Back in early 2005 Rick and I were talking about starting up an adoption support group for adopters, adoptees, formerly fostered adults and foster carers as well as natural mothers. We had been talking to someone who would become a friend but at the time he thought it a terrible idea. Unfortunately, like most people who don’t have have ad adoption connection, he believed that all adoptions are necessary, the natural mothers are terrible people and it’s always best for the babies. It caused a lot of stress for me as he didn’t know much about my adoption connection and it left me very upset.
We managed to get talking about the realities af babies being adopted and it’s not that uncommon for babies to be adopted unnecessarily. He realized then that he had been wrong to assume mothers were drug users/and or prostitutes as the history of forced adoption still isn’t all that well known. Back then I was finding the courage to be more vocal about the subject and knew I was rubbing some people up the wrong way (generally) but I wanted to get the truth out.
I found attitudes were, on the whole, positive towards me when friends found out about my son. Occasionally there were awkward moments which I learned to deal with even if it meant changing the subject. There were also the well intentioned comments about how ‘wonderful’ it was that we had reunited. I would take a deep breath, smile and just nod my head. At times I wanted to scream at them that no it wasn’t wonderful and my son should never have been adopted. People meant well and I knew that I had two choices; either watch what I said or be honest. With time I learnt to say it how it was in a calm way.
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.
Recently I made a new friend connection on Facebook who is an adoptee and has written Your Secret My Story. I do want to get the book as from the little I know about it has helped me to talk a bit more to my sister.
Back in September we went down south to see family and give one of my sister’s granddaughters, our great niece, her birthday present. Before we came back my sister and I went through some crates that had come from our Dad’s home after he passed on. We came home with two crates of photographs and a few pieces of paperwork as my sister knows we are into family history/genealogy. Anything we didn’t want she said to chuck.
While we were going through the paperwork there were a couple of photographs of my son there so we talked about him. She feels bad because she feels she should love him as he is her nephew but doesn’t like him. I can understand where my sister is coming from as he can be very charming one minute then be angry when he doesn’t hear what he wants to hear. I told her not to feel bad about it as we had the same attitude and whilst I love him because he is my son and always will, I struggle to like him at times. We are so much alike with likes and dislike, even mannersisms, but adoption wrecked any chance of a happy reunion.
When we went back down south in November for my birthday the subject came up again. This time my sister mentioned that she and my parents refused to give my son any information as I was the one whom he needed to talk to. At the time when my son found my family I wasn’t talking to them due to an argument but two years of not talking to my parents I got back in touch with them. Instead of being honest with my son they continued to tell him they didn’t know where I was. My sister didn’t know where I was so she was honest. She told me that our parents told him the same and if they found out where I was they would let me know he wanted contact. I told my sister they never said a word to me so delayed contact for three years. It would have continued if I hadn’t found him.
I also told my sister of a conversation I had with our Mum over the phone back in 2006. She was visibly upset when I told her our Mum had said she couldn’t understand why my son wanted to know me as I was nothing to him and his only family was his adoptive one. My sister said it was cruel of our Mum to say that. I haven’t told her of the letter our Mum wrote to my son telling him to accept that I didn’t want to be found.
My sister needed to be told of both as she believed our parents would be honest with me about what actually happened. She has a better idea why I was so angry at that period in my life.
I am giving credit back to this post https://medium.com/@Flip.Side/phrases-from-adoption-ideology-ad3caf09c6a2 for giving me the material to write about.
After spending so many years of hiding my feelings of loss and not dealing with my son’s adoption my eyes were finally opened up. The support has been great and I wish I had known about it years earlier ago. On the other hand I also found out people can be very cruel and hurtful by their words and actions. I was shocked in the early years how judgemental people can be towards other sides of adoption. After 16 years I am much more ‘hardened’ to the unkind side of adoption and naivety of people who think surrendering a baby is ‘the right thing to do/mother to young to parent.’
One of the early comments that made me laugh as it is stupid. It’s when adoptees are asked if they know their real parents. Even if I didn’t have an adoption connection I would still think it’s a ridiculous question. A real parent to me is the one raising the child whether they are the mother, father, adoptive parent, foster carer, family member to the best of their ability. All parents make mistakes and not all parents are decent.
My son’s adoptive parents are real parents and so am I.
In the early days of the reunion I got sick to death of the ‘you were chosen’ lines given to adoptees. Adoption in the UK has evolved since the 1940s but even so, adoptees haven’t been ‘chosen’ they’ve just been the next available baby. Over the years changes have been an end to private adoptions, the number of babies adopted has dropped, and, open and semi adoptions have been introduced. Since the contraceptive pill, abortion easier to have, changes in benefits and social housing has made it easier for mothers to either raise their children or not to have a child.
Telling an adoptee they were wanted is terrible because the person asking doesn’t know the circumstances behind their adoption. The mother could have died in childbirth, the mother (or father) may not have been given the chance to prove they could be a good parent. Not all adopters should have adopted in the first place. Just because a single person or couple has been approved to adopt (in the UK) doesn’t mean they will be good parents. There are cases where adopters have killed their adopted children or abused them, it’s not just natural parents who abuse their children.
Telling an adoptee their mother loved them enough to give them up is cruel as far as I’m concerned. I loved my son so much I didn’t abort him but neither did I plan for him to be adopted. His adopters believed the adoption agency when they were told I wanted him adopted. It took a reunion for them to find out I never agreed to the adoption. In fact they found out the three letters I supposedly wrote to them were written by someone else and I only received one of the letters they wrote. That was bad enough as they thanked me for allowing them to adopt my son. It was devastating to read that as they didn’t know the truth. Yes there are mothers who choose adoption but I’m not one of them.
Adoption isn’t a selfless sacrifice generally – I get back to my comment that some mothers do choose adoption. I felt worthless when my son was adopted, that I didn’t matter and it reinforced what a family member said to me that I wasn’t capable of raising a child. It has been a lifelong feeling of worthlessness. Nobody knows what kind of a mother I would have been because I wasn’t given a chance. There are other reasons why I didn’t have other children but that is going off-topic.` I was a victim of forced (illegal) adoption and had I known my rights I would have raised my son.
I don’t like the ‘adoption is in the bible’ argument either. Yes I know Joseph wasn’t the biological father of Jesus but Mary was his natural mother. Oh and Joseph didn’t pay a huge wedge of money to buy Jesus he stepped up as a father figure as he was commanded to do. For Jesus to fulfill a prophecy he had to be born into this life and God wouldn’t have been in the physical world as nobody could look at his face and live.
Moses isn’t, like Jesus, an example of adoption as we understand it. His mother placed him in a basket and put in water to save his life. He was raised by a pharaoh’s daughter and his mother was part of his life, in other words he wasn’t officially adopted. Later on, in life, he killed an Egyptian, returned to his family, and led the chosen people to the promised life.
Telling adoptees they were given up is quite commonly used alongside placed. I didn’t ‘give up or place’ my son he was in effect stolen from me. I never agreed to him being adopted and as far as I know I didn’t sign the Consent to Relinquish form. If I did I didn’t know what I was signing and very conveniently nobody can find the form so I can’t prove anything.
The blood/DNA doesn’t matter argument is open to debate but they do matter. If they didn’t then parents wouldn’t care what baby they had as long as they were raising one. Apart from that people have a right to know who their family is with medical information high on the list for being important. I have had mother figures in my life but they’re not the mother who carried me for nine-months then raised me. They have been important in my life but can’t be compared to my mother. Some people should never have children but that doesn’t mean any child of theirs who has been adopted doesn’t have a right to know who they are.
I hate adopters referring to the mother of their adopted child as their birth mother as she didn’t give birth to either of them and it’s a type of entitlement. When these people feel offended when they are pulled up about it they should then educate themselves. I am not my son’s birth mother, I am his mother the same as his adoptive mother is also his mother. Parents can love more than one child so why can’t a child love more than one mother?
I shall continue with this another day.
Today has felt really strange due to covid-19, self-isolating and trying to deal with Mother’s Day. Normally I really hate the day and will do my best to avoid anything that will make me sad, today hasn’t felt Mother’s Day even though it’s been talked about on Facebook. Of course, with all the churches being shut has added to the strangeness of the day.
It’s now 38 years since I first hated Mother’s Day and all because of forced adoption – I wouldn’t wish it on anybody as it is soul-destroying. Nobody has really acknowledged that I am a mother as the only child I had was adopted but I am still a mother. There are people now who know about my son but it was 23 years before I really started talking about him after I found him. It was a shock as I wasn’t actively looking as I believed what I had been told that I would never be allowed (legally) to search for him.
He was also shocked as he had been searching for me and had found my family quite quickly. For about 18 – 20 months my family didn’t know where I was due to an argument I had with my sister and I stopped talking to them. My parents knew where I was from late 2001 but still chose not to tell me he was searching for me nor did they tell him they had contact with me.
I’m not sure what’s worse – the not knowing anything or to go through reunion then falling out, it’s an ongoing struggle that will only go when I die.