' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: When people say: I'm not curious about my roots....

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

When people say: I'm not curious about my roots....

Sometimes things pop up in the media that indicate somethings in the air at the same time I've been ruminating about same. I've been planning to write about one of the more noxious things that people have said to me--about as "out" a birth/first mother as anyone can find. Sometimes I feel they say it simply because they are irritated with the idea of me, and want to poke a stick at all I stand for, that is, openness in adoption. I'm talking about the many times adoptive parents have said: My daughter/son isn't in the least curious.... Sometimes the speaker adds: I've even asked them if they wanted to search--said I wouldn't mind--and they say, NO, they aren't curious.

Then comes the unanswerable stare: What do you think of that? What do you have to say about that, Ms. Media Maven Birth Mother....? I usually mumble something along the lines of, Well, not everyone is curious....and curiosity comes and goes in waves, as I've seen.... Or I just throw up my hands in a macht nichts, it-doesn't-matter gesture, everybody is different, etc., and move the conversation to safer ground. And sometimes I do say: A lot of adoptees search without ever
telling their adoptive parents. Or I skip the "adoptive" but maybe I shouldn't. Maybe they need to hear where I am coming from.

I pretty much know my very presence there has hit an artery, and they want to shut down the blood flow. They want me to know that their parenting and loving was so thorough they shut down all curiosity about those questionable people who gave them away. We are always in a public place, usually a social gathering, and not really the place for an emotional confrontation that will get blood boiling.

But really, what I want to say is: You're a smart person, how can you possibly believe that? How can anyone not be curious about the most basic piece of identity--who they came from--which it was ripped from their birth certificates and locked in records unavailable to them in a fit of bad social engineering? Curiosity is a sign of intelligence--what happened at home that killed that curiosity? What else are they not curious about, hmm. Or I could say: That's really weird, isn't it? Who isn't curious? 

The next time I face this I will simply say, If they aren't curious, you killed the curiosity. You killed it by pretending there is no difference between being "born to" or "adopted by." All the love in the world, all the inconvenient teachers' conferences, and emergency-room trips, and orthodonture bills, and special-ed classes paid for and therapists and god-knows-whatever else is running through your mental tally Madame, cannot make up for being given up by the natural mother for adoption and wondering how in the hell that happened anyway. Your child is either pretending to you their origins don't matter, or you and society and sealed records which made having a true identity possible just quashed the natural curiosity about one's roots. Knocked the curiosity wind out of their sails, so to speak. Yet. You know roots matter. 
I've met mothers who have said they always thought their daughter would search one day, and they would help them...but when asked, they say: Not Interested. They express their genuine surprise to me, but hide their relief. Barbara Walters was very much in the let's-keep-the-identity-hidden camp. In a 2003 joint mother/daughter interview with Jane Pauley that focused on the many troubled years in her adopted daughter's life, Barbara suddenly inserts this, when no one was asking:

“There is no question of our love for each other. None,” says Walters. “And it’s one of the reasons that she’s never particularly wanted to find her biological mother. It’s not, ‘Who’s my mother?’ I’m her mother." Clearly Walters is pleased that curiosity was killed. I did think that I had seen a TV video that Walters did on her Jacqueline's reunion with her biological mother, but I can find no reference to it today.

No one who is not adopted pretends that roots don't matter. If someone ends up at Harvard and comes from a family of neer-do-wells, or downright criminals, or a spotty background of some sort, that person knows what they rose up from. They know the hard work and cost it took to get to their personal Harvard. Or if they landed there because they were a legacy admission, or their uncle gave a hundred thousand as a "good-will gesture," and they got in, they know that too. Or if they are somewhere in the middle between the two polar opposites, and got there because they were valedictorian of their school in some part of the country where few go to Harvard, they know that too. 

In short, they know who they are through and through. Even if they want to disavow their roots, they know why. They know what advantages they inherited, or what deficits they overcome. They know. Who they are. Where they came from. They are not wondering about their roots. But if you are adopted, unless you are one of those dissatisfied, curious ones, you can be labeled "angry, bitter, ungrateful." Which is ridiculous. You are normal and have the guts to let your normal give rise to curiosity and what should be, what must be, your inalienable right to know truth about yourself. 

Who am I? remains the basic existential question, and for parents to raise children--beings they, the parents, know came from a bloodline not their own--without questioning who and what the hell happened to place them where they are--reveals everything about how their children's true identity was treated in their household. It had to be such a verboten question that the individual's wonder was shut down completely.

And that is both sad--for the adoptee--and ridiculous to the outside world. It isn't just adoptive parents who quash curiosity: society reinforces this with the sealed records statutes that are falling now, though not without a lot of strum und drang in the various states, and allowances for natural parents to veto the release of their names, but still the overall perception among many is that a "good adoption" leads to "no curiosity." Absurd. 

Now about stuff being in the air: A Modern Love column in last Sunday's (10/6/2019) New York Times was written by an adoptive mother of a Chinese girl who went back to China to try to find out something about the girl's mother. It led only to an anonymous scrap of paper with the note that revealed apparently nothing but birth date and time. The teenager--now 18--to whom the note referred had been a relentlessly curious little girl, but now was angry her adoptive mother even set out on this quest. What became clear after the trip to China, and the bridge where the infant girl had been left, is that only a infinitesimal number of those girls will ever find their parents. For most, to search is a hopeless quest. Emily Prager, adoptive mother and a friend, went back to China with her daughter when she was five and wrote a book about it, Wuhu Diary: On Taking My Adopted Daughter Back to Her Hometown in China. That search also led to a dead end. 

Knowing that, these girls, now young women, have learned to turn off curiosity they knew cannot be answered. It's a very different thing, but years ago when my granddaughter Britt, as I call her publicly and in hole in my heart, was visiting and I knew that she had missed over the winter the movies that young girls were seeing and talking about, I stupidly said something that elicited this response: When you know you can't have something, you stop wanting it, because what's the point? 

Point taken. I've thought many times about her response when I hear about, or from, adoptees who say they are "not curious." If life has told you that your curiosity is always to be unanswered, how can you stay curious? But then....I sometimes later hear about an adoptee--as I recently did, a therapist herself no less--that after years of proclaiming she was "not interested," she had found her natural mother. I don't know the rest of her story. But I do know that she went from not interested, not knowing (while living with a guy who claimed his ancestors came over on the Mayflower), to knowing. Knowing one's true identity should be everyone's right as a matter of course.--lorraine

Is there a universal right to know one's heritage? Part 2

Is Wanting to Know your Original Identity--Before Adoption--Natural?

(Things are not quite so upbeat in her daughter's life; the school for troubled girls closed in 2008, other problems emerged.)

Going Back to China in Search of My Daughter’s Secret Past

Blueprint: How DNA Makes Us Who We Are (The MIT Press)
By Robert Plomin
Blueprint is a landmark. In this brief book, Robert Plomin distills 50 years of behavioral genetics research, much of which is based on studies he and his collaborators around the world conducted using twins separated at birth.

Plomin's main findings are that virtually every trait that we care about is heritable, that what are often thought of as environmental effects are shaped by our genetic propensities, that parenting and schooling have very little effect on our capacities or personality, and that most of the traits that make us who we are result from many genes interacting with each other rather than, say, single genes for intelligence or schizophrenia or extraversion.

(LD here: Both birth parents and adoptees are likely to find this book a rip-snortin' walk through what many of us in reunion have felt--that so much is inherited it feels uncanny when we meet each other. Plomin is still controversial but you'll find reading this enlightening and affirming.)

Wuhu Diary: On Taking My Adopted Daughter Back to Her Hometown in China
By Emily Prager
4.0 out of 5 starsFrom someone planning a homeland tour
The previous reviews show a wide range of reactions to this book. As someone who is about to take her 8 and 4 year old adopted daughters on a homeland tour that will include a brief stay in each of their home towns, I obviously see nothing wrong with taking a child Lulu's age back to China. I didn't agree with everything the author said and did, but the book gave me a lot to think about before we go on our trip. Many of the negative reviews were written in the days when homeland tours were fairly rare. Emily Prager was a pioneer! 

LD here: Emily raised her daughter partly in China, for Emily moved there when her daughter was adolescent and stayed for several years. Her daughter graduated from college in the US, and lives here today. 


  1. Hi Lorraine, your writing is inspiring and refreshingly honest, the absolute truth.

  2. I became acquaintances recently with a woman who went out of her way to tell me that she was an adoptive mother whose adopted child died. I think she planned the discussion for a post-golf lunch. She told me that her child was her child and she grieves her child because her child is HER child and that during his life, her child never ever once cared to find anything out about the woman who gave him up. I didn't bring this up, but I've been warned that not everyone "agrees" with me about natural mother/child connections and/or even our own mind/body connections. This woman wagged her head at me and cried a bit, obviously, in anger and frustration at me. Then, after she had her say, she said "we" needed to talk about something else. It's clear that people are not yet used to seeing the faces and hearing the voices of women who lost children to the "placement" systems. This woman seemed mainly to want to hurt me. The automatic assumption that single mothers were unsuitable, unfit, or too vulnerable to raise their own children pits woman against woman and often, adoptee against natural mothers or adoptive mothers. I don't know the answer. I have grown a thicker skin and I've learned not to back down.

    1. Debra,When I hear stories about adoptees who died I always wonder about their natural mothers, who may be wondering, somewhere, what has happened to them.
      The woman you mention...I wonder if she ever has given any thought to her son's lost
      mother, out there "somewhere".
      I knew a young guy who was adopted. He grew up in the central NY area. When he was in his early 20s he killed himself, hanged himself. He was brilliant, funny, and kind. But he never felt he fit in.
      I have thought of him so often when helping others to reunite, and when I hear people try to deny that right to others.
      No one knows what others are thinking, for sure, and NO ONE has the right to separate
      loving natural parents and their children.

  3. This is October. Last May I found who my blood parents were, both have passed now. But I have a gorgeous kid brother, thanks to my mama, and three sibs on my dad's side, one of them a SISTER! I'd been searching for 40 years. I was always "different," never remotely resembled anyone around me, and I thought something must be wrong with me. Now I've settled into my right-ness, and I am profoundly grateful.

  4. I reunite families for free and find that some people will say to me "well I never want to find my dad that son of a bitch left my mother when she was pregnant and I hate him" then next time I see him they go "I totally don't want to find my dad I think he lives in Portland last time my mom saw him he was working for x and his parents lived on main street in Sacramento" and I'm like, 'I can try to find him if you want but i only reunite people for love and joy - i won't look if your going to tell him you hate him'. They'll say "I won't yell at him yes I'd be happy to find him if he wanted to talk to me but he won't." I say "how about I just give you a call if i find him and he wants to talk." I've witnessed the greatest redemption mothers and fathers can have when they hold their babies for the first time in 40 or 50 years and say sorry and say i love you and say of course I"m proud of you. And as for the ones who tell the people who adopted them they don't want to search here is the thing they search in secret OK? There are some things we just don't share with the people who raised us because its none of their business, like sex, or because it will hurt them like if we do something they would not like. If they are really messed up in the head they wait until the people who adopted them die and then find that their own parents might be dead as well or that they missed their chance to know a sibling or whatever and that is tragic. I'll say this though often when they search after the adoptive family dies their own parents are still quite young and healthy and so they go on to have wonderful relationships with them. What I tell the particularly guilt ridden ones is that the reunion was orchestrated by their 'mother in heaven' who gave her blessing and made it possible for them to find their mother father and other relatives and that seems to be something nice for them to believe and gives them permission to enjoy their own family free of guilt.
    It never hurts to throw in a little magic into the mix if it makes people feel safe and loved

  5. As always, beautifully said. Thanks, Lorraine.

  6. I think "curiosity" is the wrong word. "Curiosity" implies a passing phase, a mere slight interest, a day adventure, a question of "whose eyes do I have?"

    There are better words to describe this: a natural need to know, cell memory, it's in our DNA. A person who grows up not knowing, who grows up being told you can't ask questions with the implication that your questions aren't important, that person grows up with self doubt. And self hate. I do not matter. I matter only because I am adopted. My adopted self is more important than my innermost self.

    My image in the mirror is not me. I don't know who I am. I am who they want me to be. I am happy when they are happy. I don't need to know.

    This is cruelty. Child abuse.

    I've been on the receiving end of this for the first 18 years of my life - and beyond. From early childhood, I was told never ask questions, never fight back, so I didn't. I was numb to myself.

    Then, as you know Lorraine, my life exploded when I was 18 years old and still in high school. It was 1974. A very dark period in my life. That one phone call from a sister I never knew split my life wide open. I knew in that moment that the parents who raised me and lied to me for 18 years. My adoptive mother never wanted me to know the truth: I was hers and hers alone.

    And she took it out on me. Pots and pans flew threw the air. Yelling and screaming as if I had killed someone. Accusing me of "going behind her back" and "planning it all"! What? I was the victim and she's screaming at me that I colluded with my sisters and my father all along!

    I honestly do not know how I survived. The emotional stress of my adoptive mother's hateful reactions to my sister calling me on the phone to reunite us was too much on me. Soon, my extended adoptive family piled up against me, too. Ahh, but, it was ok for them to socialize with my natural mother's family in secret for those 18 years...yes, my natural mother had died and her relatives were distantly related to my adoptive father. THAT was the big, bad secret I was never supposed to know!

    Society's beliefs that the adoptee should never know the truth meant that most of my relatives believed this way. They fought with me for ever wanting to be in reunion with my siblings and my father. They fought with me for writing in the newspaper about adoption reform.

    But their family tree was important to them!

    How dare I want to know about my dead mother's family tree! Why on earth would I want to know anything about THAT MAN?

    THAT MAN was my father who was married to my mother for 10 years before she died at age 30.

    Yes, adopters and extended adoptive family really do want to crush any link the adoptee has with their blood kin.

    To his credit, my adoptive father did not feel the same way. When he realized I had been found and was about to meet my father, my adoptive father said with tears in his eyes, "I'm glad the secret is out."

    I would like to see parenting classes, adoption-informed classes, and adoption psychology throughout the lifespan taught to all pre-adoptive parents and families. It should be mandatory, and taught by independent educators not connected to any adoption agency.

    1. "I would like to see parenting classes, adoption-informed classes, and adoption psychology throughout the lifespan taught to all pre-adoptive parents and families. It should be mandatory, and taught by independent educators not connected to any adoption agency."

      Absolutely! And the classes we had to go through with the adoption agency were absolutely biased junk. They turned us off from adoption because they made us so uncomfortable with their view of the natural family and the attitude of the negative attitude of the prospective adoptive parents that was not challenged (silence is endorsement, IMO).

      "I think "curiosity" is the wrong word. "Curiosity" implies a passing phase, a mere slight interest, a day adventure, a question of "whose eyes do I have?"

      I couldn't agree more on this point. You are so, so right. The deep seated longing to connect with your roots is as inherent as eye color or fingerprints. It is not a passing fancy or a wondering. It is a longing that is insatiable and also perfectly natural.

      I always think of a verse I learned in Sunday School forever and ever ago in regards to an adopted child's longing to know their natural family (or a natural mother or father's longing to know their child). I think it is from Psalms. "Deep calls to deep over the roar of your waterfalls."

    2. Oh my word Tiffany: 'Deep calls to deep over the roar of your waterfalls'.
      Thank you so much for sharing that. Really.

      Btw, I was travelling home and I remembered something you wrote a while ago about your children's other parents not writing or keeping in contact enough and how that affected the children.(Sorry for poor paraphrase, and for impending thread derailment!).

      I felt it was imperative to tell you this: that often a first parent has absolutely NO idea that they are of any importance to their child whatsoever. Many - including me - started with low self-esteem even before pregnancy, and adoption narratives exacerbate that ('you will ruin your child's life if you keep them' really meaning 'you aren't good enough...'). What would've absoutely changed everything for me would've been understanding that I was important to my child, uniquely and irreplaceably. Me. Little unimportant me. Believing that my child needed me would've made such a difference. I wonder if your children's other parents understand that they are uniquely important to your children,

      (Thread derail over)

    3. Tiffany, I wrote in hole in my heart that English does not have a word to cover what it is to need to know where and who you came from. The desire to know is a deep, existential question that those of us not adopted can never fully fathom. We can imagine, but we cannot know, and the outside world needs to hear this again and again so that they stop their absurd saying...I know XYZ and he isn't curious...I even asked him....

    4. Hi Cherry, I have explained to them, or at least tried to, in a gentle way. I have tried to convey as best I can, being sensitive and not overbearing, how our daughter feels. My husband and I have tried to be welcoming and inclusive and encouraging. We have always been the ones to push contact, but in the past year, I have stopped pushing because it only hurts our daughter when I manage to orchestrate a phone call or meeting and they see her then don't contact us or respond again for months and months. They stopped responding even to her texts. So, although it goes against my inclinations, I have backed off.

      Obviously, this is all from my perspective- I am absolutely sure they have their perspective. It is a sensitive balance. Of course my strongest feelings are for our daughter, and I just want to make everything ok for her, but I have to balance that out with the fact that I am the outsider in this and have to respect their feelings, which must be very complicated. They are now grown adults who can make their own choices, and I have to respect that even while it hurts to see this hurting our daughter. I am worried they are ruining any chance for a future with her by ignoring her in the here and now because she will remember this someday. And she knows it isn't my husband and I who are doing anything to prevent contact.

      I am so sorry that you felt that way, Cherry. You are so important. You mattered so much, and there is only one you, one mom, one person who can fill that need to a baby. I'm sorry that after all you went through, you were also continued to be made to feel that you were not valuable to your child.

      Lorraine, it is so true. I remember reading that in your book. There needs to be some kind of new word. Our daughter is so curious, and it is also a source of pain, sometimes very strong pain, for her to be the "only" within her adoptive family. It's so hard! Love is amazing. But it isn't enough. It can't heal the hurt when you look at your parents and do not see yourself reflected back. It can't create genetic connections and roots and a history.

      We are going to two of her countries of ethnic origin in the next year (she is not adopted from another country, but her natural grandparents are all from different countries), and I hope that helps a little bit. It's not the same as being with your natural family, but it's something... I know when we go to the one next Christmas, she is going to be blown away by seeing a country full of people who look so much like her (that is the ethnicity I see such and incredibly strong presence within her, and it is also the place she has felt this almost mystical internal connection to since she was only 2 years old). I'm also prepared that it may make it even more painful, too, to feel so disconnected because she will be there without her family. Although she isn't adopted from another country, I imagine she will experience many of the same feelings international adoptees talk about experiencing when they return to their home country. That sensation of feeling simultaneously that you both fit in and do not belong all at once. It's a bit of a gamble.

      So sorry for my thread derail.

    5. Ah Tiffany, you always make me cry with your lovely kind understanding.

    6. So many hugs, Cherry. <3 I can't do a lot, but I hope I can help you feel heard.

    7. We are not curious, we want to love our mothers and other family.

  7. I wanted to wait until my adoptive parents died. I was so afraid. I can't really remember what I was so afraid of. I moved out of my adoptive parents house when I was 19. I wasn't dependent on them.
    I learned at an early age that any questions, or expressing any thoughts or feelings about my natural family would be met with disapproval. I wasn't beaten or anything, but it was very clear to me that that part of me had to be shut off. It was a matter of survival.
    If I actually thought about losing my mother, I would not have been able to cope with the grief.

    There was absolutely no one in the world I could talk to, about any of this.
    So, I didn't even let myself think about it. I knew there was something wrong, but I couldn't give myself permission to feel the pain.
    Whatever they did, it worked so well, that I waited until I was 48 to really search. Despite looking at phone books of the town where I thought I was born, at around 12. Methodically searching my A-mothers closet, whenever I was left alone, until I finally found my adoption papers at age 11.
    I married, had a family, still didn't search.
    Then, my kids grew up. My A-dad died. I realized my natural parents, though younger, might die too. I was almost 50, so I finally searched, in secret. Still didn't tell A-mom. I rented a PO box for correspondence. At 48 years old, I was STILL afraid.

    I found them. A-mom found out. The first thing she said was, "I thought you would've looked before". I guess she had no idea how the conditioning worked on me. I wanted to say, "I never looked, because of you". But I didn't. Why bother.

    Almost 9 years later, A-mom just turned 90. Natural mom died 4 years ago. I wish I had looked years ago. What was I so afraid of? I can't remember anymore.

    1. Autumn, a heart-breaking story to read for mothers who wait to be found, and alas, I know your delayed search is all too common. I am so glad you posted here, so that others might read it and search. I know all of them don't turn out the way we want them to, but at least you know, and every adoptee who tells their adoptive parents they want to search, or are searching, helps move the needle a tiny bit towards unsealing the records. The kind of brain-washing that adoption in America enforces through the guilt-trip on the children themselves is a huge part of why records still say sealed....and I keep meeting people--smart people, media people, who say: My daughter isn't interested in searching for her birth parents.

    2. @Autum, I let my Amom have it every chance I get. Screw em. They condoned the separation of mother and child.

    3. They've done much more then "condone" it. They sought it out. When Rev. Crittenton's original unwed mother's home was in existance, where single mothers could stay to keep their child (the original intention), infertile witches started to go there along with social workers (after Florence Crittenton the minister's daughter died who had taken it over), to try to talk them into giving their babies away to them. This began the end of Rev. Crittenton's good works and the change of this organization which turned into just another corrupt adoption agency. One thing I hate about infertile cuples is how they use henchmen to take us away from our famillies. Nuns, social workers, adoption agenices, doctors, nurses, attorneys. the entire practice reads like the Mafia. It is a criminal network. Organized stealing. Women who can't conceive are a societal danger imo. They are predators, unstable and desperate like drug addicts. They will do anything to get a baby and it makes my skin crawl greed has supported this in the form of facillitators. Adoption really needs to go, replaced by Gaurdinship if a child really has no biological relatives to raise them. THEY are the real saints, not adopters who expect a child to give up their soul for food and a room so the reproductivly retarded can be called "mom and dad".

  8. Just the other day, a very close friend of mine had the nerve to do this to me. He began to tell me about a cousin of his who is married, a young man, and hasn’t the slightest interest in searching or reuniting – he just doesn’t care. And he repeated, “He just doesn’t care” again and again until he heard me say in agreement: “Yes, he just doesn’t care!”

    I was irritated. This man knows me now for 16 years and every now and then he wants me to know that my stance on adoption is extreme, that not every adoptee feels as I do, or as my fellow activists feel. It’s as if he wants me to know that he knows more about this topic than I do. Or that I’m not taking into consideration that there really are adoptees who are not interested in knowing anything about their natural parents or their adoptions or their sealed birth certificates, that they are completely satisfied with their lives.

    I absolutely know what you, Lorraine, are referring to with: “Then comes the unanswerable stare: What do you think of that? What do you have to say about that?”

    It’s the egging-on, the smart-alecky comments, the snide side glances, the smirks and the twinkling eyes, begging me to take them on. They want to prove me wrong, just as they want to prove you wrong, trying to show us that they know more than we do, trying to knock us down.

    This one-upmanship is passive-aggressive behavior. It is insulting.

    It is a character flaw in these friends. It shows disrespect for who we are, for our personal and professional knowledge. This behavior devalues and invalidates us.

    For every adoptee who is thrown in my face as being “not interested”, or “happy”, I can point to another adoptee who is emotionally, physically, sexually abused, or murdered. And, dare I say, suicidal, or, has completed the act. I’m sorry to bring that up, Lorraine. It needed to be said.

    I’m printing this blog post and comments out to give to this non-adopted friend of mine.

    1. Would your friend say that about a survivor of abuse? "Well, I know someone who was sexually abused as a kid, and they are fine, so clearly, it's no biggie." Ask your friend if he knows these things about his cousin: how many sexual partners he has had, if he has ever cheated on a test, what he would say his very deepest hopes and dreams are, what he would choose for his last meal if he was on death row. Doesn't know the answers to all these? Then why presume to know all the answers to how his cousin feels about his adoption?

      Why do people think, when it comes to "adoptees they know," that they know exactly how that person feels about everything and can say definitively what that adoptee thinks and feels and beleives? When do we ever say that about another person- that we can know that level of detail and speak for them? I can think of issues in regards to racism and white people saying things about "my one black friend" and trying to speak for an entire race of people of which they are not a member, but that's just shows how extreme it is that it is wrong for us to claim we know how another person feels about a situation of which we have no personal experience, and that that psuedo-knowledge means we know how EVERYONE who experiences that event feels.

      My daughter struggles with her emotions around being adopted. I have one friend who is adopted who has never really given it a ton of thought, according to her (I have others who are the opposite, but that's not the point here), but I don't try to say to my daughter, "Hey, so and so says this isn't a big deal, so why are you making a deal out of it?" What kind of a jerk would I have to be so be so dismissive of the individuality of emotions and the unique way each human being can respond to the exact same events? Your friend isn't being much of a friend, IMO.

  9. Doris, I think we have to respond to these people who want to "prove" that the adoptees who are NATURALLY curious are not the outliers, but in fact the norm. How about we all respond with: Gee, that's weird that they aren't curious. It's natural to want to know where you came from. What happened to kill that in them?

    One we ask them to explain/defend how a person who would otherwise be curious had that normal response to not being raised by their biological parents killed. And then we wait for their answer. Say nothing, let the silence speak. Now we've turned the question around and let them see the behavior they are espousing is actually abnormal. If they say anything silly, we can counteract with all the adoptees who wait until the adoptive parents die, and who search in secret, and who will change their minds. Wanting to know where and who you came from is the most natural response. Anything else is abnormal.

    This is food in fact for another blog post down the line.

  10. Love your answer, Lorraine.

    Oh yes, I've been working on my own blog post from this!

  11. Adopters are liars but what else is new. Their entire lives revolve about lying and making our lives a lie as well. All adoptees want to know who their real parents are, and adopters deny this to try to cover up the fact that closed adoption is WRONG. Granted some adoptees may not admit they want to know, especially to their kidnappers, I mean fake parents, I mean adopters due to the emotional abuse and drama inflicted on us if we do. Adopters only care about themselves, they don't even bother being clued in on our feelings. They live in their little self-absorbed dream world where they think they should be more important to us then we are to ourselves. Many adopters also brainwash the adoptee that their parents are bad people, or didn't want them when they are young and that lie is retained in their subconscious so they will be afraid to search when they are older. I know of one adoptee who's adopter actually tried to do that with hypnosis. Infertile women are the most screwed up people on earth (and quite honestly UNFIT to raise children because of that). The only thing all of us can do is keep educating young adoptees about how most single mothers were broken down to give us away and help them get courage and strength to search and tell their adopters to shove it once and for all.

  12. Anon--I will only say that not every person who adopts is guilty of all you say. I know some who are not, and a few of them have found their way here--the person who identifies as Tiffany is one--and there are others. They understand as much as they are able and they truly step in to provide a home to a child who needs one. And I agree, a legal guardianship or a truly open adoption is the only way that is right. But then...not all who relinquish a child keep up contact.

    The story about hypnosis is sick. But unfortunately I believe it.

    1. Lorraine, I hope you will let me say my peace in this reply. First of all I know there are a lot of fakers online. Tiffany could be one, I assume you don't know her personally. I have seen plenty of adopters who seem to vie for us then when push comes to shove, as ususal it all comes back to them. Mothers are supposed to sacrifice for their child, but adopters won't even give up the lie that they are our parents. They refuse to be honest and not be called mother or father. People only have ONE set of parents in this life. The people who created them and gave birth to them. That is why only two people in the world are called mother and father. They are isolated words that describe this act. No child who isn't adopted calls their parents Mr & Mrs. Jones or Mary or John. Anyone can care for a child but that does not make them parents. I have never heard any woman say she needs a "mother" for Friday night because she is going out. She says babysitter, and a babysitter does the exact same thing an adopter does. Adopters adorn themselves with these tittles for one reason-money. Because they pay for food, clothing and shelter they seem to think they are in the same league as a mother and father but they aren't. Adoption has whored the term mother for decades, frakensteined it into a meaning it was never supposed to have. This is exactly what gets my goat. No adopter is a mother or father, they are caregivers only and just the fact that Tiffany considers herself a "mother" is why she does deserve the words in my original comment. Again, I do not beleive in adoption. I want it gone. The entire empire to come down. Those who take in other people's children should be called Gaurdians, not parents. Not mothers or fathers. I'm tired of adoptees being forced to lie, that throws us out of reality and is disrespectful to us. Lying never creates good character, and they force this on us. Words do matter, and so does the truth. More than anything in the world, especially infertile couples.

    2. Not all people who adopt are terrible, not all lawyers are scumbags. Personally, I do not have a problem with a person who raises a child being called "mother." Adoptive and biological mothers are, in today's accepted language, mothers. Yes, many adoptive mothers have to accept that they are the adoptive, we are the natural/birth/first/biological/genetic Mothers.

      Though I understand where you are coming from, we are going to have to disagree on this. For what it is worth, I started called my father by his name when I was very young--my mother never knew how it started, and she said it was embarrassing when I'd be in a supermarket and would start calling "Harry!" but they let it go, and eventually so did I. And of course you understand that I was not adopted but a natural daughter of my parents.

      My daughter called me both Lorraine and Mom--or MaRaine--in secret. Yes, I know that is because her adoptive mother would have had a fit, but I let that go and went on with life. She knew who was who in her life, and so did I.

      Am I a fan of the way adoption today in accepted in our culture? Or the rules that it has? No. Would I urge an adopted child to call the woman raising her by her name rather than Mom? No. Even if all the rules were to change, and guardianship became the norm, it is likely many if not most kids would want to call the people raising them Mom and Dad, in any healthy situation, and not want to set themselves so apart as to call attention to their special relationship all the time.

      Sorry it took so long to post today, I was distracted after the huge storm we had here in the east.

    3. PS: I cannot see why someone who post such understanding sympathetic comments as Tiffany has over the years, and she has posted over the years, if she were fake. Her posts encourage other women to be open and understanding of an adoptee's challenges in being relinquished, and adopted. I never let myself forget that the main problem stems from the relinquishment--not the adoption. The sense of abandonment begins when a natural mother gives up for whatever reason, and signs away her child.

    4. Tiffany does say all the right things, and I hope she's for real, but I'm suspicious of all adopters as well. I have a hard time believing they truly love the children they adopt.
      hearing my adoptive mother say she loved me never made me feel good. This was because, I did not love her. And, because I heard the things she said about my mother. Not terrible things either. She didn't say she was a whore, or anything like that. She would just say, "I don't know how a married woman could give up her baby". I don't know how either, but she did. And I had to live with this woman, and I had to hear her say she loved me, and it turned my stomach.

      I've been adopted for 56 years, and it never gets any better. I guess my life was OK. No physical abuse, plenty of food, good clothes.

      I don't think people who adopt become parents. I don't think they deserve the title of mother either, but I guess the kid has to call someone Mommy. Adoption is like an arranged marriage. The bride eventually gets used to her situation, just like the adoptee. You can be happy, even.

    5. Anonymous, I get it, and you have every right in the world to your opinions and feelings and take on adoption because you have clearly lived a life that led to all of those beliefs. I’m not here to take away from any of that or cause any issues.

    6. Real love is freedom Autumn. One can say they love their caged bird, but it isn't love, it's the appreciation of ownership and control. No bird who is not allowed to fly or stuck in a small space all day feels loved. Or is loved. The same applies to us. Closed adoption is the epitome of hate. And that will never change. Adopters don't love us. They only love the power adoption lets them buy.

  13. My father has talked to me about his natural father for over 50 years. Sometimes he talked about wanting to know more, other times said he didn’t care. Over the years he learned his mother lied to him, it was a different man, backed off when he hit barriers, and looked again years later. He briefly met his three half-brothers, but two are fearful lawyers. At 84, he is ambivalent.
    My daughter (adopted from China) recently said “Maybe it’s best to leave it be”. I heard “I’m a busy college student who doesn’t want to complicate my life right now”.
    I will continue to look for her DNA relatives and people with contacts to the small area where she is from. Maybe I’ll talk to Dad about directly contacting the non-lawyer half-brother.

    1. Remember, not all lawyers are horrible people, but I have found the process of becoming lawyerly does tend to make a number of them think immediately in dollars and cents. Adoptive fathers who are attorneys have always been the worst opponents of unsealing records, a birth mother's continuing concern and love, and make the best attack dogs against birth mothers who speak up. In my experience.

    2. Momengineer,
      All you say comes from oppression and the spirit killing frustration that causes, not from not wanting to know. Native Americans were also affected by the barbaric oppression Christians inflicted on them for centuries, that is why so many of them became alcoholics and just up. Reservations and adoption crushes one's soul. If that is something you are proud of, you are in deep spiritual trouble lady.

    3. I need to fix the *typo I made:
      Native Americans were also affected by the barbaric oppression Christians inflicted on them for centuries, that is why so many of them became alcoholics and just *gave up.

  14. I find it interesting, looking at my family tree... my daughter, however made it very clear to me that unless that tree was raining money for her, she was not my child, I was not even surprised when she said it.

  15. "Personally, I do not have a problem with a person who raises a child being called "mother."
    That's because you aren't adopted. I don't care if you call yourself a "birthmother", none of you women from the BSE know for one minute how it feels. You knew who your mother's were, your family tree, who you looked like, etc, etc. Mother and child were in the same situation, being separated but the end results are different. Adoptees and mothers are apples and oranges. Adoption effects our idenities, not yours and that is a whole different ball game. It also forces us, as I said before to be fake and to lie every single day. Do you know how that feels? How condesending that is, how humiliating? The knife that created those wounds then twists because we weren't allowed to know who our own mother's were either. For me, I was abused horribly by my adopters, especially the woman, so for me adoption is a triple edged sword. None of you had to go around calling someone something they weren't in your daily life, especially concerning such an important relationship. Do you call any other man your husband Lorraine, but your husband? Or your brother, or sister?
    I blame the term "stepmother" for the beginning of displaced words. No man's new wife is his child's "mother". She is his new wife. I know a few people whose mothers died when they were young and their father's remarried. They all told me they resented calling this woman that term. It took away from their greiving their mothers, remembering her and her importance and "irreplaceable" presence in their lives. Most of them called their "stepmother's" by their first names, although one called his Mrs. so and so. Most adoptees I know feel the same about our mothers. Yet, enter a bunch of hysterical women who can't conceive who take their inferiority complex out on all of us, along with greedy immoral facillitators and viola, adoption and all it's demons are born. And so is a multitude of made up BS. You know what it is. You will forget about your child, you aren't your baby's mother, etc,. For adoptees, we are deemed crazy if we show symptons of not bonding with the lie and the adopter, or if we are unhappy beacuse we can't know who our mother's are. The worst of adopters run with this, using psychiatry to bully, punish and harm us more. Attachment therapy is proof of that. Anyway, maybe you need to look at things from our point of view once and awhile Lorraine because you never see the truth unless you are looking at the whole picture. I hope you will publish this reply because it's only fair I get to debate as well.

  16. I have tried as best as I am humanely possible to walk in the shoes of the adopted. In hole in my heart I have included a section from my daughter's mouth, about the perils and uncertainties of being adopted, and I believe she was being honest. Without being adopted, I can't do more.

    I knew that sentence would irritate you, but I am thinking of a little kid who doesn't want to call the woman he knows as his caretaker by any name other than Mom. Because Mom is a good caretaker, a loving individual, and not an abuser. God knows, however, I do know being relinquished and raised by parents who try to deny the adoption (when convenient to them!) is a horrible cross to bear, even if there is no apparent abuse as an outsider can see it. Every adoption is full of sorrow. Every. Single. One.

    1. Want to? All adoptees are forced to call their adopters mom. That is the adopter's will and is indoctrinated into us since we are babies. Children know it's unwise to argue with the huffy adults towering over them too, so we obey like a trained dog. At least until we're teenagers who then decide to call them by their first names and are big enough to get away. It irks me how some adoptees call their mothers by their first name (totally disrespectful) and continue to call the adopter mom. That's pretty much proof of how brainwashed we are and how backwards adoption really is. Anyway I do agree with the last thing you said. Yes, adoption is full of sorrow, every single one. Except for the low life's who make money off of hurting us and those who get to legally steal our identities, bloodlines, brains and your true tittles.

    2. Interesting reply. While, since my child was abused, I agree in many ways, I have to wonder...did you blame your mother for what happened? Was it the fault of the other victim? I am curious....

  17. I’m a little late to commenting after posting about this on the FMF FB page. But I wanted to say this re “curiosity”—wanting to know, and about search and reunion:

    I don’t think acceleration from "not interested" to intensive search is unusual. It can take an opening of the tiniest door to go full on. The prompt for me was a care-giver for my uncle running up to me in a parking lot to tell me she’d just met the 97-year-old social worker who’d handled my adoption. I'd been visiting the town where I was born and raised, and it also happened to be my birthday. The only reason I didn’t go running to that social worker to squeeze info out of her was bc I was so shocked. It was momentarily paralyzing, like being struck by lightning.

    The night I saw my uncle’s care-giver in the parking lot, I spoke to a cousin. She'd been 13 the day they brought me home from the Salvation Army Home. She told me what little she knew about my original parents: they’d been college students at a local university. That night I began downloading yearbooks (which yielded nothing bc that story wasn't true).
    When I returned home, I took the DNA test that had been sitting on my shelf for 2 years. I’d bought it 6 mo before my 50th birthday fully intending to have some answers by then. But I’d been too afraid, and I’d put it off. A few weeks later, I had a 1st cousin hit. This and other intensive research led to 3 living aunts and to my mother. It was incredibly tricky from there. She’d told few in 52 yrs: her mother had told her, “You must never speak of this again: EVER.” She’d told herself that on my 50th birthday, she must give up. Our reunion is a much longer story, and v complicated. But my search was the most feverish, all-consuming work I’ve ever done. Finding her, despite the on-going perils of our reunion, was the revelation of a lifetime.

    All of our lives, we’re hammered from all sides: “Have you ever searched?” "Don’t you want to know?" "If not, why not?" "Why are you doing this?" "Why aren’t you doing it?" "Why are you so into it?" "Can’t you just leave it?" "What if they’re this or that—not what you want them to be?" "Why can’t you just be happy with the family you have?" “Can’t you stop talking about it?” “Reunion just isn't possible. It’s been too long, too much damage done.”

    I think the primary issue for me, and I imagine for many, was rejection. The terror of this prospect, along with the fear of finding something even worse than rejection (and there’s no pain like rejection by your mother), can keep adoptees from taking even the smallest step toward activating the risk of rejection, or even of consciously thinking about the possibility.

    It’s nearly impossible for me to imagine NOT wanting to know, at the very least. For me, searching for my mother was like seeking the Graal. All my life, I’d wondered who she was. Just months before my search, I remember walking down the hall of my apartment in Brooklyn, thinking, is she walking down her hallway, right this minute? Does she look like me? Does she think like me? Does she feel like I do?

    So: I’ve always been far more than curious. I don’t think our need to know is uncommon. For me, at least, the need to find her was always there, whether I was conscious of it or not.



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