Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by OTE, Aug 27, 2018.
Wow that is a tough one. My kids are both adopted (now 26 and 23). We had a semi-open adoption so when my kids are ready to find their birth mothers they can get the info and it should not be a problem. If your son is 28 then at the time of his adoption, open and semi-open adoptions were an option so making it a closed adoption may have been a very conscious choice by his birth mother and the fact that she hasn’t registered in any registry makes that seem even more likely. So I totally see your point in protecting her privacy.
Yet she could feel differently now than she did 28 years ago.... who knows. That is the problem you don’t know.
And a part of me feels your son has the right to know his history. So I understand how he feels too. And yet of course who knows what he would find out and if it would be helpful or harmful to him.
I think you know your son best and how his approach would be to his birth mother. Also how he might react if he felt another rejection from her. So ultimately I think you know what is best and you should listen to your gut feeling on this.
As an. Adoptive parent of three, I would never withhold that info from my kids. Ever. Likely birthmother feels differently 28 years later now and thth grown kids will adjust. I wouldnt blame your son for being furious with you for this and he will find her anyway. My son I adopted at six from Hong Kong found his entire birth family on FB and has a loving relationship with all of them. His sisters knew about him. His birthmother was thrilled. He went to Hong Kong.
All my adopted kids have their birthmothers names and our blessing to search. I suspect they feel they must wait until we pass but they really dint. We are fine with it.
Your son can find out who his birthmother is and can find her easily in this day of the internet. No adoptions are closed anymore. They never will be again. Everyones names and addresses are on the internet.
My strong opinion and I mean no offense.
I am curious what changed your mind.
You say you gave him his b mother's name many times.
And yet, the adoption was closed at that time. The birth mother's feelings were an issue, then. What changed for you?
I would be angry too, if I were him. I would feel as if you are trying to punish me. It would feel like a control or power issue to me.
Only for one reason. You had given him the name before. Many times. I would feel you are withholding the information. Because I want it.
My initial feeling was to protect the mother's privacy. Because that is what she has chosen, and keeps choosing, by her decision to stay off registries.
But it seems you have already made the decision to disclose. I would tell him. Because you already have.
Thanks for the thoughts. Just fyi: i have 3 all adopted. Only one of the bms indicated that she wanted to know how he was. I tried to provide that info. The month the youngest turned 18 she contacted me on fb. She has his and my phone numbers and knows she is welcome here whenever, 8 younger kids and all. That son is autistic so he doesn't really understand it all. He has talked to her. She promised to visit for xmas and hasn't. So he doesn't quite understand. Middle one another story. The oldest is at issue here.
I always intended to help them have happy "reunions". But I don't want them to be rejected obviously. I provided them with names, info I had and the fb pages of the women I believed to be their bms. This was after they turned 18. I left it to them as to whether they chose to pursue it. I don't see it as my place to push them or arrange it all for them.
What has changed regarding my oldest is that he has a level of anger. Mostly from being in prison I think. And is directing this everywhere he can. Obviously at me. But also at her.
Since this us all anonymous and I don't think you are quite understanding me I'll offer a bit more detail about bm. She said she didn't know she was preg with him until a mo or two before he was born. She was an actively using addict. Said she stopped using when she found she was preg. She was also separated and presumably divorcing. Living 1000 miles from ex. Her ex had custody of their young child. Her ex was not my son's father. It was her desire that her ex not find out about my son. So closed adoption. Based on fb she has younger, minor children. My son says if she wants no contact he'll contact half sibs. Is it really his moral right to let her family know all this which they undoubtedly don't know?
No, I haven't contacted her to find out her feelings about having contact with my son in prison for 9 5 years. Does she want one of her kids accidently picking up a collect call from a prison? Or seeing a letter stamped from an inmate at x prison?
As you point out, the internet offers several opportunities for contact. If she hasn't registered on these sites isn't it a safe assumption she's not looking for him?
I have told him most of this from the time he was young. Recently I've sent him emails detailing the story. His reply is "so what?" Well, so what is that you could destroy her relationships.
Sorry but I don't think this is as easy as me being mean to him as he suggests. I think it has to do with him being bored, looking for excitement ( classic thrill seeking for him), frustration with his options and ability to control this being nill.
Sorry Copa, I had to go back and re-read your reply. You're right that I wasn't concerned about her feelings years ago in the way that I am now. Years ago I thought he'd trade fb pm with her or talk to her on the phone a few times. He had a girlfriend, job, life of some kind. He wasn't angry then. Now in prison with no life he's looking for someone to blame amongst other things. This callous indifference to her is different. This "right" to know her is all he's focused on. And there is no legal right.
Also the implication is that she owes him an explanation or infirmation. Again, legally she doesn't.
I agree with your reasoning.
No. You are right. I agree with you.
My sense was she deserves her privacy. She chose it. And she is choosing to maintain it.
You are right not to aid and abet him to stalk her, or to indifferently detonate a time bomb in her life. I do not think he has a right to do this. And I think your obligation here is to her. As long as he is behaving with volatility and indifference to the rights of others. If he has no empathy for her, it would be destructive to her, and ultimately to him. You have an obligation to him, here, too.
So, all the way around, I see your logic.
If it were me, I would be straight up with him, too, as you are.
Yes. I can see that.
I am reminded here of Elsi's son. This entitlement, and belief he was owed by his dad has gotten him in a world of hurt. Have you posted on that thread? I think so.
What is it with these guys? I feel empathy for your son, and for Elsi's but gee...this combination of guilelessness, entitlement, and fantasy...that all history will just reverse itself by virtue of their own great need....is an accident waiting to happen when it is coupled with their anger, lack of control, and need for revenge.
Wish I knew what it is. All I can say for my son right now is imprisonment and the anger and frustration that arises from that. Plus his girlfriend of many years has moved on. And this all started getting ugly between him and I since his best friend died July 15. That hit him hard. Mine definitely has undx mental health problems. If you refuse to acknowledge your feelings and refuse to talk to a professional you don't get a diagnosis. The story of most inmates.
OTE I am sorry you are faced with this choice. Is there a possibility of a middle ground here? E.g. tell him you won’t give him her contact information, but you will try to discretely contact her yourself, give her his information, and leave the choice to her what she chooses to do with it. Then you’re not allowing him to blindside her and blow up her life, if she chooses to contact him and get involved that’s her choice, and if she chooses not to he’ll know she made that choice and you tried. I don’t know - perhaps just another option to think about it.
Copa, you’re right - the entitlement, no matter how justified it might seem, is killing our kids.
My bff located her birthmother at 37. She was adopted at a time when feelings about adoption were different and sixteen year old birthmom had no real choice and never told anyone she had another child after she married. It was a festering hurt.
My friend needed to know to make her life complete. She did not have expectations but felt a decision had been made at birth without her input, and that adoption affected her more than she could stand.
"i look in the mirror and I see a stranger."
She searched for herself, she is the kindest person and thought aboit it long and hard including what her parents would think, although her life had not been great and Mom was an alcoholic. She loved her parents though. But she was afraid to tell her parents she was searching. She did it on her own. Later she found out all three of her sibs had searched and one had found her birth mother had died. That fueled my friend on. She wanted to meet the woman who gave her birth.
In the end, all four of these kids (her three siblings) who were adopted found their birthfamilies even though they did not have names or the internet. There were and probably still are professionals out there who will search with you. Friend had three kids herself by now. She wanted to know why she and they had blond hair, her very special talents, she wanted to answer the questions her children asked her. It was not about her only. She cared about being gentle. But she was going to do it. I only know HER story so I will tell it. I asked her permission first. Some details are changed.
The adoption finder person looked everywhere including
Luthersn Child Services who did the adoption.The name and address were found, not hard. My friend told me she was shaking and crying as she died the phone. She called her birthmom and asked for P. P. Came to the phone. She said "P, I am Chelsy your daughter." Her birthmother had named her Chelsy. Her name had been change. P. cried out and said "Go away. Nobody knows about you." But she did take her phone number. Then she hu g up. Chelsy cried, thi ki g this was the rejection she had feared. And at times this can happen. I dont thi k it is often though.
P. Shocked Chelsy and called the next day, calm. She had told her family and they supported her. She ecxplained in tears if she had known she would have met her amazing husband three years later she never would have adopted her out, that she thought of her every day and wanted to meet her with all the kids and her long term psychiatrist.
From the beginning P's husband, who was not DNA related to Chelsy, was the one who kept everyone together and loved and accepted Chelsy. But it wasnt easy at first. Oldest daughter, no longer oldest, threw a fit. BirthMother felt distraught and guilty and conflicted and the love/ hate went on for several months. I listened to BFF so many hours and it made her feel unwanted again ans like sbe should not have interfered. It was hell at that time probably for all.
The adoptive mother was shut down about it. She was shy and didnt want to meet birthmom. When they did, it was awkward. Both families stayed to themselves and my friend was sad that her mother couldnt accept it and yes the guilt popped up again. So she stopped talking about birth family to her mom and dad and they never brought it up.
A year later and years beyond, things had settled. Chelsy knew all about her DNA past and had developed a true love relationship with her birth family, even learning to get along with the one offended sister. She was one of their family. Honestly, step dad was her favorite and most beloved. A step father, a second mom, two new sisters and a brother and their children. The relationship bloomed. Soon she was invited to all affairs. This family, I may add, was a good family. No drugs. Prosperous. Kind to one another. Supportive. No crazy. So maybe that is why it ended well. My friend, who had had to raise herself a lot since her mom was alcoholic, was the most independent and self sufficiend one in her birth family. The others depended very much on one another.
Decades later the wonderful step father has passed. Birthmom is in assisted living, grieving. Chelsy to her is her daughter. No question about it to birthmom. And to Chelsy...she feels she has two moms. Chelsy is equally represented in the birthfsmily will and they have money! Chelsys youngest daughter named her first baby girl after this grandmother. Adopted parents are deceased and were a part of Chelsys life the whole time. They nevern spoke about the other family after the meeting. They didnt want to. But they were loved. Everyone was there when Dad passed away. But the grandkids were closer to the birth family, partly because they are fun and vivacuous and adoptive parents were rigid and quiet. Not bad people. But not fun for younger people. But they were treated well.
I offer this story as one of millions. I do know that P. would have felt cheated if she hadnt known Chelsy and her kids and has said so. Often. Yet she had wanted a closed adoption because it was so shameful at that time in history to give a child away. Today? Not so much.
Every adopted child has to do what is best for them. And they will. When you make any decision that affects the life of somebody else, infant or otherwise, likely you will meet the person whose life you impacted. Its a chance you take. It doesnt always happen that the person comes back, of course. But its common. More now than ever.
Neither my dear friend, who is now 62, or her birthmother who is in her 70s thought putting their names on a registry would do any good so they didnt. But they met and loved. Do all adopted kids search? I dont know the percentage. I do know if I had been adopted I would have been too curious not to search, even knowing that I could be rejected, always a possibility. But I would have looked. In fact my family was so mean to me, I often dreamed about being adopted!
The fact is, if you are an adoptee, even from another country, you can find your DNA today. Many are afraid that they wont be welcome so they wait until they have the guts. Thats why many dont just jump in there on FB. They may follow for years but be afraid to intrude for reasons discussed by OTE. Its not as easy as just saying "Hi. Guess what? I am your birtotjer who gave you up!" Or "Hi I am the son you didnt raise."
It doesnt mean they arent interested in connecting. Its a hard step to take with a possible devestating rejection.
Anyway, that is my friends story. You cant in my opinion not search just because it may be hard or may impact the woman who decided not to raise you. Most know that one day they will have to explain, especially in more modern times. Many adoptees have to know for their mental health. I understand. I support them. And, yes, maybe it will be hard. Many things in life are hard. including having no idea who you look like, got your talents from, your natuonality and why your birthmother didnt raise you. It is a huge rejection to adopted kids. They have a right to ask the woman who gave them away why they did it.
My adopted kids ALL wanted to know "why didnt she want me?"
50 percent I believe (you may look it up for clarity) of kids seeing therapists are adopted. The rejection is a big reason. Adoption is itself different and difficult. I believe usually the birthmom suffers too wondering what happened to her baby, whether she was a fit mother or not.
I dont think they should have to suffer. In the end each child makes the decision. OTE, you and me will not be in control of it. Just another thing out of our hands. He will find her name and her if he is determined. His own history wont stop him. He will do what he feels he must.
SOT. Yes. I understand. That's why I gave my kids the info in the first place. I'll add one thing which is that genetics comes from two sides. You don't mention birthfather. Particularly when it comes to genetic illness the picture isn't complete without father. In my oldest son's case naming father is another issue. Finding him and coming to terms with his situation which I know to be problematic another issue. From what I know the birthfather genetics may be more relevant than bm genetics.
I have thought about contacting her myself. I have several times over the years sent messages on fb which never got a reply. But now I wonder whether I'm allowing my son to push me into doing that. I haven't yet figured out what to say that doesn't come from my own sadness at my son's refusal to talk to me.
It seems to me that waiting a few more years till he's out of prison and her youngest have become adults makes more sense.
So here's how she tells his sibs...have to tell you about something I've denied all your lives... i was an addict, got preg and used throughout the preg. That baby is now an addict in fed prison for 10 years. I didn't tell anyone about him cause his birthfather would have made my life torture, I would have lost you cause the blood tests would have proved I was using, I was embarrassed that I used and knew that he was affected by the drugs, etc, etc. He wants to meet you. How'd you like to do a bunch of paperwork to drive 1000 miles to another state to visit a fed prison to meet him. And here's a picture of him in his prison clothes.
Or wait a few years till my kid gets his life back, can drive to them, has car, clothes, job and can introduce himself. He's then in a better place mentally and won't need to make an issue of drugs.
I've also told my son that I'd feel differently about this if he saw a therapist. There's plenty of reason for my son to get therapy which he always refused.
OTE big mistake to forget birhfather.! My bad!
My experierience is the kids are usually more interested in birth mom. But my experience can be wrong.
My friend found her birthfathers brother. Birtfather was deceased and he had never had another child.
That side of the family was cold to her. She seemed to get over it fast. Now my friend was not difficult so whatever genes she got from both made her wonderful. I see your point completely. Different situation. But I see no way to stop him if he wants to meet her. Often they shut down and look on their own.
Not all turn out like my friends which was NOT smooth all the way. Its a risk and a process which was worth it to her.
One story in a million. Good discussion!
SOT the bm is the one who is presumed to be responsible for the decision to do the adoption. Not always true but there it is. So the potential feeling of abandonment is directed at the bm. The need to resolve that then directed at bm. Its not really about genetics or the birthfather would be of real interest. Its about emotion. We think of protecting and nurturing babies to be maternal responsibility, not paternal. So its always directed at the bm. Just my observation.
Thanks so much to all of you. I struggle with this every day because I miss my son. May not be much relationship with him in prison but we did email regularly. So every time I want to send him news I'm reminded that this is my decision to protect a woman I don't know. Will he some day forgive me? Probably. But could be years. Another 4 years or so in prison. Got into an argument with my middle one about it. Oldest will try to manipulate from every angle!
But I brought this to you guys cause no other parents can understand how difficult our kids can be, how they can try to manipulate us, cause us pain,.... And I needed a reality check. Thanks!
You are protecting him too. If he does not have self control and acts in anger, he will not only hurt her, but he will destroy what is likely his only way back.
There are so many ways that older son could process his feelings, and find a way to reach out and back that would not be a torpedo into his birth mom's life. It is really a hard call. Because he is after all an adult now and as such responsible for his acts.
The question would be, to what extent you are an accomplice. I would say that whatever he is able to do apart from your assistance, is on him. If SWOT and others are correct, he would be able to with a private detective for sure, find her--without involving you. Private detectives online are inexpensive. Perhaps one of his brothers would be willing to help him this way, instead of battering you. I mean, you are not the only road to this information. Why keep beating on you? Which really may be the point.
OTE. I hope you stay with us for awhile now that you have come back. You stopped posting I see long before I came here in 2015. Your voice and experience are treasures.
Thanks Copa on both levels.
All of mine have some level of learning disability. None can really use the internet for more than social site or video watching. Neither of older two have money to spend. So they won't be doing any searching. Its also not quite as easy as suggested. Eg birth records exist only by adoptive name. Adoption court orders are sealed. Medical records are private. Can get addresses, marriage and divorce records, legal name changes, phones numbers on the internet. But without some kind of anecdotal info usually from relative of adoptive parents its difficult. Adoption agencies will only release info that bm indicated at the time was ok to release.
There is another minor point... The lawyer who gave me the adoption court order is still alive and practicing, I checked. It was negligence on his part to give it to me. Not that I think anything would come of it. But he's the one who put me in this position. LOL
Fyi 2015 was probably the last time I lurked. Stopped posting more than 10 years ago.
I hope you stick around.
Longevity really shows, in this process.
I began posting I think in April of 2015. I have posted most days since then. Only the last couple months has this begun to sink in. Oh. I give advice. I don't feel bad about that. Because that is how I learn what I think, and reinforce the stronger part of myself. But having any real consciousness of what I am doing, and why, is very recent. I am so much a novice.
Thank you, OTE.
As far as the birth mother issue, it really is a snarly issue. I can feel the frustration of your elder son. But how can you really act in a way that feels wrong. On both levels you feel this is wrong: wrong in terms of the birth mother; and wrong in the sense of your son, in terms doing what is really, really a sensitive and hard thing, with finesse and responsibility.
You cannot protect a grown man from doing what he is hellbent on doing. But you can say no to taking part.
Which does not mean that tomorrow or next week, about taking part.
I dont think you need priivate investigators anymore to find birthparents. I found out by helping my daughter adopted from Korea that even Koreas Eastern Child Welfare, an adoption agency and home in Korea will hand out info and forward letters to birth mother. Of course, they gave us the birth mothers name at adoption and we gave our daughter all the info we had. She has not searched yet, but often kids wait until the parents pass on and I think she will search afterward. Even though I would willingly help her now. Agencies give info now. There are no real closed adoptions...too many roads to the birthfamily. Often the SO of our kids want to know about their own children's ancestry and family and this causes a search.
OTE, if you feel you dont want to help, that is 100 per cent okay. You dont have to participate in it. But it will happen anyway if he wants it to. Like all else, our children's choices do not always agree with ours and they do what they feel is right without our blessings.
I fell in love with Jumpers birthmother. I have to hug her once more in this lifetime, with or without my precious daughter. Her bravery in trusting us with a baby she loved is the greatest gift she and God ever gave me. She is awesome and was so brave for a 20 year old. Jumper is now 22 and as awesome as her birthmother. I hope to hug them both at the same time one day. I will be all tears.
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