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Looking for advice about dd and contact(21 Posts)
I'm starting this under my Christmas name, and might well get it deleted, but was wondering if any of you could give me the benefit of your advice/experience.
dd is 16. Her birth mother voluntarily gave her up for adoption, but I think regretted it and has been very active about contact
demanding asking for a lot of photographs and information over the years. I was willing early on, but got a bit tentative as dd got more recognisable.
As dd got older, we talked to her about her birth family but she was adamant she didn't want to know. She became quite private about facebook and other teenager online stuff, as she didn't want to be recognised.
Her birth mother wanted to get in touch, and wants to get photographs, but dd doesn't want to send any, which has made for a few awkward and unsatisfactory letterbox contacts.
So last year, I met with her birth mother (who is very nice, btw and has another family now, so isn't actually looking for anything but knowledge). dd agreed that I could go, as long as I didn't tell her I'd been or tell her about it or ask her to have anything to do with it .
So where do I go from here. Her bm would like to meet her (she has asked again). dd doesn't want to. I'm stuck in the middle, looking like an obstructive bitch. And to add to the complications, I know her bm's mother is not very well, and may not be here in another year. She is desperate to meet dd before she dies .
So should I push dd to meet them? Tell them to feck off? Or carry on as I am, stalling, and procrastinating and waffling?
And to add to the complications, ds1 would like to meet his birth family, but they are uncontactable and his bm has disappeared . And I think part of dd's refusal is due to this, rather than any negative feelings about her own family.
It's never easy
I don't think you should push DD to meet them. You aren't being an obstructive bitch, you're relaying DD's wishes, and she needs to be in control of contact. I think politely telling birth mum that DD does not want to meet up now is the only thing you can do. It is very sad about birth grandmother dying, but if DD knows about this and still does not want to meet up, again I don't think you can push her
Whatever her regrets, and as sad as the situation is, her birth mum did choose adoption (and so did you and your DH). DD is the one who has not had any control over adoption and who her family are, and i strongly feel that her wishes must be paramount
I also think that you have no need to feel guilty about relaying DD's wishes to her birth family. Although it's fine to feel sad of course, you haven't done anything wrong
I do feel for your DS as well. Although even when both sides want to stay in touch, it isn't always plain sailing. DD2 has her own issues with staying in touch with her family, even though overall she wants it and they want it.
Yes, I know you are right.
It's her choice.
So why do I feel guilty?
It's fecking ridiculous.
Is it really ridiculous?
You've met her birth mum, and been communicating with her for 16 years now. I guess you have an emotional connection to her of some kind - as the woman who gave dd life and the human being you have met and talked with
You are clearly a kind and compassionate woman and you feel for her, nothing wrong with that either
So is it so odd that you would want everyone to be happy and to all want contact and walk off into the sunset with no difficulties and happy relationships? And since you're the one who is communicating with birth mum, you are put into the unfortunate position of being the bearer of the news birth mum obviously does not want to hear
Now, I don' t think you feeling guilty is good or productive because it won' t achieve anything except making you feel bad which you don' t need or deserve and you haven't done anything wrong obviously. But I don't think it's odd you feel this way
My OH first child was adopted (he wasn't on BC) 17 years ago when he was a teenager the BM & OH both have gotten photo's and updates but have both been told the son has their letters but is happy and doesnt want any contact so they stopped when he turned 16 the BM needs to accept your DD's point of view and you need to stop all contact with this woman
hard infact bloody hard but you have to all respect your DD in this
Agree totally with Lilka. I think you have to stick to your DD's wishes, make sure she knows the situation.
Maybe help her to consider if she is taking her brother's feelings into the equation etc too much. If the situation with her brother were reversed and he were choosing not to meet his Birth Mum because of feelings about sympathy for her not being able to, how would she feel?
Ultimately she has to do what is right for her and if that is choosing not to meet then it must be the case.
I agree feeling guilty isn't helpful and I think you sound like a great mum (I think it is probably all the great mums who feel guilty at times!!).
Just as an aside, ignore if it is not helpful, my dear father died when I was pregnant and never got to meet my DD, his only granddaughter. It was no one's fault, it just happened. I don't feel guilty, and for the same reasons you should not either. It is just life.
I'm not an adopter (yet) so feel free to ignore me!
Hope that some of this pain will leave you, and you will not feel the need to procrastinate or stall or waffle, simply relay the messages back and forth in the most loving way you can and see yourself as the carrier pigeon, not responsible for the message, as they say 'dont shoot the messenger...' and no one should.
PS assuming you are happy to be the messinger, if you are not then maybe you can tell DD that she can have contact with BM when/if she wants. It depends what your DD wants and also what is easier for you. At least with your meeting the BM you MAY feel you are doing what is best and what you can because maybe ultimatlely for your DD ONE DAY a meeting would be good and maybe one day she will want it but it must be on her terms. Just MHO.
Only you know your dd best. Is she just being stubborn and refusing to deal with it. Is she likely to regret not meeting her. Could you have the conversation of "you never know what will happen in the future and will you regret it of something happens to your bm before you met/asked her your questions". If she is adamant then you can't do anymore.
Maybe ask bm to write letters and bday, wedding cards for dd, so that if the time is right later but she's not here, you can atleast do that?
Ach, my long post just got eaten in t'interweb.
Mary, I really sympathise with your position on this. Lilka and the others are of course right, but the bit that would niggle me most in your position is the possibility that your dd is too young to fully appreciate how she might feel after her birth mother dies - perhaps years in the future - and gets angry (perhaps with you) that no-one pushed her to have this meeting in time.
If so, is there a third party she trusts who could discuss this with her? Just to make sure her decision is fully thought through?
Yes you are all right. It is dd's decision and I need to leave it to her (and stop worrying so much about it).
The reason I met with her bm last year is that I wanted to tell her face to face that it was dd's choice not to meet her or have contact with her. And I know from her face when I talked to her that she thought that I was stopping them meeting, that I was refusing to pass on messages, but I know that she now believes me and it is dd who has made that decision.
So I'm going to write a short letter to the agency to be passed on and say that now dd is 16 I'm leaving it to her. That I will let her (the bm) know if anything is wrong, but that I'm not going to try to persuade dd for the moment. I will contact her again when dd is 18 just to confirm whether or not dd wants contact at that time, and then dd will be an adult and it will be up to her.
Does that sound ok? Or is it a bit curt? I just can't cope with any more requests for contact. Part of me wants to scream "fuck off and leave us alone"
I'm not sure who else I could suggest she talks to - she is very close to my parents, but they don't like thinking about the kids being adopted, they tend to forget, sort of, and my dad in particular thinks that adoption should be final and that dd is now a member of our family, not of her birth family and they should just accept it (he's a bit black and white about it all). And she is very resistant to talking to any of the social workers involved.
mary is there any charity or organisation your DD can get in touch with to talk this through herself, or with your help?
I think you have tried very hard for everyone's sake and it may well be that your DD changes her mind at some point. I would also just wonder if her brothers situation may be effecting her and in some small way she does have to think it through for herself and not be too concerned how it will affect her brother if she meets her BM. I just wonder if someone else from outside the family might be able to help her to think it through for herself.
anyway, all best wishes for this tricky and painful situation. At least the guilt is not featuring, I really hope it is not. You are doing a great job.
I might give Barnardos a ring. On the surface dd is a very happy youngster, and most people think her adoption hasn't affected her at all. But I know that she is very "needy" and quite attention seeking at times, and I suspect there is a bit of a hole in her life that she will want to fill sometime.
I'd hate to think that misguided loyalty to ds or to us would stop her doing something when she might later regret it, iyswim.
I am very lucky though (and so is she) - as she was relinquished rather than taken into care, at least I don't have to face the abuse/neglect conversations. I think there are a lot of children who are going to get a horrible shock when they trace in years to come .
I hardly ever come on these pages but each time I do something haunts me and your post does this time.
Please try to get her to see her bm, I know this is difficult and may even cause problems between you and dd.
I would tell her the truth about the illness and that when she has her own dc she may think differently and it could be too late.
I never got to meet my bm she died young, I was never interested and came from pre 1975 so there was little chance of contact. Even during my early 20's I was adamant I didn't want to know.
Now many years later I have met some family who don't openly say she wanted to meet me, but I know its there. I feel like I let her down, the one thing I was in a position to do and I didn't.
Is there a counsellor or sw that could help with this, the last thing your dd wants later in life is guilt. I know why she doesn't want to know but I think she needs to.
I agree with everything that lilka wrote . It's Dds choice, all the adults concerned have made their own choices which is why you are where you are now.
I really don't think you should pressurise her to meet them. If it all goes Pear shaped ( as it often does), it will be "your fault".
I have a friend who was in a similar situation. Her DD was removed from BM because of serious abuse and the one wanting contcat was a half brother, who had remained in foster care and had a pretty bad time. SS were the ones pushing for contact. The girl was also 16 and she had to send a letter to SS asking them to stop pressing her for contact, she didn't want any at all. No information, no photos or letters. SS then accused the mother of having written the letter herself as it was typed ( although signed by DD). The girl types everything as she has dyslexia. They demanded a handwritten letter or a meeting to " prove " that it wasn't the parenst stopping contact.
They were all so upset by it all. My friend of course felt guilty about this poor lad who had a terrible childhood . But her DD had been through therapy to try to deal with the abuse and the last thing she wanted was to be reminded of this and have it all brought back.
I feel it's so unfair that our kids who had no choice in the situation are somehow being made to feel guilty because they can't make it all right for everyone . I have a lot of sympathy for birth familes but its not my, or my kids job, to fix it for them.
Can't add anything to what's been said other than I think your doing the right thing by not pushing her Maryz.
You're between a rock and a hard place with this situation as your dd may be hurt by whatever decision is made. Keep talking so she knows it's not a set in stone decision and try to leave the guilt aside.
Coincidently saw this today about birth family reunions, thought it was interesting.
Oh and if you figure out how to set the guilt aside can you drop me a quick note?
Thanks everyone for your thoughts.
Kristina, you are right - the one person who had no input into this is dd. I am very proud of her, of how she has grown up and I respect her decisions in most aspects of her life. It isn't up to me to over-rule her decision in this.
morethan, it is her bm's mum who is ill, and when I mentioned to dd "how would you feel if one of your birth family died before you met them" (a while ago) her answer was "well they aren't my family, so why would I feel anything", which is exactly right. I'm not going to guilt trip her into something she is uncomfortable with.
dd has a lot to cope with in her adoptive "dysfunctional" family, with a brother who is off the rails and a mother who is currently being treated for depression . She is a great kid, and I should respect her decisions, so I am going to.
I am ignoring the guilt!
Well done Mary, don't give your guilt the time of day, you have brought up a lovely dd by the sound of it. You should be proud not guilty. Hope 2013 will be a good year for all of you.
I do apologise, I read your post wrongly. I thought it was your dds bm who was very ill.
I don't think you should feel guilty as you are her mother and have been there for her when her blood relatives weren't.
However, I do believe that many if not all adopted people really do want some contact eventually.
You couldn't have paid bribed cajoled me, even at 18 when several of my adopted friends went looking, I didn't want to know.
It wasn't until I had ds1 and within the year I was so curious and excited, but alas it was too late.
It may sound awful but aparentely it was a good thing we didn't meet as she wasn't a nice loving person, but I do feel guilty that I didn't give her the chance. It just seemed the least I could have done after she gave me life.
No need for apologies at all . It's great for me to hear the views of people who are adopted, as (hard as I try) it is difficult for me to empathise with dd as much as I would like to.
It's easy for me to say "it's just one meeting, you don't have to see her again, just meet her and tell her you are happy, simple". But of course for her it isn't simple at all - she must be afraid she won't like her, and possibly even more afraid she might like her too much and want to head off to live with her .
I am proud of dd, she is a lovely kid. Her bm would like her, and i suspect vice versa as well. But having said that, I am a little secretly pleased she doesn't want contact yet as I (and I suspect many adoptive mothers) have a tiny place in my brain which is very afraid she would dump for her "real mum". Not that that is something I would ever say to anyone, except on here .
I do think that having children herself will be the time she wants to trace - hopefully not too soon!
Mary I would be so surprised to hear of any such thing as a child going off with BM! You know you are her real Mum. I know you know, but just to say a massive hug to you.
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