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Originally Posted By Milo
Five weeks ago my brother received a message on his answering machine "Hi, my name is John Doe (I'll use the name John Doe for non-id purposes), I'm your brother". We already had a brother of exactly the same first middle and surnames who died about five years ago. I hope you can imagine what a spin this threw us into. We had no idea of this guy's existance. Myself and my sister called him back two days later and he was very emotional on the telephone telling us that he loved us very much etc. etc. We then had to go and tell our very elderly mother, who never told us anything, that her son was searching for her. She is currently in a state of suspended fear and guilt and has started attending therapy. To make a long story short, letters and phone calls have been exchanged. John's adoption was not successful by all accounts and he comes across as a very tortured and disturbed man who has never been happy and who feels that he has never fit in anywhere. He is not living in the same country as us. However, on the basis of a couple of phone calls he has decided that he his 'spiritual home' is where we are. He says he has no ties as he hated his adopted family and he has intimated that his intention is to come to our country to live with us. We find this very threatening. He has told us that he never gives up until he gets what he wants. He hasn't even spoken to his mother yet as she is nowhere near ready for such an encounter. I can tell from your heart-rending mails how emotional and painful reunion rejection is but I hope I can show you what it is like from the other side of the equasion. In my own case I feel that John is setting himself up for almost certain rejection if his sole idea of acceptance (at this very early stage of reunion) is moving to our country and total integration into our family which is now scattered. My mother has kept her 'secret' in a very small town for over 50 years. My father won't discuss the subject at all with any of us. If they get wind of John's intention to relocate near her she will not be able to cope. Furthermore, our own childhood was far from perfect (very far in fact)and this development has raised issues for us that we felt that we had dealt with years ago. We are all middle-aged now, with our own families, trying to make the best of what's left of our own lives. We are totally innocent victims of this situation and yes, I know, John is a totally innocent victim too. I would be very interested on the expert's advice or views. To summarise, it feels like a very disturbed stranger, who is an unknown quantity, who is very unhappy in his own life, is coming after us. I cant tell you how scary this feels.
Originally Posted By Jennifer Lee
Hello. I am 32 year old adoptee who has been in reunion with my birthfamily for 13 years. I only remain in contact with my bmom at this time. The other parts of the reunion have sadly broken down over the years. I completely understand what you expressed in your post. How very scared and confused you must be. I also very much appreciate your kind consideration of your brother's feelings. The beginning of a reunion is always the hardest part because usually both sides have conflicting ideas about what is expected. I think you need to honestly but with the same kindness you expressed in your post tell you brother what you've shared here. He needs to know that while you are open to having contact with him, his expectations of becoming part of the family are unrealistic. He should be told (with kindness) the condition of your mother and also the feelings of your father. It should be explained to him that you live in a small community and if he were to suddenly appear it would be an uncomfortable situation for all involved. I hope this helps in some way. You will be in my prayers. If there is any other way that I can help or if you just need to talk please email me at lucky745@hotmail.com.
Jennifer
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Originally Posted By Carol Bird, Birthfamily Issues FORUM, Experts Group
Hi!
I'm a birthmother in reunion with my daughter for 15 years this December. She is 47 and was 32 and a new mother when we reunited.
Reunion is difficult enough for all sides of the Triad, but to feel threatened by the prospect of reunion must be very upsetting. Your birth brother (half?) really needs some counseling so he understands just where he fits in your life, if anywhere. Keep in mind that he too is an "innocent" just like you and your other sibs are. The fault, if any, lies on your mother's back. She should have been open about the adoption and the circumstances surrounding it. You don't say if "John" is your father's child or was conceived before your mom and dad married. If he IS a full blood brother, you owe it to him to at least meet him and check him out.
Do me a favor ... please post your letter to Dr. Marlou Russell, who hosts the ADOPTEE ISSUES FORUM in our Experts Group (you'll find the Expert Forums in the left column of the Interactive Supports Boards page at [url="http://www.adopting.org/supports"]http://www.adopting.org/supports[/url] (this Board is in the right hand column of that page). Marlou is a reunited adoptee who is also a Psychologist/Family Therapist who specializes in adoption issues. She is better equipped to advise you and you will find her quite astute.
Feel free to write to me, also. There are some articles that may be of help to you, your sibs, your mom and dad and "John" that I can send to you or give you the URL's where they can be found. Check out Adoption Crossroads , too. [url="http://www.AdoptionCrossroads.com"]http://www.AdoptionCrossroads.com[/url]
In the meantime, don't be afraid to write your concerns to "John." Jennifer's advice is excellent.
Hugs and Good Luck,
Carol
Originally Posted By Milo
Jennifer and Carol thank you so much for your understanding and support. I spoke with "John" on Saturday morning by telephone and he is meeting with his social worker tomorrow. My sister and myself rang the social worker last week (with John's permission) and explained some of our fears. I hope he handles the situation sensitively. I believe John to be my half-brother but the situation is complicated such that I don't feel comfortable giving details on the internet. One issue I feel stuck on at the moment is that John has told me that it is evident from his file that his father 'did a runner'and so he is not interested in searching for him and speaks of him with huge disapproval. Apparently there is a considerable amount of correspondence from my mother to the adoption agency on this file which is in John's possession. My mother, on the other hand, has told me that the father never new she was pregnant. Now I have a dilemma! I don't think its fair to John, leaving him bearing resentment against some poor man somewhere who doesn't know he has a son. Maybe clarification on this issue at least could give John even a little peace of mind. On the other hand, my mother seems to be lying (or has lied in the past)and I find myself very resentful of her doing this to any of us. I don't want to interfere in something that is not my concern and I have no problem if my mother does not want to discuss the surrounding details with her family, that's her right. We are certainly not pressuring her to tell us anything and we have organised therapy for her which she is very comfortable with. What I am very annoyed about is that there are inconsistencies in details she left on file and the details she is freely volunteering to me! Where does that leave us all? When this issue arose six weeks ago now we rallied around her and guaranteed her our support. Don't forget that this came to us as a bolt out of the blue through my brother. She didn't have to go through the agony of trying to break the news to us. Now I feel that she is very comfortable hiding behind us leaving us to deal with all the emotional flack.
Last week I was feeling very threatened by John's drive to integrate into the family. Having spoken with him on Saturday I feel huge sympathy for him because he has a 'whiter than white' view of my mother who is certainly taking on some very grey shades in my eyes at the moment. I am also experiencing some very protective feelings toward him even though he's ten years older than me. My sister thinks that he might be either consciously or subconsciously manipulating us. From fear to protection to suspicion in 24 hours. This really is rollercoaster stuff!
Anyway, over the weekend I bought a book on surviving adoption reunion which I intend to send to my mother. I was going to write an accompanying letter suggesting that she at least clarify for John, in her next letter to him (her second and she is struggling mightily with it)the issue of his birth father. Or should I leave well alone and step right back from the situation? Thanks again girls. Milo
Originally Posted By Jennifer Lee
Milo,
Here's an idea. If YOU are interested in reuniting with your brother then you need to make decisions about that reunion. If your MOTHER is interested in reuniting with her son then she needs to make the decisions about that reunion. They do not need to be one in the same. No need for you to feel in the middle. When one tells a lie over and over and over again the truth often gets lost somewhere in the lie. At the time that your mother decided to relinquish your brother people didn't do "those" kinds of things. Imagine all the years of pain and shame for her. She is going to have to work that out for herself. It sounds like you've done all you can to help in getting her connected with a therapist. Now start thinking about you. Do you want to reunite with your brother? Why? Why not? You and he need to have some honest conversation about what you want/need/expect from each other. Be prepared for differences of opinion and needs. Try to come to some kind of middle ground and work from there. You say that your brother has a social worker, do you have someone with whom you can talk and help work through your feelings? If not may I suggest that you find yourself a therapist or some kind of strong support system. You mentioned that just in 24 hours your feelings for your brother have changed. Milo, they will continue to change. You don't know this man but you feel connected to him. How well I understand that feeling. It is very confusing. Try not to be lead by your feelings. Take one baby step forward then make sure that both sides are comfortable and understand each other before taking another. That is my best advice. Try to be sympathetic to both your mother and your brother's feelings (which I already sense that you are) but they have to work out their feelings and you have to work our your's. You can't take responsibility for either of them. I hope this helps. I'm sure Carol will have more GREAT advice for you coming from a birthmother's point of view. Listen to what she has to say. She is a GREAT lady and has changed my life and my relationship with my bmom so much for the better that words can hardly express. Good luck to you Milo. Please keep in touch and let us know what happens. You and your entire family are in my prayers.
Love,
Jennifer
I'm adopted. I love both my mothers.
I expect to be treated like a daughter by both of them.
I'm glad you're wanting to be honest with your brother but some of the things that you've said and other people have replied to you really hurt me to my core.
When your mother gave up a child for adoption, she surrended only the legal right to raise that child.
All humans should have the basic human right of having the opportunity of knowing who they are genetically related to and determining for themselves how important that is for them.
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