee access to original birth certificates.

    Yes, at least she tried. The mothers who reject out of hand we don't hear from.

  13. I re-submit this as I think I was not logged in the first time. If it's a duplicate, please feel free to delete the first one.

    Lori can answer for herself, of course. But she had been posting here for a long time about her reunion, which lasted years. It is my understanding that her daughter was consistently hostile, encouraged her own children not to have any respect at all for Lori (their grandmother), deliberately did things to hurt Lori's feelings, and generally looked to Lori as a source of cash and money for purchases and vacation travel expenses, and not much else. Lori sacrificed much to attempt to overcome all of this and be closer to her daughter (geographically as well as emotionally), without success. It's also my understanding that her daughter is certainly acquainted with Lori's relatives, and hasn't expressed a nicer attitude toward any of them - and that Lori's relatives are somewhat "scared" of her daughter and don't want to hear from her.

    Adoptee anger is justified and understandable. But how it is expressed is the core of a relationship - along with how the birth mother handles her own feelings and sense of responsibility. Perhaps it's possible to express anger or rage, without trying to cause damage or just take advantage of someone. Not sure.

    In any event, I support Lori 100%, she must do whatever is necessary to protect herself from a daughter whose overwhelming attitude is resentment, anger and perhaps hate. It is not bad to feel these things, but it depends on what a person does about it and how it's expressed. As in any other relationship; I don't seek to negate anger and rage at all; they are completely understandable and part of a big number of complex emotions facing all the parties in adoption reunion. (I'm a birth mother, that's my perspective)

    1. I posted the comment twice so if others who have trouble read that sometimes...it is impossible to tell if a comment went through.

  14. What do others think about the move to Wordpress? I have never had any trouble commenting, but Mirah above says that she has a hard time. I'd love some input. Thanks.

    1. It would be helpful if Mirah could provide the site she had difficulty with. Wordpress and site owners have more control over moderations, contributions, etc. It is possible Mirah was using a site that is requiring users to be logged into Wordpress to comment (something I personally HATE). This is not wordpress driven - this is the site owner an how they chose to set it up.

  15. What do first mothers owe their adopted children? As an adoptee by answer is easy. Medical history and identity of the father. I would want to know if every other woman in my biological family has breast cancer. I don't need to know any one's favorite color.

    I also agree a relationship cannot be forced and is not owed. My biologocal mother found me, unasked, uninvited. It's taken a year but after a restraining order and arrest for garrassment and trespassing, I think she will respect my desire not to see her, not to attend reunions, and not call her "mom".

    On this board, I'm the rarity, the "happy adoptee," who came looking for information and advice on how to deal with a life disruption from my biological mother. Once in a while, I find a post that I can offer an opinion ftom the other side, like this one.

    First mothers, you don't owe us anything but the truth. And we don't owe first mothers anything more than decent respect.

  16. Oh yes. Adoption is such a beautiful thing. Such a win-win. Is everybody HAPPY? Oh YES. Adoption does so much good, makes everything all special and right. It is SO in the 'best interest of the children' and helps the mothers 'get on with their life'. Look at all the happy, better off people.

    Now make sure you don't look at any of the studies and outcome reports for those adopted, and don't look at the studies on mothers, don't look at all the blogs and posts and books written by adoptees and mother's. No, really. It's the best thing EVER. Hey, it's perfect! Don't change a thing.

    Uh-huh. Sure.

    How anyone can continue to promote or condone what is known to cause such difficulties and suffering of so many and is really preventable, I simply do not understand. Nor do I want to.

    Yes, mother's owe their children answers to all their questions. The name of their father when known, or any possible identifying information. Plus medical information.

    1. Years ago I argued with Elizabeth Bartholet, Harvard prof, adoptive mother who had just written a book called Family Bonds, about adopting two children from Peru, on the PBS News Show. When I mentioned the research that adoptees had problems that statistically veered from the norm and appeared to be related to the act of being adopted, she called the research: Garbage. As far as I can tell, she's never heard on an international adoption that she doesn't love. The New York Times called her book: "Brilliant." At least now the internet has given us a way to speak out what we know the truth to be about adoption.

  17. Apparently, from my understanding after a failed reunion several years ago and being duped in a bogus "open adoption", all I owed anyone was my womb to bring my flesh and blood to the genetic strangers he now so gladly calls his family, while they treated me despicably (all engineered by their 'kind, loving' god, mind you). That is how they all see it anyway.

    My take today is that I owe myself my dignity, self respect and the right not to be treated as a walking incubator and that is exactly how I treat myself. I'm done thinking I owed or now owe anyone a f**** thing.

  18. A few thoughts:

    After reading these comments I am becoming more opposed to reunion in general. It seems to work out well for so few, and even then a good reunion doesn't always last. As someone who works in the behavioral health field, I know that many clinicians no longer support adoption reunion because it most often causes more problems than it solves. Although every person has the right to know where s/he comes from biologically and there should be no such thing as a closed adoption that denies this information from an adoptee for all time.

    I find it ironic that several comments mention how messed up adoptees are psychologically, socially, etc. BECAUSE of being adopted. Well, hello, how the hell did we become adoptees in the first place? Last I checked, adoptees weren't given themselves up for adoption. The attitude seems to be, "my relinquished child is damaged, difficult, whatever, from being given up so I'm going to abandon him again." Wow, talk about blaming the victim. Obviously no one should allow their life to be endangered by anyone, but I wonder how much of first parent rejection really stems from being in danger.

    I don't see any conflict between self-care and taking some responsibility for what happened. My mother was forced to give me up because she was white and middle class and gave birth to me out of wedlock at a time when society had no place for me. But she certainly accepts that she gave me up. She chose to have a sexual relationship with a man who told her many times that he had no intention of marrying and didn't want kids. Since he was pushing 40 she would have been smart to take him at his word. Fortunately, she accepts her responsibility for ending up as a first mother, and my ending up as an adoptee, and the damage that has caused. I would have lost respect for her if she only wanted to paint herself as a victim.

    And Sustainable Families, thank you for your comments. I feel very much as you do, and also agree with Lorraine's pov in this post.

    And Cindy, you are so spot on. But we both know adoption will keep on being promoted.

    1. I am not opposed to reunion in general or in particular. It is up to the individuals concerned to try, if that is what they want. I know of a number of reunions that have worked out well and lasted into the long term.
      What I *am* opposed to is conflating reunion with adoptee rights, something which seems to happen far too often.

    2. Part 1
      Robin, I'm a little confused, could you clarify: If many clinicians no longer support adoption reunion; what do they suggest as an alternative? Wouldn't it be better to have a reunion than just have a question mark hanging out there?

      From a birth mother perspective, my younger son contacted me after 35 years. I would never have contacted him, as I was abusive to my two children when they were still very small. I felt that was the worst thing I could do, and perhaps the cruelest thing I could do, for them. As it happens, neither of them have any memories of abuse. That doesn't let me off the hook or make things OK, but at least it gives me some peace of mind that they don't have that burden on their shoulders always.

      As it happens, their adoptive parents told them that I left town to marry a man "who didn't want kids." This was not true, there was no man, I left town, but I was alone. I don't understand why they did that, in fact before the adoption was finalized I wrote a letter to them describing the fact that I was abusive and could not control my thoughts or actions, and I was so glad that they could give my children a good and happy life. They stated (through a mutual friend) that they would show this letter to my 2 boys when they are older. That never happened, I suppose they felt what they said would be less hurtful to the kids than the actual truth. But from my perspective, it made it sound like Mom has a very low moral character and didn't love them. The truth is, I did love them and hoped to protect them from many of life's sadnesses - drug abuse, physical abuse, lack of a 2nd parent, and lack of ability to be loving to them and show good judgment, on a day to day basis. Things were very bad toward the end, and I realized it was wrong and something had to be done. I hope, for their peace of mind (not mine) for them to be aware that their mother did love them and still does.

      My older son wants no contact with me; I wrote a letter to him 1-1/2 years ago and received no response. I apologized for a great number of things, but felt (am being advised) not to bring up memories of abuse, if he doesn't remember anything. I have made it clear to my younger son's wife, that there may come a time it could matter, to know the truth. His viewpoint is "My mom ditched me." I ditched him and his brother, hoping that they would have so many things that I never had and would not be able to provide - stability, family, kindness, generosity, financial security, toys, etc. For the first 2 years I received reports from our mutual friend and was so happy to hear that they were doing well. Their adoptive parents were doing so much that I hadn't even thought of, and as a result they are both capable of functioning and are were not raised to be afraid.

      Wouldn't reunions maybe ease some of the fears that adoptees have? About who were Mom and Dad? A couple of serial killers? Aliens from Mars?

    3. Part 2
      My younger son's reunion with his Dad did not go well, as his father is now a bipolar who does not want to take his medication, and is very proud of the violent life he has lived. Then my son was wary of meeting me of course, but I have tried my best to look, act like, and be the kind of person he would feel comfortable having a conversation with. And I try to reassure him that I love him (that isn't progressing, my husband says that he may just be confused.) So I have to try not to make it seem like I'm applying pressure to pay attention to Mom.

      It's certain that reunion with my older son may never happen. Still, if it does, I hope to put to rest any sadness caused by ideas he may have about his origins, and if I can give him some peace of mind, I hope it is possible. I understand that he is very angry and resentful that I left them, so there's no telling whether the expreience will be good or bad. He is not ready to talk to anybody, not even his wife, kids or brother, about me.

      I'm not sure why anyone would recommend that no reunion take place. Everybody needs to be given a chance. You just don't know what happened, where you stand today, until you actually meet and talk to your child (or your birth parent(s).)

      Why recommend no reunion, I wonder? Things may get bad, I'm sure that I'm no exception, but isn't it a good idea, to keep everyone from letting their worst fears take over? Believe me, I have spent the last 35 years imagining that both of my sons are in jail, beating women, etc., etc. because of something their father did, or something I did. Thank God that is not the case, I know we are all very lucky. Their adoptive parents were kind and generous with them. Sadly, they never bonded with the adoptive mother, and their adoptive father died when they were both teenagers. But for 10 years, they had some happiness. With the emphasis on "some" - not complete happiness of course, that doesn't make everything just fine and dandy.

    4. new and old,

      When a clinician suggests that adoptees should not attempt reunion, I remind them, quite forcibly at times, that the non-adopted usually have no idea what it's like to live without any knowledge of one's natural parents and extended biological family. That the idea presented by the adoption industry that the adoptive family is enough and is the child's "real" family is a myth.

      I believe when adoptees search that most are not just looking for facts and medical information, they are looking for family. And in many (most?) cases to be loved and valued by the parents who gave them away. Yet reading many of the comments from first mothers, and on a family preservation-oriented blog at that, it is quite clear that many mothers have no desire to allow the relinquished child re-entry into the family fold.

      Adoptees and first mothers come at adoption from such different perspectives that I doubt most of us will ever be able to see eye to eye. Adoptees need far more help to navigate these treacherous waters and much more realistic information about what to expect when seeking a reunion.

      So yes, sadly, hearing about so many disappointing reunions and reading the comments here (many of which come across to me as adoptee blaming), I have soured on reunion.

      I do love Mirah's comment from 7/17 at 1:10 pm. She goes beyond the legalistic and practical side of adoption and gets to the emotional heart of the matter. So thank you, Mirah.

    5. Wow, Robin, your comment really surprises me. I have met many natural; parents and adoptees who have had a reunion. The relationships have run the gamut, from becoming best friends to one party threatening to call the cops if the other dares contact her again.

      I have NEVER met an adoptee or a natural parent, however, who regretted making the contact. I don't know these clinicians who no longer support reunion but I suspect they are not natural parents or adoptees. Common sense should tell them that being in the dark, always wondering, is far worse than rejection.

    6. Always better to know than to be in the dark. I used to think of my past as a deep pit, right behind me. It was dark and completely unknowable. It was scary and disturbing.

      So was the truth. Real scary, and real disturbing. So, I traded shadows for light. Guesses for truths. In many ways,bad, for really bad.

      But, the most wonderful thing of all, the light in the tunnel, I got to see my own mother's face! In person,for real. Worth every heartache.

      I was driven to seek her out, sensing our time was short, and it was. I swear, I could feel her.

    7. Adopted One: Thank you for your clarity. My daughter said she wanted to search for me, and I found her when I was supposed to. I hope that I was able to give her some self-esteem and knowledge that eventually gave her the courage to get past some of her troubles, including the drugs she took to control her seizures. She felt confident eventually about writing, and maybe she never would have if I had not found her.

    8. I too am surprised to hear that you are going off the idea of reunion, especially the fact that you seem to be basing much of your change of mind on the comments on this thread - which comments, in the main, are not so much about reunion per se, as about abuse. I think the message would be similar in the case of a raised child who posed a danger to the rest of the family.

      It seems to me that these clinicians you mention (What sort of clinicians? General practitioners? Therapists? Psychotherapists?) ought not to be advising either way. Surely whether to try for reunion or not is something for the individual to decide, with the proviso that they are informed of the possible pros and cons beforehand. Most mothers feel they had little to no autonomy when they were separated from their children, and their children certainly had none. In my opinion, as adults both now have the right to make up their own minds about whether to contact each other. One of the privileges of being an adult is being able to make one's own decisions and take responsibility for them. If they do decide to meet, how they continue to treat one another afterwards is another matter. Respect and understanding is due both ways, as well as a certain amount of acceptance. Of course it doesn't always happen that way, but like others here, I have heard very few adoptees or first parents say they regret having made the effort. And some have forged strong and abiding relationships that include other family members.

      "Yet reading many of the comments from first mothers . . . it is quite clear that many mothers have no desire to allow the relinquished child back into the family fold."
      I think you are wrong about that.

      "Adoptees and first mothers come from such different perspectives that I doubt most of us will ever be able to see eye to eye."
      Adoptees and first parents who seek reunion (even if it's only one meeting) share one common and very important perspective. The desire to KNOW.

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    12. I agree that knowing is not enough - or that it may may not be be for most people who have sought and achieved a reunion (which not everyone wants anyway).
      I believe I can understand why you would want your mother to be a mom (in the adult sense, as you say). If I was in your situation and from what I know of your story, I would probably want the same thing.

      But surely those people who initiate the move to reunion *have* to be activated by a desire for *something*, and if not a desire to know, even if only to know what the other person looks like, what else could it possibly be?
      Of course there may be more be more and deeper needs or wants beneath the surface, but initially at least one would think the action is fuelled by a burning desire to know.

      I have occasionally wondered if some people who are found are flummoxed by the finders motivation for seeking them out. Perhaps it's something searchers need to be clear about in their heads before embarking on their search. Not having specific expectations of the other person, that is, but rather an understanding of *their own* reasons for seeking reunion.

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    14. Kaisa G.wrote: "i think instead if the question were asked of these same mothers, what if anything do first mothers hope to (or want to) give their adult kid (once reunited?) i think that the answers would be much more to our liking."

      Yes, I think you are on to something there. Rephrasing the issue this way and bringing it back to the individual rather than the theoretical would certainly elicit a different response from many mothers, especially those who comment here who for the most part are generous and loving mothers. "What is owed?" sounds legalistic and threatening to some, a debt that can never really be repaid. But "what do I wish to give my child?" is something entirely different and each mother can answer for herself. What the mother wants to give may not in all cases be what the adoptee wants to receive, but at least it is the start of a dialogue for some.

    15. Kaisa, thanks for mentioning me above, but I don't deserve any credit yet. Remember, it's been less than 2 years in reunion for me and my son. We are not having much contact as he doesn't seem interested, or it may be more than he can process at this time, except for the 3 personal visits we have had. And my other son doesn't even want to hear anything about me, so there's no relationship there. Nothing has been tested yet - when the tests come, I may fail. I hope not, but I'm no better than the rest, you never know. Let's come back in 10 years and see what the report is on my behavior.

      As for Anonymous, she obviously has been through a lot of hurt in reunion, and trying further has not helped. She felt threatened and stated fear for her safety and that of her family. This must be seriously. It doesn't sound like her adopted-out son is being a little hard to get along with, he may have actually done some damage her, or expressed threats or a desire to do damage. We don't know. I think that she was taken to task, a little bit too much. As she stated (in the other post), although she was called "unstable" (she hardly seems unstable), no-one even asked what happened to make her view her experience this way. To say "you can just get a restraining order," as was said to her, seems to oversimplify things and is insensitive. A good example of how to chase first mothers away from this forum, which I think is not the goal.

    16. Once you start saying the people need to be psychologically approved before they can get their original birth information my understanding of this woman's plight was strained. Elsewhere in another comment she insisted that the only way to make contact was via a letter. There were several other comments at various old posts that included instructions on how everyone should behave, all strainging my patience with her.

      Let us remember that non-adopted children who become addicts and the like also do things such as steal from the parents, and otherwise make their lives a living hell. What do they do, or should they do, that is different from what birth mothers/families do with a difficult relative who makes their lives a living hell, as this woman has described it?

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  19. When I reunited with my daughter, she very much felt that I "owed" her much more than just knowledge, medical history, an apology etc. Needless to say, this mindset nearly destroyed our relationship. Relationship building is a complex process and will never work when one party feels "owed."

  20. I just re-read the quote: "We owe NOBODY anything. We are not slaves. The only person we ever owe anything to is ourselves. This stupid message in adoption about mothers owing anything is what keeps us mothers in the gutter. Well screw that. I owe nothing except to myself."

    Legally this is absolutely true. Legally, as mothers, we owe nothing any adult child, including those we raised, and less to those we relinquished our parental rights to. To those children we are legal "strangers" and thus "owe" them nothing legally.

    But what about MORALLY? What about ethically?

    I feel I owe my adopted-out daughter the following:

    - The truth
    - An explanation
    - Answers to any and all questions
    - Medical history

    And most importantly I think I owe a child I bore and relinquished, an APOLOGY!

    Further, I believe that any mother who agrees with the above quote places herself in the gutter by being cold-hearted and selfish an ignoring her obligations to a child she CHOSE to bring into the world.

    Do we "owe" our children money? NO! Do we "owe" them the ability to abuse us? NO! But we do, in my opinion, owe them love and understanding - even when they act out because of their deep-seated and very justifiable hurt and feelings of rejection and abandonment.

    We owe them compassion and validation of all their confused and ambivalent feelings as a result of being put in a poison of required "gratitude" toward their "savior" adopters and having possibly been subjected to demeaning lies about us. Most adoptees feel very torn and in a loyalty bind regarding reunion (if occurs while their adopters are still alive.) We need to be mindful that this not their fault, even when it causes us hurt that they may feel the need to keep their relationship with us secret.

    1. Who was it said the only person we owe anything to is ourselves, Mirah? I can't find it. I agree with you that our children deserve an apology for us not being there when they needed us. Even if it wasn't within our power to be there for them, It is something most of us deeply regret, and they deserve to know that.

    2. National Parliamentary apologies 21.3.2013 were given to mothers who had been illegally separated from their newborn babies and adopted persons apologised to advised their mothers did not abandon them - yet since that date - adopted persons have commenced a war on mothers - refusing to accept the National Parliamentary truth - they were not abandoned - their mothers had no choice - what is it that adopted persons do not understand - why since this apology have they come out attacking with viral abusive words towards mothers - I mean viral words - with so many of them now making up their own stories with adoption community burying mothers' truth and allowing adopted persons the right now to abuse - why - we are all human beings - are protected under United Nation's international human rights yesterday and today - so is it not more humane to stop the attacks and abuse - where is the same vicious attack on mothers by so many - placed on adoptive parents that natural mothers have no control over their actions? Majority of adopted persons need to address their anger and revenge towards their adoptive parents before they reach out to their natural families transferring their anger onto their natural mothers - then and only then will success be achieved - deal with one's own anger and not transfer it onto another human being - especially one's mother who gave them the miracle of life.

  21. In this post Lorraine herself stated, "It's a complicated world made up of all kinds of people." And, on 7/15, user 'new and old' stated about the woman who is the focus of this blog: "The woman was relating her feelings and point of view based on per personal experience, as most people do."

    The above statements are true! So, it disturbs me that there appears to be so much judgment of the unnamed birth mother whose comments have been quoted by Lorraine, both by Lorraine and by many who've commented.

    I am a birth mom and was reunited with my son in 2014, 36 years after he was born. It has been a very positive reunion; we felt connected from the beginning, and have truly enjoyed growing our relationship these past two years. It's also different from any other relationship in our lives - it doesn't compare to his relationship with his adoptive parents or my relationship with my other children - it is unique, and we're still learning to navigate it and all the interconnected relationships that go with it. I don't take for granted that it's gone well: no doubt it's easier since he had a positive childhood and grew up without anger and rejection issues, and he and I are both stable people. I realize the "smooth sailing" we've experienced may not be the experience of the majority.

    I cannot judge this woman, or anyone other birth mother, for their choice in how to proceed or not proceed with reunion. We all have genetic predispositions and unique life experiences, and all of those facets of our being will play into all of our relationships, including reunion. There's no one way that's correct, or one opinion that's right. There is not a stand-alone, factual statement about what birth mothers and their children "owe" each other: In my opinion, it is shallow and judgmental to state that all birth mothers and children owe each other without considering the complexities of their unique lives.

  22. "...it disturbs me that there appears to be so much judgment of the unnamed birth mother whose comments have been quoted by Lorraine, both by Lorraine and by many who've commented."

    I certainly wouldn't judge this birth mother for deciding that she can't have a relationship with her relinquished son. That's her own personal business.

    However, she also stated that adoptees should only get non-identifying information, or have to "pass a psychological profile" (her words) in order to obtain identifying information. So basically she thinks that all adoptees should suffer because she, personally, had a negative reunion experience.

    Open records is not about reunions; many adoptees are not interested in reunions/relationships with birth parents. It's about a basic human right to know one's true identity.

    1. Kate said "Open records is not about reunions. It's about a basic right to know one's true identity." There it is, in a nutshell.

      Thanks, Kate, for putting it concisely. Mixing up open records with reunion only confuses people more than they already are. Sometimes I wonder if it isn't a deliberate ploy to mislead. At any rate, not a good trap to fall into.

  23. Kate is right: My criticism of the initial Anonymous is that she, based on her negative reunion experience with her child, is that she offers proscriptions that would apply to everyone: only contact by letter; and that adoptees need to be psychologically evaluated before they are given any information. If she is truly afraid of her son or daughter, she should get a restraining order of protection--just as she would from a son or daughter she raised who was a menace to her. She is entitled to act as she wishes; but I do believe if you have a child, if you bring a child into the world, we mothers do owe them some common human decency, such as information about their history, their personal story, and if they wish, at least one meeting.

    1. None of us should generalize to "all reunions" from our own personal experience, good or bad. As Lo said, that is what was wrong with the anonymous poster's ideas, not the fact that she did not want a relationship. My own experience is good now, and my son has never asked me for anything nor needed any sort of help but I know mothers who found seriously troubled and adoptees and tried for years to help them in all ways, getting addicts into rehab, letting the adoptee move in with them, paying for treatment. In some cases they really did change things for the adoptee, but in others, nothing really helped long term. These are people who really tried to have a relationship and even went way beyond that, but in the end that relationship did not work. These are not people who left their troubled adult child "in the gutter". Sometimes everything you can do it not enough.

      Sandra J. had some good thoughts on this; "There is not a stand-alone, factual statement about what birth mothers and their children "owe" each other: In my opinion, it is shallow and judgmental to state that all birth mothers and children owe each other without considering the complexities of their unique lives." Except for Lo's suggestions about human kindness and some answers, I think this is the best one can say on this very complicated and emotional subject.

  24. I do agree with the posters that basically the truth is owed, but considering that adoption is a legal fiction (a lie society has agreed to consider as good as the truth), full assistance in regaining the birth identity, by reversing the adoption or adopting back, if desired by the adoptee, could be considered part of that truth.

  25. I wrote about this some time ago. I struggle with the word "owe". I would prefer to frame it from the adoptee perspective - what information do they have inalienable right to?

    The word "owe" suggests a debt and frankly I do not think that debt could ever be "repaid" nor should it ever have been. It is a lose-lose situation to suggest mothers "owe" their children anything. However, do the children have a "right" to some information? Absolutely.

    Does this information have to come from the mother? Not necessarily. Do the parties have a relationship? No. However, I feel strongly that adoptees have a right to where they came from, their OBC without restriction, etc.

    1. Here is the old post of mine that explains the "owing" a bit differently.

      Paying Debits

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  26. It is so sad that this question should even be raised - with the troubles in Nice - human beings are precious individuals - people need to take stock - reflect - and try and bring peace into their lives - when one sees the doll laying against a body covered up in Nice - we all should step back - rethink - and work towards peace and joyful blessings - 10 angels killed in Nice - lets all step back and reassess one's surroundings - and set new personal priorities - we all have zero to worry about when one sees the photos coming out of Nice - let's work towards peace in one's own life because one sees the photos from Nice - what worries do each of us really have?

    1. The massacre in Nice has absolutely nothing to do with adoption issues, and if you think we have "zero to worry about" just because of that tragedy, then you obviously live in a different universe than I.

  27. I think we should have some patience and understanding with Anonymous. She is obviously here for a reason. Haven't most first mothers found themselves "stuck" in the Anger Phase for a time? Where is the compassion we seek from each other?

  28. Er...headlines on the internet are best when they are not enigmatic or overtly clever, as cover lines on print magazines are. Instead they are best to be something that someone might search for on line. This headline generated a high numbers of readers, as well as insightful commentary from readers who never got snarky with each other. Whether one "likes" the headline or not--this headline accomplished a great deal. I was especially gratified that so many mothers commented.

    I never felt I "owed" my daughter anything as a payment, but honesty, concern, and care that I could give her. Motherly love came without thinking about it. She came here after she was raped in Wisconsin. She came here after she gave up her first child for adoption. She came here. To a mother who was always going to accept her. I do not condemn the people who have real difficulty dealing with unstable adoptees who wish to hurt them. I do not have a problem with mothers who eventually shut down a reunion if it is too hurtful. We all do the best we can. I repeat: I take issue with people whose bad experiences then want to write the rules for others.

  29. I commented on the original post, and although Anon misconstrued my statement (or I worded it poorly, which is very likely), I stand by what I said there. First moms do not owe a relationship to their adopted out child. Anon indicated that she was concerned for her safety, and that's justifiable if based in actual facts and not just assumptions that adoptees are unbalanced people just for searching. And I firmly believe that every person has a right to their personal narrative and their reflections on it. No one has the right to tell someone else how they should feel.

    Where I disagreed with Anon was with what Lorraine was saying in this new post- the right to not have a relationship with another adult person, even when related by blood, does not equate to blocking adoptee access to their OBC or to trying to initiate contact. Anon suggested tests before an adoptee is allowed to make contact. No other adult person is given psychological tests prior to obtaining their factual records of birth. This is not equality, and it's not right. As I said, and Anon took issue with, it is unequivocally wrong to deny another human being their own history. Anon's experience is exactly what lawmakers point to when denying adoptees their OBC- "See, she was promised privacy. Look at the trauma you are causing her!" I don't think many adoptees purposely seek to cause trauma to their first moms, but it is not right to perpetuate this imbalance between adult lives that are equal in importance. Adoptees are people. They did not ask for adoption, they did not ask to have their truths locked away, and they should not be held responsible. It's possible to have both compassion for first moms as well as supporting the rights of adoptees.

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  31. A bit late getting to this thread - but wanted to say, my personal stand also is that mothers have a "moral" obligation to answer basic questions from their children. And also that relationships are not owed - if they work out okay - but than if not - please respect each other.

    I found my lost daughter a day after her 36th birthday (2005). She did not answer me until about 5 months later, with a letter asking that I don't contact her anymore, and if she wanted contact, than she would get in touch with me. (I left her all my info on my first letter). But she did mention in her letter that she did not have any medical information. So... I wrote a 12 page letter to her about all medical info on my family, and my own, told her about her birth and why I had to give her up for adoption. I figured she could go back and read it later to understand my feelings about her. I told her I loved her, and if she ever changed her mind, I would be there for her. She never asked about her "father", so I did not mention this to her, but did tell her in the letter if she ever wanted to know - I would give her that info, plus pictures I have of him. I also did send her pictures of myself - at the time of her birth, and what I looked like at the time of my letter. She looks SO much like me, I thought "maybe" that would help. Wouldn't you want to know someone that "looked" like you? I thought she would, but I guess not, as I have not heard from her in 10 years.
    I still have the same email I sent her, but now I will be moving out of the country, so don't know if I should send her a note about my change of address? What do you ALL think? She emphatically said NO CONTACT! So, probably won't....

    She did say she had a wonderful childhood and great parents - which I am VERY thankful for! She has known all her life that I have loved her and she loves me too.

    1. Lee2, You did the right thing, giving her all the health information (and probably more) that you could think of. After that, it seems best to walk away.

      I haven't heard from my first granddaughter who visited her for a week, treated as well as I could afford. But after she met her father, she drifted away and then sent a "don't bother me" email. That was I think in 2009. So I haven't bothered her. Then she wrote a racist diatribe about white women who give up their children, plus fostered some other nasty stuff on line.

      I go back to what I said in H♥le in my Heart: The people who want to be in your life will be. You don't have to go chasing after them.

      I doubt I would ever be able to trust a relationship with her.

    2. I agree generally that you should not bother with a child who asked you not to contact her. Since you're leaving the country, though, I think, you might send her a short note giving her your new address. You might write something like "Dear X, just a short note to tell you I'm moving to Y and will be there for Z years. My new address is ABC. I think of you and would be happy to hear from you."

      It may wake up an interest that she's tried to bury. On the other hand it may antagonize her, but so what? You don't have a relationship now so it can't be any worse.

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    4. Totally agree with Jane. Reminding her that you are alive might antagonize or annoy her, but what have you got to lose at this point?

    5. It's never right to "antagonize" or "annoy" someone who does not want you in their life, Lee2. These comments above convey anger, which cannot be on your list of how you'd like to portray yourself to your daughter. I have much personal experience with that issue, my mother bothering my sister, knowing that contact was unwanted, and my siblings bothering me after I cut them off. It comes across as pestering, and alack of respect for feelings, and very hurtful.

      Lee, be careful. You have done your best up to now, follow your instincts. It's been 10 years, so I think it's fine to send your short note. You have respected your daughter's feelings so far, and I have confidence that you will continue to do so. But tread lightly!

  32. Lee2, will you still have the same personal e-mail address in the new country? If so, you should not send anything to her. If not, I think it would be OK to send a note with your new address, to put your mind at ease. But be careful - keep it very short.

    And if you don't hear anything back, try not to be too disappointed. At least she will know how to reach you if anything changes, from her perspective.

  33. I think a birth mother owes the adoptee a description of his/her birth family's medical history and the bio father's name. She does not owe a relationship. Especially not one that isn't mutually beneficial.

    I was in my early thirties when my son and I were reunited when he turned 18. The APs tried to warn me about his psychological problems but I went in with rose-filtered glasses not quite believing it could be true. The first few months were magic between us - a true honeymoon period. But after a few years, I got to the point where I became completely apathetic about him. He was so angry he was boiling over with HATE. Not hate, but capital letters HATE. He was angry and destructive. He lies, manipulates, pits people against each other, and just creates mayhem all around him. The handful of times I dared to tell him that his behaviour was not okay, it led to him unleashing a hatred of me that was unbearable and it all happened very publicly. I gave him multiple chances. I became so exhausted from the stress that I couldn't eat and could barely think logically about the situation any more. I just wanted away. I began to regret the day he was conceived. He was only happy when he was getting exactly what he wanted exactly when he wanted it. If you didn't march to the beat of his drum, he was such an unhappy hostile person that he was miserable to be around. He hates himself and seemingly everyone else. He's also extremely narcissistic and constantly denigrates others who he thinks are beneath him. Women are his favorite target. He is superficial and shallow being absolutely obsessed with money and fame. He has attempted suicide multiple times and probably will again. He makes these attempts during conflict when he is angry (not depressed) to get people to stop being upset with him and instead rush to his side with concern that he'll die. He uses the threat of suicide to control others, essentially. In plain words, don't make him angry or you might be responsible for his death. He refuses to stay in treatment for his mental illnesses. When he is angry with someone, he plans their murder in frightening detail including how to get away with it, and then he announces his plans to everyone else's discomfort. He frequently talks about how he is going to snap one day and murder someone and because his biological father actually did murder someone there is good reason to believe he is fully capable of going that far in a cold rage.

    I feel awful for feeling so negatively about him but I don't have the temperament to cope with what is basically an emotional vampire. I have very little hope for his future anymore. When you're dealing with someone like this, it is important to remember that this behaviour is coming from an adult and not a child. At some point you have to stand up, dust yourself off, and walk away to save your own sanity.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. I am not a psychologist or anything, but from what I have been reading lately, it sounds like Brenda's son has something like borderline personality disorder and/or narcissistic personality disorder. Those are very difficult illnesses to treat from what I understand, esp. when the person with the condition doesn't think they need treatment. Does anyone know if adoptees seem more prone to personality disorders as well as other intractable mental illnesses? Just wondering. These situations sound frightening.

    3. Brenda, This is exactly the same situation as my daughter - narcissism, HATE, and behaviors that make it impossible to want to have a relationship with her.

  34. Thank you all for your advice!
    I'm tending towards "not" contacting her at all, as she does have my email, and I plan on keeping that forever! LOL!
    I really want to respect "her" decision/feelings on this. She sounded VERY angry in her last email, so this is one point that goes towards my decision. I figure she has one way of contacting me if need be!
    But I do appreciate everyone's suggestions and thoughts! Thank you again!

    Sorry Lorraine about your granddaughter - but such is life, eh? ((((hugs))))

    1. Thanks, Lee2.

      Since you are keeping the email address, I'd leave it at that. I have gotten emails from adoptees who want to know HOW to go about reconnecting after a decade. Now they want to resume a relationship, but understand the other person may be leery of doing so.

      It often has to do with the adoptive parents, and how to relate to both sides of the adoptees bifurcated family. Anyway, Hugs. As someone else has said, I feel your pain. You know we first mothers all do.

  35. As we all agree, yes, obviously, nobody is forced to have a relationship with another adult. Even non-adopted adult children get cut out of their family for being dangerous or abusive. Maybe ask this: are you ethically obligated to have an on-going relationship with a normal healthy adult adoptee who wants a relationship with you?
    Logic would say no, but for reasons of common decency you should give them all the information you have and it would be really nice if you expressed the feeling that you wished you had been able to raise your child and wanted the best for them. OK, even better that you loved them and wanted the best for them.
    Ah. But that takes us back to the old adoption mindf***. If you loved me and want the best for me why don't you want me now? How could you love me and never look for me, never want to know if I was lost or abused or sick? I know, the brainwashing, the shame, the fear of rejection...but still, in an adoptees heart it never can really make sense. I loved you so I left you and now I want you to leave me alone.
    I am in adoption reunion now for two years, happily with my birthmother, separated and not speaking to my birthfather. Sometimes I wonder if there is a simple prediction for reunion success: how did the birthparents feel about the baby when the adoption took place. My birthfather truly wanted that baby gone, feared having to marry his teenaged girlfriend, and mainly felt relief when I was gone. Perhaps he never felt like a father, and my return did not awaken any deep fatherly feelings, which were never there anyway. My birthmother had fantasized throughout the pregnancy he would save her from this adoption and marry her and went she says 'crazy' for a while after they took me away. She was already attached to the baby. It sounds to me like many of these reunion rejecting birthmothers really considered it a post-birth abortion, that the baby was dead to them and they were not in any way the child's mother . I think the baby scoop era machinery essentially functioned as a modern, rational, humane form of infanticide, a necessary practice for maintaining male control over female reproduction in patriarchal societies throughout history. Maybe the truth is always best: maybe they should say, I did not love you, I did not really care where they took you or what happened, it wasn't my problem anymore. That does not make them not the adoptee's mother. it just makes them a bad mother. So let them live with that, and let the adoptee move on. After all, men do it all the time to children they may have spent many years raising. Nobody says they are not the father, they just say he didn't raise me didn't want to and doesn't care now. Wouldn't that honesty be cleaner for everyone?
    What do birthmothers owe adoptees? Truly, I believe their love, the patience and knowledge needed to deal with the emotional pain and anger and sadness even normal healthy adoptees feel , the role of an adult parent to an adult child. Nobody can force you too. But please try, its worth the effort. Though they may never allow themselves to admit it, your adoptee child needs your love and acceptance. To be more personal, my reunion relationships, even the rejection, have deeply helped me heal and grow as a person, almost like waking up out of a daze. It deeply pains me to see these birthmothers on here question the value of reunions and say they don't want their adult children.

  36. " I think the baby scoop era machinery essentially functioned as a modern, rational, humane form of infanticide, a necessary practice for maintaining male control over female reproduction in patriarchal societies throughout history"

    I agree with what you have said here, and others who have written about the BSe have also noted this important point. That time in history was one in which women did not have control over how many children they had, or what would happen to them. Birth control was scarce or non-existent. Men could walk away from pregnant women and say, "not mine," and that was that.

    Shot-gun weddings existed, but the marriage could be annulled later on the basis that it was coerced or that the parties were underage. Babies of these marriages were sometimes surrendered or placed in kinship fosters or adoptions. It happened fairly often where I grew up (1960s, NE US)

  37. In my personal experience,my parents said i was stillborn,and their families accepted this as fact.

    So,to them, I am actually dead.They became accustomed to that idea,and are not open to changing their thinking about my death, despite the fact that i continue to draw breath, to this very day.

    It is, to me like a living nightmare. Of course, they feel they owe me nothing. The dead do not make claims on the living. My return was unexpected, unwanted,and unneeded.

    Maybe other families feel the same about their returned children.We are already dead and buried,who wants a reminder of what they did to us?

  38. Absolutely, IMO, there is no obligation to a have a relationship with any of your children, adopted or not, once they are adults. You make the decision when the cord is cut and how far you want to go.

    My generation adopted a lot of children as well as used many ways to get around infertility to have children in ways that are not "natural". Many have children that are not biologically related and in some cases the children don't even know, or if they do so little made of it that it's been a non issue. But many of young adults today have issues. Both adopted and birth children. It's entirely up to the parents as to how much they are to support, ignore, and even take a break from these kids.

    I have several friends who have adopted children that have chosen not to seek birth mothers who contacted them, and just a couple of them with children they gave up to adoption. None of them have much of a relationship with those children, and they do not want it either. That's the mainstream. This board is interesting in that it does bring forth an alternative viewpoint, but it's not the majority practice.

    1. Rebecca Y: Many adult children seek out their natural birth parents without informing anyone in the adoptive family, and in fact, ask that the birth mother and others are scrupulous in staying closeted from the adoptive family. Many adoptees who profess absolutely no interest wait until the adoptive parents are both dead before they begin a search. Others start and stop searching, and are fearful of seeming to be disloyal.

      It sounds as if you live among the adoptive family groupings--as we do--but what you see and hear may not be what is going on in the minds of the adopted. Adoption is a dislocating process that is disorienting and disturbing to many.

      The tip of the iceberg does not reveal what lies underneath. But even if, there are the great masses of uninterested people, the pain that is evident here, numerous other blogs and throughout social media does not mean that our sense of life only represents the minority. Even if it does, the pain that is engendered by adoption is deep, lasting and often unnecessary.

      It might be enlightening for you to look into the studies about adoption and suicide. And what giving up a child does to the woman who does so.

  39. If Lorraine wasn't going to say anything I was...I know many adoptees (my age in their 40s) and a few birthmothers (in their 60s) and I can say there is huge social pressure to not disturb the social conventions of american adoption practices. What people directly involved do and say in private is not known to people outside of it. As an adoptee, you risk, or feel that you risk, being disowned or emotionally abandoned by the only parents you have ever known. No matter how nonchalant your adoptive parent friends may sound about not caring if their kids have a relationship with their birthfamily, their kids know better deep in their bones. I never told my parents about my adoption reunion (I am an adult and don't live in the same town) and would advise any other adoptee to do the same. It's worked out fine, and if anything made me closer to my aparents by removing an underlying emotional instability. As for the birthmothers, one I knew only as an aquaintance spoke of it at a party when she was good and drunk, and the look on her face was one of raw trauma and nearly dissassociated levels of intense pain. No, she never looked for her son. The trauma was so intense she couldn't speak much less search. They told her he died in childbirth. She heard a baby, her baby she knew, screaming in another room. Her parents never spoke of it again. Yah, no trauma there. And she never had another child. That's the real story about adoption.

    1. Thank you for saying your piece!

    2. Approximately a third of all women who relinquish children NEVER have another. If I could, I would make every adoption counselor tell that to the women/teens who give up their babies. I wish all the parents of the teens knew this. I wish everyone knew about the long lasting PTSD that we all carry around. Some of us do better than others, but sheet, I can burst out in tears at the slightest mention of something that shouldn't be traumatic. Did it this afternoon telling someone why were were not going to dinner at the house of the man who once said to me, in relation to my daughter: You are our worst nightmare. A birth mother who didn't disappear.

      The guy's memory is shot and he almost certainly doesn't remember saying it or even my involvement with my daughter and adoption, but you know what? I remember and I know he and his son and wife felt this way when they went to Russia to adopt. So they didn't have to deal with a pesky birth mother.

      Gotta go, Obama is speaking and I want to hear him.

    3. Sending you hugs Lorraine! That grief lies hidden only behind a very thin protective "defense".

      If that, "You are our worst nightmare", is ever spoken to me again, I will look them in the eye and say, "well, we're even, you're my worst nightmare". Kind of hard to spend voluntary time with a nightmare of this proportion. It's part of the reason why I have a difficult (nearly impossible) time with a couple of family members who adopted. They are fine people but this is a huge stumbling block to be around those intense triggers.

      It should be always mandatory to tell an expectant mother and make it very plain to her that the chances of her never having another child are greatly increased.

      Adoption can not only take this child but it may very well 'take' any and all future children as well. It takes your motherhood.

      For those that never want children, no big deal, but that can and does often change with time. This playing Russian Roulette with a woman's motherhood is criminal and nuts. How many would put 2 bullets (1/3rd) in a revolver, spin the cylinder, and then start pulling the trigger? That's crazy.

      Once you have a child, you are a mother. You will forever BE a mother whether or no you raise the child... motherhood with a missing for decades or forever, ONLY child is excruciatingly painful.

      Off topic here. Do the states that have opened records and have the process to notify (birth) parents, notify those who were told their children were stillborn or died soon after birth but in fact were placed for adoption? What of those mothers that had twins /multiples but only knew of one child existing?

    4. @Cindy,
      I do not have updated information, but I do not know of any efforts to inform mothers that their children have died, other than the effort in the state of Minnesota. A law was passed there many years ago, after a natural mother found her child had died early in life.
      The mother's name was Jeri Sherwood. She searched for her son when he reached adulthood, but found that he had died at age three, and when she opened up an investigation, it resulted in his adoptive mother being found guilty of the child's murder.

      Today, if a birth mother inquires with the state of MN as to the welfare of her child, the state will tell her if her child has died, if they know. That is what I understand the law to be, unless it has changed, which is possible.
      As far as mothers who were outright lied to with regard to their childrens' "deaths"...there have been mothers who have been found by "living dead children" in states that have opened records. So, IMO,we can assume that in some cases some mothers were lied to, but the records still recorded an adoption.
      Hospital records would still record the birth or births , and we don't know at what point the mother was told the child had "died". Some mothers might sign papers before the birth, agreeing to a relinquishment afterwards. (this relinquishment would not be binding until after the birth and a court date /hearing had taken place). Or, the child might spend a few months in agency foster care, which was common practice during the BSE, after which time, the court could terminate her parental rights without her signature.

      But, her name would still be on certain records. If her child was able to obtain the records through the access laws, the state would comply and give out her name. If she also applied for her child's name(on certain documents), even if she had been told her child was "dead" she would have the right to her child's name, provided the laws gave her that right (as in Hawaii). If she received the OBC of one child (as in Hawaii) and it was a multiple birth, there would probably be an indication of that. Usually, BCs say if it is a "single" or "multiple."

  40. I can understand where the woman that wrote the letter thought process is, but as you have said, we are the ones who chose to give life to that child and that child is ours forever. My reunion with my son is a lot like your was with your daughter, may her troubled soul rest in peace. He lies continually, makes up lies about me, has rage and hatred towards me, cuts off contact with me, has jealousy issues, and verbally abuses me and rejects me whenever he can. This use to anger me but after educating myself I realize that this is about the trauma of adoption and less about him or me. The times where it has been great between us is what keeps me trying to connect with him. He is my son and I will never abandon him again.

  41. I can understand the woman who wrote that letters perspective. Many mothers feel like once the adoption papers are signed they will never see that child again and have no further obligation to that child because he has his adoptive family now. I, on the other hand, was not given a choice and my family put my son up for adoption. I found my son last year and he did not have "the better life" that I was promised. In fact he was a hot mess. He told me he wanted to find me to thank me for giving him up to the most amazing family and that he had the most amazing life. I could see the pain in his eyes. I could see the rage in his face. I knew that he must be lying. It has now been a year and a half of the most painful time in my life. My son not only lies, but he cheats, steals, addicted to drugs, deceives, and creates so much drama that I felt like I was on a different planet because he was so alien. He was nothing like his siblings. He was nothing like me. He has such rage and hatred towards me and he constantly shuts me out of his life. I finally had to take a break and re-group because what I was doing was not working. I realized that no matter how much I wanted to walk away from it all that there was no way I could ever do this to my son. I didn't want to do it when he was born and I sure as hell don't want to do it now. He is my son. I don't care who raised him for the first 36 years. I don't care how much damage was created by this adoption. He is my son and he needs his mother. I will stand by him until the day I die. Mothers are suppose to love their children unconditionally, no matter what.


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