Oct 23, 2010

Well, How About That!

This is a series of letters published by Annie's Mailbox.  Although many of these letters generated multiple responses, this blog is only shows one direct thread of letters, and I think they speak for themselves.


Dear Annie: We adopted our daughter when she was just a few weeks old. She is an adult now with children of her own. She recently found her birth family. I have so many conflicted feelings about this.I never thought we would know the names of the birth parents, but we’ve actually met them. They’re very nice people, but I feel so shut out — like I’m no longer the mom — and it rips up my heart.

The birth mom has a Facebook account and lists my daughter along with her other children. She’s MY daughter, and yet I have to share her with these strangers. Is there a support group for those of us who have adopted children who now have frequent contact with their birth families? I could really use someone to talk to who has shared the same experience.
- Still the Mom

Dear Mom: Your feelings are natural, but you must put aside your jealousies for the sake of your daughter. She is not trying to replace you. She is trying to find a connection to her biological identity and information about her background. You are still her mother. It takes away nothing from your relationship to share her with the woman who made it possible for you to adopt her. While we could find no specific support group that deals solely with your problem, most adoption agencies and organizations have support groups for adoptive parents, and we’re sure this subject has come up. We suggest contacting your state adoption agency or RESOLVE (resolve.org)


Dear Annie: I read the responses to "Still the Mom," but I guess I'm in the minority. I wish I had never met my biological mother.

She was quite pretty but terribly vain, and believed a woman was defined by how many men she could attract. She was a gossip and a troublemaker with a sordid past, which took years for me to detach from my own identity. Despite it all, I tried to have a friendship with her, but she wasn't interested. I was rejected all over again.

Worse, I was 18 when I found her, and my adopted mother blew a gasket. She thought I didn't love her and made my life miserable. 

- Not Always Greener

Dear Greener: Doing a search for a birth parent is always a risk because not every situation works out as anticipated.

What is truly sad, however, is your adopted mother's inability to be supportive when you needed her. We hope things are better now.


Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Not Always Greener,” who found her birth mother but the relationship did not turn out well.

When I was young, I became pregnant by my then-boyfriend. He was not interested in marriage. I was wildly irresponsible, but smart enough to realize I could not provide a decent home for a child.

Giving her up for adoption was the most difficult thing I have ever done. For years after, I would regularly cry myself to sleep. Almost 25 years later, I still get sad as her birthday approaches.

I have since built a life that includes a loving husband and two children.

If that “baby” showed up at my door, I don’t know how welcoming I’d be. I worked hard to accept the fact that she is no longer mine. I hope she is healthy and happy. I would love to sit down, just the two of us, and talk about why I put her up for adoption and go over her family medical history.  But we don’t need a relationship.

It may sound cruel and uncaring, but I have a life I want to protect, and that is my choice. Please don’t judge those mothers who gave away their children. Most of us did so believing it was the best thing for the baby.
- Still Cry About It

Dear Still: We appreciate your candor. Thank you for offering the other side.


Dear Annie: This is a response to "Still Cry About It," who wasn't sure how she'd react if the baby she gave up for adoption showed up on her doorstep after 25 years.

I'd like to thank her. My husband and I adopted an infant more than 25 years ago. She is the light of our lives. From the start, we told her she was adopted. (Although when she was little, she repeated to others that she was "a doctor.") She does not wish to meet her birth mother, but we have given her all the necessary information to do so.

I want to tell my daughter and all adopted children that what their birth mothers did took courage. It's not the easy road, and it probably wasn't the path her friends were encouraging her to take. She did it because she was mature enough and strong enough to do what she thought was best for her child.

We would never want our daughter to judge her birth mother harshly. That woman not only allowed me to become a mother, but made me want to be the best mother because I owed it to her and the sacrifice she made. It took all of us for my daughter to become the person she is, and I am eternally grateful to the woman who gave birth to her.
- With a Grateful Heart

Dear Grateful: Every birth parent will bless you for your kind words.


Dear Annie: "With a Grateful Heart" is exactly right: Placing a child for adoption takes courage. I am thankful for my loving and devoted parents, siblings, and large extended family. My dad was my coach, my mother baked cookies, and my sibs and I rode bikes and built forts. I attended excellent schools and earned college scholarships. I am educated, well-employed, and married to a wonderful man with whom I have four children. I am adopted and am living the American dream.

I have met my birth parents and half-siblings. They are amazing people, but they encountered hardships and tragedies I never had to deal with. My birthmother gave me an immeasurable gift by putting my needs before her own. My husband and I have already agreed that if one of our children should accidentally become pregnant, we will guide her to choose adoption.
- The Luckiest


I'll give you one guess who "The Luckiest" is.


Stephanie Faris said...

Wow, great advice. It would be tough, but if I knew I was adopted, I'd still want to meet my birth mother. I'd just want to know.

Fickle Cattle said...

Interesting points. I've never looked at it this way to be completely honest.