Can you help me with my son?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Shanon, Aug 12, 2009.

  1. Shanon

    Shanon New Member

    Good morning.

    My name is Shannon. I have lurked here for some time and have been interested in the outcome of adopted kids. I hope you don't mind if I ask a question.

    I am a 40-something single mom of a mostly "normal" son. My question is about him and how to help him with his depression. I am sorry its so long.

    I was raped by an aquaintance my sophomore year of high school. My mother was mortified that something so awful could happen to her (yes, her) and was ashamed of me. She hid in the house and cried for weeks, ashamed to be seen in public. My father was not ashamed of me, but the one comment I recall him saying to me was with regard to my mother...if he was younger, he would leave. The rape went un-reported, and the perpetrator taunted me the remainder of my days in that community (he was an older high school student). In addition, classmates found out about it and heckled me about my "boyfriend".

    Until then, I had been a good kid. Honor roll student, gifted program, the whole works. The spring of my sophomore year, tho, I pretty much went nuts. I'm not proud of it, but I snuck out at night, partied with anyone, and ended up sleeping with a couple of guys who seemed to like me - behavior I had never done before. After about 3 months of it, I got my head out of my butt and pulled myself back together.

    And 6 months later discovered I was pregnant. I contacted the "boy" (a 20 year old, by the way) and he said he wanted no part of it and I was to take care of it and have an abortion. After my mother's horrible reaction to the rape, there was no way I could bring myself to tell her this was a result of my own doing, so I just refused to say anything. My father threatened to kill whoever it was (and may well have). And there was also no way I was having an abortion. So I just clammed up.

    The baby was born in the fall of my junior year. If the doctors asked, I said it was a date gone bad, and refused to name anyone. I chose a family and gave the baby up for adoption, and left town as soon as I graduated. Thru the years, I had contact with the family and the baby. I was treated as "extended family" a cousin you see on holidays. It worked.

    Twelve years later, I was contacted by a friend of the adoptive family. The parents had divorced, which I knew, and the boy was being neglected, left home alone when he should have been in school, failing school, into drugs, and running away, which I didn't know. I checked out the report and the friend was correct. I was stable, doing well in my job, etc, so the friend mediated a meeting, and it was agreed that the boy would come back to live with me until the family could get things back together. Its been ten years since that meeting, and he is still here.

    He is a good boy. He says now he just wanted someone to care. He fit right into my home, did well in school (as long as someone paid attention), did typical teenage stuff, but really didn't get into any major trouble or cause problems. He was a mediocre student, but he tried. I loved having him in my life, and the adoptive family became friends and we all visited back and forth. He was free to go back and forth to visit as he pleased once they got their lives calmed back down, and it really seemed to work well.

    But my boy doesn't know who is bio father is. He has expressed, in written notes, that he wants to know, but he won't talk to me about it. He has said that he wants to know someday "if it is someone who's good". I don't know anything about the man anymore, except that my name and number is in the book and my phone has never rung. And I know that he knows that this boy is his son. I have visited my home town. He has seen him with me, both as a tiny baby and a grown man.

    My son is depressed off and on. His relationship with his girlfriend is rocky. He has given up most of his friends for her. She spends a lot of his money and cuts him short often. He graduated from college and has a good job, lives with a roommate, pays his own way, but he always wants more. He wants a lot of material things (the adoptive family was very material). He has bought a lot of things on credit instead of saving for it (a lot of it jewelry for the girlfriend), but try as we might, we can't get him to budget better and avoid the credit cards. And then he gets down about being too broke or not having anyone to hang out with or whatever, and he always goes back and blames it on the adoption.

    In addition, my dad passed away 6 months ago. I have heard thru the grapevine that now that my dad is gone, bio father wants to have a relationship with my son. Again, this is just what I've heard, my phone has not rung, and I am easily found. The grapevine says that bio father was afraid of my dad and that is why he only now coming out, since my dad is dead.

    I don't know whether it will help or hurt my son to tell him about his bio father right now. He has not asked. My son adored my dad. He doesn't know of his grandmother as anyone but the person she is today (we have a decent relationship now). And I don't think I can give him the answers he's going to want without telling him the whole story, which is going to bring unpleasant facets to the lives of people he only thinks great things of.

    I think he needs to get a counselor and get a solid foundation of who he is before I add this to his load, but I am so unsure of myself and what I can do to help him.

    Several of you are adoptive parents - any advice?
  2. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    If he's of age, he can find his father. I'm a big believer in the truth because I believe the truth will always come out anyway and your son will NEVER trust you again if you hold back on him. He's not a little boy. BUT...I'd go to a psychologist who specializes in complicated living situations/adoption and have him help you tell the story to your boy. I would not undertake this alone. I have four adopted kids who know everything that I know and some of it isn't very pretty, but they have ALWAYS known so the truth grew up with them. However, there was nothing as horrible as rape. Are you positive this child is the product of rape? You confused me a bit because you said you were kind of wild after it happened...if so, is another boy the father?

    I'm sorry your mother was so ignorant and selfish through your pain. I hope others can help you too. This is not something I would undertake alone, but it I also would not keep any information I knew from my child considering the fact that others know about it too and it is better coming from you first than from somebody else in a possibly malicious and shocking way. Anyhow, that's what I'd do. (((Hugs))) Welcome to the board.
  3. ThreeShadows

    ThreeShadows Quid me anxia?

    Shannon, My difficult children are adoptees. They are now 23 y.o.. I don't know if it would be okay with the board if I could get one of them to respond here. I don't know if they would even be willing.

    difficult child 2 just got his original birth certificate, his bio father's name is not typed in in full. That has got to hurt. I deeply regret that, in an attempt to show them how much their bio mom cared for and loved them and how smart she was, I blurted out that she had refused to sign over her rights before he did because she was afraid he would attempt to make money out of the adoption. What the H*** was I thinking? They share 50% of his genes and I tell them (boys, yet!) that their creator was a crook!

    This is just my clumsy way of telling you that I feel that not all truths should be said out loud. If I were in your shoes I would find him a counselor who is an adoption specialist. He needs to get beyond the status quo of blaming all his problems on the adoption.

    As to his overspending, he might just be trying to fill the hole he feels inside. When he is able to see that Fate has not damned him he will find his own worth beyond material objects.

    Recently, our adopted easy child revealed she wishes we had never told her she was not born into our family. I would love to take our children's pain away, I am not God, I can't do it, I can only give them the tools to find self-love.
  4. Shanon

    Shanon New Member

    I am sorry to be confusing.

    He was not conceived by the rape, he was conceived by my stupidity afterward. I have spent a lot of years with my own therapist, and really, my actions were, I think, very poor reactions by me and others, to the rape and the incidents surrounding it. And the rape was why I refused to tell anyone who the father was or how it came to be.

    Funny how 20 years later, you still feel like an idiot for some really stupid things you did.

    About a month ago, a person from my original home town contacted me and asked if XX was my son's father. XX knew I still was in contact with this person. So I assume the grapevine rumor is true, but he still has not made any effort to contact me.

    And thank you for the welcome.
  5. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I'm sorry that your parents weren't more understanding of the trauma you experienced in high school.

    Is there a way to find out more information about the bio dad's life currently?
    For example, how well he is emotionally and psychologically? However, I would keep a respectful distance from this man. Make inquires cordially, almost professionally.

    My "gut" thought was to tell your son that his father was immature, selfish and had difficulties as a young man and deeply regrets those earlier thoughts and decisions now. I would downplay the "rape," but it would be a concern because chances are at some point, he will hear of rumors. I would also "gently," allow your son to know that his father chose not to be a partipant in his life.

    I would be more inclined to not reveal the absolute truth if the bio father has offered a sincere apology to you for his abhorrent behavior.

    This certainly is a really difficult situation...

    However, if this man is a changed person, it makes it slightly easier.

    How old is your son? Is he 21 yet? At 21, I would hesitate to withhold the name of his father, especially if both father and son wish for the information to be known.

    I have heard, that generally speaking, adoptees have found contacting birthfathers to be negative experiences. Of course, this is not always the case.

    I think you and your son have every right to celebrate the interesting series of events that took place that brought you two together and that in the end, things have worked out in a positive manner. I'm not sure that I would overly concern yourselves with the birthfather.

    I agree, it might be a very good idea for your son to see a counselor and I hope that you have either done this for yourself or have considered it as well.
    Lasted edited by : Aug 12, 2009
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I once felt you shouldn't tell everything, but if it's something he can find out, I still think it's best if you do. My daughter (youngest) knows her birthfather had been incarcerated for years for a multitude of drug offenses and bad choices, including armed robbery. She also knows his mother and sister are upstanding citizens and that she looks like that side of the family--something important to her to know. She knows her birthmother is great, that we both love each other very much and she doesn't seem at all affected by her birthfather's jailing. She'll shrug it off and say, "It was stupid and I'll tell him that if I see him." She had fantasies that wouldn't quit until we actually contacted her birth relatives, and now she seems much happier because she knows who she is, that at least her birthmother is a good person, who she looks like, where she gets her talent (she gets her athleticism from her birthfather's family and is grateful), etc. Her mind spun all sorts of tales, good and bad and for her nothing beat the truth. She hasn't even shown any further interest in searching. At one time she desperately wanted to find her birthmother. The mystery was taken out of it. I'm sure we'll all still meet again, but she's no longer obsessed about it or upset about her background. ALL PEOPLE ARE DIFFERENT THOUGH!

    There are plenty of kids who grow up in homes where one parent is a jerk or a drug adadict or a crook, and they absord it and deal with it. This is even without their being adopted.

    My daughter's close friend overheard her mother telling her aunt that she was a product of rape, and she listened in on the conversation. Now she goes around telling everyone that "I am a mistake." She gets VERY upset about it. Since her mother didn't share it with her, yet she found out anyway, it is very disturbing to her and she talks about it only with friends, not a therapist. Her mother has no idea she overheared. Now she wants to meet her birthfather to tell him's sad. And tricky. Her mother was in a tough spot.

    There is no one answer. I guess the adoption psychologist route is probably the best. What works for my daughter (kids) may not work for your son. I do give credit to my kids--none of them use adoption to bum out on. A therapist can help with that too--that attititude doesn't help anybody and can drag you down.
  7. cakewalk

    cakewalk Member

    I'm not an adoptive parent, but I did have a really cruddy mom that reacted to a few of my life situations the way your mom handled your experience. I truly know how that feels and regardless if all is well now, those feelings stay with you. I'm sorry you had to go through that both with the kid in HS and the aftermath of your mother's reaction.

    "And I don't think I can give him the answers he's going to want without telling him the whole story, which is going to bring unpleasant facets to the lives of people he only thinks great things of."

    I get your above statement! Man, do I get it. My difficult child and I have butted heads when I said unpleasant but true things about his beloved grandma.

    I'm just curious, how did your son take the news that you were not a distant relative? I'm assuming he knows you are his mother now.

    If he hasn't asked about his bio dad yet, I wouldn't even go there until you conquer the other issues that he's facing in his life. If he'll go to counseling, that would be a great start.

    I'd also do some behind the scenes checking on bio to know exactly what you are facing when this subject comes up. I also think I'd wait until your son addressed the issue before I'd offer anything at this point.