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Hi. I am in a state of emotional crisis after my mother's recent disclosure of having a daughter out of wedlock in 1970 and giving her up for adoption. I am 33 years old and was never told of this person's existence until she initiated contact with my mother. While my mom had previously decided to take this secret to her grave and never inform me or my full sister, she immediately began having near daily phone contact with this person, has visited her several times, calls adopted daughter's children her grandchildren. They only started having contact 3 months ago.
I am struggling mightily to cope with and accept this situation. I was raised the first born child in my family and it has been an identity crisis of such to discover that there was another one before me. Also, my mother is very critical of my feelings of betrayal, sadness, fear that our relationship will never recover this situation. I am in therapy, but can't seem to work things out with my mom so that we can even talk about this without fighting. She tells me that I should be happy for her, and should just decide not to be upset any more. I can't just stuff my own feelings like that. I feel like she is cheating on me with another daughter and I can't find any source of support from others who may have gone through something similar.
I am hoping that someone out there will see this and offer me some contructive advice as to how to mend my relationship with my mom and come to terms with this person who seems to be replacing me in my own family.
Having a rough day....I just don't feel as if I fit in with my birthfamily or adoptive family....as hard as i try to....i think i have to come to the realization that i never will.
I have a family of my own...husband and kids and inlaws...and thank God for them...because i just always feel rejected by my other two families.
It's so hard when you always have to be the one to do the calling and gift giving....and never to be on the receiving end.
I just wish for once that someone in either of these families would just pick up the phone and say we love you and care about you......Brenda
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Hello friends - Ive been on and off this list since about 2005. Im going to TRY to keep this short for now just to see if anyone is interested in sharing their feelings with me. (sorry-did not happen:)
The facts briefly - I placed my birthdaughter for adoption thru Catholic Charities at birth. Never ALLOWED to see her or touch her from the moment she was born. THEY SAY I signed a form giving them custody to foster her...
That was 1965. I was a single mom at the time with a young baby son already (by the same father, not that it really matters with this situation). My parents were helping me raise him and they were adamant about me giving her up...ie, no more help from them. This was the early 60s folks and there were no agencies knocking at my door to help me raise my babies so I did what i had to do (actually I was coerced since they threatened to apply for custody of my baby son if I did not put babygirl up for adoption). Thats the basics. I was shunned my entire young adulthood by being a SINGLE MOM.
Life went on. We all grew up. Told son about his birthsister when he was about 40 !!!!!! 7 yrs ago -please dont judge me on that....at the time he was shocked but NOT UPSET....his wife is adopted so he felt he was somewhat familiar with the adoptees situation......there was no earthly reason totell him since ther was no hope of every reuniting etc. so I was told. My family knew but no one EVER said a word about her to me, never....or to him :((((
In 2007 when babygirl was 42 she completed her SEARCH for me and we contacted each other thru email only...its 2011 and that is all we have done. I myself had started a search in 92-93 thru CC but I did not have the funds to complete it so got no where :(
It was actually MY CONTACT BACK THEN that had me on record with CC so when BD started their search for HER they basically connected the dots (for a lot of money and 2 yrs of time !!!
I informed my son within 2 days of her contacting me back in 07 - he was a grown man, wife, 2 young children...he showed NO INTEREST in meeting her...and to this day...2011 he has NEVER mentioned her once to me. Never. Only comment I ever got 2nd hand was that she had not been a part of his life for 42 yrs so why start now???? THAT DOES NOT SOUND LIKE HIM AT ALL SO I AM SURE THERE IS SOME UNDERLYING FEAR THAT IS HALTING HIM, or I hope that is the reason.
This is still the way it is....SHE on the other hand feels that I should DO SOMETHING to make him understand how much she wants to meet him. Her last note to me on Xmas eve said that SHE FELT I was holding him back and that she MITE contact him on her own....I DID NOT LIKE THAT AT ALL...it felt like I was being threatened but it also sounded very mean and uncaring. She has to understand that others may not be as comfortable with this..............afterall it was HER SEARCH. I am thrilled she did it, but I dont want anyone FORCED into a REUNION. HOW DOES ONE MAKE A 47 YR OLD MAN DO ANYTHING...he is either interested in the reunion or not. Im sure he is concerned how he will present this to his children (ages 11-14) - I SAID WHY NOT THE TRUTH...they r smart kids and they have been exposed to many adoptive friends in their lifetime (own mom is adopted).....its not the SIN it was back in the 60s.
OK, sorry bout that :(
I have had periods of euphoria in the first two years where birthgirl and i talked a lot, email, photos, met grandson via phone but not in person back then...and then...bekuz SON-brother has not shown any interest she is backing down from meeting JUST me. She wants to be accepted and I understand that. Ive spoken to my siblings who are all up there in years (as I am 60+) they mostly r comfortable with her IF son is open and agrees to it all. Basically they think HE NEEDS TO GIVE US PERMISSION. I feel this is unfair. I was thrilled after a 42 yr absence of her in my life,but always on my mind...and they knew about her from day one so its not a shock to them now...they just feel UNEASY. She has no siblings...no one and has wanted to meet HER BLOOD ROOTS FAMILY since 2005...and we are still doing this dance.
I had a great, close relationship with my son, or so I thought..but I feel he is avoiding me now...dont see them often etc. Ifeel like a sneek and liar around his kids...knowing they have a REAL AUNT AND COUSIN that they could know and love and have for when they themselves get old after we are all gone...ITS CALLED FAMILY. They accept everyone from their moms adoptive family as THEIR OWN...can u c why this hurts me now.
I am driving myself nuts with all of this. My DIL would not mind meeding my BD but says she cannot go against what my son, her husband, dictates. They have both told me NOT to discuss this around their kids.....so that also means that I STILL NEED TO HIDE AND KEEP MY BIRTHDAUGHTER A SECRET LIKE SINCE THE 60S EVEN NOW WHEN I AM AROUND FAMILY AND FRIENDS.
BD IS MUCH LESS COMMUNICATIVE NOW...IS UPSET THAT SHE TOLD HER OWN SON ABOUT ;ME; years ago when she first shared that she herself was adopted...she so felt that this would all end up in a happy family reunion. I do feel sorry for her and how this has turned out in that respect. AND NOW I HAVE NOT SHOWN UP IN PERSON TO MEET HIM - for 2 yrs I sent gifts and cards but she told me she was uncomfortable dealing with a 'ghost (me)' so it was better to just discontinue that......they live a long way from me...not an easy task with the miles apart....700 more miles.............I have offered to have her meet me here, or even at an airport if she wanted & Id pay her way...just to MEET...but she wants a Happy Reunion with her BROTHER AND OTHER FAMILY ALSO....I cant offer her that now and I feel like I am being punished.
HER ORIGINAL SEARCH WAS FOR HER BIRTHMOM AND NOW IT HAS TO INCLUDE EVERYONE...that would be wonderful but cant we take babysteps. ive been offering this to her for YEARS..but it has to be all or nothing it seems.
Im sorry that this is so jumbled up...it is very late (3am)and I had no intentions of writing but after reading the post before mine it all seemed so similar. The BAD GIRLS OF THE 60S are now approaching 70 yrs old - it would be nice if WE TOO could have some closure.......duz not seem fair that all this is happening at this time of my life. My BD had a WONDERFUL CHILDHOOD, GREAT MARRIAGE NOW WITH GORGEOUS 6 YR OLD...her life has been good but she is still somewhat bitter about...why I gave HER away and KEPT HIM. Im not so sure about them ever meeting if that is her mentality. He had no choice in the matter...he was under a year old when all this happened...nor did I as I was not about to TRADE IN my son for my new babygirl.
WHEW...can u tell I am still very much upset.
Peace to all..........bfuddled
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Bfuddled-
I want to interject some ideas from an adoptee. After 3 years in reunion, I discovered that my birthmother had not told her family about me even though she contacted me and then wanted to have a relationship with me and my kids. She sent presents to my kids and wanted them to call her grandma. When I found out she had kept this a secret from her family I was extremely hurt. It made me feel like she was ashamed of me. I wanted my birthmom to stand up for me and be proud to say that she was happy to have me in her life - even if that was somewhat embarrassing for her or her family. For my birthfamily at least it was the embarassment of having a child out of wedlock that made them make the adoption plan in the first place. I will admit that I wanted her to put me before her feelings of shame this time. I am a person and not simply an event. Maybe this is what your birthdaughter wants too. Maybe its not so much meeting the extended family as it is you advocating for her to your family. You're right that you can't force a relationship on other family memebers, but if you can't even openly talk about her or stand up for your right to talk about her, how are they ever going to accept her. Acceptance is very important for a lot of adoptees and to know you are being rejected by the whole family can be very hard to take.
Also, maybe you need to see what it is that is really bothering your son. Maybe he feels like she is taking his place in the family or you won't love him as much now. Maybe he needs time to adjust and reassurance from you that your relationship with him will never change no matter what. Maybe he simply has no interest in a sibling, but communication is important. Noone should force him to have a realtionship he doesn't want but he shouldn't force you to be quiet about your birthdaughter either.
Also why not let her contact him directly? He is 47 and can tell her himself if he doesn't want a relationship. That way you are not in the middle of that situation.
I'm sure you're trying hard. Reunion is difficult for everyone. Good luck and I hope you work things out.
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Bfuddled,
I'm always saying how I'm glad the Internet wasn't in full swing when I reunited with my son (1990). I've seen way too many adoptees and birth/first mothers rely on the Internet, specifically email, to stay in touch...instead of meeting face to face or even talking to each other on the telephone. While I understand that technology has changed our world, I still think the old ways are best when it comes to developing long-term relationships.
If I were you, I'd examine just why you are so frightened of your daughter directly contacting your son. They're both well into adulthood, and IMHO they should be handling this stuff on their own. If my son had refused to meet me unless I introduced him to certain family members on the very first face-to-face meeting, I would have felt that he was taking me hostage. Boundaries are fine and can be healthy when used wisely, but they can also be used as a form of manipulation. Although I don't know the whole story, it sounds to me like a bit of manipulation is going on here.
Has your daughter ever expressed any interest at all in actually meeting you in real life? Or is a face-to-face reunion only possible if she meets her brother at the same time? If so, I think that's an unfair demand on her part. But then I'm always advising adoptees and birth parents to reunite first before bringing other family members into the picture.
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Bfuddled, I agree with Ravensong. Your children are adults. Your natural daughter has every right to contact her brother. That part of the relationship is about the two of them and is between the two of them. You don't need to be involved if you don't desire to be. My experience is that there is a certain amount of manipulation that occurs. My theory is that the adopted child needs to see just how important they are in your life....kind of "where do I rank?"
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OH GEESH..I hope I am doing this correctly - I wanted to add just a short note regarding my post before and I can only REPLY it seems..
THANKS FOR YOUR OPINIONS...I need to clarify I think or perhaps check my wording....I AM NOT controlling their meeting...as I see it I am being used as the pawn every time I, YES I, suggest that my BD and I meet...she brings all the other REASONS that I have no control over into play...its ok, I have been dealing with this behavior for years now and can see clearly that it is a tool.......Im just frustrated and feel that the Search and REUNION effort was initially for me, to meet ME...that has not happened yet other then email, mail and phone............since 2007. Ill be back later, but again, thank you.
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hhdavis29
Bfuddled, I agree with Ravensong. Your children are adults. Your natural daughter has every right to contact her brother.>>>>>
IF she contacts him against his will then I feel that is a violation of his privacy...yes? no? .... and it certainly wont help her point.
That part of the relationship is about the two of them and is between the two of them. You don't need to be involved if you don't desire to be. >>>>>
CORRECT- but I am being forced into being the go between by her......its stalling as i see it.
<<<My experience is that there is a certain amount of manipulation that occurs.>>>
NOT SURE WHO U FEEL IS DOING THE MANIPULATING..but I am the one being issued the ultimatums :(
<<<<My theory is that the adopted child needs to see just how important they are in your life....kind of "where do I rank?"
>>>>
I dont mean to sound cruel or uncaring but after someone has been out of my life for 45 years - remember now, I had no choice but to surrender her...am I being blamed here for that? No, I do not have the same feelings for a stranger as I do for someone that Ive shared my entire life with...how could I.....I was thrilled at the idea of starting a life with her, as I said before...but I cant go back and make it all better....Im sure this sounds curt, but I am being relistic..we either pick up from here or we go no where...she was a memory to me, I never saw her, not once.................how can I possibly hold the same emotions. That does NOT mean I am not willing to try to put together a life for us now, but she cannot direct the moves............mutual respect and understanding. I am being blamed bekuz I was able to keep him and not her....she is upset with my dead parents for that decision etc.............Im too old to go back and dig up all that past.....have rehashed it now for 3 years. Need a new beginning. Im sorry, Im rushing thru this right now...we can chat more later tonite maybe. Thank u for sharing your thoughts. I dont need TOUGH LOVE right now, I need understanding and suggestions..and so does she ( but she prefers to think she can handle this all on her own making suggestions along the way that the REST OF US have problems???) sorry, bye for now.:thanks:
<<<If I were you, I'd examine just why you are so frightened of your daughter directly contacting your son. They're both well into adulthood, and IMHO they should be handling this stuff on their own.>>>>
Hello, I wrote u a reply and lost it somehow so starting over with this less planned one:grr:
Fact= HE has no interest. She cannot force that. Am I concerned...YES. He is obviously upset and I am the reason for it all I suppose (birthed them both). My life has been built around my only son and his family, not the child I had to 'giveup'..am I afraid of losing him..YES. Does that not make any sense to anyone. AGAIN...i am not standing in their way - I am just not paving the way.:cop:
<<<I'm always saying how I'm glad the Internet wasn't in full swing when I reunited with my son (1990). I've seen way too many adoptees and birth/first mothers rely on the Internet, specifically email, to stay in touch...instead of meeting face to face or even talking to each other on the telephone. While I understand that technology has changed our world, I still think the old ways are best when it comes to developing long-term relationships.>>>>
I AGREE TO A CERTAIN EXTENT...but I have not refused to meet her face to face..and I have spoken many times on the phone (and under her specific time constraints etc) she is the one calling the shots - not me:cowboy:
<<snip>>
<<<< If my son had refused to meet me unless I introduced him to certain family members on the very first face-to-face meeting, I would have felt that he was taking me hostage. Boundaries are fine and can be healthy when used wisely, but they can also be used as a form of manipulation. >>>
IM NOT SURE WHO U THINK THE HOSTAGE IS HERE :D
As I tried to state before...initially this whole REUNION was about my BD and ME....but as time has gone by and she has continually brought my son into the picture...why, when and whynot??? ... I am being told ...TOLD...how I should address 'her' to him - things I need to present to him, reasons, feelings etc all issued by her (now after 3 years)...she will not accept the fact that he does not have any interest. I AM GETTING WEARY realizing that I am spending all this energy trying to explain to her that HE is not interested. YOU SUGGEST THEY WORK IT OUT....hmmm. Yes, makes sense to a degree. But if one is a SILENT PARTNER it wont go very far will it. And of course his silence is all because of me:hissy: MANIPULATION - ULTIMATUMS ..nope, I am not going to be played with now, not at this stage. I swear I almost lost my mind when she contacted me thru the CC but with glee not horror. My feeling is if she wants to contact him, go for it..............I am not giving her the contact info tho...as u say all that is now available thru the web.....and that way I am not intefering. BUT DONT U SEE NOW that the rules have changed in this game.....she is now wanting to bring in the whole family it seems...a stall tactic perhaps,, our of fear on her part (maybe) but there is only so much one can take. I am wearing down:grr:
<<<Although I don't know the whole story, it sounds to me like a bit of manipulation is going on here.>>>
<<<Has your daughter ever expressed any interest at all in actually meeting you in real life? >>>
Yes, she was so excited in the beginning, in 07. Overly excited...honeymoon stage etc....unreal. My instructions ;) were to fly down and stay with them. NO WAY was I doing that and I couldnt anyway due to healht reasons...she was told this. But I have offered over and over for her, alone or with DH and son, to come back here to the state she lived in for so many years, MD, and we could spend as much time as she wanted......at a motel, or a friends home...not here, was not a suggestion at first. She had a million reasons thru the years for it not happening. Now, this past xmas after I sent her a card...she ACCUSED ME of being overly emoitonally due to the Holiday Season :(
She completely ignored my requests again to meet her here.............and once again started up with a LIST of things that SHE FELT I must do b4 she would consider going forth with our actual meeting. I AM DEAD SERIOUS..a LIST for me. One of those things was that I re contact my son and once again ask him JUST WHY he did not want to meet her.........???? Then she started analyzing him, me, my family for our feelings towards the reunion.............I had to refrain from further contact as I was BOILING MAD at that point. I wont be controlled nor forced. She initiated the Search...I didnt this time..that does sound cruel...but again, surely she had to know that her big surprise would take everyone off guard..and surely she had to know that after a lifetime many people mite be hesitant....(my family really does not care if they meet her or not but she wants them to) Again, this CHILD of mine was never discussed my my family in 45 years ...they all have their own lives, grown kids and grandkids...so I assume they r concered about how they handle all of those past SECRETS on their end. I m not telling them what to do.......I AM AND WAS THRILLED AT THE THOUGHT OF SHARING MY LAST YEARS ON THIS EARTH WITH HER PART OF IT...in so many ways I was fantasizing I guess....
<<<<Or is a face-to-face reunion only possible if she meets her brother at the same time? >>>>
If so, I think that's an unfair demand on her part. But then I'm always advising adoptees and birth parents to reunite first before bringing other family members into the picture.>>>>
THANK YOU ...seriously. If not for the fact that my SON has two children of his own that he has chosen not to share this story with....then I would openly discuss my birthdaughter at gatherings with my family. Im not afraid nor ashamed. BUT truthfully....it would not be wise, fair or kind of me to begin talking about my DAUGHTER in front of my two GKids when they have not been informed first. I feel that is RESPECT...and yes, also, if I did do that now, my son would just pack up and walk away with them..............who do u think means more to me in my life as it is now...be honest:flower:
HELLO & THANK U FOR REPLYING TO MY NOTE....I dont want to rush thru my reply back to you ( I just sent in 3 other replies & forgot to include the quotes so I hope they make sense to the people who sent them to me:(
I do see the situation on my end different then what u r experiencing...so let me explain in a bit...again, thanks for your thoughts.
:hippie:
spotty19
Bfuddled-
I want to interject some ideas from an adoptee. After 3 years in reunion, I discovered that my birthmother had not told her family about me even though she contacted me and then wanted to have a relationship with me and my kids. She sent presents to my kids and wanted them to call her grandma. When I found out she had kept this a secret from her family I was extremely hurt. It made me feel like she was ashamed of me. I wanted my birthmom to stand up for me and be proud to say that she was happy to have me in her life - even if that was somewhat embarrassing for her or her family. For my birthfamily at least it was the embarassment of having a child out of wedlock that made them make the adoption plan in the first place. I will admit that I wanted her to put me before her feelings of shame this time. I am a person and not simply an event. Maybe this is what your birthdaughter wants too. Maybe its not so much meeting the extended family as it is you advocating for her to your family. You're right that you can't force a relationship on other family memebers, but if you can't even openly talk about her or stand up for your right to talk about her, how are they ever going to accept her. Acceptance is very important for a lot of adoptees and to know you are being rejected by the whole family can be very hard to take.
Also, maybe you need to see what it is that is really bothering your son. Maybe he feels like she is taking his place in the family or you won't love him as much now. Maybe he needs time to adjust and reassurance from you that your relationship with him will never change no matter what. Maybe he simply has no interest in a sibling, but communication is important. Noone should force him to have a realtionship he doesn't want but he shouldn't force you to be quiet about your birthdaughter either.
Also why not let her contact him directly? He is 47 and can tell her himself if he doesn't want a relationship. That way you are not in the middle of that situation.
I'm sure you're trying hard. Reunion is difficult for everyone. Good luck and I hope you work things out.
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Knittygirl....you do not have to be in a relationship with anyone you don't want to. Anymore, then I don't want to be in a relationship with most of my birthsiblings. (I have yet to meet any of them in person, and only talked to one on the phone, email several times..
It sounds like you feel replaced. I am sorry you feel that way. I can understand that it must be shocking to have your mother drop this in your lap and to also accept her not be able to hear how this makes you feel.
If you are not willing to engage in a relationship with this sibling now that's understandable and it probably wouldn't go well. Give you mother some time and hopefully when she is not so caught up in trying to make up for many years that have passed; she will be able to hear you.
Good luck.
It will take you time to absorb & put all of this in it's proper place. My husband has a b-daughter that he is rejective of so far, it took his son over 10 years to gain acceptance & now they are close & he publicly acknowledges her as his sister. Hope that you are able to work it out however is best for you.
Has anyone else meet an older birth sister who wasn't adopted ? Mine has been a nightmare. very jealous and mean. an emotional manipulator. I am so lost at how to deal with this. it has been 10 years since contact and been trying to figure her out since ( pretty sure she is seriously mentally ill and an alcoholic too ) i keep hoping things will change but dont think this person is mentally healthy enuff for any kind of relationship. i can understand someone not liking you or maybe not wanting to continue a relationship. but to deliberately try to hurt someone and tear them down is mind boggling to me. I do have other siblings i have formed a healthy bond with. I also found a half brother who is same mother as the sister who had made some pretty inappropriate sexual comments to me the first few years in reunion. i dont know what do too im so confused and was NOT prepared for the mess i found. but i keep hope things will change ??? sorry for the rant
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Knittygirl,
I just wanted to reach out to say thank you for starting this thread. Reading through your journey and that of other posters here has been immensely helpful in navigating my own feelings about my father’s announcement of a daughter born 15 years before I was (which rocked me to my core as being the first born daughter had always been so central to my identity). I have been feeling confused, bitter, scared, resentful, jealous, curious, angry, and a multitude of other emotions, and have had difficult sorting through these feelings and my guilt over having them when of course his other daughter deserves a place in his life. I deeply admire your willingness to share your story, and particularly your thoughtful, clear responses to feedback which was not always generous to you. Your sharing of your experiences, and engagement with this feedback, has helped me process so much. I feel much more at peace with my emotions knowing I’m not alone in them. Thank you for giving me this comfort in a time of deep emotional upheaval. <3
Knittygirl,
I just came on here to say thank you so much for sharing your story. I so admire your bravery in telling your story and believing that others out there would either have experienced something similar or have insights to offer that might help you. Reading through your experience with this process (and that of other posters here) has really helped me in processing my feelings in learning that my father has a daughter 15 years my senior. I, too, realise (now) that my identity has been deeply enmeshed in being the eldest, the firstborn daughter, my dad's first child, and this news really does feel like an earthquake. I feel grief, and I also feel angry, numb, resentful, curious, bitter, and a multitude of other emotions, on top of guilt for feeling them when of course this woman deserves a place in my father's life. I'm struggling to process this and find a way to move forward that feels productive and kind but also true to myself, and reading your experience has helped me feel that I am not alone, that my feelings are valid, and that there is room for me to ask for more understanding from my family on this point. I especially admire you continuing to respond to posts from different viewpoints here - you stayed true to yourself but managed to articulate your thoughts carefully and kindly, even when your very personal feelings were not always met with generosity. I really appreciate your continued engagement because it has given me a frame of reference for so much of what I feel, and helped me navigate my own emotions on this subject. Thank you for giving me this gift, I hope you have found some peace with your situation <3