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the negative effect of meeting the birth parents(11 Posts)
I've met my child's birth parents recently. The meeting went as well as it could, smoothly in fact. In some ways it was good to meet them.
However since then I've really had the blues. I've spent a lot of time thinking about them through the whole process and putting myself in their shoes. I thought meeting them would be positive but, actually, It has just made me realise how real they are. I'm not stupid, I've had my child for several months now. I've made photo books for them with their birth parents pictures. Ive carefully stored the things they gave them. I've kept all paperwork. All so that they will have the info when older.
Now I feel like my child isn't...mine? Anymore. I love them to death and feel like they ARE my child but yet not.
There is the defensive side of me that feels angry about how the bp treated them. Then the other side of me that realised the bp had horrid lives themselves and that the whole situation is so so sad.
I wish i hadn't met them. I read all these accounts from other adoptive parents and you all sound saintly. So much sympathy and empathy. I have plenty of both but it isn't coming naturally to me. I feel like a terrible person. Then I feel like my child will leave me one day to meet them and I will lose them. The greatest fear.
Is any of this normal?? The idea of losing my child makes it hard to breathe. Then I feel so utterly sad for her birth mother. I struggle with how something so sad can bring so much happiness?!
I understand how you feel.....to a certain extent. We couldn't meet birth parents due to the significant risks they pose. High risk dangerous people. Who themselves had difficult and neglectful lives.
I feel empathy for them. I feel sad that one day I/we will have to tell lo and I am scared of the consequences. It breaks my heart knowing our lo's life will change once she is aware. It is destroying.
So I pour my heart and soul, my everything into our lo (as does dh) hoping she will have a strong foundation of love and trust and belonging with us.
I too feel angry (very, very) angry that birth parents made choices as adults that means lo was in care. But on the other hand we are incredibly lucky to have him as our son. He is our everything.
Hope that makes sense, it's a bit waffley but I understand your feelings.
You're not a terrible person, and I'm not sure that anybody is saintly. (I know I'm not!!)
Your post really resonated with me. There is nothing wrong with feeling how you do. It is really emotional to meet birth parents (for both adopters and birth parents I imagine, but I can only speak as an adopter). I totally get what you mean about worrying about what might happen when your LO is older. I have the same fear and the same feelings of sadness at BPs experiences coupled with frustration at the impact their choices have (and will continue to have) on my DD. It's really really difficult to feel such conflicting emotions towards BPs and I totally get and empathise with what you're saying. I tend to find things are hardest / I feel most emotionally raw when I've had letterbox contact. Whilst I know logically it will be really beneficial for DD when she's older (to know that at least one of her BPs was willing and able to keep up with contact when it must be an incredibly hard thing to do as a BP) I find it a very emotionally draining experience as it is like a regular reminder that there is another person out there as DDs parent - even though I know I am her mum, legally, practically, emotionally etc and I have no idea whether LO will even want to contact BF once she grows up.
Someone said to me a while ago about not forgetting that adoption is a triangle - BPs, APs and child - and they are absolutely right but it doesn't mean that it's not hard to cope with.
Basically just wanted to say you're not alone, I think as an adoptive parent it is probably totally normal to feel like this and I empathise completely.
I am sure many of us are completely un-saintly!
And I too feel a great deal of sympathy for ds's birth parents who lost him.
BUT I know that life for him is infinitely better than it would have been wityh them. We will love him (as they did, and I am sure do) but we also prioritize him, see what is needed and get it. He will grow up to know all about them and I will support his choices.
Please do remember, you are his mum, that is why this is so hard. But I do hope in time it will become easier. The focus will shift from you and his birth parents, onto him. You will see the evidence more and more in his life as he thrives and any sadness must yield to this. Bless you littleredrobin.
Sorry I'be said 'he' for your child. Mine is a boy but I see you did not mention the sex of your child so please substitute their and them...
Please do remember, you are their mum, that is why this is so hard. But I do hope in time it will become easier. The focus will shift from you and their birth parents, onto them. You will see the evidence more and more in their life as they thrive and any sadness must yield to this. Bless you littleredrobin.
Sending and hugs to you all.
My mum was the best mum in the world and I miss her so much.
The only thing she didn't do was to give birth to me.
She loved me so much, not the same bond as I have with my children, but exactly what a child needs security and being able to feel safe.
Your children will have been through trauma that I never experienced and am grateful.
You are the ones that mother, you are the mothers.
Thank you all, I was very tearful when I wrote the thread last night! Your responses have helped greatly. Thank you for your honesty. I feel like there is a great deal of glossing over when it comes to adoption forums/support. I feel frustrated when nobody else admits that it's bloody hard! So thank you!
This morning lo woke up and called for me then gave me the biggest smile. A smile that only I get really. It made me feel normal again and I realised I am a mum!
for you all x
Really glad things are more positive this morning. DD has just climbed into bed here and given me a huge hug. Sometimes it's the little things that are the loveliest. (She's also hogging all the duvet though so it's not all perfect!)
So glad you are feeling better.
I always like to think about my mum being the one who was there to worry about measles (old gimmer here), chickenpox, before vaccination etc.
She changed my nappies, potty trained, helped and supported my school work, bought my clothes, food and a million other things, all done with love.
This really did make the world of difference, to feel wanted.
You sound like a brilliant mum and I'm not sure if this is the right advice but:
When the time is right and your child asks questions you don't have to give the full story including the worst bits, if it's age appropriate so they understand it is far better. As they get older you can start to add bits, a friend of mine told hers that bm and bf were both poorly and unable to look after them properly, then added more as they got older.
it is really hard. I'm glad you're feeling better.
A tip that I found useful after we met birth parents, was to write a letter as though we were writing to them whenever we were overwhelmed.
it sort of forces you to pull on all the nameless emotions, and to give them some sort of form so they are possible to deal with.
Also, use the feelings for good. use them to think about what feelings of not being real might sometimes swoop over your lo. How did your behaviour change when you were feeling rubbish? How might theirs? could you verbalise it? could they? etc etc. I've found strong emotions very useful in working out what is going on for my lo. xx
RedRobin, I had to reply to this because I could have written your post after I met BPS. I was so positive going in, I knew it was 100% the right thing to do for my child but afterwards... I felt terrible, I cried, I was almost depressed for 3 weeks. I had to get all the reports back out and read them to remind myself of the years of trauma that had been caused and the countless times help had been given but ignored to remind myself that they had chosen their path as much as I had chosen mine and the children, who didn't get to choose to be in this situation, were in the right place. I was angry too and then I'd switch to feeling sorry for them and then back to anger. Horrible. Truly horrible. And I'm sure horrific for them too. I'd weirdly thought very much how hard it would be for them but for some reason I thought while it would be hard I'd get past it easily, after all I have our children they are the ones who have lost them, they are the ones experiencing trauma, which was true, but I' didn't think about the trauma of the meeting itself to me, until it hit me.
I saw our SW a few weeks later and I told her that while I knew it was the right thing to do it was a very negative experience for me in the end. And what did she say? Oh that's totally normal, many adopted parents go through same thing. A year on though, I say it is one of hardest things I've ever had to do BUT remember it a lot more positively and am very glad I did it for my child's sake and recommend it (with caution for potential feelings) to other adopters. It definitely helps when writing contact letters.
As for the fear of adopted children ditching you for birth family? Def normal. It helps me to think of fact that some kids can have a mum, dad, step mum and step dad and we think nothing of it that they love them all and see them all as parents. If one day my children are lucky enough to have a relationship with BPs then they'll be enough room in their hearts for all of us I'm sure. There is a bond there between birth parent and child that even years apart will still be there but years of raising a child will also make a bond equally as strong if not more so, that can't be just walked away from either. I think there is a lot of work that needs that little fairytale ending to work...good life story work, good levels of post adoption support, bps who want to make it work, aps who do to, good levels of trust between us and our children, and ofcourse a little luck but the potential to have many important people in your life all at once is there and that's what helps me sleep at night, so I'm gonna run with it! As long as there is potential there is hope and as long as there is hope there is less worry.
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