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Adult Adoptees - All welcome

(101 Posts)
Humsta Thu 12-May-16 19:55:24

If like me, you're an adult adoptee, you may well share my view that there is virtually no where to go to talk about your younger life with anyone outside of your everyday circles - and you probably don't always want to do that. Even specific professional support is scarce.

I'm well adjusted and getting on with enjoying life and don't think about my childhood negatively any more than the next person. However once in a while something insignificant happens; a throw away comment from a family member; a tv program; or a special event that's never as straight forward for me as the rest of the family. And it sends me spinning into a cycle where all I can seem to focus on is being adopted! This is why I can't always talk to my family biological or adoptive - even though we're normally close.

I have traced my biological family and have had just about as much honestly from everyone as you can get, but I still feel at times that truly only other adoptees can understand my thinking.

I've now read a certain book* The Primal Wound*; contacted one of the few other adoptees I know (we'd never discussed our shared ground before) and feel that I'm building an extra support network and personal understanding that works for me - and this thread is part of it.

Naturally I understand this topic will be of interest to all parties in the adoption triangle but I am hoping that in the main adoptees will be able to post on this thread without the feeling of offending adopters or biological parents and then having to justify their words.

From what I can see adopters have a fair amount of support so hopefully we the adult 'children' can just have this space for ourselves.

I hope anyone that posts also feels a little more understood afterwards and I know all our experiences are different - but if I feel I can help in anyway I will smile

Lagodiatitlan Thu 12-May-16 21:20:14

Thanks for starting this, Humsta. Marking my place. Just a bit worried though that the Daily Fail might leech on to this thread so I think I am going to NC to something different.

Stopplagiarising Thu 12-May-16 21:23:02

There. That's better.

cuntymailjournos Thu 12-May-16 22:48:52

I have name changed too, so sorry OP, but pp has a point.
I think I was going to change anyway.

Well here we are.
I'm feeling a bit down tonight , I miss my kids and even though I know they grow up and leave the nest, it broke my heart when ds1 left home.
Ds2 is still here, but dd is a boarder and this has to be the hardest thing I've ever been through.
She has no idea the pain and heart wrenching I go through most weeks, especially if she doesn't come home. I feel as though I have lost her, she is only 12 and doesn't need me anymore. Then I feel guilty as I have no right when I think some parents really can't see their children at all sad
I feel like I can't breathe, as though my insides are being ripped out.
At first I hated her being so happy and saw it as a huge rejection. Isn't that a horrible thing to think?
I have huge issues with attachment to my children, this is what I think other adopted people must feel or at least sympathise with.
I may just be the only person who feels this way, I dunno.

Sorry to start your thread off so miserably.

CaoNiMao Fri 13-May-16 07:09:25

Hello! Another adult adoptee here.

My situation is slightly unusual (or maybe not!) inasmuch as I was adopted into an EA family. My adoptive mother is a classic narcissist. For many years, I put my emotional issues down to having been given up at birth, but as I've looked further into it, I've realised that actually it was my adoptive mother who did the damage. This places me in something of an awkward position, given the societal expectations of a 'grateful adoptee'.

I traced my birth mother ten years ago, and we have a great relationship - quite 'sisterly', since she was very young when she had me and relinquished me for adoption.

I have lived overseas for the past 8 years, but am planning to return to the UK in October. It feels like I am heading back into the fray with my EA adoptive mother, and it is playing on my mind a lot.

Stopplagiarising Fri 13-May-16 08:41:18

Hi @cmjourno
My DC are/were also boarders. We have family reasons for that - but I am constantly asking myself whether I sent them to boarding school because I was not properly attached to them. As if I am somehow "not a proper mother" because I do not know how to be one. It is easier now that they are older but I still worry about it. Don't know how much of that is being adopted per se or how much is the odd family background I found myself in.

Stopplagiarising Fri 13-May-16 08:58:54

I have spent a lot of time recently thinking about why I am the way I am and looking back at the adoptive family relationships. How much is the adoption and how much is the parenting? I think it is mixed.
My adoptive mother is a very odd person. I feel a bit sorry for her now. She could not have her own children which probably made her feel inadequate. She came from a very repressive religious background so would not have addressed any sexual/reproductive issues. You just did not talk about those things. Adoption through the RC agency was an easy solution. And the adoptees were sold as being the same as birth children. That was partly the RCs and partly the PC 1960s where nurture was all and any reference to genetics was a dirty word. I think she was desperately insecure and tried so hard to make her adoptive DC better than the DC of her relatives and friends. And when some of them turned out differently - not clever at school/ issues around sexuality/ drink drugs etc - she could not cope. And I think the fact that most of these issues emerged later - adolescence rather than early childhood- made it even more difficult. She had her model family and then it all went pear shaped. I guess my adoptive father had issues too but as he worked outside the home it was much less intense for him.
Like you, I have spent much of my life abroad. Now I look back I realise that was my escape route. I just did not want to be part of that mess so I distanced myself.

MagicMoonstone Fri 13-May-16 09:25:59

Steps into thread very nervously....

I am a BM.

If I can help any of you with anything (Even if you need to vent) I'm happy to talk.


ClassicCoast Fri 13-May-16 09:59:13

My adoptive parents are lovely but hugely religious and that has created its own issues over the years. I think it's hard for them that they didn't get chance to unpick feelings around infertility and adoption issues before the adoption. They had big issues not with bonding but with fear that I could be taken back/that birth family might take me back/add in plenty of medical issues for me and It was quite intense. Lots of hyper vigilance for their feelings though lots of rebellion beneath the surface.

The unusual thing about me is that I am a double dipper, an adoptee and birth mother. (Waves at Moonstone) don't think we are a thing in the UK but there are plenty at home which reflects how different the UK and USA adoption backgrounds have become.

MagicMoonstone Fri 13-May-16 10:04:37


There is very little for BM here. I have hunted for a long time

ClassicCoast Fri 13-May-16 10:09:38

We need our own relationship thread...

ClassicCoast Fri 13-May-16 10:18:42

There are plenty of American blogs and boards, not quite the same for you I guess.

MagicMoonstone Fri 13-May-16 10:35:56

Tbh this is the first time I've 'come out' as a BM.

Very few people in RL know

ClassicCoast Fri 13-May-16 10:43:03

Well am aware that having said an adoptee board is good so we can be unguarded in out adoptee sharing that bms chatting could be equally inhibiting so why don't you pm me to talk? My close friends know but not most people though my kids tell people sometimes not quite getting how unusual it is.

jellyfishschool Fri 13-May-16 11:45:42

There are other "birth mothers" on mumsnet, who might join in if you start a thread in relationships? As far as I am concerned you are very welcome here. Though I have to say I really cannot stand the term birth mother, first time I heard the term was on mumsnet.

Humsta thanks so much for starting this, you are a star.

jellyfishschool Fri 13-May-16 11:49:05

PS classiccoast your comment in site stuff about the irony, very true.

PeaceLoveGonk Fri 13-May-16 11:57:08

What term would you prefer if you don't like 'birth mother'?

MagicMoonstone Fri 13-May-16 12:02:58

I've only ever used it when communicating with Social services.

I know that my BD was given a different name to use in reference to me but I didn't like it as I felt it took something away from her adoptive mum. I'm not even comfortable typing it, let alone saying it out loud. I guess as a young child it made it easier for her to understand where she came from.

Ours has been an open adoption with yearly letterbox contact. Her mum and dad are fab. I would never want to take anything from them.

Even recently when my DD had problems with her legs and ended up in a wheelchair, AD saw on DD instagram and adoptive mum sent her love and support and AD has the same problems.

I am happy not to use the term BM if it makes anyone uncomfortable though. flowers

jellyfishschool Fri 13-May-16 12:36:46

Oh no, I don't mind at all others using it, sorry I didn't mean that. I was just passing comment. In rl I refer to both mothers by their first name usually. Online I have used the term birth mother, to distinguish.

NewLife4Me Fri 13-May-16 18:25:12

The only one i used to object to was well meaning people who used to ask if i'd ever tried to trace my real mum.
This used to break my heat.
My parents were lovely, long gone now and I miss them so much.
I was adopted at a few months old so of course they were my real parents.
The only thing my mum didn't do was give birth to me.
When I think of everything they did for me, how much they loved me, I'm so grateful. But no more grateful than I think a child should be to their parents.

Doodlekitty Fri 13-May-16 18:31:44


I think my situation is different to most. I was adopted by my grandparents when I was 3. I was raised with the woman who have birth to me as my sister. I didn't find out till I was 18. I have nephews and nieces that don't know they are my siblings. I feel guilty expressing just how much it hurts

ClassicCoast Fri 13-May-16 18:56:24

Ooh Doodlekittysad finding out later on must be so tough.

ElsieMc Fri 13-May-16 19:07:28

I was adopted by an older couple and my adoptive mother had mental health problems. She had already had two nervous breakdowns and held some very strange views. Although she could be kind, she was incredibly selfish and critical and unhelpful when I had my own children. My dad was very kind with a funny, straight talking, working class family. They both died some years ago.

I tried to contact my birth mother ten years ago. I now know she had another child within a year of giving me up and then another 18 months later. She married when she was pregnant this time but not to my biological father. None of them want to know me.

I was contacted by a "relative" of my birth mother who told me she did not want to know me because her "own" children did not know about me and they would think less of her. She was cold and patronising. I said I was sorry for her if her children would judge her so harshly. I have had no contact since.

I took on the care of my two grandchildren through the family courts when my daughter had significant problems. They are teenagers now and I never regret bringing up my second family. Bizarrely I was asked to consider adopting my second grandson, but that would have made his mother his sister!

I had not seen some of my cousins from my adopted family for many years, but on attending a funeral recently, they greeted me so warmly, holding my hands, that I knew I had been very much wanted in the family.

Sorry to waffle here, but it is nice to tell and hear adoptee stories.

jellyfishschool Fri 13-May-16 20:51:59

NewLife, because I was brought up talking about my "real" mother (not sure was the term everyone seemed to use at the time.. ) that is the fallback term I use without thinking. I am hoping that no one takes offence at terms used by anyone else on this thread, as all the stories are so different, and different terms will be used naturally. My adoption years were not great, but I love to hear happy stories, as well as stories from people who have had to deal with similar issues to me.

I was adopted and I am now in my early 40s and have young dc. I left my adoptive home and subsequently got to know my natural mother when I was in my late teens. I really struggled with the relationship for a few years, and for a couple of years while at university I avoided her, but she wanted a relationship and I realised that I missed her and tried to get to know her as an adult, and since then it has been good mostly, and she and my dc seem to have an emotional bond. My adoption was not a great success because we were such different people, but they did the best they could and I have no angst about my time with them as a child, and have made huge efforts as an adult to get on fine with them. When I met my birth family I felt as though I had arrived home, even though some of what I found out about was a bit of a shock, eg I had always felt an affinity with a particular culture and I found out that half my birth family had come from that culture, and it felt to me at the time as though all the pieces of the jigsaw were falling together, everything starting to make more sense.

I thought I had got over the whole thing by my late twenties, because I was generally happy and doing ok at my career, but at the time I had the nickname "runaway bride" at work because of my fairly severe commitment-phobia (which was surprisingly amusing to my colleagues hmm), and it was quite a revelation to realise that this was probably all stemming from the adoption. Not very in touch with my feelings at that time probably! The realisation helped me move on (again) and eventually I settled down...

I am waffling too...

SeaEagleFeather Fri 13-May-16 21:47:40

magicMoonstone, Ill ask. What was your experience? Why was giving up the baby the right decision in your circumstances?

I know why it was in my birth mother / biological mother's case. I prefer biological mother because she was severely mentally ill and I want to distance myself from that - which in the end is because of the particulars of this situation, not because of a principle about naming. Also despite everything, you can see how the whole thing happened for her

It's almost never an easy decision and one you live with forever.

May I ask if you have reached a peace?

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