Hello, I'm new to this forum and am looking for a bit of advice. I find that there is not much support for spouses of adoptees, searching the internet or groups in my city. I believe adoption affects everyone involved.
I have been with my husband for 4 years and we have an 18 month old daughter. Up until the birth of our child, his adoption impacted me somewhat, given that it was a totally new and unique situation for me as I am from a very close knit family, but it never really that much bothered me that much. It wasn't until our daughter was born that I have been somewhat feeling anger and resentment.
He has never wanted to talk about it and is emotionally detached and closed off regarding his adoption. He claims he had a great life, he's successful in every aspect of his life and nothing much ever really bothers him. His adoptive family are in my opinion, very strange, with his mother being sick for most of his life. I'm really not quite sure what with and even doctors have never given a definitive answer to her medical problems. I get the impression that his father had to do pretty much everything while his mother was most of the time bedridden or in the hospital. I guess they provided him with everything but there's no real close attachment or bond there when they present as a family. His adopted brother has mental health issues and they definately aren't close at all. They live in another city and when they came to visit recently, I really found myself disliking them and it wasn't just a normal in law annoyance, it felt like genuine dislike. I don't know them that well because they live on the other side of the country but they are selfish, rude, closed off people. His mother just talks about herself all the time and her health issues, his dad just sits there all meek and mild and laughing nervously. They came to spend time with their granddaughter which is fine but it was so ridiculous and over the top the way they spent time with her and interacted with her, I found myself wanting to take her away from them. His mother started comparing my daughter's curly hair to hers when she was a baby, going on and on about how much she looked like my husband blah blah blah. They have never asked much about me, and wouldn't really know anything about me, it's almost like I'm nothing and I've just happened to give birth to this beautiful little girl and that's all they care about. They were rude to my parents when they first met and my husband is always making excuses for them, saying that they don't mean to be the way they are and his mother doesn't communicate all that well etc etc.
When our daughter was born, I had to ask his mother for his adoption papers so I could find out some medical information so I would know of any medical problems for our daughter. That's all well and good but given he was born in 1980 and it's now 2013 I would say it's pretty much useless. There was brief bio on his birth mother and her family and his birth father doesn't even know he exists.
Now for the issues regarding this, I feel that he has attachment issues and emotional issues with me and our daughter. Numerous times I have tried to bring this up with him and even though he is 99% of the time a very loving and caring spouse and father, I've always felt there is something not quite right between us. Like he can't fully get close to me or anyone. I have tried to talk many times about how he feels, and about any issues he might feel surrounding his adoption and the birth of our daughter. Every time I try and do this he gets angry and upset and tells me he's had to live with it for 34 years of his life and he's dealt with it and there will be no further discussion regarding it. I try not to force the issue but sometimes when something happens I feel that it needs to be spoken about. He has no interest in finding out who his birth mother is and has made it clear. That is fine as I would never force him to and have never pressed the issue as that would be incredibly selfish of me to do so.
I feel sad and angry sometimes. I don't know if it's because I'm now a mother and I think how can someone just give up their baby regardless of their situation or is it because I don't like his adoptive parents and believe that he really didn't have such a great childhood as he claims to have had? I feel sad for our daughter as she will never know her family history on my husband's side and feel that one day she will too ask questions regarding this. I feel sad for my husband as he had a very "different" upbringing and never got to experience that close family bond, comparing yourself to your parents and other family members, little things like that. A lot of the time I feel he just pushes me away and I struggle with this a lot.
I am really confused and just wonder is it normal to have these kind of feelings? Will it get better in time? Am I just overreacting? Just looking for a bit of advice and support.
Thanks for your time.
I am also married to an adult adoptee. I don't have the same issues and actually adore his adoptive family.
I do however have to keep myself in check sometimes with pushing him to make contact with bfamily members, etc. I got myself sort of "entangled" in his reunion stuff and I realized he needs to take the lead and do what he thinks is right. And be supportive...and not play junior psychologist!
We don't have bio children but adopted ones so I realize a lot of what you feel may be related to wanting to know more for your dd. I would make that clear to dh but follow his lead. It sounds like you have been doing that.
If you feel there are issues in your marriage, would you be willing to suggest couples counseling with him? Although you may think he has issues with adoption (and you may be right), there may be other things going on with him...with you...or with you both. If you suggest counseling, I would steer clear of saying you think the issues are adoption ones. That will probably antagonize him, it seems. Good luck!! He seems like a nice guy ...and you seem like a loving wife...hopefully you can get on the same page.
Welcome Aurora79,
Hugs first of all and congrats on the birth of your daughter...
We are all affected differently by our adoption but there are some commonalities that seem to cross over. The "loyalty" factor - no matter how much we might dislike the "you should be grateful for being given a home" at the same time many are fiercely loyal to our families and the slightest dig brings it to the front. Whether it is because we have had it ingrained by society to be grateful, or, because adoptive families aren't the norm, or, a combination of that, or, other things - who knows but it seems to exist.
It's okay to not like your in-laws - it's okay to get mad at their rudeness but if your husband doesn't want to hear even the slightest hint of how you feel then my advice it to do what you just did and find an outlet. Some adoptive parents never dealt with their infertility and/or things like a birth trigger those feelings afresh. Be thankful you live elsewhere...
As to talking to being adopted - realistically speaking many of us never find the words, or ,the voice to truly talk about them - good bad or downright ugly. Many not till they are in their 40's, 50's and beyond. Trust me it is hard when you factor in the loyalty thing, the fear factor of being rejected - it's just complicated. Sometimes it happen at the birth of your first child although it may be more often for the female - sometimes it happens if you need medical history for your child and I sincerely hope you never face that.
I suspect others with a much better way with words will be along to fill in my gaps in the coming days.
You are welcome here!
Kind regards,
Hi Dickons thank you so much for taking the time to reply to my post. You have absolutely hit the nail on the head regarding the issue of loyalty. My husband is one of the most loyal people I know and I certainly think there is the issue of him thinking he's being unloyal to his parents by thinking or talking about his adoption. I thought he may change his view when our daughter was born but I think if anything it's got worse and shuts down completely. He does listen to me regarding the issues I have with his parents, but is fiercely defensive of them. I guess it does come down to my own issues and me wishing that I had a better relationship with them but I just feel angry towards them and them being not my daughter's biological grandparents and them carrying on like maniacs with her, makes it so much worse!! I think as you said it must be very hard to deal with not ever being able to have your own children and they probably do not understand me as well.
These are definately issues I have to work on and perhaps putting myself in their shoes a bit more would help matters.
Thank you :)
I can't answer as an adoptee or a partner but I can respond as a mother who has surrendered a child. It will be hard for you to understand how a mother can 'just give up their baby regardless of their situation' because you haven't been in that situation. I have been and I can assure you it is the most painful experience I have ever been through. I was able to raise my son financially and emotionally but wasn't prepared for the coercive tactics used.
When I was pregnant I had split from my son's father but knew I wanted to be a mother so abortion wasn't an option and adoption never crossed my mind. I had my reasons for biding my time before I told my parents so when they found out they were angry I couldn't be pressured into aborting. They told me my baby was going to be adopted (he was born in 1981) and I said no but they still went ahead with arranging it. I didn't know my rights, I didn't see any paperwork, I didn't sign anything and never once agreed to my son being adopted. I didn't even know I couldn't consent to surrender until he was at least 6 weeks old. His father's consent was needed for the adoption to go through but he was never approached. I believed that if I refused to agree to the adoption it couldn't go through but it did.
Post reunion I got to know an adoptive father on a British forum who told his wife my story. She did a bit of digging around as they both found it quite shocking and hadn't heard of a mother going through what I did. At first he didn't want to believe me and even accused me of being a liar. After all what sort of mother allows her child to be adopted when she claims she wants to be a mother.
Anyway they came across a man who has his own website on forced adoption and she contacted him. By this time the adoptive father believed me. The owner of the site asked if I would be willing to talk to him so they asked if I minded them passing on my number. This man talked to me and I went through everything. He told me that what I went through is legally known as a forced adoption and illegal but social workers get away with it because parents don't know their rights. Even if I had agreed to the adoption it would still have been illegal because my son's father didn't consent to the adoption. These days forced adoption is more common with older children where I live.
This site tells of coercive tactics that were used many years ago [url=]Adoption 'Professionals' common coercion tactics to get babies for adoption[/url]
What happened to me was long after the BSE years and coercive tactics similar to those were used well into the 1980's in countries such as Canada and the UK.
This site is about forced adoption in the UK [url=]Forced adoption, family courts, social services, children in care[/url]
Hi Lostmother2012
Thank you for taking the time to reply to my post. I'm so sorry for what you have been through and I didn't mean to cause offence by what I said, it was more a feeling of perhaps anger towards my husband's birthmother for never bothering to even try and find him. You are right it is something I can never understand and can totally empathise that even contemplating reunion can potentially open up a can of worms for lots of people.
Anyway a bit about my husband's history from what I know from his papers. His mother was 26, a teacher and came from a large catholic family. So she wasn't young and had a good job. His father we know nothing about and apparently they had a "brief relationship" in which she got pregnant and she never saw him again or told him about the pregnancy. She was sent interstate to an unwed mothers home to have her baby and she was "adamant" about her decision regarding adoption because she understood how important it was for a child to have a mother and father and was most important they were adopted into a practising catholic family. My husband was then adopted by the catholic welfare agency which organised most adoptions in Australia back then.
I for one believe that it was probably a forced adoption due to the religious nature of the family which still was known to occur up to 1980 (I think) in Australia, even though the papers were worded to sound like it was entirely her decision. I have tried to discuss this with my husband but he doesn't want to talk about it and he firmly believes she made the greatest sacrifice giving him up so he could have a good life. I think he thinks that if he did make contact he would be causing trouble in case his birthmother has a family now and has never told anyone about it.
If the above were true and she was forced I can see how this must be so painful but then I think well wouldn't she want to find out if he is ok or just something? Or then I think if this was entirely her decision and she had no feelings about it, how could you just forget you'd had a baby? I guess you never forget either way and everyone deals with things in different ways. Some find it more painful than others.
I'm not sure what your opinion is regarding the circumstances regarding my husband's adoption and would be interested in your opinions whether it's a similar story to yours or sounds like it was perhaps forced.
Thank you for the links you provided :)
I am also married to an adult adoptee. I don't have the same issues and actually adore his adoptive family.
I do however have to keep myself in check sometimes with pushing him to make contact with bfamily members, etc. I got myself sort of "entangled" in his reunion stuff and I realized he needs to take the lead and do what he thinks is right. And be supportive...and not play junior psychologist!
We don't have bio children but adopted ones so I realize a lot of what you feel may be related to wanting to know more for your dd. I would make that clear to dh but follow his lead. It sounds like you have been doing that.
If you feel there are issues in your marriage, would you be willing to suggest couples counseling with him? Although you may think he has issues with adoption (and you may be right), there may be other things going on with him...with you...or with you both. If you suggest counseling, I would steer clear of saying you think the issues are adoption ones. That will probably antagonize him, it seems. Good luck!! He seems like a nice guy ...and you seem like a loving wife...hopefully you can get on the same page.
Hi loveajax
Thanks for taking the time to reply to my post. It is not easy being married to an adoptee for me anyway and I think you are right when you say not to play junior psychologist because that's what I do a lot of the time!
You are very lucky you get on well with your husband's family, I so wish I could say the same but I know there are issues I have to work on, so I can perhaps put myself in their shoes a bit more and improve our relationship somehow.
I have suggested couples counselling recently but he thinks we're fine and don't have any issues. Again it does sound like it's a lot more to do with myself than him and perhaps I'm the one who really needs to go and talk to someone about it!
"It is not easy being married to an adoptee for me"
It ain't easy to be the adoptee. I don't have the loyalty issues that some have. I have reached the point that if you did not help with being adopted when I was young, then I can't trust you to be on my side. Helping includes tring to find my first family.
Aurora79, welcome to the forum. Hopefully you will come often.
I am a male adoptee sold into adoption through the black market in the mid-30's.
I can't speak for your husband and how he feels, but I can share that being adopted is a life long sentence. Even moms who gave up their children and later re-united with them will admit that the re-union does not wipe away the adoption, or make up for the time lost with those children.
Also, there are some parts of us as males that come into play that we are unable to change.
There are gaps in our heads that make us "different from" non-adopted people. We can neither reach those gaps or know what is in them, but they contribute to our being. We are not better, or unique, but the "different" feelings lurk in the background. There are always "outsider" feelings.
The grief and loss that is apart of adoption is life long. It may or may not have as a part of it's make up, feelings of RAD, in which we may feel strongly about someone, or something, but to say there is 100% integration is not always possible.
The hurt from grief and loss, not to mention rejection, can sometimes be overwhelming. There is also fear of the unknown and what we will uncover if we go to deeply. Additionally, there is a matter of loyalty. Some adoptees regard searching as a betrayal of their loyalty to their a-parents. There is no breaking of loyalty because of searching for b-parents. If it is something in which the adoptee has an interest, it will stay with them for a long time.
Details of the adoption are not always factual and many stories are woven in various ways so that in some cases the real truth may never be known.
Many people who have never been through adoption or had experience with a deep emotional family event will have difficulty understanding whats in the head of an adoptee. And unfortunately, the adoptee wont be able to explain.
The only support I can offer is to take the parts of your husband that he can freely give and what you don't understand is a part of the adoption legacy handed down at the time of the adoption.
In time, the grief and loss may become less, but it will always lurk in the background and identify itself by keeping us as "outsiders" -- never fully able to integrate.
I wish you the best.
"Also, there are some parts of us as males that come into play that we are unable to change. " Drywall, is there any proof of this?
Tank, for what proof are you asking?
Like a study or something. I have never heard that men can not change some parts ot themselves. Or at least I am not understanding what you wrote. It sounds like "men can not change and thats all there is to it"
Do you think that this something gender specific or if women too cannot change "parts of us"?
Just asking
Tank, my reference was to events surrounding the adoption cycle. Any one can change their actions in regard to the way they may feel emotionally, but those parts of us related to adoption, or b-moms giving up their children can't be obliterated. They are permanent.
If this were not true, all adoptees would be able to handle their adoption as simply an event in their lives and move on. I have never found an adoptee that could do that.
No adoptee can probe the missing gaps in their head to see whats in them, or what they have lost.
Those areas related to grief and loss, as well as adoptee "outsider" status, cant be defined. We know they exist because we experience them.
All those feelings were handed down at the time of the adoption. The legacy of adoption, or b-moms giving up their children may fade and not be as vivid but, it is still there.
I have never found a b-mom who indicated that the re-union with her children wiped away the adoption, or was able to find any compensation for the time that was lost when they were not with her.
I am an adoptee, and I would welcome any means to view my adoption as simply an event, and move on. I'd really like to forget about it, and in an instant become "whole."
I wish you the best.
Hi aurora79,
Thanks for starting up this thread, it's been interesting to see you and Loveajaxs' perspective about being in a relationship with an adoptee.
I'm a female Chinese adoptee and wonder if men will have the same questions regarding my relationship with them.. Depending on how I act/am/behave in the future with fingers crossed a bio child of my own... I'm at an age where the clocks ticking... I think this is what's sparked my interest off with finding my bio mother... I'll say medical reasons, but I know Drywall has mentioned 'Adoption is like a chronic sore that never heals. Some days it requires more attention than others. Or a shadow that never speaks. It is always there, lurking in the background...waiting.
' and it hit a chord so to speak... Like having a birthmark on the back of my neck and thinking does my bio mother have one their too because my adoptive Caucasian mum and dad don't have any birthmarks.... Derailing...
Nice to know you have so many questions as a spouse, my head feels like it's about to split open on the days it requires more attention, I like to play devils advocate with myself, sometimes I win, sometimes I lose...
But the forum is friendly with no judgement and a lot of sense.. Ie Dicksons response! And concur with Tankeryanker too.. 'It's not easy being the adoptee'.
Hope you find more answers... Learn Something New Every Day...
Interesting response... It's opened my eyes to forced surrendering, I in my naivety didn't think too much about that aspect... I know my b.mother was 14when she had me... Clueless about my b.father.. Will be looking into the links but transnational adoption holds lots of questions for me that I'm trying to muddle through myself... Where to begin... Etc.. Thx for the links though...
Also, there are some parts of us as males that come into play that we are unable to change.
Did you mean males vs females or did you mean as adoptees in general, because
1. males... I wondered if you as a male feel a different 'primal wound' book that I'm reading by Nancy Verrier) affect than that of a female would... I get on a lot closer to my than my a.mum..
She is going through her own issues with my 'a'.brother their biological son... Still trying to decipher some codes on here like a term you used 'Feelings of RAD'... Plus wondering if she's had any hidden issues with not being able to conceive another child... After their son.. 3x Miscarriages before doctors 'orders' not to try again... Before them choosing the route of adoption ... Not sure if my dad had/has the issues...straying from the point
Skip and address later please... 'Code/term/phrase what would/should I use as for my adopted parents biological son and RAD appreciated... Mind wondering on the other issue...that I'll muddle through as my issue later..
2. Adoptees as general... I agree with lots of your points..
I think you've got a good outlook on life in general.. Albeit I don't know/judge you, I'm just a newbie!! The facts from your perspective and clear, they aren't sugar coated, a plus by the way!
Sorry if this sounds like random verbal $*** but I'm trying to gain more perspective and appreciate the feedback... Thanks.
This is so awesome for me to read! I am the spouse of a male adoptee. I love him so much that in the midst of the hardest part of our marriage - I want help. I want to know how to help him, and it's so hard! We are both well aware that his trust issues are rooted in his adoption. While he was given up for adoption at birth, he wasn't adopted until he was almost 3 years old. He does not want to find his birth family, and I'm in total support. However, he doesn't know how to trust - anyone. I have never given him reason to doubt me, but I swear he can't help it! Minor day-to-day issues cripple him where he just can't stop the lines of questions. It's getting worse and worse.
Any thoughts or ideas would be very helpful...
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So many similarities with how the adoptees feel. I am a mom at 16 and decided to keep my kids. I’m the spouse of an adoptee too. He has loyalty issues. But not for the negative. He just is only loyal to a-mom/dad. His dog. Well me and the kids now. The rest of the world can buzz off. He also has no interest in the past. Until he met me he was not interested in the future. Just enjoying the present. His a-mom/dad gave him the world as a b-mom would only dream of giving him. He has no interest in his b-mom, but is curious about b-dad. I think he wants to know if he was in on it. He assumes she didn’t want him. I told him his a-mom said his b-mom didn’t surrender him until day three. She tried to keep him. (According to a-mom) for the first time he softened up. He doesn’t want a-parents to feel replaced as they can never be. He labeled himself Cubin to have an identity, but marks other on paperwork asking his race. Overall his is emotionally healthy and loving. He got lucky though. A lot children in his city where adopted, and are not emotionally healthy. Those friends a-parents where not as nurturing with there a-children. He just took a DNA test to see what is genetic makeup is. I’ve asked him if he wants to find his b-family. At first it was a solid NO. A few years later after gentle and hard conservations he said I could look, but didn’t want to do the work. It was his loophole around loyalty. It took me a year to do the DNA test. That’s a huge responsibility to bare. Did I want to cause my husband pain. Well than maybe it would be joy. No even with joy there will be pain. So I just wanted to protect him. After all he is happy what does it matter. Right? Well here we are and all the white people in the world call him brown. All the people of color call him white. He has started marking white on paperwork. I think after 42 years of healthy love coupled with finally being married he is ready to face what the past is. February 1 ancestry received his kit, and we all including a- dad as a-mom passed last year are waiting. Such a sweet beautiful woman who adores her one and only son. I’ve rationalized his b-mom surrendering him by saying she was just a vessel as his mom or dad couldn’t be the vessel. But that is their son. This is where the disloyal by finding them CAME into play. I love all the piece his adoption gave him. Never have I felt so loved and had so much loyalty. I guess just remember you had a baby with him knowing y’all didn’t know. While you can’t help how you feel nor can he. Just don’t do things that cause resentment in your relationship and love is all that’s left. I couldn’t fathom giving my kids away. Even though it has meant a very poor life for them. It almost makes me feel selfish. I just know that at 13, 16, and 18 all three kids are drug/child free. That this rough life and intense constant supervision has helped brake the generational chains of youth pregnancy and lack of education. So if my kids turn out well the selfish way paid off.
Last update on February 16, 4:28 pm by Jozlyn Johns.