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Can I ask a sensitive question about Long lost families please?

(43 Posts)
InDespair Sun 21-Jun-15 17:00:42

cant bring myself to watch Long Lost family.Too upsetting for me personally.

Wht exactly is it about?

Is it women who HAD to give their babies up in a bygone era and want to meet them all these years later?

Is it kids from childrens homes (not adopted) who want to meet their blood kin?

Any Birth dads about?

If its adopted kids wanting to know birth stories how do their adopted parents and family feel about it?

I did read in the tv times that one person wanted to meet their DNA person to 'have a sense of identitiy', or something? dont they have identity from theor adopted family?

Im adopted, i hated it when I found out, I was abandonded as unwanted, my brilliant parents are all ive loved, i didnt even want want to know TBH, my family's my family. although I found out I was literally thrown away and left somewhere.

I only found out as an adult needing my birth cert for something. when i saw 'adoption order' paper i was shocked.

mine are the only family ive evr known and loved, i have no interest at all in where and in who s womb i was grown, as far as Im concernerd LOVE transcends biology.

my parents loved me enough to want me in their home and were willing to go through the whole process to have me. THATS love, THATS family.

THATS my identity. i would think it would break their hearts if i started scouting around for a past that wasnt meant to be. and i dont want to, my anscestors are my family whove loved and nurtured me and brought me up.

thats why i cant watch the pogramme.

I understand if it was a forced removal from someone, but an unwanted unloved? why go through the pain of that rejection?

when I found out at fiorst i was all 'well, as much as my family love me, someone else was supposed to'. that feeling of rejection never goes, but in the end it was my familys gain, and mine.

hope that makes sense.

thing is , my main question is, dont adoptees come across as glorified nannies or something, theyre not your 'real ' parents? of COURSE they are.

and whats blood got to do with it anyway?

when 2 people meet, fall in love, they get married and become family, but they dont share the same blood, they become family by love and a marriage cert.

so whats the difference then when you fall for a child and they become your family through love and a certificate?

that's my personal feeling, hope I haven't upset anyone in any way, im not good at pouring my heart in print!

Drquin Sun 21-Jun-15 17:14:31

To answer your first question, it's a mix of "separated" stories. Yes, many are young mum now maybe in her 60s/70s looking for her birth child - or the now adult child looking for birth mother / parent.
Yes, there's a few dads featured.
Many children were wanting to find out about birth family after the death of adoptive parents. But one chap last week, both were still alive.
But also, other stories e.g. Siblings having lost touch for whatever reason.

I guess it's something that some folk will feel need to investigate, others not. Some folk would be happy having events televised, others not so much.

To a later question, I don't think the TV programme portrays adoptive parents as "glorified nannies". In as much as a TV programme can, I think they cover the most sensitive of subjects in a reasonably dignified manner. But that's possibly easy for me to say when I don't have a "personal" reason to identify with the subject. I can fully appreciate that if the subjects they're covering are indeed your life, it wouldn't be an easy watch.

bsmirched Sun 21-Jun-15 17:19:23

I'm (happily) adopted too and I can see your point of view.
However, I found out about my birth family when I left home, mainly out of a deep curiosity about how I came into being, to know if I looked like anyone and to let my birth mother know I'd been happy and loved.
There are many reasons why adoptees want to find their birth families- those I've mentioned but also you must understand that not everyone has a happy ever after story like yours.
My parents and sister (adoptive) would have been mortified if they knew I'd gone searching, which is why I've never told them. I certainly couldn't have done it on national television ! Some of the adoptees on LLF have waited until their adoptive families are deceased but others seem to have adoptive families who are very supportive of their quest.
In answer to your other questions , it's not all adoptees, there are birth mothers and fathers as well as siblings who often haven't found out til years later that they have a' museum's brother or sister.
I agree that family are the people who've surrounded you and loved you as you've grown up, but you can't ignore the fact that, for very many birth mothers, giving a baby up for adoption will have been the hardest thing they've ever done.

QOD Sun 21-Jun-15 17:20:40

That's lovely to hear your point of view. My dd is.not biologically mine as she is from straight surrogacy (dh sperm and birth mother egg ). I always wanted her to know. Who her birth family are so she would never feel the need to look for them.
She has no interest whatsoever which is great in a selfish way
She does however know her birth mother and half sibling and cousin and 2nd cousin.
But I always wanted my family enough which fits in with your view.
My sisters children and my sister and parents have no blooming and yer they are.her.closest family from choice

QOD Sun 21-Jun-15 17:22:25

Blooming = blood link
(Bloody wine winegrin )

DocHollywood Sun 21-Jun-15 17:30:27

A lot of the programme is mothers in their 70s/80s who were forced to give their babies up and they have spent their whole lives wondering if their children had a happy life and to want to ask for forgiveness. The stories are really heart warming. The adoptees are older themselves and can reassure their birth mother. Hopefully they all go on to have some sort of relationship or closure. I'm usually in floods of tears every week, it is very well put together.

CamelHump Sun 21-Jun-15 17:31:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DocHollywood Sun 21-Jun-15 17:39:51

Regarding 'identity', a lot of those looking for birth parents say it started because they wanted to know who they looked like, not because there was anything lacking in their upbringing. All the adoptees on the programme say they had happy childhoods.

CamelHump Sun 21-Jun-15 17:40:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

kilmuir Sun 21-Jun-15 17:42:25

you need to watch it , then you will get answers for your questions.
All done sensitively.

DocHollywood Sun 21-Jun-15 17:53:43

True! Ok, the majority have happy childhoods

wannaBe Sun 21-Jun-15 18:15:30

I think it's fair to say that the face of adoption has changed a lot in the past 50 years or so. People I knew who were adopted when I was a child were predominantly given up as babies, usually by unmarried mothers. I also had two friends at school who gave up babies for similar reasons (although this was in a different country and only about 22 years ago), and as such many adults seeking contact with their birth families will have known that they were given up as babies, and will have grown up with the knowledge of why babies were given up back then.

Now things are vastly different and there are far fewer babies available for adoption, and children who are adopted now are generally because of having been removed from their biological families because of abuse or neglect.

I would imagine that the idea of having been given up by a parent who felt that one would be beter cared for elsewhere because they couldn't care for them or couldn't face the stigma of being an unmarried parent would be vastly different from a child who was removed because of neglect or abuse, and as such the questions would be so vastly different.

Equally, I imagine the thought that there is a loving parent out there who just couldn't be a parent at the time could be what would inspire one to go and seek one's heritage, in a different way to if one was removed from parents at birth or even at a later stage in life.

iwishkidslikedtomatoes Sun 21-Jun-15 18:23:35

Firstly, can I say, thanks for adding such a thought provoking post! I'm also really happy that you have found such contentment and happiness in life despite the actions of your birth parents at the start. It's really lovely to hear smile

Adoption today and in the past is certainly very different. Many children were placed for adoption in the past simply because they were born to unmarried mothers, whereas today they are mainly, but not all, removed by social services due to abuse or a lack of suitable care. I think there are very few children who are considered 'unloved and unwanted' both now and in the past but I think the programme tends to focus on those adopted in the past, where the birth parents loved their children and would have put them first but couldn't get the help, or stand up against the stigma of the situation at the time. This is opposed to adoptions now where the child is often loved but the birth parent has their child removed because they are unable to put that child first which has a different impact I think, because many adopted children want to know 'well, why not?' because the parent as an individual had to change their own actions, not the views of a nation. The reasons here are normally far more complicated.

Why would people want to find their birth family? Well, today a child's birth story is shared from the moment the child is adopted. There is also often written contact between birth parents and adoptive parents each year, the children therefore know a lot more, as do the birth parents. Those adopted in the past didn't have that privilege so they are seeking, sometimes, the most basic of information.

The identity thing...well I'm an adopter not adoptee but I had an absent father who abandoned me, literally there one week, gone the next, with no explanation. I sought him out a decade or so later, despite knowing it would likely break my mother's heart. I think that there is a part of some people that just have a need, have unanswered questions, want to see what is shared genetically. I fell into this category and I will fully support my AC to do the same if they so wish. It did help me. Was it some big reunion where a wonderful relationship blossomed? No, though he would like it to be. I kind of got my answers and moved on, I just send a birthday message once a year. I have a difficult relationship with my mother but there's an unbreakable bond there because she raised me, I appreciate she did the hard work and was there for all the 'moments', she is not a stranger and deserves a level of respect my absent parent does not but as a child with a past that involves more than just her, my whole identity wasn't complete without searching; not all people feel that way, and no one way is more right than the other. I have 2 adopted friends who have never looked up their birth parents because they have the story and they just don't feel they need to, like you, their adoptive parents are all they need and they are quite happy to not revisit history, because to them it's just that, a part of their history, not their present, or future.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that even when in the same or similar situation, all people are different smile I personally don't watch the show because I find it all a bit too close to home and if you do, I'd turn the channel too smile And thank you for the comment regarding birth certificates and marriage certificates, that's a lovely way to put it that I'm going to use in conversations I have with my AC's, thank you smile

keeptothewhiteline Sun 21-Jun-15 18:44:01

Op a touching post.
I totally understand that your parents love you as much as any parent could- no matter the biology.
For a parent giving up a child for adoption is not clear cut or simple.

scottishmerlottish Sun 21-Jun-15 20:51:52

It is a VERY well made programme, imo.
Just about the only 'reality TV' I can stand.

There are so many heartwarming stories of children who have had a wonderful childhood with the people who adopted them.
When they seek their birth parents they almost all acknowledge that.

I do wonder how many seek a parent who doesn't want to be found or a family who doesn't welcome the news of the 'baby from long past'. There surely must be some?

Velvet1973 Sun 21-Jun-15 21:36:11

I can't watch the program either, I do find it makes life very difficult as non adopter friends see this side of adoption which is so far from today's reality.
I echo the sentiments expressed that it's lovely to hear your experience as an adoptee and agree that your sentiment about marriage and adoption is really lovely. Definitely one I will hang onto for conversations with my adopted son when he's a bit older.

CamelHump Sun 21-Jun-15 21:36:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Devora Sun 21-Jun-15 23:12:13

I find the programme gripping, though it's also upsetting so I don't always watch it. I don't have any argument with the programme per se. But it is only one slice of the picture, and I do worry that it perpetuates unhelpful ideas that people have about adoption today.

As wannaBe says, adoption today is very different. i do see the routine adoptions of children born to young unmarried mothers as a massive social crime against women. Not in every case, but it is shocking and appalling that social stigma forced so many women into so much pain.

Today, adoption is very different, in that children are largely taken from their parents due to neglect and abuse. It still causes pain. But I think the prospects of a happy reunion are very much more compromised now. I do worry that people romanticise reunion between mother and child, that they assume this is the happy ending of adoption, and that that might put pressure on our children.

Of course, I also watch the programme wondering about the adoptive parents. The programme is not about them, so I don't hold it against the producers that they are not represented. But their absence - not just in person but in terms of the narrative, which is always that these people just endured years of aching emptiness till they found their 'real' parents - will i think reinforce those views in many people.

Muddymits Mon 22-Jun-15 02:07:29

I watched three episodes last week having never noticed it before - thought it would be annoying and that simplistic narrative is so easy to present where X has waited his/her whole life to feel a sense of belonging and after a call, a letter and a birth parent meeting and is now fulfilled and happy. I think not only do the brief glimpses of the process peddle this view a bit too much there is also no real sense of adoption today or of how often the birth parent/birth child relationship breaks down/calms down after the initial drama.

Anyway yup it had that simple narrative but some people do feel like that and actually the stories were moving and it had an adoptive parent who was very supportive and involved in the searches and the meet ups. There was no sense that adoptive parents were of lesser value although most searches were happening after they had died and adoptees felt free to search or more motivated.

I absolutely agree that parents are not defined by biology and as an adoptee know just who my parents are but searching isnt a betrayal, it doesn't have to be a search for a 'real' parent even if some struggle to frame it as anything else. Actually I feel adoptive parents have a huge responsibility to be open about adoption and to follow what the adoptee wants to do. Searching can get anything from destructive to amazing, I searched with plenty of ambivalence and some of the birth family I found have become part of my real family ( some I have had no wish to get involved with also) and the overall experience was really positive for me and my parents ( the real adoptive onessmile

My parents had lots of fears about my birth family, yours probably did too if they never shared with you your adopted status ( and I am sorry that they didn't because that info has to be easier to grow up alongside rather than to meet as an adult). I felt like you did you really that searching could break their hearts but really I came to decide that they adopted me, the birth parents gave me up- I get to chose what happens next then as I had no say in the first set of events. I am not grateful to be adopted, they chose that for themselves, I don't owe them extra because they cared for me when I was initially unwanted and I don't love them less if I explore some of the history around my birth and adoption. I was more unwanted too rather than wanted in tough circumstances but this unpromising start has created some really loving relationships for me and meeting some of my birth family was incredibly cathartic and healing for my parents.

I am a bit in awe of how much those searching shared of themselves, there was a lot of very honest sharing of emotions and feelings which made the subject much more real, complicated and interesting than the programme I expected. I did cry and that was at an older man searching for his sister who had been adopted as a toddler when he was old enough to have very strong memories of her. The thought of that little boy loving and losing his sister and carrying that all his life I found so very touching, their meeting again was just lovely.

Anyway God am waffling, will stop!

CamelHump Mon 22-Jun-15 06:03:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

dande0609 Mon 22-Jun-15 06:31:16

Davina was on Loose Women recently and she said the stories that end well and make it to the show are a really small percentage of those that they deal with. Many people don't want to be found and then there are many that they simply can't find. It must be devastating for those who go looking only to be rejected again.

CamelHump Mon 22-Jun-15 06:38:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

DocHollywood Mon 22-Jun-15 07:20:54

I didn't realise that either. Hopefully the rejections are handled sympathetically by the show; some people have spent their whole lives searching and then to be told that the person they are searching for wants no contact must be devastating.

MythicalKings Mon 22-Jun-15 07:56:38

Nicky Campbell is adopted and I think he and Davina (who also has a "complicated" family) handle the cases very well without it being too syrupy.

There will be a lot of birthmothers my age who have not told their families about the baby they gave up because they were promised secrecy at the time. Those cases will never reach the screens, although I understand there have been some private reunions.

wannaBe Mon 22-Jun-15 08:39:20

I do wonder whether these programmes create a whole expectation around families being reunited after all these years, and that they create an almost romanticised ideal that llong lost adopted child meets birth parent/sibling and the family becomes complete and they essentially just carry on as if they were never parted - iyswim. When in truth there's a strong likelihood that they might have nothing in common, or perhaps not even like each other very much once the initial euphoria wears off.

I have a friend who was adopted but who didn't have a happy childhood as she grew up between two birth children and it was made clear that she was the adopted one. sad she did trace her birth family and met up with them, and she said it felt to her as if that was where she'd belonged. But unfortunately her bm made it very clear that she had no intentions of maintaining a relationship with her. sad which increased her sense of not belonging.

My dp wasn't adopted but he grew up in long-term foster care having been permanently removed at the age of seven. He has three siblings who were also removed at the same time and they all grew up separately and had no contact until a few years ago. sad But while they speak of being brothers/sister they actually have very little contact other than as passing acquaintances. In fact one of them has opted not to have anything to do with his siblings at all. sad

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