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Writing a letter to my bio mother

(23 Posts)
SolidGoldBrass Fri 05-Jun-15 19:22:15

Anyone else done this? Some tips would be appreciated.
I am 50 years old, was adopted as a newborn. I have, over the past month or so, requested and got access to my records. I now have a possible address for my bio mother and (the social worker dealing with things has agreed that this is probably the way to go) I want to write her a very careful letter to find out if she would like to meet up.
So just that really - despite the fact that I am a professional writer I don't know what to put...

mintysmum Fri 05-Jun-15 23:00:59

I have done this type of first contact for my BM 25 yrs ago and my BF last year. I didn't accept help from the social workers so plunged in with phone contact - not recommended - but I did then follow up with a letter to BM after the first phonecall.

I told her a bit about my childhood, my parents, sibling, interests and that despite being very happy and settled had always wondered about her and the 'circumstances around my birth' I think that was the phrasing. Suitably vague.
I would aim to tell her reassuring things as for all you know she may have spent 50 years worrying about you.
My BF had done just that as he works with young adults with mental health problems and said he spent so much time worrying that the home I was placed in might have been abusive.
I would be quite brief about your life now as you can see this is a first step on what might turn out to be a very long, gradual getting to know each other phase. No need to rush but lots of reasons to take things slowly.
I did not take things slowly with either BM or BF and phoned them both the day I actually found them, so out of the blue for them, but it was right for me and as it turned out they coped pretty well with the immediacy.

How are you feeling about it all?

golemmings Fri 05-Jun-15 23:17:07

I've been thinking about this too. I know my natural mother didn't want to give me up but thought she was doing the right thing for me.

I want her to know it worked out ok but I'm a bit concerned about driving a coach and horses through her life.

SolidGoldBrass Sat 06-Jun-15 00:41:07

I was planning to be pretty tentative and vague (in case it's not the right person) - along the lines of 'I am tracing a family tree and wonder if you are the [name] who lived in [certain area] in the early 1960s'. Because she is 72 years old now and therefore it's possible she doesn't open her own post and may not have told her other family members anything about the adoption, so I don't want to freak anyone out.
TBH it all feels a bit... odd. Not terribly distressing or dramatic, just a little unsettling. I find myself mostly thinking about that young woman who couldn't keep her baby. I';ve been given a couple of letters she wrote to the adoption charity thanking them for their help and asking if she could possibly have a photograph...

Muddymits Sat 06-Jun-15 12:33:52

I think your idea of vague is the way forward. What's the alternative?

Hi,

I am writing to trace my birth/biological/real/not at all interested/terrified of exposure/in denial/desperate for reassurance/desperate for a reunion/... Mother. Delete as appropriate and don't respond if too emotionally dependent on me being as you need.

I certainly couldn't find the words!

I felt just a bit preoccupied but found that almost irritating,something to resolve. I called in a very random moment of impatience though can see that it isn't the best approach. Fortunately I reached a relative who knew I existed

Maleficent60 Sat 06-Jun-15 13:16:45

I always wonder why people leave this so long. Personal choice etc. but while the stress on you is tremendous, 50 years of not knowing and out of the blue...an aunt has only 15 to go to find out of her GD will contact her but she may not even last that long. Her son my cousin has a life limiting non inherited condition that may mean by the time his daughter is 18 he will still be alive let alone 50.
Good luck and best wishes in your quest.

oldnewmummy Sat 06-Jun-15 13:34:23

I'd definitely go with the vague, as mentioned above. You could say the stuff about tracing family members and then say that you think you met briefly in (insert town of birth) on (insert date of birth). And I'd definitely recommend going slowly and perhaps having counselling as you go through this.

(No personal experience yet, but read a ton of stuff for a (counselling) assignment.)

Good luck.

SolidGoldBrass Sat 06-Jun-15 13:44:56

I don't feel any need for counselling (and the social worker I had a couple of brief chats with agrees with me). My life is OK, I'm not on a desperate quest for identity.
I never did anything about tracing before because my dad hated the idea and it didn't matter enough to me to risk hurting his feelings, but he died four years ago. I finally got to the stage of thinking, well, time is possibly running out on this, just go for it.
And I'm prepared for the fact that she might be dead by now/uninterested/hostile/simply not very nice. I'm just sort of... interested. It's a very 'what if..?' sort of feeling.

mintysmum Sat 06-Jun-15 19:25:41

Sorry when I replied I thought you were writing a first letter to her after confirmation of her identity. Obviously not I should have read that more carefully!
When I was at that stage last year with my BF my first contact was an email and I wasn't sure he was my BF at all, just had similar name - my email was that I was a family member of bm's family trying to piece together a bit of her life from 1967 (the year I was born) and did he know her? I think I said I had reason to believe she knew a young man called (BF) name but that I could be mistaken and apologies for the intrusion of that was the case. I found his email address after doing a Google search so he could have been completely unrelated but it was quite a rare name and the Google search threw up something that vaguely linked him.

That was all that I said in the first contact, not even that I was the adopted out child as I didn't want to give too much away at such an early stage.
Vague is good as it allows privacy. You could just say you are trying to trace a woman called xxx who was born around xxx and lived in whatever town in whatever year you were born for someone she may be interested to hear from.

StaceyAndTracey Sun 07-Jun-15 00:51:57

SGB I think you letter sounds perfect . Vague enough to not give the game away to anyone else but precise enough that she will know who you are if she's the right person . I hope you get the response you want .

Maleficent - I think it's entirely up to the adoptee when ( if ever ) they want to trace and it's a bit unfair of you to try and make anyone feel guilty . The biological parenst, such as your cousin, had choices at the time . The child had none .

There are adoption contact registers where your aunt and cousin can leave their details in case their biological relative wants to get in touch . I hope it works out for them

SolidGoldBrass Sun 14-Jun-15 00:49:36

Well I wrote the letter and posted it. It is possible she could have got it today. I put my street address, email address and phone number and it is NOT UNREASONABLE AT ALL that I have spent the entire day checking my phone and email....

Italiangreyhound Sun 14-Jun-15 03:02:13

I hope she writes back and it works out well.

StaceyAndTracey Sun 14-Jun-15 14:59:35

I'm sorry , I know it's so stressful

But you do know that it might be a shock getting your letter

And she might need a bit of time to process it and work out what she wants to do

Even though she's has decades to think about it, it's still a shock

Do you have some RL supirt ?

SolidGoldBrass Sun 14-Jun-15 16:19:50

Oh yes, I am perfectly prepared for the fact that she might need time (it too me most of a week to actually post the letter). I'm trying to keep busy and get on with everything else I have to do (work etc).

StaceyAndTracey Sun 14-Jun-15 16:22:54

I know you know

It's so hard to put yourself out there and risk being rejected a second time sad. Despite your " kick ass " persona

meercat23 Sun 14-Jun-15 16:32:43

OP I hope it works out well for you

mintysmum Sun 14-Jun-15 18:55:34

I know how you feel solid. It's hard to initiate the contact and then once made, even harder to wait for a response. It is SO hard to switch off, feels like being out of control and unable to predict the next step.

I am 7 months into contact with my BF and I am having a weird weekend as I was expecting contact from him, a Skype call or email which has not appeared. I've been in and out of tears all day.
You just feel so vulnerable and exposed. I keep going over the reasons why it's him next to contact me, not me to him and I'm 100% sure of that but I'd love to find a chink in that reasoning so I could make contact and end the waiting. But being patient is the key and distraction.

OVienna Sun 14-Jun-15 22:32:19

Have weighed this up for 12 years now. Hope it all goes well Solid.

StaceyAndTracey Mon 15-Jun-15 00:14:01

Thats a long time Vienna . Do you want to talk about it ?

wreckingball Mon 15-Jun-15 00:32:56

I'm in a similar position to you SGB, 50's, adopted as a newborn and had a happy life, fabulous parents.
Now my parents have both died I'm interested, I know all the pros and cons and understand perfectly well that times were very different and there may be all manner of reasons for my adoption.
I'd kind of like to just know things, things like what the family did for a living, a bit of history maybe, I don't want or need another new family or new parents but I'm interested in them.
My Mum used to write letters and send photos to the adoption agency, have no idea if they were passed on.

OVienna Mon 15-Jun-15 18:23:14

Stacey, thank you. I don't want to derail OPs thread but I appreciate you asking. I've spoken about it previously under another user name. Part of the issue is the agency I was adopted through tried contacting her through various addresses - and got no response. They also wrote a letter to a person they identified as her brother - denied any knowledge, did take the trouble to write back though. From the details I have of her from the agency files and the rest I have been able to piece together, this is most certainly a lie. However, I haven't seen the letters myself. I live in the UK but was adopted in the US as an infant and doing this all remotely; there was no counselling involved and the agency also didn't chose its words very carefully. The lead person I was dealing with (who also knows my adoptive parents) said at the outset of my search she'd never had a birth parent totally not show interest in a birth child. Then guess what? They finally said: Yes, we think she does not want to hear from you. But because I didn't manage the process myself, it could all be bullshit. My half sister shares my same first RL first name and the other half sister has our name as a middle name. THe one with my name also married someone from the UK who grew up not that far from where my DH grew up. Some strange coincidences; my sil also knows someone who knows my half sister's husband and I think the time the letters went out she was getting marrried...so this may be why I never heard from them. I am tempted to contact my siblings directly though.

SGB I think it was the right decision to contact her directly. I think my BM may have been freaked out by the intermediary approach and also the fact that they MAY have very stupidly carpet bombed various addresses she was associated with.

SolidGoldBrass Mon 15-Jun-15 18:26:08

Wreckingball: You can find out some of that information without having to take it as far as meeting up. Having requested the paperwork I have been given:
My adoption certificate
Some medical stuff (eg This baby is healthy, normal birth, weight at birth etc.)
Notes on both parents and their background, their physical appearance, their hobbies etc.

What I did was ring the SS/Post-Adoption department of the council that held my records - I was adopted via an agency that closed down in the 1970s and passed their files to the LA for safekeeping. They rang me back to say they had the record and I then had to go to my local SS Post Adoption and send a request form... it's a bit of a fanny round but you can stop at any time you want.

Best of luck if you decide to try it.

golemmings Wed 17-Jun-15 22:50:42

I did the same SGB; but have yet to make contact. Getting my birth records was interetsing. Much I knew but a lot I didn't and some I think I've guessed by reading between the lines. I'm pretty sure she didn't tell my dad she was pregnant and I'm not sure here parents knew either.

I was also not an easy delivery and my son's delivery seems very similar so I'm going to go back to my mat records and see if there's any liklihood of it being physiological and genetic incase the info is useful to DD one day.

Has anyone put themselves on the adoption contact register - or know anyone who has? I've been thinking about it but it's something else I've not been brave enough to do yet.

SGB - have you heard anything?

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