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My experience as an adult adoptee contacting BM. Can anyone relate?

(30 Posts)
Jackie0 Sun 26-Apr-15 19:57:01

I was adopted a long time ago when secrecy was assumed to be forever, by which I mean birth mothers ( & it was usually just mothers) and adoptive parents were assured complete confidentiality, no knock on the door in 18 years.

My adoptive mother was ashamed, bitter and angry that she did not conceive her own child. I know that phrase " her own " is problematic but that is how she would have said it.She was very abusive and used the adoption as a weapon. I won't put here the disgusting things she said but it was along ' bad blood' lines, I'm sure you can fill in the blanks.

NC all my adult life. Go me smile

The law changed regarding obtaining adoption records and I contacted my birth mother 20 years ago.
Her initial reaction was one of horror, this was the thing she had been promised would not happen.
A relationship of sorts was forged however.I learned that my father had died young and without knowing of the pregnancy.
My BM and I would meet a couple of times a year.
Secrecy still hung over everything. She had a husband and children who knew nothing of me.
Years pass like this and then amazingly she tells me she has told her adult daughter. My excitement was short lived as in the next breath she tells me that my half sister doesn't want any contact. I honestly didn't know why she even told me this at all.
I was quite hurt and confused about this, I just couldn't imagine making that same choice if I were in her shoes.

Recently contact has dwindled and I'm sensing that soon I may not see her again.
This is her perogitive of course, I would be sorry if that were the case but it feels very much out of my control.
She has recently become a gm, my dh and I were unable to have children and I think she was avoiding me because of this.

One regret I have is that I didn't gleen every piece of information I could about my father. I was excited to meet her so it didn't seem a priority in the early days plus it was difficult to discuss these things as she would get visabily uncomfortable if I even broached it. His family , not parents probably but siblings nephews and neices are all out there somewhere and I would love to contact them.

I'm not a very emotional person but I can't watch " who do you think you are" and family history type things without feeling really jealous. I feel myself getting angry at not being acknowledged, rejected again really.

I might send her a message asking for all she knows about my father. I keep putting it off, I know she will be upset.
The thing is life is short, the years pass so quickly.

Its all a bit sad.

I'm just wondering if anyone out there has experienced anything similar and how you handled things.

Italiangreyhound Sun 26-Apr-15 21:19:59

JackieO I am so sorry that you are in this situation and really hope you will find some way to feel better about it all.

If finding your birth father's family would help then please do get info from your birth mum. Might it be easier to try and get a meeting with her again and bring it up as part of that.

I know you were hurt your half sister did not want to meet you. Please be patient. It may be that she is affected by having a baby (if it was her who made your birth mum a grandma). Also your birth mum may have told you because she wanted to be honest. At least it means she is being open with her family, which is surely better.

Have you come to terms with your own infertility? Can I ask how old you are?

My husband and I have one birth child and one adopted child. We love them both. Of course.

I had my dd fairly easily with IUI and then had a lot of fertility treatment with my own eggs and donor eggs and we adopted a year ago.

I just wonder if part of your desire to trace the extended family is through not having children (birth or adopted) and whether there is anything you could do there which may help with that?

I personally would suggest some counselling to help you move through these feelings and maybe to lay these feelings to rest. I mean about adoption but also about anything else.

I gave this advice to someone else on here and it may help you.

Adoption UK might have some support for adults who were adopted

and also...


You may be able to find a counsellor ir advice here...

and there is something called After Adoption.

I am sorry I cannot help more, if you want to talk about anything, please do pm me.

Bless you.

Jackie0 Mon 27-Apr-15 11:03:56

Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply Italian.

Yes, I think I have to take a deep breath and ask my BM about my father. When I see her we just seem to jabber on about nonsense. I don't mind having difficult conversations but I feel so guilty when I see her discomfort.
I don't want to regret not trying. There will come a time when it's too late.
Could you imagine if I found them ?!?! My poor father must be dead 40 years. That's a whole thread for another time, I hope.

My sister got the news nearly ten years ago. Her brother had the baby. My BM didn't tell my half brother or her husband so she isn't exactly being honest with the family as such. At the time I found it so odd. Why would you tell your daughter such an important thing knowing you were asking her to keep it a secret from her dad and brother? I can't get my head round her not wanting to meet me.
Did I userp her?
When you grow up in a lovely family, as she has , do you feel so happy and complete that protecting the status quo is the main thing?
Or loyalty for her dad?
Sometimes I feel like we are waiting for him to die,isn't that dreadful?

We had fertility treatment for years, four rounds of Icsi.
I'm in my late forties now and the pain of infertility has lessened.
Adoption was something I knew I could never do and to be honest if social services knew about my childhood I doubt I'd be allowed to adopt anyway. I wouldn't have been a good adoptive parent.

I don't know if we had had a child if that would have changed my outlook on my family. Maybe I could have been someone my BM would have made an effort to hang on to if I had her grandchild .

I have friends who think I should be more proud, not waiting for every crumb of affection she throws my way. I do feel pathetic sometimes. Its like trying to hang on to a partner when everything they say and do proves you aren't important to them.

I wasn't aware of those resources Italian, I will definitely be checking out those links.
Thanks for taking the time to do that for me.

scandip Mon 27-Apr-15 11:25:16

After Adoption could be helpful. I think they helped me with tracing but I can't remember too well as it was years back. I can relate to lots of your post. I am 40 an traced my birth mother to a mixed reception. She has since died. My half sister was very jealous. I haven't met my birth father but would like to.

I would ask for the info on your father. Just ask.

My half sister decided to trace our other half sister and kept me out of it, saying 'someone', probably my birth mother I'm guessing, had asked not to mention me! I get the sense of rejection you feel. You can feel almost like the dirty little secret. Be understanding, but to a point. I say this for your good. Yes, it was yeras back and difficult for her etc, but put yourself first. You don't deserve to have your feelings hurt, to be avoided or cold shouldered.

My adoptive mother was very difficlt too so I can see it is so hard because you feel like you have been rejected twice. In my life I have chosen the wrong men and friends and chased people that treat me badly, perhaps because I am alwaystrying to resolve that inner sense of rejection and that I don't measure up. Perhaps it is the same for you?

What I discovered is that finding my biological parents didn't give the conclusion to the story that I had always hoped for. My friend had a much happier reunion with her bio father and I felt quite jealous. I think in some weird way we adopted people create ourselves. Maybe it is in friendships or creating something or other pursuits that you will find answers and what you need. You don't havethe cushion so many people have of family to lean on. That is so hard, but might be your strength.

You are absolutely not pathetic. Not in a million years. You suffered a trauma when you were separated from your mother. I think the pain lasts forever. I feel it in my tummy sometimes. You didn't have the chance to recover from your trauma because you were placed with someone that had not recovered from their infertility issues.

There is a book by Nancy Verrier called the Primal Wound. It might be useful for you to read that or some of her articles. She adopted children and researched the trauma of early separation from the primary carer.

Sorry if I have rambled about myself too much. My heart goes out to you. Feel free to message me.

morethanpotatoprints Mon 27-Apr-15 11:31:02

This sounds very similar to my story and would happily pm you if you like.
It came to the point where I don't really keep in contact with the family now, it all became too complicated.
I'm sorry you are going through this and hope you get the answers about your bf. I don't know who mine was as it turned out my bm probably lied about his name.
Do you have a name to go by, maybe an intermediary could help to trace his family and they may be able to tell you more.
Please don't go it alone though.

Jackie0 Mon 27-Apr-15 13:10:29

Scandi and morethanpotatoptints you absolutely get me.
I think sometimes people have this idea that adoption is a happy ending. It can go wrong and it often does.
You're my generation. A young single pregnant girl was a disgrace. My BM was sent to an unmarried mothers home in a city miles away from her home.I created a version in my mind where she was the victim and her parents forced her to do this. I don't think that it was really like that, she speaks highly of her parents and she went on to do very well acedemically and built a professional career.
Her children have also done well.
I was sleeping in friends houses while trying to sit my olevels. I should have gone to uni.
So for me adoption wasn't a happy ending.
I could be angry and bitter , it might sound like I am but I just wanted recognition and a bit of respect.
I could have gone to her house and knocked on the door and the secret would have been out, but I was worried for her.
I just feel being nice hasn't done me any favours.
I'm going off on a tangent sorry.
I do feel galvanised after posting.
Finding my fathers family may prove impossible but I want to try.

Italiangreyhound Mon 27-Apr-15 13:45:51

Honey, I am so sorry that you have gone through all this Jackie.

You said "Adoption was something I knew I could never do and to be honest if social services knew about my childhood I doubt I'd be allowed to adopt anyway. I wouldn't have been a good adoptive parent."

I am sure if you know it is not right then of course it is not but your background would not have bared you from adoption. I adopted last year and turned 50 this year! We have a birth child, conceived using IUI. Between dd and ds we had three rounds of fertility treatment with donor eggs.

I think when pain is very deep it is easy to imagine that a birth mum or a child or something else will 'sure it. But it may well not fill that gap. I do think counselling or therapy as the Americans call it, can help a lot.

I feel that loving yourself unconditionally could be something that could really help you.

I wonder if you have forgiven the people who you feel have let you down? That may be a start. It does not let them off the hook so to speak but it can help.

You do not need to be religious to believe that forgiveness can help people to move on. But you can of course find something spiritual in it. For the record I am Christian, one who would have called myself 'evangelical' for a long time, but now might be moving to a slightly more 'liberal' attitude. I am Church of England and for me faith gives me a place to put a lot of feelings for healing and restoration. I know it does not work that way for all and I know some people have been hurt by organised religion. But I wanted to be open about this.

Italiangreyhound Mon 27-Apr-15 13:50:59

Sorry that should be 'cure it' not 'sure it' and when I said ...." your background would not have bared you from adoption." I meant "your background would not necessarily have bared you from adoption."

By this I mean NOWADAYS the process to approve people for adoption looks at how one has dealt with things in life and overcome obstacles.

I am sure adoption has changed a lot since the days when you were adopted and I have no idea why your half sister would not want to meet. I think it says more about her than how the average person would deal with adoption in the family. If her upbringing was so wonderful and happy I am not sure she would react this way and it is clear your birth mum has not ever really been able to come to terms with this either (to me) because she had not ever told her husband or son. It seems this sadness has affected many lives and I am not sure you will get the answers you need from these people.

I really hope you will find your dad's side of the family but also will find your own answers within yourself and with friends who you are not related to by birth or adoption.

Bless you.

scandip Mon 27-Apr-15 14:24:51

I also slept on friend's sofas when doing my a levels! It all went tits up really. My dad wouldn't fill the forms in for me for going to uni so I sort of gave up. I went to uni in my twenties and did a teaching course in my early thirties. I have always felt quite outside of normal society and like it was a hard slog to do things other people took for granted.

I kind of beat myself up with what I haven't done but it is better to think of what you have done and the qualities you have. I think adopted people are very overrepresented in mental health facilities. It is often very difficult.

Be angry if that's how you feel. I think that's ok. Bottling it up can make you depressed. It's ok to say how things should have been and that you deserved more. I think you sound very nice and easy going, maybe frightened of not pleasing people. It doesn't sound like you are bitter at all. I think there comes a point when anger is bad if it is hurting you or your health.

I think what Italian says about forgiveness is interesting. I think it is hard to forgive though when someone doesn't really recognise what they have done wrong. If birth mum has made you feel an outsider or kept you secret or not really involved you, I think she needs to take some responsibility for that before forgiveness might happen. Sadly, some people never acknowledge when they've been at fault. Your birth mother most likely couldn't help the circumstances she was in then to some extent, but she can help how she treats you know. Perhaps she has always been someone that wants to keep up appearances.

My birth mother was quite hostile to me and critical of me to my half sister, although this may have been stirring on her part. I think my birth mother perhaps repressed her feelings after our separation so that in the end when we met she seemed a bit remote and cold.

You might find your experience of tracing your father to be different. The urge to know can be very strong. Do phone After Adoption. I think they can give you counselling or put you in touch with someone who can.

There is a facebook group called 'I am Adopted' that I am a member of with people also from the US. I don't post much on there, but it helps to kind of know that I'm not crackers and that many of my feelings are normal.

Sorry for rambling on.

Italiangreyhound Mon 27-Apr-15 14:43:35

Absolutely agree with Scandip be angry if you feel angry.

Scandip you said I think what Italian says about forgiveness is interesting. I think it is hard to forgive though when someone doesn't really recognise what they have done wrong. If birth mum has made you feel an outsider or kept you secret or not really involved you, I think she needs to take some responsibility for that before forgiveness might happen.

I think these are two different issues. Forgiving someone is not dependant on that person knowing they have hurt you or wanting forgiveness or asking for it. Forgiveness is what a person does which says, I will not allow this person to go on hurting me, I will forgive them for the hurts of the past.

Then the future and the relationship in the future may well improve, or end or whatever.

I have no been in your shoes, either of you, so I have no right at all to ask you to forgive anyone, and I am not asking you to! I am saying I think in the long run the person who forgives actually benefits, not the other way around.

You are so right Sadly, some people never acknowledge when they've been at fault. so if we wait for the other person to acknowledge it then the trouble is you could wait forever.

I think Jackie's birth mum may be someone who wants to keep up appearance or simply cannot cope with what happened. I cannot imagine it for the side of you women or the side of your birth mothers, it is just beyond my mind how she could cope with it and now not welcome you back with open arms Jackie. I would! But I know that does not help!

Sandip likewise, your birth mum, who knows why she behaved how she did. You have become the person you are and you sound great, you managed without her but it is so very sad you had to. I can only imagine that the loss of a child does something very painful to you. I am a birth mum and a mum to an adoptable adopted boy. Both my kids mean the world to me. But you are both living proof that we are more than our genes or even our experiences, we are who we are. We can overcome and we can grow even in a very dry place.

I really do hope you find your experience of tracing your father to be different. T

Bless you both. You are an inspiration. You have come through so much.

scandip Mon 27-Apr-15 15:01:15

I didn't see forgiveness that way. I see what you mean and how it could stop the person hurting themselves. I think in the past I have been pressured to forgive someone and it wasn't the same context at all.

The friend I mentioned who was also adopted was welcomed with open arms by her birth father but recieved rather cold treatment by her birth mother and half siblings. So perhaps some are more welcoming. I don't know why. Fathers possibly didn't have much of a say in the child being placed for adoption too.

Italian, you have self awareness, empathy and understanding, which I think some adoptive parents in the past lacked. I am glad things have changed as it sounds like children are placed with much more suitable parents nowadays! I suppose aopted children are sometimes a bit anxious no matter what kind of home they are adopted into, so it's good your son has someone like you that will understand that and be sensitive to it. I think maybe my adoptive parents were quite 'me me me!' whereas you are more focused on the child. That is how it should be.

Thanks for your kind words Italian. They mean a lot. People can think you are whingeing or ungrateful if you criticise your adoptive parents. I think that's maybe the thing too, people can be so blase and have perhaps never acknowledged what Jackie has been through.

Jackie0 Mon 27-Apr-15 15:32:47

Its interesting I think this is the first time I've spoken to anyone about a negative experience with their adoptive patents, but it happened to lots of people. I think it was a bit of a taboo to talk about it and people certainly didn't want to hear about it, including social services hmm

Rivercam Mon 27-Apr-15 15:38:49

If you find it difficult to ask in person, why don't you write a letter. Either send it to get ( be prepared for no reply), or hand it to her when you next see her. She may find it easier to answer your questions in writing, rather than verbally.

Jackie0 Mon 27-Apr-15 15:46:09

I'm seriously considering an email.
I don't trust myself not to minimise how important this is to me.
I'm likely to say " don't be getting upset, it doesn't matter"
I'm so afraid of putting a foot wrong but I'm starting to wonder if I really have much to lose.

Italiangreyhound Mon 27-Apr-15 16:17:57

scandip I really do not think anyone should be pressurised into forgiving someone. It must come from inside the person.

Thank you for your kind words. I must admit hearing from you guys is so helpful to help keep me on track with being sensitive to my son's needs. Both my kids are challenging in different ways and I am very child-sensitive, in a way child-lead. My dd is pretty much a handful at times (she the one who is not adopted) and her behaviour has led to someone very close to me to voice her opinion and thinking I had made my daughter how she is (very dyslexic) and possibly autistic spectrum disorder (although my dh and I don't think so). Sometimes you can't do right for doing wrong, as the saying goes!!

Jackie it does seem as if lots of subjects are taboo and finally are now being spoken about. So much was hidden for so long, of course it was so unhelpful to keep stuff hidden.

Jackie I think you do not have much to lose. Can you go over in your mind which approach would help you? Could she be best helpful if she felt this was something healing for you or would she not think or speak like that?

Mopmay Mon 27-Apr-15 19:15:35

Much of this rings true for me too. I have asked my BM about my father but she never responds

Jackie0 Mon 27-Apr-15 19:23:00

How is your relationship with her mopmay?

Jackie0 Mon 27-Apr-15 19:44:45

Actually that's very unfair on you mopmay.

My BM isn't not responding , I struggle the ask the right questions. She told me he died, its very difficult.

Speaking for myself even if my father was a one night stand or something sinister I would still rather know.
The not knowing is torture and its very cruel to withhold information like that, after all he is my/ yours whoever's bloody dad so even if he was of no importance to our mothers he damn well important to us.

Is your BM getting upset about it? Can she understand your point of view?

If I found my dads family I don't even know that they would believe me, he wasn't aware of the pregnancy.
How Jeremy kyle do I sound ?hmm

Mopmay Mon 27-Apr-15 19:52:58

Our relationship is Xmas cards and the odd letter or text nowadays. This has prompted me to contact her soon and ask again. I am not sure if he knew about me but the adoption agency originally said he did.

Italiangreyhound Mon 27-Apr-15 21:50:41

you are not Jeremy Kyle, why not be superman, or Moses, or the lovely Debbie Harry if you must be someone! IYSWIM!

Jackie0 Mon 27-Apr-15 22:27:25

grin Debbie harry appeals, or maybe Joan jett smile
Loving your attitude Italian wink

Italiangreyhound Mon 27-Apr-15 22:44:18

Thank you. My dd is dyslexic so I just Googled Famous people who are dyslexic and found a list. You can do it for anything nowadays, this darn interweb thing is so clever!

Trouble is most famous dyslexics are men! As a feinist i like to find women for roles!

Also, you need to read what it says, some people were adopted as in their step dad adopted them, or they lived in foster families etc. It is all different and of course if you want to find a 'figure' you need them to fit.

Maybe beautiful Melissa Gilbert ? Who was apparently adopted after one day of birth by actor and comedian Paul Gilbert. She had the role of Laura Ingalls Wilder on Little House on the Prairie. Which I watched as a child!

Bless you.

Slippersmum Tue 28-Apr-15 19:44:20

I was adopted and traced my bf nearly 30 years ago. It's been up and down ever since. I would guess an awful lot of tracings don't end great or how people hope they will. I always wonder what happens when the cameras stop rolling on Long Lost families! Adoption is such a complex thing and is like ripples in a pond affecting so many people all with their own perspective on what happened for their entire lifetime. Sometimes I wish I had never found my bf as the difficult times seem to have outweighed the good.

Jackie0 Tue 28-Apr-15 20:25:46

How did you find him slippers?
Was his name on your birth certificate?
In so sorry it wasn't a good experience.

Slippersmum Wed 29-Apr-15 17:07:51

It was an adoption register match with my birth mother. I had tried to trace them myself the usual way electoral roles etc but not got far. No, his name is not on my original birth certificate. I think looking back I was too young when I began to look for them really. It's a lot to deal with isn't it.

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