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A 'letter' to my daughter's first adoptive parents(19 Posts)
I just read back through, and realised how long it has ended up! I wrote this chiefly for me, it has been very helpful for me to put this down, and I fully understand if the people on here don't read this, it is an essay!
I am (DD1's) mother. I adopted her under 2 years after she left your home. In the last few days I have had a few conversations with DD1 about the time she spent living with you, in addition to the ones we have had since she came to live with me. I know quite a bit about you (or how you were back then), and yet not really that much at all, as her memory is not that good and much is blocked out. And of course, her perspective of that time, and her story of it, would be different to the one you would tell.
I know your names from her, and your address, but I have never looked you up online. I have had a funny kind of reluctance to do that - I used to be worried about what I would fine, and as an adult DD seems (although she doesn't share that many of her inner feelings about her past with me) uninterested. As she is an adult, I don't feel I have the right to dig into her past without her say so. Whilst I understand her disinterest and need to put it behind her, there are things I wish I could say to you. I have supported other parents who have been through disruption, and invariably when they talk, i also think about you.
Firstly, I don't now how much you want to know about her now, or whether you would want to hear from me (another reason I am not sending this to you). Maybe you have also partly blocked out the () months she lived with you, maybe you can't bear to think about it. Maybe you have to a large extent moved on, and have found peace from that time, built a wonderful life. Or maybe nearly 20 years later, you still feel a lot of pain and grief. Maybe news of DD would upset you - but maybe it would also bring you some peace. After all, you invested so much in her, and then all of a sudden you were cut off and were not told anything more about her from the moment she moved out of your home (so I have been told).
If you want to know about her, then I would tell you this, and I hope knowing this would make you glad for her. She is a mostly happy and strong young woman, who has overcome many of her challenges, and has a good life. She has a wonderful husband, and a beautiful daughter who is the light of her life. She is a great mother, and plans to have at least 3 children. She had a steady job (she stays at home now), she has some close friends. She has 7 little brothers and sisters, both biological and adopted, and they for the most part look up to her, and adore her. And of course, she is my beloved daughter (and still my baby). Her second adoption has very much succeeded, despite the tough times
When I think about you, I often feel very sad. I can't imagine how you felt when after months of trying to parent and support her, bond with her, love her, you could not make it work. I don't know the agony you went through when you finally had to end the adoption. I have been near that point, and it was the hardest time of my entire life. I understand a lot of what you went through trying to deal with her trauma, attachment issues and PTSD. I feel uncomfortable knowing that I would not have her if all your dreams had come true then, and that your loss ended up being my gain. I understand why you disrupted, and I don't in any way think badly of you. I am pretty certain that you didn't in any way stop caring and didn't just give up because it was difficult. You carried on past the point most people would disrupt at. From what DD tells me, you tried hard to get support, and it wasn't forthcoming. She was placed with you largely because of lies and misinformation given by social services, who already knew she was very unlikely to manage in a two parent home. I don't believe you had unrealistic expectation of her, you just really didn't know much about her before she moved in. I hope you were supported by your family and friends when she left you.
I don't know how that time has affected you, or whether you managed to remain together at all, as I am aware your relationship was tested a great deal. I know some parents who went through a disruption, and then were able to adopt again. i wonder if you were able to have a successful second adoption as well, or if you have been childless since. I hope you have found much happiness since then. I hope you found a way to move fowards with your lives, and I hope some of your dreams have come true since. When I think about you I am glad that two people out there also saw DD's information and wanted to make her theirs. I am glad that other people wanted to commit to her in the same way i have. After all, for nearly all 8+ year old children in care, that will never happen. They won't find adults who are willing to make that commitment. DD deserved to be wanted, and she was. I can't pretend the disruption didn't affect DD in a bad way, she struggled greatly to trust that I would actually adopt her and raise her. It continued to affect her years down the line. But as i said, given what DD has told me, I do not blame you.
She does have a few good memories of her time with you - she remembers some of her first nice experiences in life happened at your home. I am so happy she was able to do these things with you. I am sure you worried for her future when she left you - I can tell you that she went to her second caring home after leaving you, a wonderful foster mother with whom she lived until she came to live with me. They still keep in contact. But you were her very first truly caring set of parents, and I am very grateful for that. She tells me that whilst she did not understand what was happening at the time, and therefore felt abandonned and angry, now as an adult she does understand. She also feels that you tried so hard, and she hopes as i do, that the last 18 years have treated you kindly
With best wishes for the future,
Lilka that is a lovely, caring and thoughtful letter.
Has DD seen it? Is she happy for you to send it?
I am sure the people it is written for would be very moved and relieved to receive it.
I only just wrote it today although I've thought about it a bit over the last week, haven't shown it to DD
She is generally quite reluctant to talk about her life pre-adoption, with the exception of her last foster mother. But then I have facilitated contact throughout with her. DD's feelings towards her first adopters are a little more conflicted. Although she now understands a great deal more about what happened then, is no longer angry with them, and does wish them well, there will probably always be that bit of her that feels abandonned when thinking about them. She can intellectually understand, but on an emotional level, it's hard. Nowadays, we only talk about it when she brings it up, which isn't often. i would be hesitant to bring it up myself
I wonder because if it were me, I would hope to get some kind of update. But it is nearly two decades later, and I am truly worried that they would not welcome any news, or that this would rake it up and cause pain. Anyway, nothing could happen without DD saying so, and i think they would have to be approached by an intermediary asking them if they would want a letter or not, so they have an opportunity to refuse
What a wonderful, wise, warm letter, Lilka.
I can't believe your dd's former adoptive mother wouldn't want to read it. But I also think your relationship with your dd, and the bond of trust you have with her, is more important.
I was fostered as a child. Not all of them were decent, happy placements. However one was and I have never forgotten them. A few years ago we got back in touch and it has been amazing.
I am not really sure what my point is. Maybe just to say that people never really forget when someone has had a piece of their heart.
Lilka I agree with Devora. I think the people the letter is intended for would be really pleased to get it. I imagine they would be really relieved. And I agree your DD must be ready for you to send it. Maybe now she is a mother herself she will be able to understand a bit more about how difficult it must have been, although it may work the other way, so would personally not mention that! Is so tricky and delicate isn't it. Who knows, it may in some way help your DD to come to terms with that relationship with those people by allowing them to know how well she has lived her life. But her feelings must come first, as you yourself would always say, I know.
I mean would persosnally not mention about her being a mother and understanding more, to her, I mean!
I have no idea whether you should send it or not - as you say your DD's feelng should come first but you could always get her to read it first. One thing that struck me was how in their position I would feel a failure that you had succeeded where they had failed and it would be nice to read a little more about why it worked second time - a bit more emphasis on DD needing a female household and teh (eventual) help you got from social services (I think you did get some in the end from memory).
Yes, Kew, that's another reason i worry about writing to them myself. I don't want to hurt them by making them feel like they were failures. They really weren't. Like you said, I did eventually secure therapeutic support, and her therapist commented that she was shocked (well, shocked but not really surprised since this is SS IYSWIM) they had tried to place her in a two parent m/f home. She didn't think it was possible for DD to succeed in that set up without significant therapy
I'll think on this a while before bringing it up with her, if I do. I appreciate all the comments
Lilka I am fairly sure that the knowledge that your DD has made it into adulthood as a lovely, mostly happy woman (after a very, very difficult start) would outweigh the sadness or any dissapointment that it was not them who managed to assist her to do this.
I agree with Kew (as ever!) that some reasons why the placement with you worked out would really help them to know that it was not their 'fault' that things did not work out with them (which is what I took for your letter).
Anyway, if I were in their position the knowledge of the situation would outweigh any personal sadness about 'my' end of things. If you see what I mean.
OP, my friend has just been through the trauma of an adoption break down. She would give anyhting to know that her DC fair well in the future. Anyhting.
Lilka, this is a beautiful letter and I think your dd's first adoptive parents would be so relieved to get it. It must be horrendous to go through adoption breakdown for all parties and to no know what happened to her must have been torture for them. I'd imagine that while they might be sad that they weren't able to get her to where she is now, they would be just thrilled to know she's happy (mostly) and now a mother herself.
What a beautiful letter Lilka.
I have been told of 2 recent disruptions via my LA and interestingly it was one parent within a couple who instigated the disruption and the other parent (and in both cases a sibling) were distraught.
On this basis I do wonder if even if one of the individuals (not necessarily the couple) including a sibling, could benefit from this message.
Assuming your daughter is comfortable, I would go via the agency to seek an intro/request for the letter.
If this never gets sent, I do hope it reaches someone who has expereinced a disruption - as I could only imagine it offering sustenance and care.
I think Lilka knows pretty well the circumstances of the disruption (from memory)
I had a little information when I adopted her, as an adult she has access to her files including more information about the disruption, and also aas she was 8/9 at the time, whilst she has blanked bits out, her memory is good enough
I would not describe them, me, or any adoptive parents for that matter as selfless. Adopting is inherently selfish. But they tried hard and were well intentioned and were 'good to her'
I am also not sure if you should send the letter, although I think your intentions are good. I am adopted very different case as from birth. But I too didn't want to know anything and needed to wait until I was ready, when I had my own dc. Obviously she blanked off painful memories and opening old wounds may not be a good thing atm. Only you know your dd but you sound like you have a wonderful relationship. If you ask your dd she may wonder why you think you owe them anythiing, I know I would have before I was ready and I didn't experience anything like your dd has. If others think I am totally wrong and off track I apologise, just my own opinion.
i think you should think on it, maybe put in keys bit about the therapist and the eventual theraputic support and then show it to your DD.
After she has read it i think she'll want you to send it.
If you wrote the letter for you, why send it? I wouldn't send it. I think it makes all sorts of claims to understand who and what they were. And their "story" might not jibe with "yours."
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