Rick and I had started doing our family trees back in 2004 which is how I found my son without actively searching for him. It immediately gave us something to talk about but it also was the start of finding out some of my relatives names had been shortened or middle names used intead of first names. This was quite challenging and interesting at the same time.
Being on Genes Reunited proved to be handy in other ways including getting back in touch with one of my cousins. The last time I had spoken to him had been nine years previously at our Nanna’s funeral. Contact has been sporadic since then but of course it’s easier through Facebook. We met up again at my sister’s 60th birthday four years ago along with another of our cousins and one of his brothers whom I hadn’t seen since our Nanna’s funeral. Sadly that cousin passed on last year aged 59 years and almost 2 months younger than me. At least my last memory of him was being hugged so tightly I could hardly breath at my sister’s birthday party.
During the early months of contact with my son was a bit up and down as he was charming one minute then nasty whenever he was in a bad mood. It was quite stressful at times and sometimes I wonder how I coped.
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.
Not talking about a baby being lost to adoption is a bad idea but it was my way of coping for too many years. When a mother loses her baby to miscarriage, stillborn, or genetic condition people can be supportive even though they don’t understand the (personal) loss. Of course today there are different charities that offer support which is priceless. One of our nieces and nephew-in-law lost their second child to Trisomy 18 (Edward’s Syndrome) when she was a day old. They were well looked after by their midwife and ARC but it doesn’t make the loss any easier. They were given a card with their daughter’s hands and feet imprints on it. They also received a teddy bear with the name of another baby’s name on it and one day parents will receive a teddy bear with their daughter’s name on it.
When it comes to adoption people think it’s wonderful, farting unicorns and in the child’s best interests. In reality, it isn’t and unless the child is at real risk of any type of abuse it’s better to keep the child with his or her mother/father. If the parents die then special guardianship with the child’s family member is the next best thing otherwise with another guardian. I am not completely anti-adoption as there are other ways a child can be raised in safety and retain their name.
What people don’t understand is that when a mother is forced to let her baby be adopted it is loss and the mother suffers for the rest of her life. Her baby is still alive but she will never raise her child. It is a different type of loss to mothers whose babies have died but the result is the same both types of mothers never get over it and just learn to live with the loss.
I lived too many years hiding my pain as I was never offered any counselling so I put on an act. Eventually, I did find my son without actively searching for him when he had just turned 23 years old on Genes Reunited. The rage and pain I actively controlled came out finally but I still mourn the loss of my baby, I will never get him back. My son was shocked I found him without actively searching and had been searching for 5 years. He found my family but at that time my family didn’t know where I was due to a massive argument I’d had with my sister and by this time we had moved. My son was hurt that my parents hadn’t told me they had contact with him for two years when I got back in touch with them. There was absolutely no good reason why they didn’t tell me and the poor excuse was they didn’t know if my husband knew about him. My sister told me they didn’t know where I was so I don’t know what they were telling her – I didn’t have contact with her for 12 years. I didn’t want to fall out with her again as we have got on better since our dad died.
My son and I don’t talk now. We both made mistakes but he won’t accept he was just as much to blame as me when we had disagreements.
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.