I don’t make a point of blogging like I used to ask I feel ‘all talked out’ over how adoption affects me on a daily basis. My son will be 40 in August and I will be 60 in November yet I’ve only had 5 years of contact in my life with him. That includes him living with us for almost 2 1/5 years which wasn’t enough time to truly heal and my heart was ripped to shreds a second time.
I cannot explain to family how hard it’s been over the past forty years as none of them have had a child adopted out let alone against their will. The closest I could get to explaining was back in 2019 when one of my niece’s and husband lost their second child toEdward’s Syndrome. They, their son and close family members had a day with her before she passed on. It will never take the pain away and I am just thankful they could have that time together with their beautiful angel. I would have loved to met my great niece but we didn’t know if we would get to the hospital in time as we live about 250 miles away. She is still with the family in spirit and has been included in the family tree with a picture as she will always be part of our family.
When my sister and I talked before and after about her beautiful granddaughter I had no problems saying I couldn’t begin to understand what my niece / her daughter was going through. My son didn’t die. Yet a piece of me died after he was born as I knew I was losing the battle to keep him even though I was quite capable of raising him.
I became severely depressed but thought it was post natal depression. I emotionally shut down as it was the only way I could cope and to the world I moved on. That couldn’t be further from the truth but I couldn’t cope with my emotions so it was a battle to stay alive. I’ve lost count of the times I have overdosed but only went to hospitalised once which was because I was unconscious. The following day I refused to talk about it and wanted to go home and the doctor couldn’t force me to stay or talk. Instead I continued with my daily battle to carry on pretending nothing was wrong.
Even with me finding my son within days after his 23 rd birthday didn’t help kickstart real heaing. Don’t get me wrong I will be eternally thankful that we reconnected so I know he is alive and well but …. I didn’t get my baby back, I found an adult. I never stopped loving him and never will but I can’t make him like me. In the time we had contact he learned the reality I had wanted to raise him, that I had wanted contact if he was willing. Instead he believed I hadn’t wanted him, that he had to accept I ‘didn’t want to be found’ – I have seen the proof in the form of a letter from a family member. My finding him crumbled his world around him as he learned the truth I had always wanted him and as I had been denied that right so reconnecting was the next best thing.
I couldn’t even have that as I should have done as the same family member couldn’t understand why my son wanted to know. His only family was his adoptive family and I was nothing to him according to the family member. That attitude is cold hearted and yet that person would never have said that had they gone through the same experience of an invisible amputation.
For many years I have suffered from depression – too many years – which became severe when my son was born and I emotionally broke down. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize I suffered from depression until many years later and I was suicidal but knew I didn’t really want to die. I believed what I was told, that I was moody, there were people far worse off than me and I didn’t have anything to be depressed about.
Even in my teens, I was prone to suicidal thoughts which I couldn’t understand and I felt guilty for my thoughts. I didn’t have anybody I felt I could trust enough not to say anything about how I felt. Suffering in silence isn’t worth it.
When my son was adopted life really wasn’t worth living for but wanting to kill myself was scarier to deal with. I couldn’t trust anybody as my parents had betrayed my trust. Instead, I put on an act so even now very few people know me 100%. I find it hard to explain how I feel on a daily basis to anybody which is generally feeling extremely low mst of the time.
When I was told I couldn’t stop my son’s adoption I emotionally broke down and even today I haven’t completely got over it. To the outside world I was getting on with my life and I ‘wore a mask’ I also started suffering from severe depression but just put it down to postnatal depression. There was no way I could talk about how I was feeling and certainly not to my mother. I went through periods of wanting to die and would self-harm as it was the only way I could release the emotional pain I suffered. I felt ashamed of how I was feeling and believed if I told my family that wouldn’t understand or believe me.
For years I was determined that I would never marry or have any more children as I was so scared that I would be forced to surrender again. I felt so lonely even though I had friends and I loved my nieces so it was my way of self-preservation.
Eventually, I met my husband in 1993 and after a few months of dating, we got married. He made me laugh and I could be myself. The big but was I couldn’t tell him about my son, again I felt too ashamed to tell him and I didn’t need to tell him unless my son found me. I don’t know how I would have dealt with that but it was taken out of my hands. One day I went for a long walk after an argument with my husband. When I got back he confronted me about it as my sister had rung up, didn’t believe I wasn’t in and told my husband about my son.
When we had both calmed down I told my husband the basics and told him there was no point in talking about it unless my son found me. I should have talked and been willing to talk but I couldn’t risk going to pieces. It was my way of dealing with it whereas I should have been talking. It took another 12 years before I started talking and it was the end of my world of pretending all was well in my life.
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.