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Adopted adult and BM

(16 Posts)
Pomegranatepompom Wed 14-Feb-18 16:27:49

I'm in a bit of a muddle. Fostered from a baby (young BM & BF, no history of neglect/abuse, was just circumstances). Birth parents stayed together and there was a few years of contact and then it was seen to be be in my best interests to stay with foster family due to attachment with mainly foster siblings (it's a long story but I can now see it was handled very badly). I was adopted by foster family, although I knew at the time I didn't want to be but didn't have the courage to say, adopted mum was very narcissistic. I had an pretty unhappy childhood....

Anyway, birth family have never stopped trying to be in my life which I resisted for a long time. After adopted mum died, we started some letter contact. BF sadly died before I felt ready to meet him but for the past 4 years I have been seeing BM monthly. TBH I feel I now visit more for her benefit, I feel much more at peace with the whole mess, but feel it would be cruel not to see her. She's also quite an old 70 and sometimes gets in a muddle with house issues (ie maintenance) and I try and help her a bit.

I feel really conflicted about contact. Her family want to meet me but I just don't want this. I also feel she is starting to rely on me more.She's a bit vulnerable and I try to stop her getting taking advantage of (house maintenance etc).

She has many times throughout the years offered me financial help which I declined but she did give me a lump sum to save for my DC. Not sure if this complicates everything more and wish I'd declined really. She is offering to help us more (we want to move house).

It's all such a middle and I want to do the right thing but don't really want to be obliged to look after her in old age. Sorry if that sounds awful. I'm so busy, work FT, young DC and it all just feels, well odd. I feel in a really awkward position.
I know the right thing is to see her regularly and to try and help, but it's and a bit emotional really and the boundaries are difficult. I do find relationships a bit difficult at times anyway, although have supportive DH and my best friend is aware but other than that I tend not to talk about it.

Sorry this is long and rambling.

Italiangreyhound Wed 14-Feb-18 17:40:25

Sweet heart please do whatever is right for you. Your birth mum was young but she made her choices.

If you wish to accept her money, do. If you worry it will he used as leverage keep it in a saving account and do not spend it until she is gone. Then you can always give it back.

Who else does she have, children/siblings/friends?

She is not your responsibility.

I am sorry that you feel sad and badly treated by your adoptive family. Do not blame yourself for not saying no to adoption. You were a child, they should have had your best interests at heart, maybe they felt did.

Please consider counselling to help you work through this, if you need it. You may be able to access help through an organisation called After Adoption.

Bless you, you have turned into a lovely, caring, hard working person, in spite of a rough start. Xxxx

Pomegranatepompom Wed 14-Feb-18 17:59:32

Thank you for your very kind reply.

No other children, she has siblings who she sees a few times a year. A nephew helps her with managing her finances. She likes to keep herself to herself really I think. I feel quite sad for her, she has a lonely life I think. She relives her decision and says she was trying to do what was best at the time but never wanted it to be long term.

Re money, it's difficult as she wants to financially support me (she is able to for various reasons) and says wants to help me now rather than wait until wills etc In some ways seems silly to refuse but I don't want to me financially obliged to her.

It feels difficult, I mean if she was an elderly next door neighbour, I would try to help. But I think the emotional link makes it more much difficult for me. I did tell her I want ready to meet wider family, she was disappointed but ok.

I probably need counselling, but burying head in sand at the mo....

Pomegranatepompom Wed 14-Feb-18 18:00:53

* I wasn't ready to meet

Italiangreyhound Wed 14-Feb-18 18:23:58

Please have the counselling.

How old are you, roughly?

Your mum may well have felt she was doing the best thing. I feel sorry for you and your mum. She lost the best thing life has to offer. But, it is not your fault or responsibility.

Are you in touch with your adopted siblings?

're wider family, part of me wants to say go at your own pace, do as you see fit. However, part of me wants to say, if you think you will meet them, do it now, do not wait. She most likely wants to show you off to then, her lovely daughter.

Please talk it though with a professional.

I'm birth mum to a 13 year old dd, whose just made me a lovely cuppa, and 7 year old ds by Adoption. It's heart breaking to think how things have worked out for both of you. I hope you find some sort of closure while your mum is alive (if that would help).

Pomegranatepompom Wed 14-Feb-18 18:51:31

I'm in my 40's. BM was in 20's when I was born but they were both students with no family help nearby.

I don't have siblings as such, but I grew up with 2 other children who were fostered, 1 I hardly see. They don't know about any of this.

I think that's what I don't want, the showing off bit. I just feel too awkward and don't want to meet all these new people. Also don't want to have to deal with all the emotion associated with this.

Thank you for your reply, it was so kind, I almost cried.

Ted27 Wed 14-Feb-18 19:12:13

I think you need to do the right thing for you and your family. But you might need a bit of help to do that so I would also encourage you to seek councelling.

Your birth mum has to live with the consequences of her choices. That might sound harsh but the reality is she probably did have choices, a student in her 20s is very different to a 16 year old schoolgirl. She may have thought adoption the best choice, but she did make that choice.

Its also natural that you feel some kind of pull towards her. But resposibility is another thing. I would hate to think my adoptive son would only look after me in my old age out of a sense of obligation, I hope he stays part of my life because he loves me and the family we have become.

You sound like a lovely, kind and caring person. Maybe you should treat her like an elderly neighbour, I think you need to find the point at which you are comfortable in taking your relationship further than that.
Don't be too hard on yourself, whatever you decide

Pomegranatepompom Wed 14-Feb-18 19:56:00

Thank you for your thoughtful reply.
Although in 20's they had no support network, were in student accommodation etc. They did consider sending me to stay with family but felt fostering near by would mean they could see me more.
As soon as they got a house, they tried to regain custody (for want of a better word). I have seen a letter from their solicitor at the time saying how unfairly they were treated and how sorry he was and he would only charge his minimum fee. I think foster parents were very, very manipulative. I think this is partly why I feel so sorry for her. They never gave up trying to be in my life. I was totally brainwashed by foster/adoptive mum. I have since read some paperwork which reflects more accurately what happened, it's all so sad.

I don't really feel I have a relationship with her (yet), but it's all such a flipping mess and I spend a large proportion of my early years thinking I'd be taken away from what was familiar (even though it was far from ideal). It was all so distressing for me.

DancesWithOtters Wed 14-Feb-18 20:14:02

Wow that's a tricky one.

What do you want? I can see you don't want to get too deeply involved which is absolutely fair enough in the circumstances. How long do you see her for once a month?

It sounds like your conscience wants you to continue seeing her but less often. I think that's fine. Could you gently ease off and tell her how much you have on in life, but you'd still like to see her 2 or 3 times a year? I agree, if you are too available to her she may start to lean on you more as she gets older.

Can you keep it light and breezy and try and ease it down to a couple times a year?

I appreciate that she had you young and struggled, but under the circumstances I don't think it's fair of her to expect too much from you now. Any contact should be on your terms.

Pomegranatepompom Fri 16-Feb-18 08:18:28

Thank you for your reply.

I would be happy to see her a few times a year. I normally for for 3-4 hours ish, sometime take her shopping. However, she'd be heartbroken if I reduced the visits, she really doesn't have much in her life. So I think I'm willing to give this time.

What I don't want is to be involved with extended family, it all just feels too much. I'm not used to family gatherings/commitments. I only keep in close touch with a foster sister and her family.

I also don't want to feel obliged to look after her in old age. I have never invited her round my house and I think she and her family find this odd. She spend Christmas Day on her own but I just can't envisage involving her in my life to that extent, although I feel bad about this.

I think the financial aspect makes things awkward, it looks like I'm happy to have money but only have her in my life on my terms? She did say once, you might only meet my family at my funeral but in all honesty I wouldn't be able to go. It would feel like I was on 'show' and without meaning disrespect, I just couldn't do that.

I've noticed she really worries about things and gets a bit confused when explaining things. She's almost 70, so quite young to be like this? Bit concerned about that....

It's all so complex.

anewoneforthis Fri 16-Feb-18 16:17:08

I would say try not to worry at all about whether you are doing enough or too much, or what anyone else thinks. In relation to the money, as she gets older she may want to consider quasi independent living, a retirement flat with warden for example, and she would need as much money as possible for that, from a purely practical point of view. If she has said she is lonely generally then maybe you could find out if there are organisations who would help her, but if she isn't lonely generally, she just wants a relationship with you and your children, then it is what it is. I think that it is totally understandable that you are keeping relationships at bay with her and wider family because of your own experiences. It may be that you have conflicted feelings, that you would like to unravel at some point, about your childhood, about her, but now is not the time, because you have young dc and a ft job and a lot on your plate? If that is right and you explained would she understand?

Does she want to meet your dc but you don't want that or you don't feel it is the best thing for your dc? I have found that sometimes parents (birth or adopted) are better with grandchildren, and it can be a good relationship and easier with less pressure, more fun, less intense, and even quite healing, but sometimes the opposite will happen!

In terms of her age, in my personal experience older people can swing from seeming very vulnerable and forgetting things and then being well and on the ball, for 15 years or more! If you were worried you could ask an age charity for their view? This should be just for your peace of mind though, if you wanted to.

Italiangreyhound Fri 16-Feb-18 23:01:00

@Pomegranatepompom you do sound very conflicted. Please do get some counselling and look to the future. I hope that the future will be better for you. Xxxx

anewoneforthis Sat 17-Feb-18 08:31:57

I think that a problem with counselling in some situations is that it is the same as trying to unravel feelings on your own, it requires an investment of time, and reflection, both of which are hard when you have young children and a ft job and already feel stretched.

Italiangreyhound Sat 17-Feb-18 09:57:02

@anewoneforthis have you had counselling?

I have had lots and it has helped immensely. Not for this issue but for other things.

I have found counselling is not like working things out on your own because you have an expert (hopefully) to guide you in working things out to the best if your ability.

It is unlikely most people could afford to invest more than an hour a week in counselling. So an hour a week to help you work out something which is really troubling you sounds like a bargain to me!

anewoneforthis Sat 17-Feb-18 10:07:44

It is wonderful that you have found counselling to be very helpful, italian I am very pleased for you.

It isn't necessarily an hour a week, because it can bring up all sorts of things which then play on the mind. It depends on what the counselling is for. It depends on what else you have going on at the time.

I am sure that the OP will know whether it is right for her.

Italiangreyhound Sat 17-Feb-18 10:49:57

Yes, I agree the OP will hopefully know of it is the right thing for her.

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