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Meeting Birth mother - Your Advice?

(14 Posts)
Sweetpeas20 Wed 11-May-11 20:30:11

After a 25-year search, I am off to Australia in July/August to meet my birth mother and four half brothers.

SOOOOO excited!

Long story re the search, but the final piece of the jigsaw came through Facebook - I contacted a few people in the right part of Australia and asked if they might know of the lady's married name and whereabouts - I had five replies within an hour.

Has anyone else had a similar experience? Would anyone like to share their story with me?

Any advice about reunions?

flossymuldoon Thu 12-May-11 10:23:51

Sorry, i have no advice to give, but I just wanted to wish you all the best and i hope the meeting is everything you wish it to be!!!

RipVanLilka Thu 12-May-11 18:13:19

Hey Sweetpeas

My oldest daughter has reunited with one of her siblings she had not seen for about 16 years. Although I am not adopted myself, and my daughter hasn't met her biological parents, my advice would be to take it one step at a time and go at the pace of the slowest person if that makes sense. Like most other relationships, its give and take on both sides, plus a pretty huge load of emotions. My daughter and her sister don't appear to be communicating as much now as they were a few months ago, and I think thats actually quite common - for people to pull back a bit after a while. I would also say, are you clear on what you are reuniting for? Do you want to meet once or twice, or are you hoping for a long term relationship? I read an article following on from some research into reunions, and the survey they had done, had shown that most reunions that had difficulties were where both people had different expectations which didn't get communicated

I wish you all the best..I remember how excited DD was this time 6 months ago!! I hope that your reunion is everything you could want smile

Sweetpeas20 Thu 12-May-11 21:24:51

Thanks flossymuldoon and RipVanLilka smile

I agree about taking it slowly. I've been in contact with BM Gwen for 2 years now and we haven't even spoken on the phone yet, but we have been writing and exchanging photos and thoughts for that time...so we both think we're ready. I have met the eldest of my half-brothers when he came to London, and it was great - we both really enjoyed meeting up.

My personal reason for wanting to meet Gwen was to let her know that I am ok, that she made the right decision, and that I have thrived. No hidden agenda on my side. I left it entirely up to her whether to reply to my first contact, and was very pleased that she did.

As Gwen is Australian, and living there and I live in London, we won't be able to get too tired of each other smile

Divawithattitude Fri 13-May-11 08:24:17

Take lots of pictures of your childhood and family with you.

Don't expect to have an overwhelming instant feeling of love - you may have it - but equally you may not!

I have had a relationship with my birthmother for about 7 years now and I am very fond of her but would struggle to ever have a true mother/daughter relationship with her

Sweetpeas20 Fri 13-May-11 17:23:52

Thanks Diva. My Daddy is looking out a whole bunch of photos for me smile He wants to come too but at 87 is just a bit too frail, otherwise I would have loved for him to make the trip. We just feel we've gained an extra dimension to our big family.

I'm not sure about making it a proper Mother/daughter relationship - it was my adoptive parents who bought me up so it isn't right to call her my mother. I hope we will be friends, and that she can feel forgiven (apprently she feels terribly guilty), and I am very happy to know that she didn't want to give me away, but tried to hang on to me - it makes a huge difference to know that I was wanted. Even without meeting her I have become so much happier, knowing that.

And it is great having a nationality at last - I can finally support the right rugby team!!

yukoncher Fri 13-May-11 18:10:20

What a wonderful thing that's happening for you guys!

It's interesting you say that it makes a difference whether she tried and wanted to keep you. I wanted to keep my child who was adopted, but have began to worry that that information might make him feel uneasy, so thought me saying I agreed with the adoption would make it all more simple and clean cut or everyone. (social services think so).

Anyway, so happy for you and your birth mum. Wish you lots of joy when meeting each other, and that she may feel more at peace with what's happened.

Kewcumber Fri 13-May-11 21:22:02

I don't.think that you should say something that isn't true. If stating somewhere that your child can currently read that you wanted to keep them is currently too unsettling then best to avoid it IMO. I can imagine that to a young child it might be difficult but if you are talking about a letter for him to read at 18 then I think you are entitled put put your poverty forward. At this point in any event if he chooses he can access the court documents which presumably make clear that you didn't consent

yukoncher Sat 14-May-11 13:54:21

thanks

KristinaM Sat 14-May-11 15:13:43

I agree with kewcumber. Your child should know that you wanted tp keep him /her. It's a matter of how and when it's best to say this.

. Just because you wanted keep them at the time doesn't mean that you don't support their adoption now. You are an adult. You understand that your child couldn't put his /her life on hold for years while you sorted yourself out.

In many cases where the birth parent/s technically consented, it's not what they wanted. It's just they could see that there was no other option in the circumstances. Or they could see that adoptio was in the best interest of their child. It's NOT the same as not wanting them

But circumstances change, and many people who give up a child for adoption go on to successfully parent other children. That can be hard for an adoptee, who wonders " why did you keep them but not me?"

I think they need tp know that although you wanted to keep them, there were reasons that you couldnt. The problems -family breakdown, violence, addiction, mental health problems etc - meant that you could care for ANY CHILD at that time. You probably couldn't even care for yourself.

Yuconcer, I'm sorry for your loss

Divawithattitude Sun 15-May-11 11:20:28

I agree Kristina, I felt so much better when I was able to understand that in the 1950s my mother really had no choice but adoption, but I needed to hear it from her to feel that.

We now have regular contact, meet for lunch and I may even go on holiday with her this year as she has just lost her husband - who I never met!

ChildofIsis Mon 30-May-11 16:55:59

I've just started to have contact with my bm.
I was brought up to believe that she wanted me, but couldn't keep me due to societal pressures.
I was thrilled when she said that was what had happened. She was happy that I'd been told the truth. She was very concerned that i would hate her for what she'd had to do.
I've never had anything but the deepest respect for the sacrifice she made. It enabled my parents to complete their family when they couldn't have any more kids of their own.

I'm hoping to meet her over the summer. We're both keen to take things slowly so we can build a long term relationship.
I'm aware that blood isn't always thicker, and that we're two complete strangers who may have very different values.
Hopefully we can find the similarities and ignore the differences.

She's finding the emotional side quite difficult, years of pent up emotions suddenly coming to the fore. I'm more than happy to go as slowly as necessary for both our sakes.

wellieboot Mon 30-May-11 22:01:41

Hi Sweetpeas

I too traced my birth mother at the beginning of last year and went off to Singapore a few weeks ago to meet her for the first time (she lives in NZ so we decided to meet half way). I was terrified all the way there on the plane, but it was an amazing week and I feel very lucky to have her now. I know why I was given up and am comfortable with things.

My advice: I think it helped that before we met we had been in email contact for over a year, so things started really slowly which gave us both time to process all the emotions. Also, although it was pretty terrifying going on my own I'm really glad I did as it meant we got some proper time together to really connect, without having to worry about anyone else. I would also try as much as possible to think of everything from her side too - I didn't realise just how much she went through when she got the initial letter and all through the first year of contact really. It was like digging up the awfulness for her all over again (like ChildofIsis said), and seeing pictures of me really brought it home to her what had been lost - all she had of me before was a picture from when I was 2 months old that she carried around in her wallet for 30 years. I couldn't believe that she had thought of me all these years (although I don't know why, you don't really forget giving birth to someone!) and I now feel very wanted and cared for, by both her and my adoptive parents. I know I am very lucky.

I did find that my emotions hit me like a brick wall when I got back from the trip, as although I had a very happy upbringing with my adoptive parents, I felt very sad for the lost years with her. There are so many positives though, I now know where I get my silly laugh from and sense of humour, and my obsession with having everything matching! Also, my birthday last December was amazing as she was able to send me a birthday card for the very first time! The challenge is, both during and after the reunion, to always look forward not backwards on what could have been, and enjoy the relationship you build from here on in, rather than dwelling too much on 'what if's.'

I also now have another rugby team to support!!

If you want to pm me I am happy to chat, I know what it is like with random emotions popping up from nowhere - they describe it as a rollercoaster ride, pretty accurate IME. Wishing you all the very best with your reunion, very exciting for you!

wellieboot Mon 30-May-11 22:07:12

One more thing - don't expect necessarily to have that 'long lost family rush into each others arms in tears' thing - it might be that way but more likely not and it doesn't mean anything is wrong, for me the first few hours were pretty awkward tbh, and it got better and easier as the week went on!

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