' [Birth Mother] First Mother Forum: Why Some First/Birth Mothers Reject Reunion, Part 2

Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Why Some First/Birth Mothers Reject Reunion, Part 2

The work of my life

Why do some mothers reject reunion? Because they have closed up that hole in their heart. It's still there, underneath the scab, but they are afraid to let anyone rip it off. Besides they haven't told...the people in their lives today.  There's more to say than I did in a previous post and so I am continuing the except from the new edition of Hole In My Heart, Love and Loss in the Fault Lines of Adoption, which to the end of the day is on sale for $2.99 in ebook.  Now about those mothers:

...These women may have told their partners. Or not. They may have told any other children they had. Or not. They may not have had other children. They may have told their best friends. Or not. Cousins and more distant family members may know of the birth and adoption. Or not. Having found no succor from their mortified families throughout the pregnancy, birth, and relinquishment, they never talk to them of it. Neighbors and work friends probably do not know. 

In short, dealing with reunion feels like fresh punishment for an old sin, one they thought they had atoned for. Instead of looking forward to meeting their now-grown child, they fear exposure. The overwhelming release of repressed grief on first contact—an email, a letter, or a phone call—unleashes a renewed sense of loss, guilt, shame, anger, and grief, now intensified by the loss having been shrouded in secrecy for countless years. 

And now, come out of the closet and tell everybody in the family? Have her or him visit and figure out how to introduce her or him to people you run into together? Tell your best friend, when for decades you kept this from her? Tell the children you’ve kept this from their entire lives? Everybody will look at you differently. 

You have been pretending to be someone you are not. You have been hiding this basic, essential truth about yourself for years! How can anyone trust you again? These women are everywhere. They don’t admit this on Facebook— or they avoid Facebook because they might be found—they don’t volunteer for TV shows, and they don’t end up in surveys and  research.
Improbably, one of these women was a neighbor and friend of mine for years. She didn’t approve of my work to unseal birth records and talked about it so much with her grown children that one of them suspected she had a secret child herself. Yet somehow we maintained a connection. On her deathbed, she admitted that her “oldest” child was not her firstborn. It was not hard for me or the family to figure out where and when she might have given birth—or even who the father most likely was. It had been simply too hard to come clean to her family until she lay dying, a time when they were not likely to quiz or criticize her. 

As noted earlier, couples who married after relinquishing a child appear less likely to welcome contact. Though I could find no data confirming this, other than anecdotal, this is commonly accepted among searchers and confidential intermediaries. Some individuals may decide not to seek a continuing relationship—it could be the parent, it could be the child. When there are vastly different lifestyles, or strongly held but conflicting religious or political beliefs, or addiction and criminal behavior, one or the other party might find reunion too daunting. Too much time has passed, and it may be impossible to build an enduring connection, no matter how much one side longs for the severed relationship to be stitched back together. 

Often, adoptees initiate searches when they are about to be a parent. They may only want a medical history, not a relationship. Yet for an adoptee, reunion provides a second opportunity to claim something no one else on earth can provide: a mother’s unquestioning acceptance and love. They don’t speak of it in those terms because this yearning is difficult to acknowledge or articulate, yet the adoptees’ posts on Facebook attest to the pain associated with rejection. They are excruciating to read. Time and more reunion stories in the media—as in-the-closet mothers read about how others handle reunion—may lessen the number of these rejections as they embolden women to open their hearts and welcome their children. 

If any natural mother afraid to reunite wants to leave a comment here, they will not be crucified. We will carefully moderate comments. We want to help you deal with this issue, not make it worse. I understand why this is so hard. --lorraine
And don't forget, the sale of Hole in My Heart ends at midnight.  


  1. Because I know a lot of people are eager to read this book, I'm keeping the price low for another week or so. As publisher, I am thrilled with the response this memoir has been getting.

  2. I was sought out by my child and then rejected. After years of mourning the loss once more, closing the door to any potential future reunion again is just best.

    Self-care through self-preservation.

    1. I understand. There is a great deal of turmoil involved in reunion, and then to be rejected...is hard. My daughter did it several times, but came back. I looked at it from her POV. She did this to me....I can show her what it feels like. Today she would be 57. It's odd, but I woke up in the middle of the night around the time I went into labor. But happily I was able to go back to sleep and get much needed rest.

    2. So sorry anonymous for your rejection. I have sought out my BM, but after much online communication she will not meet with me in person. The hurt is enormous for me, but I won't give up on her as I know she is worth it. It hurts me thinking about how much our contact must hurt her, how my existence hurts her so much. I refuse to lose hope that one day we will reunite.

    3. So sorry about your natural mother's inability to meet with you! Each one of these rejections feels like a stab to my own heart but nothing as it compares to you! But PLEASE don't refer to her with those initials. I know you did not mean what society first thinks of when they hear them that way...but they do and so please do not use them--ANYWHERE when referring to the woman who gave birth to you.

    4. I am sorry, I didn't mean to offend anybody on here. She actually referred to herself using those initials. If I post again on here I will be more mindful as the last thing I want to do is add to anybody's hurt.

    5. Anon, calling us “BM” is akin to calling us incubators. We are Natural and/or First Mothers, or simply mothers. Losing you to adoption does not take that role or relationship away from your First Mother. “BM” implies she played no part in your life and merely hatched an egg. You were her daughter for 9+ months in utero, and she your mom.
      Whatever hardship or circumstance resulted in her having to place you for adoption does not negate any of that. Nor csn society or a piece of paper do so either, fake birth certificates or not.

      As for your mother not wanting contact and reunion, I hope someday she will be open to it. If/when she does, please don’t make her any promises or talk about dreams of a future with her in it unless you actually plan to follow through.
      I made the mistake of hanging on to such words from my daughter. It gave me hope for the future knowing that I will, at last, be a part of her life. I thought I could allow my heart to open up again and, maybe, heal. I was wrong and was left more broken than ever. I was left feeling used and betrayed again.

      I have no hope of ever reuniting nor do I want that anymore. Moving on isn’t easy, however, as I try to finally mourn the baby I lost and accept that this other person just isn’t her.

      I wish you peace, love, and healing.

  3. Anonymous, I am a birthmother and I am not at all offended by the usage of that moniker or the abbreviation. I am sorry that others feel the need to admonish you (quite harshly, in my opinion) for something that they take issue with but I would like to assure you they do not speak for all birth mothers, natural mothers, or first mothers.... whatever moniker they prefer. I do not get caught up in semantics of titles because, to me, adoption is not about semantics.
    I am so sorry that you have had the experience you have with your birthmother. I pray that things might change and that you'll be able to have contact and a relationship that is good for both of you. I know other birth mothers who have chosen not to reunite and while it's not something I chose for myself, I do understand. Oftentimes, there are situations that they fear will arise because of opening up to their birth child. I wish you all the best in life and I will pray for you and for your birth mother as well.

    1. No one has admonished Anon. If you found no offense to being called a BM, then the point made earlier isn’t for you. Asking for all to be addressed as they wish is not an admonition but the opportunity to guide others for those of us who do not care for that label, aka respect.

      Sending love and light to all Natural/First/Birth Moms, however they may wish to be addressed.

  4. I searched, she searched. We found. It is not good. I am truly sorry that I searched.

    1. Mine wasn't what I wanted, but I knew enough going in not to expect much. Never sorry I got my family back. Way better than adoption ever was.



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