Adoption has changed so much. I'm scared.

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by MidwestMom, Feb 10, 2009.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    N's birthmother wrote back to me, and I"m happy for N. She really wants to know her roots and see who looks like her, and she is the child I am closest to of all my kids. This was supposed to be an open adoption, but her birthmother closed it. So why do I have such mixed feelings?
    Actually, I am depressed for myself. Yes, I'm being selfish and obnoxiously self-pitying. I already lost one adopted kid who went out yonder to find his roots. He not only flew to Hong Kong and met his birthfamily, but he married a Chinese girl, learned Mandarin and decided we weren't his family and never were. So I guess I was a babysitter for a while until he found his roots. But he was always so distant that I handled it ok. It hurt, but I dealt with it. He didn't come here until he was six.
    I feel differently about my daughter N. She is the sunshine of my life and my love. I feel so close to her that it kills me to share her. I'm not exactly being easy child here, but I'm telling my feelings. I wish there WAS no birthmother. I'm terrified that one day this child will want to live with her and will disown us, just like her brother did. I know she came to us at birth, and there is a strong attachment, however her birthmother doesn't live in China either. She lives two hours from us. And she's not a drug addict or particularly dysfunctional. N. is going to love her to death.
    Adoption to me these days (again I'm on a pity-party) seems to demonize the adoptive parent. We keep the adoptee and her birthmother (now called FIRST MOTHER) apart. Reunions are often shown on TV as meeting the "real" mother. The message is hostile toward adoptive parents, espeically if they don't want an open adoption, and adoptees feel free to dump their a-parents for their b-parents. I've heard of it happening a frightening amount of time because I have adult adoptees and my adoptive parent friends do too. It's different when they're little. Even though my son was detached, he did act like we were his parents and we had no indication that the sweet little boy we raised would refuse to even answer our e-mails and frantic voice messages when his father was sick.
    Again, I'm not being easy child and am venting. If I had known that adopting felt so tentative, I would have just had birthchildren. The unknown terrifies me. Although I did as good as could be expected when my son from Hong Kong took off, I know it would be a whole different story if N. did it. Yet I can't go backward and it won't help even if I do because she wants to know her and she WILL know her.
    We are all in adoption counseling and I can't wait for the next appointment because I'm really panicking here. When I see couples advertising that they want an "Open Adoption" I wonder if they're really ready for what that can mean. Often you don't just adopt the child--you adopt a whole family.
    Maybe if my son hadn't disowned us I wouldn't be so scared, but he did and I am. Yet I feel it's best for my daughter to know her roots, and I can't deny them to her just because I'm afraid.
    Adoption has really changed. I don't want to lose my precious, special, wonderful daughter just because I didn't conceive her. I want her to be my forever daughter...I can just hear her friends saying, "OH, cool, your REAL mother!" Grrrrrrrr.
    Thanks for listening to my whining.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2009
  2. ML

    ML Guest

    YOU ARE here real mother. You will not lose her. The closeness you feel is shared by her. I feel your grief and I empathize more than you know. You are the only parent who cares most for what is best for HER. You rock mom. More to say but late for work. Love, ML
  3. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It


    It takes a lot of guts to state your feelings like this, esp on this topic. easy child or not, I am sorry you are hurting. I am sorry you are so scared.

    You have so much courage, I am proud to know you. The entire situation scares you to death, but you know your child needs this so you are doing it. THAT is the mark of a REAL parent.

    I agree that this trend to demonize the adoptive parents is scary. It is also WRONG. IF people want this lovely relationship with their children, then they should raise them themselves, going through the work, the expense, the fears, the teen years, etc.... It really isn't fair to the child or the adoptive parent to have the "reunion" and reunification when the adoptive parent did all the work and pour years of their hear into raising the child..

    Anyway, hugs, and I sincerely hope that meeting her birthmother will be enough. I DO think she has a strong bond with you and will always love you.
  4. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    Although I have no adoption experience I really do understand your mixed feelings. In a million years I would never have guessed that my son would marry a girl who would aim to separate him from his family...and succeed, for the most part. That loss, like the loss of your son, makes you aware of how vulnerable parents can be. It is scarey.

    Likewise...I have been "Mama" to easy child/difficult child for almost 22 years. When his bioMom asserts "I am his real Mother!"...I just cringe.

    So, I think the only healthy way to face these separation fears is to accept that you have decades of daily loving history that can not be taken away. Cherish that history and know that, God forbid, if your child opts to explore other family options in depth your love is deeply embedded in her heart and soul. Hugs. DDD
  5. everywoman

    everywoman Active Member

    As a child who was raised by someone other than her bio mother, I can tell you that the feelings of an "adopted" child change greatly upon maturity. When I was a young teen, I thought my biomom was "cool." I even went to live with her after graduation. It took having my own children to recognize how very special my grandparents were to take me in and raise me like their own daughter. I recognize now my biomom's issues. I resent her thinking she is somehow responsible for the success I've achieved as an adult. Your daughter will always be your daughter. It doesn't matter who gave her birth---you gave her life.
  6. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member


    You knew I would have input :). I think most adoptive parents understand those feelings better than anyone. The interesting thing is that I'm not sure you would have agreed with what you had written a while back if someone else had posted it. It does point out so poignantly the depth of emotion that adoptive families go through over the years with their children, as well as the dramatic evolution in our thoughts on the matter. There are some feelings I have that I think I can only share with fellow adoptive parents lest I be judged harshly or misunderstood.

    I like what everywoman said and I believe that in my heart. My difficult child wants to meet her birthmom because she feels she is a fairy godmother. It is a very immature but understandable feeling for her to have, especially because she thinks we are mean and she would be much better off with anyone but us. She recently wrote that she is afraid she loves her birthmom more than her parents. I resisted with all my heart saying something to her about that but decided I needed to allow her to feel that way even though it ripped my heart out. If everywoman is right, there will come a day when she will put that relationship in the proper perspective. My only regret is that I may not be alive when that finally happens.

    A few years back I found out that I had a brother that I never knew about. My father had a child with another woman a year after I was born and two years before my sister was born. He decided after 50 some years to tell me and arranged a meeting. At first it was exciting to get to know him and his family. Very shortly afterward I began to resent the intrusion in my life. He meant nothing to me, I wasn't like him at all, I resented that he wanted to be a part of my life, and I pulled back and have no contact with him to this day. I know this isn't quite the same, but think there are some similarities to what our children go through after being reunited.

    I often said that I believed adoptive parents were there to be babysitters for 18 years, raise the child, feed, cloth, educate them, care for them when they are sick, teach them right from wrong, buy them a car, pay for their college education or help them get a job, and then stand quietly by as they walk into the arms of the family who relinquished them. Our difficult child never adopted us like we adopted her. She has rejected us every step of the way, our values, our goals, our dreams. We have contacted the adoption agency to sign the paperwork needed to allow her to reunite with her birthmother. In Ohio she has to be 21 unless we give permission at age 18, so we are giving permission. She will be in no position to live on her own when she turns 18 in 4 months and will need a lot of support so I hope bm is willing and able to do that. I have prepared myself as much as I can for that final rejection but am trying to keep the door open for the day when she will realize what everywoman has said she would.

    I just wanted you to know that I understand what you are feeling and the range of emotions involved. I said years back that I believed every adopted child has adoption issues and I still believe that. They have to work out those issues. I wish I had understood all of this almost 18 years ago.

  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Nancy, my dear, you would be right about my not agreeing with you a while back.:)
    Well, I am agreeing with you more and more. Absolutely, the way adoption is now it seems like the birthmother isn't "ready" so she has us raise and love a child that she wants to claim later on and it is encouraged in the media (reunions and stuff/bad press for mean adoptive moms) so many kids do it. I have no problem with reunions--only when birthmothers think that the babies they gave birth to are theirs by virtue of having just given birth to them and that all we have done for the children, including love them over our own lives, doesn't matter because of their biological connection. I have the same issues for adoptees who walk out on their families for this reason. I'm glad that they still are in the vast minority, but it does happen. In this atmosphere, I would never adopt a child, especially not domestically. Even international adoption didn't stop my son's search though. And nobody he knows thinks he's doing the wrong thing by dumping us. They agree that we aren't his "real" family. Guess his "real" mother who dumped him in an orphanage in Hong Kong because it would be hard for her culturally to raise him is his "real" mother. He would have been better off living in an orphanage in Hong Kong for 18 years then living with evil adoptive parents and, worse, non-Chinese folks.
    To be fair, my Korean daughter and my Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) son are never ever going to leave us emotionally and I really don't believe that THIS daughter will either. But if you look on the internet regarding adoption, it's all "birthmothers are victims" and "adoptees rights" and nobody seems to care how the adoptive mother feels. We're supposed to not care if we're dumped. We should "understand." We are selfish if we dare have a frightened moment fearing that our beloved child may buy into the hype and decide we aren't his family at all and that the years we loved him or her don't matter. We aren't allowed our feelings. Only birthmothers and adoptees are.
    I'm feeling better now, but of late I really wonder how adoptive parents are perceived today. Many do think of us as glorified babysitters and feel so sorry for kids who are adopted, even if their own birthfamilies are rife with alcoholism, divorce, abuse, etc. I'm really tired of the attitude. At this rate, I'll bet a lot of people will decide NOT to adopt domestically and even internationally. And then what will happen to the kids who need homes?
    I certainly would never adopt again in today's atmosphere. It is very anti-adoptive parent.
    Thanks to all who answered. A special thanks to my ex-sparring partner Nancy who proved to be way more right than me in almost every way ;)
  8. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I think.....adoption like childbirth has it's choices. I know more kids who are not adopted that want nothing to do with their dysfunctional families and know plenty of adopted kids who want nothing to do with their biological families. It's nothing you've done or haven't done as a parent MWM - it's just a childs choice.

    I think a lot of times - about Dave Thomas. Now there is an interesting adoptee. He had a bad life, got adopted, turned it around and never looked back. His autobiography is a great read. I think about my own Mom who was abused as a child to depths I can only now understand. Yet she is the kindest, most gracious, lovely person in the world and doesn't cut Dude an iota of slack for his behavior. She maintains we all have choices - she "COULD" have choosen to act out, be wild - and yet did not. She chose against even her own families upbringing to be a moral & decent person.

    What does this have to do with adoptees and Moms? It's a choice. Like anything else in life - it's a carp shoot. I have only ONE son. I gave birth to him. He's a jerk most of the time and I'm basically non-existant unless I can fund the project-0-the-week. I laugh sometimes and except for looking so much like me I would swear he was adopted, or swapped in the hospital or aliens landed in the yard and on odd numbered days beginning with T every other blue moon? I get MY child - the one I raised, love and care about. Other times? I swear to you it's LIKE I adopted someone elses problem kid and it HURTS JUST THE SAME.

    Dude has been in several Residential Treatment Center (RTC)'s. The first time I heard him calling someone else MY OTHER MOM? I nearly passed out from the shock, awe and pain. It was like - OH NOW THAT IS GONE TOO. GRRRRRRRRREAT....I'm just a big fat NOTHING....and she get's to have the title of MOM. BOLOGNA!

    So I too know what that feels like. He's living with Foster parents now and calls THEM.....his OTHER Dad....and Other MOm.....and I think - sigh-whatever....because.....

    Somewhere in all of this Mom, not Mom, I hate you MOM, I wish YOU weren't my Mom, I have another Mom, Mother to my brother of another Color (love that one) and just plain old....names? I am still his Mom. I'm the one that raised him. I'm the one that watched him grow, held my breath for him to succeed, cried to God when he hurt....every SINGLE DAY. Sometimes from a distance, sometimes in my home.......sometimes wishing someone would adopt ME at 40 and just get me OUT of the house...but the difference here is......MY MOM......thinks about me 24/7.

    My Mom got to put kisses on my boo boos, my Mom cried when I felt bad, she made me laugh, she gave me a LIFE. She may not have given me life - but the big difference here is - SHE GAVE ME A LIFE. Without that? I wouldn't be here. In a small way I think occasionally of my biomother. She's not my Mom, she's didn't raise me, she did give birth to me, but I have no idea if she gave me away for a better life for herself or for me. Doesn't matter to me at this point....because......I. HAVE. A. LIFE. had it not been for my Mom and Dad? my LIFE could have been dramatically different. I may have spent my entire life in an orphanage, not knowing what it's like to have a loving parent that cared. I mean houseworkers, and fosters and nuns are great but come on.....who's your Mom in that mess?

    Maybe the indiscretion you feel is betrayal. You raised this little girl as your own, and she is your daughter. And now she wants to find her biomom because she's curious about her past. Well while you feel betrayed for her wanting to seek out her past - I can tell you that SHE (in the back of her mind) has ALWAYS felt betrayed because of being given up and not wanted or ......wanted to give a better life.

    I think before she goes to see her biomom? I'd ask her some questions and find out why it is she wants to meet with her. Also dont' use the pesudo-excuse to know who she looks like that a lot of adoptees long for - because if it IS that - then just get biomom to send pictures. If your daughter persists beyond seeing who she looks like? Then you'll know it's more than that. Maybe she needs to look this woman in the eye and say THANK you for giving me ...MY MOM. Or maybe she needs to say "YOU ABSOLUTE HORROR of a PERSON." Maybe she needs to just look her in the eyes and see for herself that YOU are her (what did you call it?) REAL Mother? Yeah - little misunderstanding there - YOUR REAL MOTHER IS THE ONE that holds a bucket for you while you puke at night with the flu.

    In essence? It's not even entered into N's brain that this is some sort of betrayal. It's curiosity, and it's a curiosity that can be settled. But you need to explain to her that it could be a curiosity that is settled and leaves her with even MORE unsettling feelings than she had to begin with. Remember my story of the pretty lady and the 400lb disheveled woman? Yeah - maybe some day before this all goes on - you could explain that to her. Because you dont' always get what you picture in your minds eye.

    Adoptee Mothers share their light too - when they give their children up for someone else to be called Mom. I just can't see as wonderful a Mom as you being put on a back burner. EVER......

  9. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I feel a little this way with difficult child 1. There's always that little twinge of fear when his bio mom comes up.

    Was thru that fear that the saying "when you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, its yours to keep; if it doesn't, it never was" took real meaning.

    If I denied him access to her, I was the bad guy. If I stood by him and loved him and supported him, celebrated his successes and wiped his tears when it didn't turn out, well, I was doing what mom's do for their children.

    What will be, will be. Our choice is how to be.
  10. janebrain

    janebrain New Member

    just want to say I think I can empathize with you even though I am not an adoptive mom. Just imagining what you are going through and how that would feel I think I get an inkling of it. My heart goes out to you, I've never really thought much about this before. Thanks for sharing.
  11. rejectedmom

    rejectedmom New Member

    MWM I am so sorry for your anixiety and hurt.

    I have always been very happy that the state from which I adopted my sons only had a "closed" adoption policy. I am an adoptive mother of two and have two birth children also. My love for my children is not defined by whether or not they were born of me or for me. They are mine, will always be mine in my heart, and no birthmother can take that away. That said, I too suffered when my child fantisized over the birth parents, especially when I knew what these people were really like. I never told the boys about their parents faults until they were teenagers and only what I felt would help them. I shared in another post how my easy child 2 wanted to meet them when he was in middle school and I told him that I couldn't arrange it until he was 18 and when he was 18 he no longer wanted to reunite with them (whew). My difficult child 2 fantisized until a couple years ago but has never asked for contact info and I have never offered it to him. He knows that he has at least three younger siblings all taken from his parents at birth but has no desire to seek them out. I am very glad for this. I think with his mental health issues a reunion of any kind would be disasterous and so does his psychiatrist.

    As far as my general opinion on this issue: I have never believed in or supported "open" adoptions. I think that they are confusing for the child and difficult for the adoptive parent. The possible presence of disagreeing birth parents (even on minor issues) can make raising adoptees much more difficult. You cannot control what the birth parent might say to a child nor how it might affect that child. If the birth parent has any risidual guilt issues it could be apparent to the child. This could leave open paths (in either direction) of manipulation that would not be there in a closed adoption. Heck, just think how children of divorce and divorced parents sometimes play one party off the other. Add in another set of parents and golly it is a recipe for disruption if you ask me.

    I do not mean to offend any one. I have always been outspoken on this topic when asked. Although I feel strongly against open adoptions, I have been respectful of other adoptive parents views so please do not be harsh with me for mine.
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2009
  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    MWM, I quit reading those adoptive online posts yrs ago for that very reason. Too much misplaced and displaced anger, and the angriest people were the loudest ... but not in the majority. It just brought me down. Why not put the time to better use and spend it with-your child?

    I don't think she will leave you. She is searching her emotions and maturing. You have been burned. Frankly, your son's story is a bit unusual ... I know several people who have adopted Korean and Chinese kids and not a single one has ever "left." They've taken trips but always as a family, meeting another family. It's pretty amazing that your son's bmom came out of the closet to be with-him. There is typically so much shame involved that they stay hidden forever.
    Human beings are nothing if not unpredictable.

    We have an open adoption. Yes, in a sense, you adopt the whole family, but only as much as you want to. It is a moral obligation, not a legal one. We only talk on the ph 2 or 3X a yr, and see one another at Christmas. When difficult child was a baby, it was much more often, then it tapered off.

    I have occasionally said things to my difficult child when he has expressed an interest in going to live with-his bmom, "She works long hrs so your Nanna would be the one to do most of the work. What do you think R would do in the middle of the night when you have the flu? Would you cuddle with her?"
    When faced with-concretes, he realizes that they are strangers and that it would be uncomfortable. But the desire never goes away.
    Lots of bio kids, as was pointed out in an earlier post, have horrid relationships with-their birth families where they were born and raised. It really has little to do with-adoption.

    Having said all that, I'm sure you understand it intellectually, but emotionally, it's hard to swallow.

    It is a process. Your daughter will figure it all out in time. The hard part is definitely not letting her see you down. It's wonderful that you can come here and "talk" to us.

    by the way, FIRST MOTHER??? I'll have to run that by my difficult child that when he gets home.
    It's not like a second marriage, for Pete's sake! LOL.
  13. Janna

    Janna New Member


    I wish I knew what to say here.

    You are an awesome mother to N. And to L and to all your children.

    I need to call you. My days - OMG - I'm gonna try tomorrow. You should have called me.

    I'm sorry, MWM, you're feeling this way. We will talk.

  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    You are all wonderful. I feel so much better now. It's true, biological kids can leave the nest too and as parents we have to do right by our kids and let the chips fall where they may.

    Yes, FIRST MOM. Can you believe it? To me, the FIRST MOM is the mom who changed the diapers, got up at night, wiped the nose, fought with the school, held their hands, etc. THAT one nobody will EVER hear from me.

    My daughter is too old for me to say what you do, Terry. It wouldn't work. I just hope that we are close enough and our bond is strong enough that we remain close. A big plus is that her dad is her hero and birthmother's hub can't fill that role. He is the son of birthmother's other child and has no investment in N.
    My son's story IS unusual, but I do know other older adoptees from international adoptions who fled and were never heard from again. One woman adopted a boy from Viet Nam and went to hell and back with and for him and he travels the country, never letting her know where he is, having babies she never gets to see (and the he never sees) and calls once in a while to try to get money. He's not the only one, but I went through this with her. Older adopted kids are more likely to flee.
    I don't like open adoption either. I think it is mostly for the birthmother. I don't think pictures and phonecalls and letters are bad, but I agree it's confusing to have two mothers. But if you want to adopt now, you DO an open adoption or nobody will pick you. You should check out the adoption ads from people hoping to adopt. It's all about how they are adopting not only the baby but the birthmother too. They have no idea what they are getting into. In some states open adoption agreements are legally binding. Even if it messes with a kid's head you still have to do it because you promised, kind of like visitation.
    I look forward to my kids growing I want hub to buy an RV and I want us to hit the road and travel while I write. I can then drop by and visit all my kids, wherever they are. But I won't have to live with them. I tend to be able to detach a little when they no longer live with me.
    Thanks again!!
  15. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I can totally empathize with your feelings. I know at some point easy child will want to meet her birthmom. I know when she turns 18 I will support her in that. I also know that to be completely honest it scares me to death. I think you are a wonderful mother and N knows that and loves you very much. Sending understanding hugs your way.
  16. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts


    I have heard from placement day how kt &/or wm are going to search for bio mom. wm, at one point, insisted I buy a dog & a car for when he goes to live with bio mom.

    Our adoption is closed for obvious reasons ~ I'm reluctant to help kt & wm search for their bio parents. Not because of the obvious reasons but because bio mom especially could tear apart years & years of therapy & rebuilding of hurt & abuse the tweedles suffered in her hands.

    I'm hurt when kt or wm talk about dropping me when they turn 18 & going to live with bio mom. I'm devastated when I hear out of either of their mouths that anyone is a better mom than me. And I'm weary of doing my best to rebuild/create a family bond with my children.

    I so understand your feelings. I don't care if you are easy child or not. I'm in the same boat as my children get older ~ state their feelings in very hurtful ways. AND I am aware of the hurt they may suffer at the hands of bio mom once again.

    Yup, I hear you loud & clear.
  17. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Oh, Linda, i DO know how you feel! WE LOVE OUR KIDS FIERCELY and any talk of dropping us for these "other moms" who were either unwilling or unable to be moms is very hurtful. It doesn't matter if our children have or don't have disorders. If my Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) son left me, I'd be just as devastated. On top of that I'd be scared to death because his bfamily lives in a dangerous area of Chicago and his b-mom is a longtime serious drug addict.
    We love our babies even if they are imperfect, just as all mothers do. I hear you loud and clear.
  18. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    Never have adopted, but have raised a few that were not biologically mine. They are still my kids. I've NEVER called them step children. Shoot...I raised Jared from age of 4. I would not be offended if he wanted to find out about his mom. In the end, he will eventually recognize who was there for him. Its just a youth's journey. You'll always be mom.

  19. Boy - I really do understand your feelings; my boys are both adopted.

    We had a family member that had an released a child for adoption in the 60's. The girl came back looking for her BM and family. She was lovely, wonderful - but we could never take the place of her real family.

    I don't worry so much about my boys meeting up with their BM and family and displacing me or us; it's more the hard reality of why they were released for adoption in the first place.
  20. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    I say to Hades with being easy child! I am sick and tired of being used and abused. I am sick and tired of wondering what I could have done differently to make our boys more honest and successful in life. husband and I were right there in the trenches, raising two weak premies, sleeping 1 1/2hrs, then waking to feed them, staying awake to make sure they didn't choke on their reflux, going back to sleep for 1 1/2 hrs and we did this round the clock. difficult child 2 ALWAYS finds some other "family" to take him in. difficult child 1 uses our home as a flop house, never participates in family life.

    I have been appalled at this society's opinions and treatment of adoptive parents. These views are not new. I remember watching a TV show about an agency which required desperate childless couples to participate in group "therapy" with a pregnant woman who had to decide who would "get" her baby and announce her reasons for her choosing one couple over the others PUBLICLY IN FRONT OF THEM. I feel this was abusive.

    I am a human being who has feelings too. I am not a second class citizen just because I was unable to reproduce. Adoption has been around for thousands of years. Why does the media latch on to the horror stories of adoptions gone bad?