Secondary Adoptee Rejection in Adoption Reunions

Secondary adoption reunion rejection hurts

Hearing the Rejected Adoptee’s Pain

I hate this conversation.

In my opinion, I have it all too often. I hate it when one of my adoptee friends have come out of their adoption fog, gone through an adoption search, found their personal Holy Grail- their very own long lost mother- only to have her send that adoptee away, denied. Too many of my friends, too many adoptees that I know, suffer the same fate; their found birthmother wanted nothing to do with them.

They all ask why?

I hate these moments in conversation. They are usually reserved for a face to face conversations, often during the Adoptee Right Demonstration time. The talk gets deep, people open up as we can look each other in the eyes. We all see the same sort of pain reflected in the faces across the way. It is a safe place, but I hate that we are here.  I hate to hear the sadness and pain in their voices.   I hate it with every ounce of my being. Try as much as I do not to judge this behavior, try as hard as I can to understand these mothers: I hate it. I hate hearing it, I hate having it. I hate that it is.

But secondary adoptee rejection is a very real reality in adoption reunions. As much as I want to believe that every mother would feel like I do, should feel like I do and rejoice upon reunion with their adopted child; I know that not to be the case. We all have a different skill set and for whatever reason, in that, I have been fortunate. There are many mothers who were simply told to “never speak of this again” and that has proven to be a real unhealthy bit of advice.

Why Some Birthmothers Slam the Reunion Door

I have heard many different scenarios that all end up the same way; the adoptee is rejected again.

I have chosen to use the words rejected and abandoned here because that is what my friends feel.  The sad thing is that many of the adoptees that have searched to be rejected already have processed the information regarding their surrender and have a great capacity for understanding and forgiveness. No one is trying to find their birthmothers to throw stones or cast blame, yet on that emotional level we have to acknowledge that the adoptee can feel rejected by the act of adoption placement whether voluntary or forced. It doesn’t matter how they can now, as adult, intellectualize the circumstances of their relinquishment, the child inside still knows the pain and that child wants it’s mother. There is an innocence there in this need to reconnect. It is pure feeling.

So, it doesn’t matter what their individual stories are, really.

I have heard the range from the tired cliché to the truly bizarre. The stories of the poor birthmother that has pledged to take the secret of her child’s adoption to her grave. The mother that has “moved on”, she married maybe, had more children, and no one knows. Maybe she has completely refused to even admit that the person standing on her steps could have been her baby.  Then there are the birthmothers who keeps their “secrets” in the closet under a clock of shame. Maybe she starts the reunion off with a positive feel, but later on just starts to unravel in some way. Some mothers seem to seriously lose it and unleash some confusing anger on the adoptee before the rejection. Some mothers just disappear quietly into the night. It doesn’t matter. This isn’t about judging how any one mother has hurt any particular one adoptee, but understanding why a mother rejects her grown child in an adoption reunion.

The Emotional Roller Coaster of a Reunion

I have said it before and I know I’ll say it again; I feel just awful for anyone  trying to navigate an adoption reunion on the force of sheer emotions alone. It’s just too much. I think almost every single person who I have ever spoken to regarding their reunion experience has used the words “emotional roller coaster”.  As wonderful and exhilarating as that roller coaster can be, it also has very deep dips and scary turns. For anyone unprepared for these side effects, it can be terrifying.

An adoption reunion has the ability even the most prepared individual to feel legitimately crazy. There is the great joy of finding those that have been searched for so long. There is the sense of relief that they still live. There are often great unexpected waves of love and thankfulness. There is the fears, healthy or unwarranted, that the other party will be weird, or want something from them that they can’t give or any of the adoption reunion horror stories that get dreamed up.  There is the natural let down of emotions that come after the extreme high. There can be residual anger either regarding the surrender, the lies purported by the parties in charge, the outcome if less than as promised. There can be disappointment of how it has all played out. Now take all these feelings, intensify them, shake them up, blend them and subject  the unprepared for the full range, often shot through them with such force, that it rocks a person’s daily existence.

And then there is fear. The hope that this other person will want what you want, will want you, will want to know you. There is a great fear of rejection.

Woe is the person who must battle this without any knowledge of its normality.

What Do I say to an Adoptee Who Has been Rejected?

First, as hard as it might be to wrap one’s head and most importantly one’s heart around it, your mother is not rejecting YOU. In many cases the mother does not ever give herself a chance to know you so she cannot reject what she does not know, but even in cases where she has built some kind of relationship before the door slams shut or she disappears, I still do not believe she is rejecting the actual living person. I repeat: It is NOT YOU.

I understand that this secondary rejection can feel even more personal because it’s not just an unformed baby that you were, but this real living formed person that you have become.  It’s not just the idea of you, but the actual you that you are presenting in front of her that she says no to.  Plus, we can imagine her dire straits at the time of surrender, but now, years later, she too is different and not in the position where she must be subservient to the forces that be.

I think that is where we give the rejecting mother too much credit.

No matter what she says, she has NOT forgotten you. She has not “moved on” even if it looks to be that way.  Instead, I see her frozen in time, locked  at the moment of the relinquishment. There were no methods of processing her grief and emotions, no support, no way out; just survival. Told only to forget, she follows the creed and makes do the best she can; she buries the pain of the reality.

But it’s still there. It’s deep inside, a hot molten mess of pain. Deep inside her is a mother screaming in horror over the loss of her child and that scares the crap out of her. THAT is what she rejects. She rejects the pain.

Feeling the Pain: You Lost Your Child

Think about it; Now in our “enlightened age” of “modern adoption” the adoption industry has created an army of happy beemommys who produce children that they hand over in the delivery room and move on to sing the praises of the very  machine that removed their motherhood. They follow the Birthmother Rules as given to them, as instructed, and build their new lives identified as “strong and selfless”. They are allowed to cry, but ask them to accept the true depth of the loss and they fight back  defending the very institution that caused them such pain. They “support” the decisions of later mothers as a form of justification.  The horror of their true loss is buried, but not as deep, they can touch it, but it  is rationalized with layers of adoption reasoning. Think of this adoption pain as a precious treasure covered in bubble wrap. As long as the bubble wrap holds, the pain is contained, so don’t you dare begin to unpack.

I say this because I know it too well. Somewhere in this journey, thankfully,  I was forced to unpack  as others deftly helped pop the bubbles filled with adoption mythology and dead air.

I had already examined much of the layers of grief. I knew it by name, it’s patterns, it’s horror. I had held it in my hands and let it drip down into my soul. I knew when it was gathering strength, when it was getting ready to blow and explode upon my life in some form.  It is always more horrible than I had recalled, because it does not decrease in power, but not unknown.

I learned how to wrap it back up again so it could not hurt me all the time, but I recalled where it was so I could pull off a corner of the wrapping to let my tears flow. I can do this now almost by design; I am sure that some of you have seen it personally. I can talk about adoption and I am removed from much of the emotion, but if need be, I can open up that place and “go there” and then, it doesn’t matter where I am  or what I am doing, the tears will fall, my hands will shake. I am exposed. I could be 19 again.

It is my belief that all relinquishing mothers have such a package whether they admit to it or not. It’s just a matter of what they did with it, how far down it is buried, and what is on top.

Back to our rejecting mother…

A Life Built on a Faulty Foundation

Imagine this pain. It is raw. It is primal. It is horrifying and all-encompassing. Most of us hide it the best we can because a human being cannot function in this world for long while experiencing this level of distress. We cannot go through life as a howling mess, clutching our stomachs, sobbing on the kitchen floor.

Our mother was never allowed to shed a tear. She might have wept quietly in her own bed late at night, but she muffled her cries so no one could hear. Maybe she had the one friend who knew, the one confidante, but people get tired of hearing about such sad stuff. After a while, we learn to keep it inside, if nothing else, but to spare those around us. She did what they told her to; she never spoke a word about such a thing again.

Her pain was never allowed to dissipate at all. There was no way to let off the buildup of steam. Rather the whole package of pain is taken, wrapped now in thick blankets of shame, of fear, of embarrassment, of horror and shoved down into the very depths of her soul, where she hopes it will disappear.

We know that this is a very unhealthy way of dealing with trauma, but that’s all she had, that was the way.  Of course, it never disappears, but festers.

Maybe it comes out in other ways, of which she is just not conscious. Maybe she develops coping mechanisms. Maybe she is self-medicating or depressed or an over achiever, or it comes out as a physical illness. Again, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that this pain was there. It is real and she had no way of dealing with it. She followed the rules and continued to live, often heaping anything she can find on top of that parcel to bury it further down.

Everything in her life is built upon that foundation of pain. It’s like building a city on shifting rocks and expecting the foundation to hold. Even if years go by and the original builders forget what is down there or think it doesn’t matter, the foundation is still, at its core, broken. No matter what shining building is visible on the surface, the base is faulty.

Twenty years go by. Maybe thirty, maybe 40, maybe 50 before our adoptee finds her.

To face the adoptee is to face her past and the reality of what happened. This is the earthquake she has dreaded she whole life because she KNOWS what is down there, even if she tried to forget. This has the ability not just to destroy whatever life she has built on the surface- that’s just the visible reasoning – the truth is that facing the adoption means finding that pain.

She does not reject the actual adoptee, but the act of feeling that pain.

She cannot do it. The greater purpose of her whole life has been an act of denying that reality because she knows it has the possibility of eating her up alive. This pain holds the capacity to destroy her. Within one second, she could be a howling mess, clutching her stomach, sobbing on the kitchen floor. And that is what she has spent her whole adult life avoiding.

Twisted now with the pain is the real fear of it. She does not know its name nor how to control this force. She has no one to help her unwrap the layers. Unprepared, never speaking of the loss, not connected with the adoption community, she knows not the words to use if she is even conscious of her true feelings. How can you be aware of your true feelings if your whole life has been spent denying them and preparing a false front? She clings to her false reality, whatever rules have been constructed, to keep her falling into the chasm as the ground erodes at her feet. She wraps herself up in these reasonings, using them to tie herself to a poorly constructed life raft, desperate not to drown. She will throw at our adoptee any possible excuse to avoid the final outcome.

To accept the adoptee, to allow one to feel the love and joy that could come from the adoption reunion, she must also face that she lost her baby and that means she must unpack the pain and all the feelings that go with it.

It is Not the Adoptee that Mothers Reject

That is what she rejects: not the adoptee, not her child, but the pain from losing her child and the reality that no matter what she suffered, what she built, she knows that horrible loss is still there.

When I apply this model to almost any rejected adoptee scenario, it fits. The mother who turns away the adoptee on the doorstep without ever knowing the true person their child has become is only one example. I know of many mothers who started off a reunion with high hopes, but somewhere along the line the happiness  turns to 50 shades of weird, because under the layers of joy still lurks the pain. When she sees that she is facing the inevitable, the only thing she can do is remove the adoptee and go back to pretending. This works for the mothers who get angry, often for seemingly-impossible to understand reasons, dare I say. She is angry because she feels forced and threatened by the reemergence of the pain and lashes out, again, with her false reasonings, her false sense of security, for that’s all she knows. This works for the mothers who contend that they are “fine” and just “don’t want to know”; they too just cannot face the reality of their life, so they keep the adoptee at bay and skirt the shallow waters to avoid any true emotions. The mothers that just fade away; they choose their false life rather than face the reality of their pain. It hurts too much and they just cannot go there.

I understand it. I am sympathetic, but I cannot condone adoptee rejection. I will admit that I want to sometimes take the mothers of my friends and shake some sense into them. After all , these are our BABIES coming to us because they NEED us. It is the job of a mother to care for her child. We are supposed to love them and be there for them no matter what. But it would not work anyway. These mothers often cannot allow themselves to know that they are mothers on any level, that they have value or their entire lives are again destroyed. To admit that you are a mother means that you must face life as a mother who was separated from your child, and again, know that pain.

It is not about you, my friends. You are wonderful, beautiful human beings that under any normal circumstance are an honor and privilege to know. You cannot make the mistake, allow that adoption legacy to live on, to continue the cycle of shame and unworthiness. Know that you are worthy of your mother’s love, and she only holds it back from you because she really feels that she must. The depth of the fear, of the pain she felt at losing YOU, has broken her, damaged her irrevocably. Your mothers are not normal anymore. They have been damaged so deeply, so permanently, by the loss of you that they cannot find their way out. They do not reject you in their lives, but the reality of what adoption has done to their lives.

We have to, sometimes, to survive.

I know it is hard and unfair and just stinks to the core, but do not  blame yourselves, and try not to fault your mothers too badly. Blame the system that broke her so and destroyed the possibility of a loving mother for you.  Blame the adoption that took you and broke her.

I don’t have any magic words that can be said to a mother who fears so deeply the real knowledge of adoption in her life. I don’t know where that fine line is, and I am afraid to cross it. I doubt that any one person can make another face what they so fear and I question the rights of one to make that call. We cannot make another face the pain. They have to unpack it willingly, in order to see.

I find that I cannot say to another mother “it’s OK, just deal, don’t worry” as I lean into the mouth of a beast with endless teeth. I know the true horror which she must face. It’s never pretty.

But we can come out the other side; still damaged, still broken, but perhaps, for the first time, we are real.  It is only through embracing the pain of a mother lost to her child that we can regain the very essence of our motherhood.

I’m so sorry your mother just cannot do that for you right now.

We’re taking this conversation out for a spin. It’s a hard topic and we need to have it.  Join in the conversation!

 

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About the Author

Claudia Corrigan DArcy
Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy has been online and involved in the adoption community since early in 2001. Blogging since 2005, her website Musings of the Lame has become a much needed road map for many mothers who relinquished, adoptees who long to be heard, and adoptive parents who seek understanding. She is also an activist and avid supporter of Adoptee Rights and fights for nationwide birth certificate access for all adoptees with the Adoptee Rights Coalition. Besides here on Musings of the Lame, her writings on adoption issue have been published in The New York Times, BlogHer, Divine Caroline, Adoption Today Magazine, Adoption Constellation Magazine, Adopt-a-tude.com, Lost Mothers, Grown in my Heart, Adoption Voice Magazine, and many others. She has been interviewed by Dan Rather, Montel Williams and appeared on Huffington Post regarding adoption as well as presented at various adoption conferences, other radio and print interviews over the years. She resides in New York’s Hudson Valley with her husband, Rye, children, and various pets.

81 Comments on "Secondary Adoptee Rejection in Adoption Reunions"

  1. Thank you, Claudia

  2. I was asked what I would do if my lost daughter showed up on my doorstep. This was when I was just venturing out of the adoption fog. I had two immediate thoughts:

    Grab her and hug her and tell her I love her and never let her out of my sight again.
    Slam the door in her face and hide in my bedroom closet until I had cried myself to sleep.

    Clearly neither of these is a good idea. Where is the happy medium? What am I going to do if/when that happens? Where is the guide book for a successful reunion? What if she doesn’t ever show up looking for me?

    I am so thankful for first mother and adult adoptee blogs. I feel like all of the hours spent reading are like free therapy and support. I feel closer to being able to deal with the pain of my truth. I am definitely less judgmental of other people and how they deal with their pain than I was even a few years ago. Thanks Claudia. You are an amazing writer.

    K

    • K.. you are doing the same thing I did.. I don’t know if one can do any more.. keep reading.. keep understanding.. keep getting ready.You find that middle ground..somewhere between the two extremes. focus on real honest emotions, but tempered with knowledge.

      And consider looking for her…she might be waiting and wondering just like you.

    • My daughter is not yet 18 but I have filed paperwork in the state where the adoption took place with my contact information. After her birthday I will contact the agency I went through although I don’t have high expectations of their helpfulness.

      On another note, what are your feelings about when and how to tell my kept children about her? I have not told them yet because I struggle speaking about her without sobbing. I can and do talk with my husband and siblings about her and it does seem to get a little bit easier to actually talk instead of cry. It is much easier to type. 🙂

      K

      • There will never be “the right time to tell them”, just take the plunge and do it, it doesn´t matter if it is sobbing, there might be a commotion for a while but things will calm down.

    • K, you need to tell your kept children about their older sister NOW. The longer you wait, the worse it will be for them, their sister and YOU. My first Mother not only never told my siblings about me when they were kids, she waited 22 years AFTER I found her. They were pissed, and rightly so. Tell them. NOW. <3

      • Interesting to stumble upon this…I would strongly recommend that you openly and honestly explained this to your kept/raised children. I realize this comment is old. I am a kept daughter, that found out by extremely rare circumstances that my mother had a daughter before me. That daughter, being my half sister was lost to adoption. I am 44 years old and am in reunion. I can’t begin to tell you the feelings that I went through. Pissed off is extremely gentle! It has taken me about 3 years to actually come to any type of understanding of this. I must say that my mom is also extremely mentally and physically ill. I can say that my mom could have very easily lied and gotten away with it. Instead she told me the truth and gave me every bit of information that I asked for. But still I feel a betrayal that I don’t know can ever be fixed with the rest of my family that knew.

    • OK, I’ll do it. That’s what my husband said, too. I guess I just needed someone else’s advice to confirm it. Thanks Real Daughter.

      K

    • K.. I’m not sure exactly WHERE they are ( maybe under my search stories??), but I do have a few posts here about telling my other three kids about their brother. I know one of them is called “It needs Pictures” And this is WHY I am reorganizing this whole blog.. even I can’t find what I am looking for anymore!

    • Laurie mann | March 26, 2014 at 9:59 am |

      Hang in there. Just acknowledging your “true self” and those emotions is healthy. Own them but don’t let them define you. As an adoptee and “second rejection” syndrome if you will, I am so grateful/thankful for your selfless act. I only wish for true healing in the hearts of birth mothers. These blogs here are helpful.

  3. Sorry I just want to take this a step further. Yes mothers were told they should be ashamed, pretend it never happened and suffer in extreme silence. In my situation I pleaded to keep, so she was taken from me, declaring me unfit. It was and still is horrible. But in all honesty rape and insest abuse and such happen far more often than people think. Freud, even as he built trust, had women confess of their rapes insest and such that he decided it couldn’t be true and told the women that they WANTED it to happen! Aggast, if you can imagine the trauma a woman goes through, so even a child saying i forgive you is an extreme trauma! Forgive her of what!? being tortured?! and some adult children don’t say this they say i am angry at you. So while a mom has stuffed her feelings for years, the blame/steal game just keeps on continuing. NO ABSOLUTELY adoptees shouldn’t have two losses and remember, the mom had a few losses too.

    • YOU need to understand what an adoptee lives through, as well. As infants, we do not know if we were “stolen”, or if our mothers were raped. We just know she’s gone. We were told we were dumped. Some of us were told all sorts of unimaginable stories. Yeah- I WAS angry. I not only lost my freaking mother. I LOST MY IDENTITY, and it really doesn’t matter what the reason was. Compassion is a good thing in reunion- but it is not up to the adoptee to “heal” their mothers, nor is it up to the mother/father to “heal” the adoptee.

      But how can an adoptee REALLY have compassion without the truth?

      Until an adoptee knows their entire truth, they only can base their feelings of abandonment on lies. And we know all about the stuffing of feelings for years.

    • Lorene Fairchild | November 10, 2012 at 9:11 pm |

      Nadese…I was very angry with my mother for giving me up, as she and my father had been married and I was her third child. I did need to “forgive” her for placing me in a situation that caused me so much pain. If I hadn’t forgiven her, we wouldn’t have the relationship we have today. Forgiveness is a good thing !

  4. Amazing. Very beautifully written!

  5. I’m in tears. Thank you Claudia. As much as I know that every word of what you have written here is true and applies directly to my mother, there are moments when the adopted child in me just doesn’t want to be all understanding and grown up. Sometimes, it sure does feel like it must be me even though I know it isn’t. That’s when I need to hear from another mother what you have said here. I need to print this post out and carry it around with me. 🙂

    • That adopted child in you will never understand and she can’t. Let her cry..for it is a real loss for her, but it’s not her fault! I’m not hugely big on the inner child work, but sometimes.. it has a purpose. Sometimes we have to learn to comfort ourselves when the grown ups who are suppose to do that can’t or won’t. I’d be pleased to be that comfort in your pocket…((hugs)) from this momma!

  6. Claudia, we haven’t met but I’ve been following your blog off and on for a while now. This is the best post I’ve ever read on why a birth mother would reject her child. I am an adoptee and I have been “in reunion” for seven years, but for the last two my birth mother and I have not had any communication. The issue is that she cannot bring herself to be honest with everyone in her life about who I am, and I am no longer willing to be kept secret or to allow my children, her grandchildren, to be kept secret. Everything you’ve said here are things I already realized about her, and I do understand the great pain she has been in for all the years of my life, I really do. It helps me to read this from your perspective, to know that I’m on track with that evaluation of what’s really going on. The time that we did spend together was wonderful. I felt very comfortable with her and I miss her terribly. Lately I’ve been wondering if I should reach out to her again, but your point at the end is what has stopped me–do I have the right to force her to deal with this great pain that she clearly cannot deal with? I feel like I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t. If I reach out, I cause pain. If I don’t reach out, I cause pain. And then the other side of it is that I am also in great pain, and I am hurt because she seems unable to acknowledge my pain at all. And so we’re stuck now in this limbo of knowing each other but not being with each other in any way, like we’re back to what our lives were before reunion, only we’re not really. I know you can’t give me a simple answer to my problem, but thank you so much for writing this, and for providing this space to communicate my complicated emotions.

    • I’m a big fan or revisiting the “No”. personal boundaries are a GOOD thing if needed. You know what is healthy for you, for your children..and being a secret isn’t. In fact, I would say that allowing that secretiveness is enabling unhealthy behavior.
      But there is nothing wrong with letter her know where you are now, what you are feeling, that you miss her and are hurting and saying what you need, what you deserve, to make this work. There is a difference in telling someone something and hoping for the outcome that you want and telling someone something just to let them know. You avoid the dissapointment, KWIM?

    • I wrote her a letter a few months after our big blowout to try to explain my feelings and it just caused another, even bigger blowout between us. I guess that’s why I’m torn now. I think she actually sees this as me rejecting her, when I really do want her in my life except that I can’t abide by her terms. I’m tempted to send her a link to this post, so she can hear the words of another mother. I don’t know where she’s at right now in how she feels about this situation. I know that I’m hesitant to initiate contact again because the arguments we had were so emotionally draining for me, but I don’t know if she will ever initiate herself. In writing these comments here, I’m realizing that I’m just not ready yet to put myself back in a situation where I could be terribly hurt once again by her insistence on keeping me a secret. Thanks for your response, Claudia. I still have a lot to think over.

  7. Thank you, Claudia. For your empathy, for your validation, for writing this.

    The “roller coaster” metaphor for reunion makes sense, but I was unprepared to be told I couldn’t even board the ride. The common media stereotype of reunion is all about the amazing coincidences, the tearful embrace, the intense reconnection. My original mother’s secondary rejection blindsided me.

    Once, on Twitter, I advised a searching adoptee to prepare herself in case she had the bad luck I did. Not to be a wet blanket on anyone’s search, but just to help her prepare for the worst. Because, to a searching adoptee, a second rejection might just be the worst outcome possible.

    In response, someone patrolling the #adoption hashtag told me, “Don’t sell reunion short. It’s different for everyone.”

    I was flabbergasted by those judgemental words, the desire to silence my truth under the guise of being broadminded.

    By contrast, four years ago, I was found by my birthfather, and we are working it out as best we can. What I find most surprising about this “successful” reunion is that so much unknown anger in me surfaced. I had no idea at the rage my baby self felt!

    I think for any adoptee, reunion results in the destruction of one’s previous identity as new pieces of one’s history are found to fill in the holes of the puzzle. And despite/because of the more complete picture, you’ll never be the same person again.

    I’d say reunion for me has been more like a super-storm than any sort of amusement ride. It’s been good in ways, but I am different now. I wasn’t ready for that.

    Thank you, again, Claudia. This post helps immensely.

    • Carrie, I cam across Cladia’s Blog site this morning and I was going through the comments first before I write my story but then I came across your comment and this is the spot to write it. I am not an adoptee but married to an adoptee and his birth mother rejected a contact with him and after a searching for the correct birthfather with no help from her we were delighted to find a man who is awesome and wants to meet us. Our situation started out exciting and fun while finally making progress in searching and while we knew it was a possibility there might be a rejection we were not prepared for the true devastation it had created in my husband, myself and my children in fact it devastated everyone involved. I call it blindsided too because she was aware of our search for 3 months and she asked that a letter be sent from my husband but then she left us hanging more like misleading us into thinking contact was possible and then I personaly received a phone call from her husband to say his wife had no interest in opening the files. I was an emotional wreck for my self, for my husband and for my children. I had labeled the situation and emotional trainwreck and then I later labeled it as a roller coaster. You are so correct in saying that you are never the same again and that your identity has changed as you fill in the pieces and as much as we are elated to find the man who never knew about my husband and can not wait to meet him and be a part of his family too the truth is he has now forever changed to and we are torn between excitement, sadness, anger, confusion and sadness and I would also label our situation as a superstorm – do we hide from it or do we walk out onto the porch and view this storm as beautiful, awesome and scarey. The hurt from the rejection is there its deep and effects all of us including the birth father

  8. Thank you this post. Like Kelly, i also knew on some level that my birth mother does not want to feel her pain; however, she did not reject me, but she doesn’t really want to know me either (which feels like a rejection). She has a happy story in her head and she does not want to hear the real story. I know this because she has never asked me about my life growing up. She lives in her own little world where i’m sure that package is all wrapped up and going to stay that way. Beautiful writing, Claudia. Thanks again.

    • Hi Illinois, Have you let her know that it’s ”ok to go there”, in regard to ”asking about your life growing up”? Maybe too, she needs some time to get to know you as you -now, the adult you, to love and cherish you now, and make that as solid, strong and -real- as possible and then she can go to that other place where she was -forbidden to be-……….. your childhood… your life.

  9. I believe your rationale to an extent. My bmom did not want me. Her parents and her sister offered to adopt me. My grandparents offered to support her in any way to keep me. My grandfather was sent away to live with relatives because he was born out of wedlock and he did not want me given away. I am close with my biological aunt and cousins and one half brother. The fact is, in my case, my bmom did not want me nor does she want to have anything to do with me now. I am ok with that. I feel fortunate that I know my roots and have real family that loves and accepts me.

  10. So, what about when the adoptee is the rejecter? My daughter wants nothing to do with me – at all, and I do not even know why… From what she told me (although I believe it is just an excuse) she is upset with me because I didn’t let her natural father know about reuniting – no matter that I hadn’t talked to him in over 2 years & didn’t know where he was… Her argument was that I knew where his parents were & could have contacted him through them, which is what I did end up doing a few years later, against my better judgement, but she begged me to because it was taking too long for the social service agency to find him… Wish I knew what the real reason is… Better yet, I wish she would let me back in her life… 🙁

  11. Its the adoptee that is given away at the most vunerable time of their lifes…why do we have to “understand” the beemommey”…we lost our biofamilies(even if it were for the best of reasons), lost our idenity, have to deal with the confusion of loving our afamilies but needing our biofamilies, wondering where we belong, have children of ourt own that love our afamilies, beleive our asibs are really our sibs…and they are….but we have biosibs that we don’t talk to but want too, just want it all put togehter but we can’t because their is always someone pointing a finger saying we just don’t get it…we just don’t do it right. But we need to understand why our mothers reject us, or want us to forget what happended when we needed them most(no matter what the story…thate truth is we were rejected…no matter how much our mothers did not want it..it is what it is)…contact with judgment, with expectations that i cna’t fulfill…because of something that happended TO ME before i could process anything…The adopprtee the rejector..sorry…thats an oxymoron at its greatest….

    • I don’t think that you HAVE to understand… This was written for those who WANT to understand. There is a difference. And the bottom line is going to be that for some mothers, no, nothing you do will ever be right. And nothing she can do will ever take away that you carry the feelings of rejection.
      I have to say though..I know just about as many sad stories told from the mothers point of view where the Adoptee is the reject-or, but as stated, that sounds like a whole other post!

    • “why do we have to “understand” the beemommey”…

      beemommey. I am not a ‘beemommey’ and neither is anyone else, but thanks for your eloquent and compassionate reference. It is what I have come to expect and one of the reasons I abandoned ship on my own reunion. I will not allow anyone, including my own child to dehumanize me in this way.

      You don’t have to understand anything if you choose not to and it is obvious that some closed and judgmental minds won’t ever bother to try. Never mind that we are expected and demanded to understand and empathize with everyone else’s journey and feelings, but ours? Who give a flip.

    • Everytime anyone address us as “beemommy” or “birthmother”, we know the extent of our sacrifice is misunderstood, rejected and disrespected. I AM A MOTHER of 4 adult children. I lost my first child to adoption. I got married so I was “entitled” by marriage to raise my 3 subsequent children. The only thing that changed was my marital status. It took a long time for my son to understand he was “wanted” from his conception, but social policies in 1959 made it seem as if I didn’t want him….when there was NO way I could have cared for him.

      • Laurie mann | March 26, 2014 at 12:36 pm |

        As an adoptee I don’t use the term “birth mother” with disrespect but only to differentiate from the “mother” who raised me. So much emotion is tagged to some of these terms. Hopefully the “take away” is that we all are entitled to our feelings even if we don’t quite understand them ourselves but that we can find a place of respectful & kind means of communication in order to create a much needed platform for these discussions.

  12. My grandmother gave away a child between her 5 and 7th child. I don’t even know the sex and grandma never talks about it. I bet she would totally reject because she’s not really a caring person. Helpful and glad to play with the grandkids, but she allowed her various husbands to abuse her own children and to this day continues to defend them.

  13. Thank you for this post, Claudia. It leaves me wondering, however, about what DPEN calls an “oxymoron at its greatest”, the adoptee rejector. How do I, as a mother who relinquished a child for adoption, deal with rejection from the adoptee? (And yes DPEN, that oxymoron *does* in fact exist, in the real world, no matter what the adoptee’s story or reason, the truth is natural mothers ARE sometimes rejected by their adopted out children – it is what it is).

    **I get it.** I really do. My now grown offspring may feel abandoned, rejected, cast aside, scared, broken, cheated, confused, angry, without an identity, etc., and this is why they won’t respond to my efforts after YEARS of trying. I really do understand. But my question remains: How do I deal with it? I can understand the fear for the first few years, but when it starts to move into multiple years, I am left with serious questions.

    I have done the reading, I have done the counseling, and I can truly understand with a compassionate heart where my now grown offspring is coming from, but still….but still, how long do I wait before I accept this person really doesn’t want me around? Two more years? Ten? Twenty? Thirty? Forever? How long do I keep making a fool of myself by sending a note every birthday and every Christmas with absolutely NO response, no acknowledgement, *nothing*? Two more years? Ten? Twenty? Thirty? Forever? At what point does the adoptee rejecting contact with their natural mother move from fear to simply punishing them for abandoning them (for whatever reason) as an infant in the first place? Two years? Ten? Twenty? Thirty? Never? How long does the adoptee get a carte blanche check to treat their natural mother like shit because she made a horrible mistake as a young mother? Two years? Ten? Twenty? Thirty? Forever? How long do I have to pay for my mistake? Two years? Ten? Twenty? Thirty? Forever?

    I have have apologized. Explained. Begged for forgiveness. But still nothing. I am truly a cipher in their life, not even worth the effort to tell me to go to hell. How long do I continue to let my heart be pulverized like this? Two more years? Ten? Twenty? Thirty? Forever?

    • Elaine Douglas | July 11, 2013 at 8:49 pm |

      I agree with everything you have said. I also have wondered how much of the way we are treated has to do with an element of punishing us for “abandoning” them. I got tired of feeling like an afterthought.

      Why do I have to always be the one to understand? Understand the adoptees pain and point of view, understand the aparents insecurities – well understand this – at 16 in 1971 I didn’t have ANY choices and I didn’t have ANY power and I didn’t have any voice.

    • left behind | August 1, 2013 at 10:55 am |

      I’m sorry for your situation. In my personal experience, I would say what is going on is that the adoptee, your son or daughter, feels too traumatized to deal with realizing the repercussions of being adopted. I know there was a period in my life, when, if my first mother had contacted me, I just would not have been able to deal with meeting her (even though I subconsciously yearned for it always.)

      The other issue is that in many adoptive families the aoptive parents really do create an “us or them” situation, in which the adoptee is made to feel that any contact with someone form his or her first family will result in the adoptive family cutting him or her off (This does happen. My adoptive family, while initially “supportive” of my search, disowned me when I invited my first father to my wedding.) For an adoptee, the thought of abandonment by the adoptive family can be terrifying.

      I hope this helps a little.

  14. Some adoptees reject their mothers, some mothers reject the searching adoptee. It is not just one-sided. As a mother who always wanted to find and have a relationship with my child, and one who searched, I do not have any more special insight into rejecting mothers than someone who never relinquished a child. I just feel sad when adoptees who are rejected ask me as a mother who surrendered to shed some insight into “why?” I truly do not know. It is a mindset and attitude I do not share and find hard to comprehend.

    For many years my son did not respond to me. I found and contacted him too young and there were other issues in his life I did not know about. I had to accept that. Nobody owes anyone else a relationship. That he has come around is a blessing and gift, but it is up to him what he wants from here on. He has never been cruel or abusive or rude, but I believe can only handle so much and does what he has to do, which was not really a rejection of me as a person but his way of coping with what life had handed him.

    I feel sorry and sad for all who are rejected, it is not fair and it hurts, but I have no wisdom to offer on why except that each person and situation is different, and we all have our own reality and our own relative to deal with, and they “why” in each situation can vary greatly. Some rejections do turn around, just as some initial reunions turn to rejection later. Yes, when someone tells you to leave them alone, you must do that, and when someone ignores your outreach for decades, or is actively abusive, it can be time to move on and stop. Each person must decide that for themselves. It is a lonely place to be, and there is no one formula or answer.

  15. I appreciate this information and I realize that this is a first mother’s blog. However, adopted people cannot be expected to be forever understanding and compassionate to our first mother’s position when our own needs are not being met. After a while, all of this focus on the first mother not being able to face her pain just becomes selfishness. Adoptees have needs, too.

    A mother has the devastating loss of her child and, of course, most of us are glad to find out that we really were wanted. The adoptee has lost his or her ENTIRE FAMILY ON BOTH SIDES. The affect of this on the adoptee is just as important as the natural mother’s experience. Also, no one ever mentions the enormous courage it takes for an adoptee to search and contact the parent who ‘rejected’ him.

    I appreciate learing more about the first mother experience (and feel that I have been as sensitive to it as possible given that I am not a first mother) but there comes a point when she has to step beyond that and show compassion and understanding for her child’s needs as well. For it is obvious that if an adoptee searches and contacts her natural mother then s/he (the adoptee) has a strong need and desire to find some peace and healing through connection with her biological family.

    @Anon 6:02
    I wish I knew what to tell you. I’ve never understood adoptees who don’t want any relationship with their natural parent(s). But your relinquished child is making it clear that at this time s/he doesn’t want a relationship with you. I’m sorry you are going through that 🙁

    • Robin – Anon 6:02 here. I have always appreciated your answers and level-headed reasoning when it comes to these kinds of matters, both on this blog and others. I know every situation is different, but I would very much value your input. What do you suggest I do about continuing the bi-annual card/notes to my now-grown child? Do I just stop without any explanation? (That doesn’t feel like the thing to do). Do I send one more with a *very* brief, non-accusatory, non-threatening explanation of why the cards/notes won’t be sent any more, with an invitation for contact should they ever feel the desire? (That feels more reasonable than the first option.) If so, any recommendations on what to say? Or do I keep sending them, year in and year out? (Which feels a little crazy/compulsive/obsessive to me).

      Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

    • @Anon 6:02,
      I think that continuing to send letters/cards, etc. year after year without any response must be very painful for you. I like your second option of sending a card with a short note along the lines of “I understand that you don’t want contact with me at this time but if you ever do I would always be delighted to hear from you and I will always be here for you”. And leave all of your contact information. I would also suggest that in the event that you move or get a new phone number that you send another short note giving your updated contact information. This way you are leaving the door open and letting your son/daughter know where you stand without being too pushy and without causing yourself further pain. I’m sorry that it has to be this way.

    • @Robin. I hear you. I really do and I completely agree. I say this AS a mother.. it’s NOT about me, and it SHOULD be about our children. When I say that I want to SHAKE some sense into some mothers, I really mean it. I am ANGRY at the way they act, I am PISSED that my people get hurt! ( and yes, you comment, I “know” you.. you are MY people!)

      Understanding WHY they do this does not mean that I, at all, approve of the actions.

      In a perfect world, no one would be angry and everyone would want the best and be understanding, but in that prefect world we would have lost each other to begin with. Neither mother nor adoptee should have to be in a position where the other causes pain.

      And I think that the advice for Anon6:02 is spot on.

  16. Thanks for writing.

  17. Claudia – this is one of the best things you’ve ever written, and also one of the hardest for me to read because I am in this situation. I appreciate your shedding light on it and I hope that mothers (and adoptees) who might otherwise run away will read this and think twice.

  18. I think that all this pain and heartbreak in reunion is just the proof in the adoption pudding. If adoption was really so grand, if mothers really were fine with giving their children to strangers, if adoptees were so happy and unaffected by being given up and raised by non-relatives, wouldn’t we all just be glad to see each other again in reunion? The fact that reunions so often go awry and can cause so much pain is just a reflection of the devastation that adoption itself has wrought in so many lives.

  19. Thank you for sharing a first mother’s perspective. My Mom is in one of a series of many pullbacks…this current one being the longest and most severe to date. It is hard. It is painful. I miss her terribly. But I am healing from the original separation/adoption through counseling and so I’m “ok” without her because I’ve learned how to cope. I’m functioning and enjoying a full life in her absence, while also praying daily that she will find the courage to finally face her pain and return to me. It really is true that we don’t want to cast stones. I just want to know her story and embrace her in spite of whatever that story may be. My Mother is sunshine…I wish she could see that about herself. I wish she could see herself in all the ways that I do…strong, beautiful, courageous…I am proud of her.

    To all the firstmom’s out there…from an adoptee who knows…we love you with all of our hearts…despite that you left us whatever the reason…despite that you weren’t there when we were growing up…despite that we’ve found you and you are still running and fighting us at every turn…our love for you will always overpower all of that…it is a big love…it is unconditional…nothing you could do could make us love you less…even when you walk away. we wait, lovingly, with forgiveness, open arms and open doors. Please come back to your babies. There is no need to be ashamed…we are afraid…we are hurting just like you…but we want healing…we want wholeness…we want reconciliation…for ourselves…and more so, for you. we love you so much.

  20. I am a (gag) 66 year old who recently received my original birth certificate, identifying my original mother. I recently discovered that she is 86 and living in an adult senior (independent living) apartment complex. She is divorced and has a 61 year old son (my half brother) living near her.
    After reading your information, and things shared by others, my enthusiasm for trying to (just) write my original mother has been replaced by heavy concerns about it blowing up in my face. I don’t wish to be rejected, and I’m not looking for more than being able to tell her my story, and asking her to tell me hers. I’m not looking for a reunion, since we live far apart. I just want her to know that I am fine, and to find out a little about my heritage/family history.
    Any suggestions? And…..should I go through the social worker in her complex (if I do write), or just send my letter directly?

    • @Anon 6:37,
      DO NOT get the social worker involved. She is no part of this and your mother may resent that her privacy was violated. She may worry that others in her building now know her secret.

      Only you can decide if a potential rejection would be so devastating that you would rather not take the risk. The thing about search and reunion is that it is impossible to know in advance what the outcome will be. Your mother is 86 y.o. I think what you need to do is think about how you will feel if she passes on and there is no longer any possibility of connecting with her. Would you regret if you didn’t even try and it is no longer an option? Just speaking for myself, I know I would.

      As far as how to contact her, I prefer a phone call to a letter. But if you do send a letter, send it certified, return-receipt so that you know she received it. The problem I have with a letter is that it is easy to toss it aside and not respond to it. A phone call is immediate. If you call, verify that it is your n-mother on the line, tell her that this is a very private phone call and confirm that she is able to talk. If not, ask when would be a better time to call. I also think you have the right to connect with your half-brother especially after your first mother passes on.

    • I think I’ll just make @Robin the official “Ask an Adoptee”.. I can only come in and echo her spot on answers and the Adoptee perspective is always so needed..especially when so helpful. Thank you!

      Please, don’t be scared away from contact, but be prepared. I think it’s better to know than not know and, like Robin said, the chance of that opportunity being lost forever is strong. The flip side is that she might have been waiting for you for 66 years…

    • LOL, Claud. I would be proud to be the resident “Ask an Adoptee” at your wonderful blog. And you are so right, Anon’s mother might be very relieved to learn as her life nears the end that her “baby” is alive and well.

  21. I was adopted in the 60s. When I was 18 I found my biological mother and father. My biological mother rarely talks to me. I have a half brother and sister that she raised, but I guess she liked their father better as she married him even though he treated her badly. The only time I am called it seems is when I can help someone else with a problem. I may have 2 families, but I really have no family where I actually feel I belong. In the adopted family, you are always the adopted child. In the bio family you are a stranger who was not wanted.

    • @Anon 9:44,
      Your comment is one of the reasons that I support family preservation so strongly. I don’t think it is uncommon for adoptees to feel that they don’t really belong in either family. Just one of the (many) things that those who promote adoption don’t mention to expectant mothers considering relinquishment.

  22. This could have been written about me and my relationship with my birth mother. I have tried to understand her and her reasons for rejecting me again. The sad thing is that this happens all too often. I still hope that things might get better in the future, but am aware that they might not, which makes me very sad indeed.

  23. Im an adoptee and recently have reconnected with my biological family. I cannot describe the feelings I have and most of them are good thanks to my pleasant experience thus far. And I can only say this is the most honest thing I have ever read on the subject. I have many stories about adoptees, their parents, their biological families. Secrets honesty pain and joy.

    Thank you. For this.

  24. Claudette Trahan-Garman | June 5, 2013 at 2:07 am |

    I am a bio-sister that has been in reunion now for a little over 3 years. Now, I first have to say that I didn’t have much time to process anything. I didn’t even know that my mother had a daughter before me that she had surrendered until a little over 3 years ago. So to sum it up, I found out about my sister, and within 3 months we were reunited.
    Our “official identifying” communication began with facebook. We messaged each other at least 3 to 4 times daily. I was very guarded in the beginning, because I was very scared that I was going to be “rejected”. Little by little I began to open up. My sister would sign off with “your sister”, she made reference that I did have nieces and nephews that were “my blood”, her children. She than kinda took over a big sister role, as she called it, by telling me, “go to bed earlier tonight, I know I am sounding more and more like the big sister.” She made so many nice comments and I began to trust her. She promised me that we would always be sisters and that she would never leave.
    As a little time went by, we spoke on the phone, and met for the very first time. Now, I was a bit shocked when she showed up at the restaurant that I took time making sure that I had a “private” table, ect…with her best friend! Yes she brought her friend! I felt like I was being interviewed or evaluated? But, I tried to look at it from her perspective, and didn’t ever say anything. As the weeks went by, our husbands met, and then our children met. She told me that her kids were excited to have cousins, just like mine were! Everything seemed just too perfect!
    Then all of a sudden a received an email from her saying that if I wanted to remain in contact with her that we would have to be a secret, as she did not want to tell her adoptive family! In that same email she contradicted pretty much all of her original facebook messages telling me even that she would not come to my funeral and I wouldn’t be able to attend hers! She basically told me that she didn’t care if we ever talked again, but hoped we could talk once or twice a month. And I was also to make sure that my children didn’t post anything on facebook that involved being related to her children. If the kids seen each other out and about she wanted me to tell my children to lie about who her kids were.
    All of this has hurt me and my family so much and I just don’t understand? And the worst part is, no one else really seems to understand where I am coming from?

  25. Thank you for this wonderful post Claudia. Helps me greatly to make some sense of the horrific painful feelings I have been trying to deal with for the past 27 years as a birth mother. It is the pain that we are rejecting, not our child. Some of us do not always have the strength we need in order to deal with this pain in the best way and I am always praying for more. Your words give me strength. Thank you again.

  26. I am so glad I found your website, Claudia. After a lifetime of “let’s pretend” growing up as an adoptee, your no-bull attitude and honesty is a breath of fresh air. MOTL has rekindled a fire inside of me that has been dormant for years.
    My rejection experience with my bio-mom was subtle. It started with a spark and fizzled out. It took me quite a while to realize that she was not interested developing a relationship with me, but she was too polite to say it.
    I was devastated. Rejection took me to some very, very dark places. I managed, slowly, one day at a time, to pick up my pieces once again. I reached out for help. I found many incredible books, one of which was “Primal Wound” and was blessed to have Nancy Verrier as a therapist. She’s a rock star in my world.
    Rejection has since moved me to do some very deep personal archaeology over the years. When you hit bottom, the only direction to go is up. I read everything I could about adoption and found an adoption triad support group. I cried A LOT and healed considerably, but not completely. It’s been a Twilight Zone roller coaster ride for me.
    About 8 years ago, after a hellacious second marriage and divorce, I decided to put my adoption studies on a shelf. I wanted to try and just live my life. Some good things happened in the interim. In 2005 my bio-half-brother found out about me and called me up. He was PISSED that no one had told him that I was trying to connect. He’s the only bio family member that has kept the door open and we are very close. He is my hero.
    Soooo, I’m taking my adoption studies down off of the shelf, brushing off the dust, and opening up a new chapter. It’s time.

  27. I’m an adoptee who just found my birth family. I guess the honey moon phase if over because in less than 3 months my BM went from being so elated to pushing me away almost ENTIRELY. I have never felt abandoned [till now possibly]. And through my process I also was almost entirely rejected {at first} by my adoptive mother and father for searching. That came as a shock because growing up they always said they would support and help. I suppose when reality set in they couldn’t deal with it {which i can understand}. On a positive note they are still there for me in their own way although my mother told me to NEVER speak a word about my BM search to her and my father backs her up. It’s been really tough because I feel all these people do things to “help themselves” deal… and I’m forced to be secret to this person or that person so they can be comfortable and meanwhile my reality or feelings are not acknowledged authentically. I think it’s bullshit. We adoptees are asked to have the conscious mind of the Dali Lama or Gandhi… yet others seemingly run around making excuses and push their issues and fears on to the adoptee who never had any control of our destinies what so ever in this triad. I want to scream “EVOLVE PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!”.

    Adoption issues are complex not so simplistic as many make it out and seem to drop these standard lines all too often: “she placed you out of love”… “you are so loved”…. and it’s a gross assumption… OR suggest a BM will somehow find or have some attachment when possibly just possibly they never did in the first place… it’s entirely a chance reality a woman can give birth and NEVER feel attached to the baby she relinquished. And the key word is “SHE RELINQUISHED” because unless someone literally forced her SHE ULTIMATELY made “her” decision. And I worked in Adoption for some time so I’m not naive to many issues BM’s face or to many topics in Adoption. Yes there are some mothers who were forced into relinquishment especially many years ago when our society was much less “open” and times were much different if a woman had a child out of wedlock… there are so many unique reasons… but IMO it’s more about “her” then it ever is about the baby/adoptee. Most the time it just wasn’t the right time [FOR HER]. I don’t believe every BM feels love toward her baby AND at the same time it’s entirely true many do and I simultaneously can believe both. There are just too many situations to apply blanket thinking & labels to complex unique situations. I also feel it’s entirely simplistic to call a relinquishment “a loss” [to every mother] because every situation is different… I challenge this concept/term because to lose something is to have NO idea what happened to it. There’s just NO WAY this term applies in every mother’s situation. IMO these terms are limited and don’t fully address so many variations of people’s realities. The language used in Adoption is literally in it’s fetal phase and there is a lot of growth needed IMO. Words are powerful and the words many times used it this adoptive culture is very limited IMO.

    Now that I have opened Pandora’s box I realize a lot more about the human fragility and flaws and people’s ability to “cope”. I wish more people would find their “warrior” with in. Only the weak are cruel and my BM was a bit cruel recently. There is something to be said about one’s “character” and the actions we choose and we try to be compassionate although it seems MUCH MORE work is required by the adoptee than anyone else in the triad. For the first time I feel pretty angry about it. I feel both my BM and my Adoptive mother are demonstrating some pretty selfish behaviors and it’s hard to find compassion when I have to walk alone dealing with with it all feeling and being rejected by both.

    My mother no matter gets the “street credit”. She may not be perfect but she did choose to be a parent to me and for the first time I’ve never loved her more even when she can demonstrate she can be weak too… My BM is proving to me she was only a “uterus” that I took up a very expensive lease… one I will pay for my entire life. The more I wrap my head around “my” situation and reality I have to admit I think it’s LAME adoptees have to bend and flex at every emotional instability of others. BM’s need to stop making excuses and face reality no matter their situation. Adopted Parents need to realize the reality of an adoptive child and their need to understand their story. What do Adoptees need to do? I suppose for now in our limited world of understanding of Adoption…. we need to keep forgiving the weak who can be selfish and cruel…. but more importantly we need to keep loving ourselves more and give respect to the ones who “earn” it.

  28. Elaine Douglas | September 2, 2013 at 9:16 am |

    I don’t know where to start with your comments.

    BM’s need to stop making excuses and face reality no matter their situation.

    Maybe you should explain what you mean by this. Maybe you need to educate yourself about “relinquishment” and what it was like for any of us, say, before 1975. And by us, I mean the uterus that gave birth to you.

    If your birthmother has pulled away from you, I would suggest from the tone of your letter, she was reacting to the anger and resentment that you are displaying towards adoption.

    If you can call her a uterus, there can’t have been much respect or empathy in your “honeymoon” period.

    Yeah, we “relinquished”. And in your mind we did it because – we didn’t give a shit?! In 1971 I was 16 – what would you suggest I should have done? I wasn’t allowed to bring my baby home – I would not have had a home to go to. There wasn’t any welfare for single mothers in 1971, what do you think I should have done? And everytime I won the argument for keeping my baby, my parents would tell me that I would be forcing him to live his whole life with the stigma of being a bastard. Not too scary in 2013 – try it 1971. You have all the answers – it was all your mother’s fault – Tell me, what should she have done? What should I have done?

    This uterus loved her little boy all his life – I still love him. I had three short years in reunion with him and my grandchildren until HE left ME three years ago. This uterus will love my little boy until the day I die even though I know I will never see or hold him again. (Just like I loved him when he was born even though I was not allowed to see or hold him.

    WEAK – we were not weak, we were powerless.

  29. @Elaine

    My feelings about “my” situation and my experiences are “my” issues and feelings. My situation doesn’t have anything to do with your situation and making this mistake or assuming my feelings are “blanket” feelings toward other’s situations is short sighted about how I feel in my situation. The most general comment i did make [“BM’s need to stop making excuses and face reality no matter their situation”] means exactly what I said. If BM’s [who are having a difficult time] “reject” their child who comes to find them later on because they can’t deal with their own feelings then possibly they can evolve and find the strength to deal with their emotions in order to allow a much more beautiful connection or relationship to occur… when people are operating out of a place of fear and don’t learn to communicate the chances of anything healthy isn’t going to happen. It’s unfortunate when we have so many choices in our control to transcend and move through our feelings instead of operate out of “fear”. The same goes for adoptive parents.

    If you understood my response… I indicate I do understand there are situations where BM’s were forced into a decision. I also understand there are people who weren’t and I have no more or less respect for either. My adoption happened before 1975 and my mother was not a child. My mother got married while pregnant with me and after relinquishing me had became pregnant 6 months later and kept her second child and others after me. I don’t hold resentment for her decisions. I hold confusion and anger now after she and her family seemed so elated to meet yet later did a 180 recently and is not communicating “why”.

    If you read my response… I did not say all mothers don’t love their babies… i said IMO it’s entirely possibly some do and entirely possible some don’t. Every situation is unique and we can’t assume or generalize.

    I wrote the most compassionate beautiful “open” letter to my mother I possibly could. I never judged her. I should post it here. If you like i will e-mail it to you. I have enjoyed getting to know my family and my BM very much. I have never been rude or judgmental. Suddenly things changed. I have some ideas as to why. I feel she feels inadaqute because she compares herself to my family in many ways and indicates feelings of inadequacy. I was elated meeting her. I thought for the first time I could understand myself and many things about my biology. I think feeling the pressure of introducing me to her family is too great. She has expressed how she does not want me meeting them with out her. There is obviously some past she is uncomfortable with. One relative came here currrently and they came in part to meet me. My mother starting ignoring me just before and after I made my last attempt to see if she would like me to come meet this relative she pushed me away. This is after I asked her husband if i somehow did anything wrong… I could sense something wasn’t right. She was very cold the last time we spoke and she was aware I was feeling bad. I think it’s cold and insensitive to not communicate to me when I have expressed I was feeling like “I” did something and noticed something seemed “wrong” only to be further pushed away.

    I never was prepared for this to happen. I thought if there was a chance for “abandonment” it would of been when I tried to connect. Because they met me with such open arms [although it was very fast and none of us were fully prepared] and now are acting entirely different I never realized how awful I could feel. My adoptive family resents me for searching and this created a lot of problems for me and our relationship. Now my BM and her family aren’t engaging either. So I feel confused, hurt, angry and pretty upset. I’m not an insensitive person who operates like some fool. I did not enter this relationship with resentment because as I’ve indicated I never felt abandoned till possibly now. So I will say it again. It’s entirely possibly some mothers they may of looked at the baby in their uterus as an “object” because not all people are the same. If she’s rejecting me now because of fear or opening up her past and having difficulty dealing with it all it’s “not about me” but about her own feelings although it’s “me” who has to find compassion and deal with it ALONE… the worst place for an adoptee to be when many times we already do feel “alone” because of all the issues of others we have to deal with.

    Elaine from your story you have shared I understand how you care very much about a baby no one wanted to support you in having and how you would feel powerless. It’s horrible this happens and horrible it happened to you. I understand the difficulty of that time. I was born before this time. I wouldn’t tell my BM to do anything different other than what she “wanted” to do. It’s not my place. I have never judged her about it. She had her reasons which were complex and although she was an adult she was still a very young adult. She married another man and relinquished me for “her” reasons. I told her I might of done the same thing. What i feel horrible about is somehow in the present something has been disturbed in our connection. She won’t communicate to me about it because she doesn’t seem to have the skill.

    When an adoptee is pushed away by their adoptive parents and biological family you tell me who’s powerless now and who was powerless all along? The balls in my mother court once again… Like the very beginning. I CHOSE NOTHING EXCEPT TO SEARCH which might of been a grand error on side of this triad for me.

    When a woman gives birth to a baby and later rejects them it may not be about “me” i understand, but ultimately I’m “me” and I’m being rejected. I’m sad and angry. I feel I live in a crazy world where people can’t handle their feelings and I’m tired of it effecting “me”.

    • “….forced.. into a decision”??????????? Huh? When there are NO options, when there is NO power to make decisions, when there is NO “authority” (because others are controlling and running the whole show by drugging you up and keeping you that way), when there are many (dr. nurses, social workers, etc that desperately (if not viciously) want to take your baby so they or their ‘friends’ can have it…. what don’t you understand dear adopted one?

      You say your mother ‘pushed you away after she told you not to meet other family members without her being present’ well, I understand that too. Did you ever think she had absolutely no control over your relinquishment and those in her family DID and she needs to be present with you to at the very least feel as if SHE has some say in some part of what could possibly have been the most damaging and hurtful aspect of her entire life? You say you were born prior to 1975… guess what the ‘force and no choice’ it’s gonna be adoption time frame started long before 1975. Even back in the 40’s they were taking children from divorced/single mothers.

      Maybe you do not mean anything by it, but using the abbreviation BM to describe your natural mother is DISGUSTING… if you can spell out every other word you write you can spell out birth mother, unless of course you really do feel she is ‘crap’… which your pain seems to be saying. You are hurting so very much and it makes my heart ache for you.. I hope you can hear me in between my pained anger and frustration to maybe gain some more (ow! damn, why isn’t it all about me?) insight into where your mother **may be** coming from. Yes, mothers are older than newborns… but so very often they feel as ‘abandoned’ as ‘helpless’ as a newborn, especially those left alone, rejected by all (agencies, family/s etc.), drugged and voiceless. Not all of us ”chose a ”””loving”””””’ option”. Sorry we ‘didn’t fight to our death’ for you. We thought/hoped maybe to live to fight another day to somehow get you back where you belonged.. with us. Then we found out how futile that was too.. and lived like dead. Try to do for her what you want her to do for you. Give time, understanding, compassion. I know the parents ought to be the ones to ”get it right first”, do the right things and love their kids perfectly… sometimes, I’ve learned that the ‘kids’ need to help their parents grow and overcome and learn how to love -too. It was a work in progress with my parents.

      Reunion is about **everybody’s** feelings— because everybody (in adoption) matters! I think that may be where the train derails so often because ‘oh, it’s all about -my- feelings, and nobody else’s ought to matter’. Nonsense. Everyone should be considered—- by all involved. Truth told and shared and accepted. Period.

      I hope your birth mother can soon ‘handle her feelings’ and be there for you and help you to heal and feel whole at last. Your last paragraph is beautifully stated. I hope she can see that and understand. Thank you for helping me.

    • I am an adoptee who had a reunion with my birth mother as well as met my biological sister 20 years ago. The reunion was emotional and joyful as we exchanged pictures and emails. We spent time in her town as well as mine to see each other in person. She met my children and picked out a grandmother name for them to call her. She was reluctant to tell her husband and children about me, but eventually she did. My biological sister visited me too during that time.

      Six years later, my husband and I were invited to my biological sister’s wedding. I was concerned about the fact that my presence would mean my birth mother would probably need to tell her and her ex-husband’s families about me as well as her friends. In the years preceding our reunion she had only told one person about me. I suggested to my bio sister that I be introduced as a friend of the family and she said no way. My birth mother seemed fine at the wedding although afterwards she did an about face in our relationship. She disappeared. Letters went unanswered and phone calls weren’t returned. She made trips to my home state but never contacted me. From time to time I was able to make contact but I think her feelings toward me had turned to dislike. In the meantime I found my biological father’s family and connected with them. Many of them live in the same hometown of my birth mother and bio sister. I recently returned from visiting them. I also visited with my bio sister and met her children who are 5 & 7. I didn’t contact my birth mother or make arrangements to see her, as she doesn’t seem to want me in her life anymore but I received this email from her the night before my trip. It had been years since I had heard from her. After sending it she went in person to see my bio sister and told her to have nothing more to do with me. She didn’t comply. It sounded like a secondary rejection–an attempt to roll the clock back 20 years. Here is her email.

      “Your sister tells me you plan to come to my hometown.
      I don’t feel that it’s good for me to see you. I frankly feel you have a need to punish me for my giving you up for adoption. Our relationship consists of you needing to “out” me in front of family and friends for my “sin”. Then I must constantly make amends to you. You are my judge and jury and I am unforgiven.

      I feel you truly hate me and have no compassion or understanding in your heart for me. It’s all about YOU.
      Now all you want to do is remind me and everyone who loves me what a terrible person I am. “Hey did you know your grandmother abandoned me when I was a baby. What do you think of that?”
      Be honest with yourself. You really don’t want to connect to our family but only to embarrass and punish me.
      I’m nearly 70 years old and I don’t need this. You really don’t need to come.”

      I enjoyed my trip, my sister, and my new family very much. However my birth mother’s letter shook me to the core. What happened? Why does she perceive me as a villain? I read “The Girls Who Went Away” to better understand her. Is there anything I can do except to walk away?

  30. and BTW as I indicated I worked in adoption. I have advocated for “open” adoption… advocated for every woman who placed their babies to be treated with utmost respect and many times protected them from an agency who only cared about “selling” their babies for 20-30 thousand a pop all while living in a million dollar home and calling their agency a “non – profit” but becoming “wealthy” off selling children and operating UNETHICALLY. I ultimately left and because I couldn’t be aligned with such unethical practices which i won’t go into. This agency was later shut down. I feel adoptions many times should be open if the birth mother wishes. I feel the system does NOT protect BM’s rights and it disgusts me. It also disgusts me our society basically has a black baby market and the usual person doesn’t seem to even be aware… most think BM’s are drug addicted poor women who are irresponsible and it’s a shame. BM’s are very much stigmatized and it’s NOT the reality of most BM’s. Most BM’s I worked with could of easily kept their babies. I felt I worked with the strongest women I have every met. Choosing adoption most the time was tremendously much more difficult then keeping a baby with the woman I worked with. Each of them were different but what was the same was their selflessness in their decisions. Also I think it’s horrible some agencies are living off of selling children. If most only knew what goes on “behind” the scenes of some agencies. I feel there should NOT be high fees in adoption. There should only be a feel that goes to the court. Humans shouldn’t be for sale. But this is a whole other topic. I’m only writing about this to demonstrate I’m not negative about BM’s but I’m upset about “my” situation.

  31. I am 50. My birth mother contacted me four years ago and after a year or two of writing letters we met. It was a wonderful experience. I felt “whole” and she told me many times she offered unconditional love. She lives on her own and has no family. My adoptive parents are no longer alive and I have no siblings.
    A couple of weeks ago I received an email (we’d moved on from paper and pen!) and my bm announced she no longer had feelings for me. She even went as far to tell me she couldn’t lie about her feelings. She had been “cold” for about 8 months and I couldn’t understand why. She even dropped the “love” that normally ended her emails or letters. I asked why she did this 8 months ago but my question was ignored until the other day when I asked for a second time. I was in a fog for a couple of days. Even though my bm could be cold and moody I never thought she would reject me. I didn’t think it was even possible for someone to do this a second time.
    I reached out (yet again) with a long email that expressed my pain. My bm’s reasons for the rejection were that I had failed to hug her on two visits. I explained I would dearly love to be able to hug her but she had explained to me she wasn’t a demonstrative person when it came to affection.
    My partner found this web site and sent me some blogs. Suddenly my mother’s rejection made sense to me. I think if I leave things as they are I shall never heard from my bm again. The real shame is she is alone and I think having someone in her time of life she can trust and be close to would be a wonderful experience. I looked after my “real” mother until her death two years ago. It hurts to think my bm wants to spend the rest of her life alone rather than with her only child.
    I have felt ashamed, embarrassed and rather lost the last few days. I’m an adult and not a child so I’m annoyed with myself that I am allowing such feelings. I’m hoping to learn from this experience and somehow not let it effect me in my other relationships I have with people. Easier said than done after this ordeal.
    Thanks for having this site.

  32. A lot of what this thread is saying makes me sad. As a 30 year old adoptee just starting to weigh the pros and cons of search and reunion, I don’t understand why an adoptee feels like the birth mother owes them a reunion. And I can’t understand why a birth mother would expect to be welcomed just because of biological ties. Finding her isn’t, for me, something that I require to feel whole, or loved. And if she has no desire to see or talk to me, that is something I will have to deal with when the time comes. I don’t think, or feel, that someone should/will/must/has to love another person just because they share DNA. The idea that someone with whom you’ve had no contact with over the several lifetimes that have passed since the relinquishment would drop everything, and have zero baggage, and be able to process something as huge as a reunion with their birth child/mother — to me, this sounds void of empathy. My ultimate fear is, if I pursue a reunion and just appear in my bm’s life, she will be mentally unprepared. My social worker warned me that I should be reading and preparing for all possible outcomes — but if you appear out of the blue, it’s impossible for her to have done the same. And if she’s inadequately prepared, or her life circumstances aren’t such that she feels supported and able to attempt a relationship with me, then I don’t foresee the reunion process ending well.

    She has yet to try and contact me, and I don’t know if I factor into her future plans at all, or if she is pretending I don’t exist, or what. But maybe I will meet her, and we will have nothing in common and nothing to say once the initial contact has been made. Neither of us owes the other anything at this point, except the same civility and respect I (and hopefully she, although I have no idea who she is or how she lives) would extend to any new acquaintance in my life.

  33. After reading so many entries here, I am simply terrified now to meet my birthson. I recently found him after 36 years of waiting and I don’t know what to do next. We are waiting confirmation of DNA, which will be no surprise. I can never get back those 36 years and I am realizing that it is not that someone just took care of him while I couldn’t. I am not coming back to get him……….as was my frame of mind for many many years. I don’t know how to act, what to say, how to feel, or anything. Am I allowed to love him?

    • Yes, you are allowed to love him. In fact I would say that is unavoidable, it’s whether you feel worthy of feeling it or worthy of his love? Lots of moms shut off form the emotions to survive them. so reunion is often just not meeting your child again, but a reunion with your own feelings again. Keep reading others stories.. you need to know that it’s normal and what to expect as normality! The terror comes with the territory. We ALL feel that way and usually the adoptee too! Have you gone to the blog list? There is plenty to read!! And read adoptee blogs too!!

  34. I appreciate your need to make us “feel better” about the rejection, but you don’t need to make us feel better. The “it’s not you, it’s me” and “I had to shut you out because the pain was too difficult to bear” is a cowardly cop out. It is unacceptable! Don’t try to analyze the birthmother who commits this horrid offense. Don’t try to make excuses. Your child is just that and to not acknowledge him/her is morally wrong. I’m sorry for birthmothers who regret their decision, but even 40 – 50 years ago, they did have a choice. The child has to live with the fact that his/her own mother didn’t even want him/her. The closed adoptions are cop outs and have shaped adoptees and traumatized them. The first step in recovery is to admit you made the choice and stop blaming others. I would hope these weak cowardly and even traumatized women would eventually admit what they did, accept the adoptee and acknowledge their existence so that everyone can move on from the hideous emotional rollercoaster!

    • Sue, I completely agree that rejecting the adoptee is morally wrong. But I cannot say that it is making excuses, it is a sad fact that this is the legacy of adoption.. the damage it does to mothers and adoptees and then continues to enact during reunions continues to hurt. I completely respect and understand that the adoptee does feel abandoned by their mother’s surrendering and those feelings are real and valid and I can also acknowledge that there are those mothers that are, for whatever reason cold and did not really want their child, BUT there is no way that I can EVER say that ALL mothers really had a choice especially form the closed adoption era. Even many of the younger mothers form the past 30 years were placed up against a true brick wall and when the adoption machine had it’s way, they didn’t have much of a real choice either.
      Some realities and responsibility can be personally taken, but to place the full responsibility of the relinquishment on the mother as if she really had a full choice? No. I say it better here: http://www.adoptionbirthmothers.com/i-own-it-making-mistakes-accepting-responsibility-and-regret/

  35. I’ve brought many adoptee’s to reunion, and in the early stages they will commonly share their experiences. In most every case, the experience is a happy one. Yes, there can be some hurdles to overcome, but for the most part everyone seems happy. Now I must add that it’s quite rare for me to get updates from them years into the process, so it’s quite interesting for me to hear the stories like John’s, where things fell apart 4 years int. I to battled with reunion issues. That sucked, and I felt like I somehow personally failed in my own reunion. Here I was bringing all these people to the happy fairytale endings, yet my own journey ended in quiet rejection, not once but twice. Yes, I tried again after years of silence, only to be left at the alter for a second time. Not a word since, and honestly, I’m okay with that. No regrets. Not saying it didn’t sting, but it is what it is.
    For years I felt that perhaps my expectations were unreasonable. That I was looking for that fairytale, and the further it got from me, the more I clung to it. I felt I was unfairly seeking something, though I still can’t put into words what that may have been. Years later, and I mean like 10 years, I was able to put the entire matter to rest. That was maybe 5 years ago, and I’ve pretty much been out of the adoption circle since. Now, re-entering the search/reunion arena, I’ve had to revisit some of those un-pleasantries. I’ve had to deliver one very cold and outright rejection, and a second rejection with slightly less teeth in it as she was at least willing to share b-dad info, but I digress. My point is while revisiting my own rejection, and doing a little research like reading this blog, I feel differently about it the entire matter.
    Maybe the best way to describe is reunion can be compared to going on a blind date. (overly simple, but just play along) Two people who don’t really know one another, are put together through extenuating circumstances, with the near expectation that things will just click. For some reunions, just like some blind dates, a relationship is hatched or not. And just like in many new relationships, there is a honeymoon stage where things seem to click as initially expected. And again, as in most relationships, the honeymoon ends and things get real. I somehow skipped that honeymoon stage, as it seemed we struggled to make things work from the onset, but you get the point. Nothing should be expected. It may or may not happen. Now I will say that one thing I think should be expected, is the exchange of medical history and b-dad’s info. Yes, this means dredging up some crap for b-mom, but it’s really the only fair thing. That said, I’d be interested to hear opinions of that expectation from the b-mom perspective. Does the adoptee have an almost ‘right’ to b-dad info. What if adoptee is by some horrible circumstance the product of a rape? Is it somehow now okay to keep that information from them? I understand (now) the reason some women may just shut down. But to say no, and then keep b-dad info as well, now that’s just being mean. I’ve been learning quite a bit since finding this page, so maybe someone can help me understand this specific issue.

    • Personally, I feel very strongly that the adoptee has the right to know ALL information about their fathers. It is Wrong ( with a caopital W) for a mother to withhold this information under ANY circumstances.

      More thoughts here: http://www.adoptionbirthmothers.com/the-unknown-father-in-adoption/

    • From this natural mother’s perspective, Yes Yes, 100% Yes, adoptees have/should have absolute right to their natural father’s name or, if name unknown, any information remembered, i.e. school attended, in military/branch of service, what kind of car they drove. Many of us were absolutely sickened because the father’s name was not allowed or was removed from our child’s birth certificate. If a mother dies before contact occurs and takes the information about the father to the grave, I don’t believe there is any option for a mother (or father) to legally preserve that information so it is **guaranteed** to be given to their son or daughter should they want it. Extended family members or friends can die or change, forget and withhold information too. To me, it is morally wrong to withhold true parentage information from another human being when. it. is. known. I understand that sometimes it is not known due to rape, or a one night, possibly inebriated fling, or memory loss due to health or aging. Not forgetting that one or both parents names can be or are hidden/unknown due to lies on paperwork, or ‘safe haven’, or the donor bank or clinic or agencies or whomever destroyed records. Keeping information hidden (when known or recorded) about either or both parents by -anyone- creates unnecessary pain and suffering for the adoptee and their descendant’s, as well as donor conceived, surrogate, etc.

      With medical information, as much as is known, should be shared with the adoptee and (while adoptee is young) the adoptive parents. It saddened me that I was not permitted to fill out a medical update form for my missing in closed adoption son. I did not want to do -that- to search or for contact. That was to give him/them information that might be needed for his and his possible children’s benefit. Nothing more.

      note: I do understand that in circumstances involving rape/violence against the mother that there can be a possible current or imminent danger to the mother. To me that is something that needs to be handled with great care and consideration for the mother (and possibly the adult son or daughter’s welfare) Question for adoptees. In those circumstances, is knowing your father’s name worth your mother’s health or life?

  36. My bio son abruptly cut our relationship off after a very intense “honeymoon” phase. I was devastated over the way he did this. It was very cruel and cold. I did not see it coming. Everyone in my life knew about him and our reunion. His actions to end things affected many people, not just me. I am surprised that there is so much tolerance for the lack of basic human kindness when reunions go wrong. I think both parties have a fundamental responsibility to be kind and to “do the right thing” when ending things. Adoptees and Biomom’s should be encouraged to avoid initiating a reunion until they are willing to accept that they may have to engage in uncomfortable conversations when the going gets rough. I honor my sons need to live out his life without me after all. It’s painful but I really do respect his path. What causes me intense, ongoing emotional pain that can’t seem to heal is his decision to do so in the way that he did. We both would have benefited from an honest, loving conversation about the end of our relationship. Leaving in the way that he did created another wound that can’t heal. Adoptees are the biggest losers. My heart aches for my son. I know he is doing his best but sometimes I read these blogs and opinions and I think he must feel encouraged to act the way he did. So justified! the Biomom is shit! who cares what she wants or needs! But really, that attitude will only cause hurt and pain to the giver and the receiver. Love and understanding are the only antidote. I love my son and wish him every happiness. I’m sad he rejected me. It would have been easier for me to move on if he had released me with some kind words.

  37. Addition to above post:
    It would have been easier for him to move on, too. We are no longer in a relationship but I am in contact with others who know him and I see and hear evidence he is not doing so well in some of his primary relationships. It’s all connected. We are all connected. We are all on this journey together. We can chose to heal, to love, to support and to be kind in all ways and to the best of our ability…or not!!!!! Encouraging adoptees and biomoms to act with integrity when entering a reunion will pay dividends. WE don’t get a pass because we were hurt before. We both got hurt. It’s no (good) excuse for hurting again.

  38. For many the reunion can start well enough. Every one wants to be liked and initially feel positive by getting a friendly reception. Then reality sets in, each bio mum and adoptee has their current family and its demands which is made positive by the shared history. Neither really has a place for the new arrival and how different and alien this other person who has no shared past formation once the curiosity factor is satisfied. In fact the meeting can confirm how their established network is with whom they have more in common with and because of the bio relationship it feels more pressured to find a space for the new related stranger, hence the door closing and return to ones real normal. The only problem is that of this mother /child dyad the withdrawal doesn’t always occur in sync. The differences the first to withdraw has found in their bio relative that aren’t palatable from what they’ve become accustomed to are often what can be said and could sound far more cruel than the little or nothing said. Hence the retreats and negligable explanations. Or even without cutting off the awkwardness in trying to allow a supposed bio the role of an aqaintance plus neither know the nuances of the others 20-40 yr social world constructs.
    The best approach would be to request a set number of meetings with a set purpose for each and assumption that would be it. Beyond that some emails or letters shared around 4 times a year at most if still interestedover the following year.That applying to any other bio relations if met.If the year after any persons truly click then meet as fits.This allows for time to let thoughts and feelings to settle and clarify with the perspective of distance and security of being in ones usual social world. Adoption reunions realistically are about filling in information gaps, curiosity and dispelling myths both adoptee and bio mum may have fabricated, not reconnecting or getting personal affirmation. The reality os that there are just as many people raised in biological families where either parent or child are stunned by how alien their child or parents are in values and behaviours.

  39. Mathew Eaton | February 1, 2015 at 9:49 am |

    I am a 42 year-old adoptee and have once again convinced my self it is time to begin the search for my birthmother. I say once again because this is not the first time I have made this decision, I just never seem to be able to follow through. Fortunately, I am in a stable relationship with a loving and supportive woman and have a great counselor that I see regularly. Both agree that it is time and are on board wholeheartedly. Frankly, I’m sick of living like this (with shame and fear) and need to move forward with my life. Wherever this journey may take me, “good” or “bad,” it’s time. I’m wondering if any of you might be able to offer advice about resources to initiate a search and any other support that may be available along the way? Thanks so much.

  40. As an adoptee and adoption activist – I wish more adoptees knew that “rejection” may be untrue.

    My state has a real ugly system. Adult adoptees can only petition the county court that finalized their adoption for the release of their adoption records and original birth certificates – even if they weren’t born in that county or even that state. Some county judges do it on demand; some only in the event of a medical emergency such as a bone marrow transplant; and others offer the option of hiring a “court-appointed intermediary” who will (supposedly) track down their birthparents and get their permission to be contacted by the adoptee.

    I can’t tell you how many adoptees AND birthparents have been ripped off and lied to by these “court appointed intermediaries.” Adoptees have been told their birthparents requested no contact, and had their request for records denied, when in fact the birthparents were never contacted at all. Those who continue the search anyway on their own often find that their birthparent never received a call or letter from an intermediary, and would have been overjoyed if they had. Birthparents who petition the court are told the same – that their adoptee doesn’t want contact. These intermediaries took the money from the judge, sat on it for awhile, and then sent a regretful note to the court that the birthparents don’t want contact with the child they relinquished.

    Never hire a court-appointed intermediary. Never.

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