' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: When a man answered--it was the adoptee's father!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

When a man answered--it was the adoptee's father!

A few weeks ago I wrote that adoptees who find their parents--which is most often a mother--contact them directly via telephone if they can, rather than write a letter. Letters can be put aside, answered in the great foggy future, forgotten if one has "neglected" to tell one's spouse or other children about the one given up for adoption.

As I was writing I realized that since adoptees have every right in the whole blooming world to take matters into their own hands when they find their birth/first natural parents on their own. I urged them to call rather than write. It occurred to me that since adoptees talk about free choice being taken away from them (it is), this was a case where they could grab it by the horns, so to speak. I wrote: You don't know what will happen when you make that phone call, but it does put control into your hands rather than someone else's, and control over your life and identity to a large part has been taken away from you.

A week later an adoptee wrote this to me:

I recently popped back on FMF and it changed my life.
I found my mother through DNA and had written her a letter months ago, with no response. After reading one of your recent posts, I was so empowered! I have rights!!! So, yesterday I called her and left a very generic message. She didn't return my call. Today I called back. I decided that protecting her wasn't protecting me. On her and her husband's machine I said, "Hi, mom, it's XXX I'd love to just talk to you for a few minutes..." and a man answered. I did the adoptee thing of "I am so sorry, please don't blame her if she didn't tell you about me. Birth mothers were told to forget and..." etc. He said, "I do know about you. I'm your dad."

We had the loveliest conversation. He didn't know about the adoption until it was a done deal and she didn't put his name on the birth certificate so he couldn't find me. He tried for years, even recently! I have sibllings. My parents married a few years after my birth and are still married. She doesn't want to know me, but he does.

If not for you, I would not have been bold. I never would have told him that I was her daughter!! I would have remained hidden!
 THANK YOU!! I know my name. I know my history. I am whole. Thanks to God for leading me to you and to you for going ahead of us all who are frightened and ashamed, although we certainly should not be - not you, not me, not one person to whom God gives life should feel ashamed to be a part of that life.

She said I could share her story and I've taken out her name and one other detail. I hope that others reading this will also take the step to contact those who they want to via phone. I urge any (birth) mothers and (birth) fathers who relinquished children who do not want contact rethink what they are doing to those children. I urge them to realize that adoption attorneys and social workers and priests and nuns who assured (told) them they could keep their child secret for the rest of their lives, that that time is over; DNA and opening of records and search angels and investigators have changed that.

I write this for the women who do an internet search for "birth mother wants to remain anonymous" to find this post. We who write her are mothers who walked over the hot coals of relinquishment and understand your pain. We have had to fess up to our husbands and other children. We get it. But hiding is not really an option any longer. Show a little love, shine a little light, and be open to your sons and daughters when they call.They deserve nothing less. You may not develop a relationship, but do for them this one golden good thing.--lorraine
Original post 

When DNA yields a first mother's (or father's) rejection

Also from FMF

By Lynn Grubb
Hole In My Heart: memoir and report from the fault lines of adoption
"Dusky's courageous, honest book puts a human face on the emotional minefield 
of adoption while navigating an often-hidden truth--that at the heart of every adoption, 
there are issues of loss, guilt, emptiness, abandonment and an incomplete sense of identity. 
Much more than a good read, Hole In My Heart integrates many important research 
findings that support the universality and truth of Dusky's personal experience."--
David Kirschner, PhD, psychoanalyst, author of Adoption: Uncharted Waters


  1. If mothers only understood what a burden would be lifted from them if they opened that door and let go of all the shame and guilt and fear that has accumulated over the years. Her fear is based on how others felt about "unwed pregnancy" decades ago and her own self-deprecation. Shrugging off that heavy load and letting herself experience the delayed joy of motherhood that was wrenched from her can bring peace like she never imagined. The reactions of family members and friends will depend on her own actions. If she rejoices, they will rejoice with her. But if she acts upset, they will become over-protective. She sets the stage for all that follows. And what follows can be the best thing that ever happened to her.

    1. It would be a dream come true if what you wrote reflected reality. In my case, I did everything humanly possible to welcome my child back into my life and most of what I received in return was grief and anger. The sad truth is that some reunions can turn out to be very ugly.

  2. I did a DNA test....found my birth mother and called her. Scariest call I ever made. She said no one knows about me....she married my father a year after I was born. They are still married and I have 4 siblings. He doesn't know about me, so she says.

    I have a large extended family I have found here near me. I've met 3 of them but my mother doesn't want her sister, my aunt, to tell any one else in the family about me. The secrecy needs to stop. However, I'm not the one to tell everyone about me. I think it will back fire on me and I will be left with no one. One day....one day I hope she gets the courage to tell her story.

    1. Gosh, Lori, what harm that secrecy has done to so many. She didn't even tell her husband! your father! It is hard to believe that such a deep secret would be kept from someone you over, as well as your other children.

      Gosh, Lori, that is terrible! To not tell your father--whom she marries--about you is keeping a secret way beyond anything I've heard of before. Have you met your mother? What I hate is that you have four siblings that she is keeping from one another. If you gut is telling you is may backfire, You probably should listen to it, but still...I'm very sorry. I'd stay in touch with her sister and she is she can persuade your mother to do the right thing.
      till then--many hugs.

    2. I've not met my Mother. My Aunt took with her photos we took when we met and our emails that were exchanged with her when she went to see my Mother in June. My Mother did not want to see them. I hate that I am a part of her life that caused so much pain that she can't even see a photo of me.

      My Mother and Aunt have their oldest sister here who is in the late stages of Alzheimer's, maybe when my Aunt who is ill passes my Mother will come and my Aunt who lives here will talk to her and we can at least meet in person and know it's not so bad. I want to know all of my family....Irony here is this, she has one daughter who had no children of her own and adopted 2 kids and then her youngest daughter got pregnant and was unmarried at 19 and had her son and kept him.....this story has continued to revive in her life....why can't she just let me in too.

    3. Lori, Fear is the one word answer to your question. Fear of the unknown. Fear of telling her other children. Fear of god knows what. Without DNA there is probably no way to tell for sure if you also the daughter of her husband. There could have been a fling and she is afraid of that coming out. Hugs.

  3. Lorraine,
    My biological Aunt has been so wonderful!!!! She did go see my Mother and prior to her going my Aunt told me that the 2 of them shared a room as teenagers....when my Mom went to stay with her brother (to have me) my Aunt had no idea she was pregnant (my Aunt was 15 at the time). After my Mother came back to the family home my Aunt said she found a note in their room written to my believed to be Father about having a baby. My Aunt ended up asking their oldest sister about this (who was already out of the house, married with kids) and she confirmed that my Mother had a baby.
    When my Aunt recently visited my Mother and talk to her about all of this she told her about the note she found....my Mother said her husband was NOT my father, but my Aunt believes he is as do I. Years ago I was given my non-identifying info through the adoption agency....All his info I know now matches him to a T. The confidential intermediary I had confirmed to be privately in a conversation I had with her AFTER I found my birth mother on my own that his name is on my birth certificate. My Aunt told my Mother...she does not judge her. She wants to help her and if that means being with her children if she ever she decides to tell them she is here. She told her she loves her. My Aunt and I have met several times and she is so loving and lovely when she told me that my Mother was not ready to meet me and didn't know if she would ever it was hard. I told my Aunt I don't know where that leaves her and me because my Mother doesn't want anyone beyond who I contacted to know me. My Aunt said the sweetest thing to me: "No matter what, I am your Aunt and always will be." ....my Mother has lived with this for 51 years...she will be married to her husband 50 years this November 25th.....I hope she begins to realize that I am here not to hurt her but to know her and love her.
    Thanks for listening Lorraine and understanding.

    1. Lori, by the time I got to the end I had tears in my eyes. So close...and yet so far. I hope that your loving, wonderful aunt is able to make your mother see that meeting your would be a blessing in her life. Confidential intermediaries tell me that when they know that the birth parents have married, they are more likely to face a NO to reunion. It just kills me.

      Yet in the last few days I have been in touch with a first mother who did marry the father, and together they found their daughter. I've also met a couple who married and were found by their daughter. I met them all when they were lobbying with me in Albany to unseal the OBCs in New York. So it takes all kind.

      You may not know, but fellow blogger Jane had to tell her three grown daughters about their sister. It's the last link to other FMF blogs above. I don't know if that will help anyone, and if you read the next blog here by date, you will read about the mother in the blog above who was rejecting at first but did a 180 in a matter of weeks. Obviously your mother is thinking about you no matter what, and I will send her all the thought vibrations that I can muster. I am so glad you found a good aunt; she is probably key for your mother. It probably goes without saying, but stay in touch with her.

    2. Lori, I can't help but wonder if your birthmother is ashamed that she never told your father and is fearful of what his reaction might be to her having kept this a secret for 50 years! It's the only explanation I can think of.

      BTW, when I looked for my young son, the searcher would not make the call. She gave me the same advice that Lorraine is giving here. I had his phone number, but was too terrified to call. So I found his email address and we emailed for two years (he was living 1000s of miles away in Europe). Then suddenly his emails stoppped and my emails to him bounced. It wasn't until 6 years later that he reached out to me on Facebook (I about had a heart attach) and within months he was on my doorstep. Anyway, long story short, making that initial call is very important.

  4. I had a similar situation to Lori's. I found my birth mother with DNA and called her. She was completely hateful on the phone. There was no love, no empathy, no interest in me or why I was calling her, and worst of all, no reverence for who I am to her. She went on a rant, would not let me speak, and hung up. She broke my heart. I have never experienced that kind of hatred. When our call ended, I remember thinking how fortunate I am to have been raised by my parents. My adoptive mother would never have treated me or anyone that way. DNA connected me with more distant maternal family members who were incredibly understanding and more than willing to provide me with medical information. My terrible luck with my bm motivated me to continue my search. With DNA I was also able to find my father and his family. I was sad to learn that he is deceased. I did however connect with his family and they were thrilled that I found them! They have sent me pictures of him, shared medical information with me, and we are planning to meet in a few weeks. For the first time in my life, I am able to enjoy researching MY OWN genealogy. I am building my family trees and relationships with my lost family members.

    Even though my phone call with my bm did not go the way I would have liked it was important for me to realize that she is not, and likely never will be, capable of a healthy relationship with me and that is simply a fact. It clarified for me that I was indeed better off with my adoptive parents. They were two of the most decent people I have ever known. To all adoptees out there (birth parents/family members) face your fears, complete your search and make the call!

    "some day we will find what we are looking for.

    or maybe not

    maybe we'll find something much greater than that."

    PS As a result of my search and contact with my bm she is now in therapy for the first time. I hope this is the beginning of the healing process for her.

    1. Thanks for sharing your story. So sorry to hear of the terrible reaction from your mother! But glad to hear that you were eventually able through relatives to get some medical information. And happy to hear that your father's family welcomed you. Some people think calling is a bad idea, but for myself, I would myself always prefer to know reality rather than wait forever and not get an answer. We can hope your mother can heal herself, but I do know a woman who took the secret of her first child to the grave--almost! She admitted near the end of her life to her oldest son that he was not her first; but as someone I knew well, she adamantly opposed my search. She was a study of contradictions in her life. Her (known) children did not cry much at her funeral. I am glad you sound healthy yourself!

      By the way, when I found my 15-year-old daughter in 1981, I called her parents four days later, and was welcomed. I was in their home that weekend, though it was more than a thousand miles away.

  5. My birth mother is a study of contradictions too. She has welcomed other adoptees back into the family and her own half siblings from an affair her father had, but she will not welcome me. She feels I had no right to search. What she doesn't know, because she refuses to listen, is that my search was not just about her. It was about finding my father, my birth families, learning who my ancestors were, discovering my ethnicity, obtaining a medical history for myself and my kids, regaining the part of my identity that I lost at birth, and healing from a system that completely cut me off from my roots. From my search I learned that my maternal family was deeply saddened that I was placed for adoption, they prayed for me, they were at the hospital when I was born, they saw me in the nursery, some even searched for me. They felt terrible for keeping me a secret from my half siblings. In this search I have learned that I was loved then and I am loved now by my birth families. In talking about this to my children I became aware that they too felt cut off from their roots. They wanted to research their genealogy, but were unable to because of my closed adoption. It has been a loss for them as well. The effects of closed adoption go far beyond the birth mother and the adoptee. Also, I've learned that people understand "these things happened" and no one is judging anyone. We are all human. I wish birthmothers would realize how incredibly healing the search is for everyone involved. Despite my birth mother's hostility, I have no regrets about breaking down the brick wall that separated me from my families of origin, my only regret is that I didn't do it sooner.

    I'm so glad to hear you have been reunited with your daughter and how wonderful that her parents welcomed you!

    Thank you for listening.



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