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Being an adopted adult and meeting birth parent

(28 Posts)
mintysmum Sun 16-Nov-14 06:30:35

I know this is more chat about adopting rather than being adopted but I can't see where else to put it.

I have just made contact with my birth father and we are arranging to meet. Since finding him 6 days ago, I cannot sleep, I'm struggling to work and though I'm bouncy and cheerful with my kids and DH when I'm not making the effort to be so, I am daydreaming and distracted.

Has anyone else had this experience? I'm not sure what I can do to switch off and sleep better. I tried a 40 minute mindfulness meditation app yesterday which was good but DS barged in and started chatting halfway through! I've gone to see my parents to tell them about BF as a way of getting rid of my guilt feelings and they were wonderful so that helped.

But nothing is helping me to sleep at 3am and all I can think about is the meeting up bit and how terrified I'm going to be.

mcdog Sun 16-Nov-14 06:34:38

I'm an adoptive parent, and one of my best friends is an adopted person. I don't really have any words of wisdom, but is it anxiety, excitement, nerves, guilt, or trepidation that you are feeling? Would it be possible to take your mum or dad with you to meet you birth father? You don't need to do it alone, particularly if they have been so supportive of it.

mintysmum Sun 16-Nov-14 06:38:50

Thanks - my DH is coming with me so that is a massive help. It is a long way away so we need to stay over so I need him there for any wobbles.
Infact I've got so wound up about the arrangements (loads of dates being suggested, work, kids, dog to sort) that DH has taken that bit on himself and is in contact with bf directly.

I'm excited, scared, everything, just massively agitated. I can't quieten my mind.

mintysmum Sun 16-Nov-14 06:42:00

I wonder mainly what it all means? This gene connection.

He's not my dad. I've got a wonderful dad and I get really tearful about how confusing that is.

I am in such a muddle about how to navigate this new relationship. Yet I searched and wanted to find him. What a Pandora's box.

mcdog Sun 16-Nov-14 06:54:45

I can't even imagine the conflict you must feel, but I think you should maybe turn round your thinking a bit. E.g. You have stated you don't want a new dad, therefore you aren't searching for a replacement. Consequently, could you think of it as a fact finding mission and if any relationship blossoms then that is a bonus.
I don't know if would like to share, and totally respect if you don't, but were you relinquished as a baby or removed from your birth parents via social services? Only asking because I know others on the page have done what you are planning to do, and they have different back stories. Some context might help you get more personalised advice/suggestions.

Hels20 Sun 16-Nov-14 07:41:41

My cousin was adopted by her stepdad -except she didn't know about her biological dad (my uncle Richard - not real name) until her mother died. The man who she thought was her biological dad had died 2 years before. So this is very different to your situation. Anyway - she made contact with Richard when all was revealed at her mother's funeral - yes, it was like a soap opera - and she got in touch with Richard and then the wider family. She was 40, had her own children, her own life in another country.

She met Richard one Saturday night - they had been speaking and emailing - and she had flown over to meet him. She stayed with me.

She described the nervousness as almost like being on a date - very awkward to start with but then fine.
She has made it v clear she isn't looking for a new father - but she wanted to meet her biological family.

As I said, situation is very different to yours - but she said afterwards she was so thankful that they had emailed a fair bit, spoken on the phone. They are now in touch - and from an outside observer, I would say that the relationship is more like fondness and possibly relief on both their parts that the father/daughter is normal!

My cousin didn't sleep for 3 days before she met Richard. It satisfied her curiosity.

Good luck. Not sure if I have said anything that might help. Just make sure you have a friend/DH around you to talk it through afterwards

Hels20 Sun 16-Nov-14 07:43:15

Ps do you think it might help to have a bit more time to get to know each other over email or phone?

mintysmum Sun 16-Nov-14 10:21:55

You're right, it's nots a new dad I went looking for so that's ok. It's information and the possibility of a relationship even if distant.

I was given away at 6 weeks with the first six weeks spent with bm in a mother and baby home, then a pick up by adoptive parents one day and that was it. No further contact, but that was very common in those days.

Like a date - yes that's it, a churned up feeling, I'm not eating, I'm struggling to relax and it's rarely off my mind.

He might be disappointed in me because I might get anxious when we first meet and withdraw, all my language skills will disappear I know it. So he might think I'm odd and dull. Or I might be disappointed in him.

I've suggested a spontaneous Skype call today so we can at least see each other. But I'm now worried he'll call before I've dried my hair and I'll look a mess. That thought would never occur to me with my dad - he's seen me in all states, being sick, drunk, with milk squirting out my breasts during some tricky breastfeeding moments! You know, my dad is my dad and his feelings about me aren't in the least affected by looks or how withdrawn/anxious I might be. Whereas this bf thing seems to mean a whole different thing to me. I don't understand that and that's a muddle in my head.

mintysmum Sun 16-Nov-14 10:25:25

This is a bit personal so I do hope no-one knows me here.

But I have taken more thought about the photos to send him than I did with my birth mother. I've tried to send him the ones where I look best, but I don't understand that and it scares me. I don't want him to fancy me so what's that about?

LostInWales Sun 16-Nov-14 10:31:18

Because no matter how grown up we like to think we are (this is my reasoning as I have the same history as you) being adopted is a bit of a mind fuck, I think there is always a bit of insecurity when the first thing that ever happened to you was being given away by the people who should love and want you most in the world (whatever the circumstance). You want him to love you and like you and be proud of you because that's what we crave when it all boils down. In my head anyway!

I'll PM you in a bit!

PacificDogwood Sun 16-Nov-14 10:33:44

thanks to you - this is hard and confusing; cut yourself a bit of slack.

I think wanting to find out about birth parents is all about trying to understand oneself better, where we 'came from' etc, isn't it?

It's not about him, it's about you.
You want to make a good impression and feel 'pulled together' rather than a mess when you meet/see each other for the first time - it's an armour, almost.

Keep going with trying to remain 'mindful' - stay in the moment so you are not too much of a nervous wreck when the meeting comes.
Don't build it up too much: it could be fab, it could be horrid or a bit 'meh'.

I have no direct experience of adoption (except an adopted cousin who chose not to go looking for his BP), but deal with adoptive families from time to time.
Just take it slow and be very kind to yourself.
Also wrt feelings: allow them all; you feel what you need to feel. Let them come and some of them will pass - they did not mean anything much. With the benefit of some time passing you'll see what feelings/thoughts are left - those matter more.

Take it slow.
V bets of luck.

mintysmum Sun 16-Nov-14 10:41:44

Thank you both. I'm in tears now, but thank you.

It is a mind fuck and I'll try accepting emotions as they come. Wish I could sleep or switch off.

PacificDogwood Sun 16-Nov-14 10:43:25

Can you get out of the house? A bracing walk at a beach/up a mountain?

Use your body to use up some of the adrenalin and you'll feel mentally a bit calmer too thanks

mintysmum Sun 16-Nov-14 10:51:16

Great minds think alike - I took the dog out at 830 on my own for a foggy, woodland walk. Now I've got a moany 9 year old trying to get his maths homework done, while I try and keep calm!

But yes time walking, and time alone is good and helps.

TheWildRumpyPumpus Sun 16-Nov-14 11:00:29

I can totally identify with how you are feeling. I first made contact with my birth mother over 10 years ago via cover your eyes adoptive parents Friends Reunited. We had a bit of back and forth communication and I also spoke with one of the 3 half brothers I found out about.

After a few years, I met up with my half brother, and like you said, it was like going on a first date with somebody - totally bizarre. We got on brilliantly actually, and have met up regularly since, he has been to visit a few times and I am going to stay down near him next month. This will shock some people no doubt, but I have had sexual dreams about him, there is obviously NO WAY in the world anything goes through my waking mind in that regard, and I would even consider him my 'normal' kind of type, but we have a sudden extreme bond that you only normally get within the realms of a relationship I guess, without the boundaries of a sibling upbringing that would make my consciousness think urggghghh.

Anyway, I met my natural mother last month for the first time, it was a bit awkward and the chat wasn't as natural as it could have been. She didn't look how I imagined she would! I was fine in the run up to it, but very nervous for the hour before she arrived. We will probably meet again next month as well.

Good luck with your meeting, he is probably as nervous as you are. Be prepared for neither of you knowing what you really want from things, and coming away feeling kind of unsatisfied - you can always meet again for a longer chat!

Shockers Sun 16-Nov-14 11:04:21

I completely understand, but I'm finding it difficult to articulate why.

You have a loving relationship with your dad that has been built up over your childhood. You know he accepts you just as you are.

This person is someone you are expected to have some kind of bond with even though you don't know him... that wouldn't happen in any other circumstance and the pressure is intense.

I found it easier to form relationships with my birth aunt, uncle and cousins, than my birth father and brother at first because there was less pressure to 'get it right'.

I don't know how I would be feeling now if I hadn't contacted them, but I haven't managed to shake off the deep hurt and feelings of rejection, so we aren't very close. I hide those feelings when we do meet though.

I think deep down I wanted to prove that my dad, the man who brought me up and loved me, was the right choice all round and I wanted to show how well I'd turned out as a result of his love and nurture.

Does that make sense?

juicycelebrity Sun 16-Nov-14 11:04:23

I have no experience in either camp but I just wanted to give you a virtual hug. I hope it goes well.

BertieBotts Sun 16-Nov-14 11:09:54

I wonder if the image/photo thing is just related to beliefs in our culture - you perhaps felt more that your birth mother would be likely to accept you regardless, whereas there is a fear on some level that your birth father may yet reject you, because that is what fathers (are more likely than mothers to) do in our culture.

But, he has already accepted contact. I don't think this will help because it's one of those things that you know is irrational but can't help believing anyway. But perhaps it helps to understand? I don't know.

Good luck with it all, anyway smile

KristinaM Sun 16-Nov-14 13:25:08

Minty -I've met both my birth parents and felt pretty much like you both times. I don't have anything to add to the great advice you've had except to reassure you that you are totally normal

I know it's a cliche, but just take it all one step at a time

The wilds -what you experienced is called genetic sexual attraction and it's also very common. You can google it . You are not weird , lost of people get these feelings .

I agree with the poster who said it's a bit of a head f**k grin

KristinaM Sun 16-Nov-14 13:27:34

Defo try to do the Skype or FaceTime call, my birth mother was very shocked that I was an adult . Yes of course, she knew my age. But because she relinqued a baby, and she had never talked to anyone about it since , she hadn't moved in in her own mind.

Understandable, but very freaky for me

Fierceflora Sun 16-Nov-14 13:28:25

Hi just marking my place to come back later as am going out but I have been where you are and I GET IT! X

Kewcumber Sun 16-Nov-14 20:07:41

Mintysmum - just a quick post the say that this is "adoption" not "adopting"! You have every bit as much right to be here as any (and frankly quite a bit more than some who have posted over the years!).

I have absolutely no advice to add, like you I have a nearly 9 year old who has just reluctantly done his maths homework. If he were in the position to be able to meet any of his birth family at the right point I'd be a nervous wreck for him - so can't believe I can offer any advice to help you through it...

But I hope it goes as well as it can for you.

mintysmum Sun 16-Nov-14 20:52:33

I am so touched by everyone of you for posting. This has helped so much. Thank you.
We skyped and it has helped enormously. He may have only been a teen when he conceived me, but he seems old enough to be father figure like, which is good.

I am reassured but still terrified.

I really really feel no adopted person should ever be 'encouraged' to search, only supported if they choose to do so. I am struggling to cope with these feelings and the decision was 100% mine, with no 'encouragement' from my parents (only quiet support) and I now feel that is really important.

Kewcumber Sun 16-Nov-14 21:40:39

I do agree Minty, the child in the adoption triangle had the least choice of anyone - all the choices lay with birth parents and adoptive parents and I think its OK to gain some control by making your own choices this time around and being OK with making those choices. Even if they scare you.

Italiangreyhound Mon 17-Nov-14 10:09:08

Good luck Minty. No wisdom from me but I hope it goes very well. You sound amazing so I am sure he will be delighted to meet you.

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