I first started a journal back in September 2004 and several weeks after finding my son. I had stated posting on an adoption forums and someone suggested doing so as a way to help myself cope. Up until I found my son I had been silent, not even talking to my husband about him. It had been a family member who had told my husband about my son about six months after we had married.
My adoption journey had started back in 1981 when my son was born on the 3rd August. I had split from his father soon after I fell pregnant and didn’t tell him when I found out. It was wrong not to. I was angry and didn’t want him to have anything to do with my baby nor did I think he would believe that the baby was his. However I wanted to raise my son so kept quiet long enough not to be pressured into aborting by my parents.
When my parents found out they were so angry and decided my baby was to be adopted. My mother arranged everything despite me not agreeing to it and refusing to talk about it. The first time I saw a social worker from the adoption agency was after my son was born. I told her how I felt and she told me she would put a halt to the adoption. This didn’t happen and between her and my mother they constantly lied to me. I believed the lies, didn’t know my rights, didn’t see any paperwork and it is questionable I signed anything so I was a complete walkover.
I was expected to get on with my life, never talk about my son and to forget about him. I got on with my life, didn’t talk about my son but I never forgot about him. Subsequently I suffer with depression to the point of being suicidal at times and self harmed.
It was a shock when I found my son in 2004 days after his 23rd birthday on Genes Reunited. It turned out he had been searching for me for five years and had found my family quite quickly. They never told me nor did they ever tell him where I was. I was so angry at the time although I didn’t let him know that. It was a few weeks before I let my parents know I had found my son. Their excuse for not telling me about contact was that they didn’t know if my husband knew about him. All I could assume was either they were telling the truth or they did know what a family member had done. I didn’t want this to get the better of me so left it at that.
However with reunion my emotions exploded to the surface and I found it hard to cope. So when the suggestion of keeping a journal was given I jumped at it. I had been silent for 23 years and now it was my time to talk even if it was by the written word. I started a journal on the forums I belonged to at that time as I wanted to share my feelings.
My life ended the day I was told I couldn’t stop my son’s adoption. Unless you have been a victim of forced (illegal) adoption you cannot begin to understand the profound feelings of loss. It is heart-wrenching and for me, I emotionally broke down and from that day forward I mask. I also lost my trust due to what my mother and the adoption agency did to me. To the outside world, I was fine but inside I was an emotional wreck. My friends used to joke I was an ice maiden towards men and kept them at arm’s length. I vowed I would never get married or have any more children as I was so scared that I would be forced to surrender again.
I became very lonely as I was too scared to tell anybody how I was feeling nor did I understand I was severely depressed. For too many years I was accused of being a drama queen, moody and that there were people who were far more in need of support. In the early days, the closest my mother came to showing she cared was when I received a letter from my son’s adopters. I broke down in tears and my mother hugged me tightly until I stopped crying. Even then I couldn’t talk and suffered in silence. Adoption is like an invisible amputation and every part of my body ached for and missed my son. It was another 23 years before I could start talking about my son’s adoption.
It wasn’t until more recent years that I realised that I suffer from P.T.S.D. although I have never been formally diagnosed with suffering from it. Doctors don’t seem to understand the trauma of forced adoption or make a connection. My son will be 39 years old this year and I still suffer from the trauma of losing him, sadly it will be with me for the rest of my life. I also have a history of self-harming as it was the only way to release emotional pain and I have tried overdosing over the years.
Since opening up about forced adoption I started educating people about the effect of forced adoption on mothers. It really was tough going for the first couple of years particularly when I got the courage to state that the term birth mother is offensive. I had never heard of the term until 2004 having joined up with adoption forums and groups. It is a stupid term because mothers don’t just give birth they go through nine months of pregnancy. Fathers don’t go through pregnancy or giving birth so it’s a ridiculous term to give them. It’s also stupid to give the extended family the ‘birth’ title as they can’t collectively go through pregnancy and childbirth. The real truth is it’s a term invented in America to make adopters feel better about themselves and came over to the U.K. A couple of years ago I had a disagreement with a friend at bible study as she referred to herself as a birth mother. I asked her not to as it’s offensive to mothers who have surrendered a child and why the term was created. She really didn’t ‘get it’ and used the argument that as she had had children that made her a birth mother. I explained why the term was invented but if all mothers had always been referred to as birth mothers it wouldn’t have bothered me. In the end, I got so annoyed I had to walk away from the situation. We have never talked about it since.
I am still friendly with other mothers who have surrendered babies. adoptive parents and adoptees although these days we keep in touch on Facebook. We all still learn from each other for all sorts of reasons.
I was pregnant at the age of 19 years old and knew I was pregnant after I had split on bad terms with the father of my son. Even so, I knew I wanted to raise my baby and I had a job so I knew I could afford to raise my child. I was scared and didn’t know how to tell my parents but eventually, they had to know.
It went badly and my mother was determined that my baby was to be adopted but I refused to agree to it. My father didn’t say much at all, he simply let my mother get on with it. It was a horrible time and I suffered from low self-esteem and lacked confidence. I didn’t even see a social worker from the adoption agency until after my son was born. All I knew was that I wanted to be a mother and raise my child.
Infant adoption was slowing down by the start of the 1980s but it didn’t stop social workers from being pushy over babies being adopted. I was one of many mothers over the years who were pressured to surrender without knowing my rights. My mother made me feel worthless, I wouldn’t be a good enough mother yet I was capable of looking after my niece. She was born just over two months before my son was born. My mother continually put me down and made threats such as;
I would be kicked out
I would lose my job because I would be homeless
I wouldn’t be able to get rented accommodation
I wouldn’t be able to get any benefits
My son would be taken off me because I was homeless so I may as well agree to the adoption.
It was relentless brainwashing to try and convince me adoption was the best option. The first time I saw the social worker I told her I didn’t want to give my son up and it was my mother who was all for adoption. She said she would put a stop to the adoption but ‘it would be a good idea for my son to go into foster care until I got myself sorted out’. I did manage to see my son once before I left the hospital and I will never forget that.