Reunion Opened My Eyes to the Horrors of Adoption

Guest Post by Barbara Monckton Thavis

I think it’s really important to tell your stories. Each and every one of us. There is not one that is more valid than the next.  Together, they paint the truth in broad stokes that no one can deny. Like so many of us, Barbara though that adoption relinquishment was what she had to do, but didn’t realize the lies and loss until years went by.

Please, feel free to send me your adoption stories and I will post them here. I can give you credit or keep you unknown; whatever works for you.

Following the Adoption Lead; Do What is Told

Basically I did what my mother told me to do. I took her choice and made it my own. I trusted her judgment and followed it implicitly. I bought the big fat lie about adoption and gobbled it up as if it was the way and the truth and the light. I didn’t look back. Sure, privately I thought about my daughter. I missed her. I prayed for her. I hoped her ‘Disney’ family was everything it was promised to be. When someone asked if I had kids my reply was, “No, I’m not married yet”. I stuffed my feelings down so far I didn’t realize they were there. I didn’t realize that I was suffering. I still bought that adoption was a good thing for my daughter. And that basic premise was ludicrous.

My mother never mentioned my daughter again in her life. She never told a friend, neighbor, or sister. And so my secret turned into her secret. I never felt comfortable telling relatives about my daughter. I only told special friends.

And then one day that all changed.

When my daughter wrote to me through an intermediary the first time, I screamed it from the rooftops. I was like a mother just after giving birth. I told anyone within ear shot about my daughter and showed the pictures she sent. I was ecstatic. I was proud. I couldn’t care less what others would think of me. I had my daughter again and that’s all that mattered.

First Joy and then the Fountain of Grief

And then the grief started. Slowly at first and then in huge bursts of sorrow I realized what I had done all those years before. It took awhile but my eyes slowly opened that adoption wasn’t what it promised.

I Was Good Enough

I remember a phone conversation I had with my daughter soon after we spoke for the first time. I told her that I had been too immature to raise her. She was kind and told me that at least I was mature enough to know I wasn’t mature enough. Later I refuted my comment.

Geesh, I was a lovely woman at 21. I was kind, resourceful, engaging, funny, and loving. I had all of the best characteristics for motherhood. But most of all I was the mother God picked out for my daughter. There is a spiritual bond between parents and children and the great societal experiment breaking them apart was wrong then and still is today.

My Adopted Child Missed Me

My daughter told me she missed me growing up.

Really? She missed me? No one ever told me that. Why in God’s green earth would she miss me? I understood why I missed her but I thought her replacement parents with all their money and two parents and all was so far superior to me I would never be missed. A blip on her screen is what I was told. Remember, if I kept my daughter with me I would have been SELFISH. And now I learn that she missed me.

Her Perfect Family Broke Up

Next I find out that her parents divorced when she was eight.

So here we are in 1988, I have a great job making lots of money and she is living with a single adoptive mother. Her adoptive parents weren’t even living in the same state. And yet her natural father lived less than an hour away from me the rest of his life. He turned out to be an upstanding citizen. He had two more girls and they could have been her sisters.

I give my daughters adoptive mother a lot of credit. First of all she got rid of her husband. He was a sick man that didn’t work at getting well. He had no business adopting a child in the first place and at least my daughter didn’t have to live with him her entire life. And from the pictures I have seen there were good times, too.

We Were ALL Good Enough

Lately I have been thinking of all of my family’s good times in the 1980’s and 1990’s. I’m remembering the chuck steak cookouts with baked potatoes on the grill. The laughs and snow storms and Christmas Eve’s at my mom and dad’s house. I’m remembering the road trips and the trips downtown Chicago and the 4th of Julys at Carol and Scot’s house. And I’m devastated that my daughter wasn’t given those opportunities to be with her family.

No replacement family needed here, we had a great one and we missed out not having her with us.

Three Generations Hurt

As tuned into religion and God as my mother was, how didn’t she understand what He was doing? You see my sister and her four kids moved to New Mexico a month after I announced my pregnancy. Here He was giving her another grandchild to dote on. He knew how devastated she was at her four grandkids moving 1,000 miles away. And so He provided her with another.

My daughter was affected.

All the words explaining that placing her was out of love doesn’t heal the wound in her heart. Sure, the brain understands but the heart forever feels abandoned.

My mom was hoodwinked by the church and society and in turn lost her grandchild.

And for me, losing my daughter is the most devastating loss of my life. I will never recover. I can only hope for acceptance and forgiveness of self.

And those are some lofty goals.

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About the Author

Musings of the Lame was started in 2005 primarily as a simple blog recording the feelings of a birthmother as she struggled to understand how the act of relinquishing her first newborn so to adoption in 1987 continued to be a major force in her life. Built from the knowledge gained in the adoption community, it records the search for her son and the adoption reunion as it happened. Since then, it has grown as an adoption forum encompassing the complexity of the adoption industry, the fight to free her sons adoption records and the need for Adoptee Rights, and a growing community of other birthmothers, adoptive parents and adopted persons who are able to see that so much what we want to believe about adoption is wrong.

3 Comments on "Reunion Opened My Eyes to the Horrors of Adoption"

  1. My mom and I try not to “what if.” But our situation is similar to yours in that since our reunion, we’ve both faced the fact that yes, she was old enough and wealthy enough and good enough. And that my life without her was so much more awful than my life with her would have been. That’s a hard pill to swallow. For both of us.

    It’s all so wretchedly sad. I mean, I’m so happy to have found her, and I know she’s happy that I did, but now, we actually know how much we missed out on.

    And sometimes, I can’t help it. I wonder who I could have been with someone who understood me at my helm. It hurts. It’ll always hurt. I don’t think it will ever stop hurting.

  2. Tish Graziano | February 9, 2013 at 1:29 pm |

    I was only 16. . .the first time. My parents called in the priest and my baby boy was taken away, and I went to the home for unwed mothers. Then a year later, I got pregnant again! This time my boyfriend, also father to my first child, made me give the baby away so he could fly planes in Viet Nam!!!!! I was stupid enough to fall for both reasoning from other people and suffered my whole life. Then, when I built up my courage at 40, I set out to find them both as they are full siblings. THAT WAS ALMOST 25 YEARS AGO! !!!!There have been rough times but worth every uncomfortable moment trying to explain my actions. I have 5 wonderful grandchildren. DONT EVER GIVE UP SEARCHING!

  3. I read a book-length study of birth mothers and it confirmed suspicions I’d had about the affects of adoption. The women in the study basically never got over it and were traumatized for the rest of their lives. One of them married later on and had several more children, then one of her children died of cancer at age twelve or so. And she said her twelve-year-old child’s death was actually less painful for her than giving up her first baby for adoption, because at least she knew where the dead child was, and that it wasn’t suffering, and she could go visit her in the cemetery. That spoke VOLUMES to me.

    I’m not saying adoption is all bad. But no one (unless they’ve already been proven to be an unfit parent) should be forced to give their child up.

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