' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: If you don't care about your origins, why are you searching First Mother sites?

Thursday, April 29, 2021

If you don't care about your origins, why are you searching First Mother sites?

I am the daughter of a mother who was an adoptee" wrote Annie on an old FMF post. "My mother adored her parents and God help you if you'd identify them as her "adoptive parents."

Several years ago my mother sent her DNA to Ancestry.com to decipher her ethnicity and to learn medical concerns--if someone reached out to her. She had a lovely email exchange with her birth mother and genetic brother, which she shared with me, and able to answer both questions, but ultimately said she had no desire to meet them, as they were strangers to her. 

Since then, her birth mother has reached out to her several times to meet, and my mom finally said her life was really complete and that she didn't really feel emotionally attached. I winced a bit, but she was being honest and I couldn't fault her for that.

As for me, I have even less interest in meeting my genetic grandmother or uncle. It's no different from offering me to meet my great-great-great-great grandmother from the 1800's. I couldn't be bothered.

Maybe it's a millennial thing but most people my age have grown in a world where the link of genetics is scientifically interesting, but emotionally empty. I have several adopted friends who just don't care. And my boyfriend was born from sperm donation. He has a dad he loves and the only time the subject came up was to ask me if I was a sperm donor baby (to ensure he wasn't dating a genetic half sister - HA!).--Annie

There's a lot of bravado in the old refrain--just wanted some ethnic and medical information from the biological family. Don't want to meet. Your statement about your mother not wanting to hear anyone refer to her parents as "adoptive parents"  is telling. She's obviously grown up with a sense that acknowledging the truth of her origins--other than when she wants information--reveals a deep sense of loyalty and sole ownership that was instilled by those parents, and that any deviation from that is disloyal to them. A meeting would be the final betrayal and acknowledgment of her relationship to another mother, another family. 

However, that is your mother's choice. 

Yet millions of millions of Americans do care care about their roots. We find it interesting that you are surrounded by people who you claim are not interested in their roots. They spend millions on genetic search companies, biological family Search sites, and watch Henry Louis Gates' popular weekly program on PBS, "Finding my Roots." Mandy Patinkin broke out in tears last week on the show after learning about ancestors he had no idea even existed. Others have a similar reaction. When asked how he felt about learning his familial ancestry, Patinkin said it made him feel "warm." Today genealogy is one of the most popular pastimes in America, the place where most people come from somewhere else.  

Truth be known, Annie, you do care or you would not have been searching first mother blogs. And your boyfriend may come to care when he sees a man with the same color eyes, the same gait, the same smile and begins to wonder. Volumes are written by adoptees who admit to professing their lack of caring -- until one day they do care.

As far as your mother not feeling the "need to meet" and not feeling "emotionally attached," those connective feelings often come after a reunion, when the adoptee and the first mother find out how much they have in common, how they share traits and personality tics. Your mother may not have the need to meet her mother, but her first mother obviously does have that need. Why not extend some kindness to her? The facts of your mother's adoption may be quite different from what your mother imagines, and she would have questions answered. We've found that adoptees who are instilled with guilt feelings about natural curiosity have had adoptive parents who are unable to accept their child's origins. This appears to have happened to your mother. 

Your mother would not have to continue a relationship, but it would be an act of kindness if she were to meet her at least once. Facebook is rife with comments from adoptees who are sore at heart because their biological mothers will not meet them, and wherever and whenever we can, we urge them to do so. 

I was contacted years ago by a cousin's daughter when her mother died. I had met this daughter only once, and her mother, only a few times. I happened to be coming to the area where the daughter lived so we arranged a visit. It was most enjoyable and we've kept in touch. 

If nothing else, your mother could view meeting her first mother as a social obligation. We've all had these. We visit shut-ins, we have lunch with a lonely co-worker, we attend funerals of relatives of friends. It's something we do as decent human beings.  

Annie, I encourage you to re-think your position. It sounds so walled off and contained. People who aren't interested in their roots as young people often think differently about them later, and wish they knew more. We know adoptees who have written pieces about why they don't want to search for their original mothers change their minds years later, and dive deep into searching. Or welcome the chance to meet their biological families when contacted by them. You yourself might find that meeting your biological grandmother will open up a world, and feelings, that you won't regret knowing.

Lastly, your world is peppered with people who are missing connections to their natural families--your mother, several friends, your boyfriend--so much so, in fact,  that we wondered if you exaggerated the number of people you know who do not want to search. It's also weird that you wouldn't care to meet some ancestor if offered the chance. I've got an ancestor who fought in the Revolutionary War and I'd love to talk to him. More evidence continues to emerge that all kinds of personality traits are inherited. They may be enhanced or squelched by upbringing, but they remain, ready to be passed on to the next generation. If you have no interest in your own roots, why were you searching for websites and blogs about adoption and birth mothers?--jane

For more on this issue:

Allison Quets: Birth-Mother? Surrogate Mother? No Mother?


  1. "maybe it's a millenial thing"
    I kind of doubt that. There are lots of millenials in my huge family and I have never seen nor heard anything that remotely expresses these feelings from them. We have had a number of adoption reunions as well...on many sides, from many family branches. Some of them are millenials and some are now working with other millenials in the adoption reunion area, as well as other people who are from older generations.
    I sense hostility in this woman's post when she says she "couldn't be bothered to meet" her
    relatives...yet she still wants information from them. She says she doesn't care, but I find that hard to believe. I think she does care but probably has learned not to have any interest in her ancestors because her mother claimed not to want anything to do with them.
    Asking for medical history is one "legitimate" request that always seems valid....or perhaps, an "acceptable" request for someone who does not really want to contact birth family.
    However, if the family is going to supply the medical history, then the family members must care enough to respond, see you as a member of their family, and give it to you.
    It seems odd to me when someone asks for medical history from a family member but then calls them a stranger and refuses to meet them.

  2. Good article.I have friends who feel the need to share that they know adoptees who have no desire to meet their natural mothers and families. I wonder if it's really true or if buried hurt is manifesting as harshly expressed disinterest.

  3. Excellent article. I have had my daughter tell me the same kind of things...even though the only way I found her was through her own posting in the reunion section of adoption.com... She was looking, and very angry.

  4. This is the dream type of comment above for "adopters"...

    "As for me, I have even less interest in meeting my genetic grandmother or uncle."

    This is what they sign up for, making sure descendants of natural mothers say such things and degrade adoptees roots. I assume my own grandchild recently born will say the same thing about me. Her new parent, the child I lost to a fraudulent open adoption is beholden to their adopters, take every opportunity to bootlick and fall at their feet, while my child has done nothing but dehumanize me. I was, of course, not notified of the new grandchild. Twitter was, but I wasn't. A vulnerable young woman with little resources at one time doesn't "deserve" that dignity, I gather.

    The "gift" of adoption continues. Why I am going forward without any desire for any contact or recognition as so much as a human being. I won't allow myself to be abused or participate in my own exploitation any longer.

  5. Jane, good response to Annie!



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