Death of birth mother

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Re: Death of birth mother

Postby JJ » Fri Jan 08, 2016 9:42 pm

Thank you LA and Cloe - and happy new year to you both, and anyone else who is reading this!

LA - spot on with the tangled web quote. Adoption seems to me like an upside down pyramid - by its nature it's often full of lies, deceit, re-writing of history, confusion, fear, untold feelings of sadness and loss on one hand, joy on the other maybe... a tangled web indeed.

Cloe, what can I say? I can only speak from the perspective of an adoptee, but the hurt you experience must be horrendous. I hope that in time, in whatever way, the issues are resolved for you... sending hugs (( ))

I decided to write to my birth father and post it to his work address marked Personal. Private. And Please Forward if Necessary. Today I received an email! A really long one, saying that he was so sorry we had lost touch but he felt that emails between us had been waning and he felt that this was a sign that I wished to withdraw contact. (?) He said that he was really happy that I had contacted him again and he went on to describe, in minute detail, his wife's final days, hours and minutes, plus he attached photographs of her funeral. He went on to say that he has immersed himself deeper in the Catholic church, and that he is hopeful that I still understand his need to keep ou relationship a secret.

I need to re-read and digest his words a bit more. But LA, I think you have hit the nail right on its head.
JJ
 
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Re: Death of birth mother

Postby ladyarcher70 » Sun Jan 10, 2016 1:58 am

I suppose one can feel that it would be unkind to someone that one doesn't know, i.e. his other children, adults now of course.......to lay before them a totally different father to the one they have known...... it could, with some people, shake their foundations ....... on the other hand they might be delighted to have an extra sibling......... however the problem is that there is no way of knowing how they would react ....... and once 'said' this could not be 'unsaid' ...

....this is of course looking at it in isolation, and just from the effect that it could have on them .... but I think that this has to be your position, hard though it is, for the moment...... at least you are back in contact with your father, and it appears that he wants this contact with you ...... and that is pleasing ....... maybe at some time in the future he will 'man up' and tell his other children....... but I don't think I would hold my breath about that ...... immersing himself in the Church in this instance could be looked on as 'hiding', or it could be looked on as seeking a place of healing .....and it is impossible to know which, or for how long .......

Keep in touch with us here, though, 'cos there is always an 'ear' and a 'shoulder'.......

LA70
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Re: Death of birth mother

Postby JJ » Sun Jan 10, 2016 12:00 pm

Yes, I think you are right on both counts.

When I met my birth mother, (she, too, is deeply involved with the church; but C of E) she initially said how wonderful it would be if all her children, including me, could be together. Shortly after this she decided that she couldn't possibly tell them because 'What would they think of her?' I told her that I though they would probably be surprised, delighted, sad that she had gone through the process due to the social norms at the time.... but she could never find it in herself to tell them.

I am in regular contact with her children now since her death, and her daughter in particular is finding one aspect of this 'cover-up' hard to take - she always viewed her parents' marriage as being 100% perfect - and superficially it must have, indeed, appeared that way. But my half sister has ditched someone to whom she was engaged, and jettisoned another to whom she may well have become engaged as she thought that they did not match up to her idea of a perfection, based on her parents' marriage. And she is resentful that she can't talk to her mother about it.

Now she knows the truth - it has hit her hard. She feels that if only she had seen signs of a slightly less than perfect marriage she may have accepted that perfection doesn't exist and might not have dismissed these boyfriends. She is now in her mid 40s and has accepted that she will never have her own children now.

My father, is seems, is also desperate to preserve others' views of him and, although he is intrigued about me, and feels some responsibility towards me (he said right from the minute we made contact that if he had known about the pregnancy there is no way that he would have let me adopted if he could have prevented it from happening), he is nevertheless terrified that people will judge him. His sons in particular.

I don't feel connected to his sons in the same way in which I felt connected to my mother's children, so their no knowing about me doesn't bother me; what does concern me is that it all seems a bit... spineless.... but who am I to judge another's actions?

His cousin, who lives in the UK, whom I have met and with whom I am regularly in touch, has said that he is going to make it his business to tell his sons about their older sister after his death. Well, I want no part of that and have told the cousin this, but if, having been told, the boys (men!) want to get in touch then I would welcome it.

And the tangled web would continue!
JJ
 
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Re: Death of birth mother

Postby ladyarcher70 » Wed Jan 13, 2016 1:30 am

My b.mother took about a year to get up the courage to tell my younger half sister about me making contact.......and my half sister was purely sad that she could have had a half sister sooner....... we met on several occasions, she is about 16 years younger than I ....... we got on well in the sense that we had children of a similar age my second family being ten years younger than my older boys..... however we have lost direct touch now........ she moved to Spain with her new husband, and I had lost her address during several house moves...... however one of my younger half brothers is in touch with her so I get occasional news ....... if I had an email for her I would write, but although I now recently have her address from our half bro. I have not got around to writing a 'proper letter'..... which I should have done at Christmas really.......being of the generation who wrote 'real' letters, it is amazing how quickly a lot of us have taken to email instead.....

It is interesting what you say about the myth of the 'perfect marriage' ...... my b.mother and her husband divorced at the end of the war when he came home and found two more children than he had left behind several years earlier.... my two older half sisters from that marriage both divorced and remarried, but the half bro. remained married......... I divorced and happily remarried, my younger half sister divorced and remarried ...... the half bro that is in touch with our half sister has stayed married happily....... so four of my birth mother's girls divorced and remarried.......two of the boys stayed married - one boy died in childhood so does not feature in this statistic....... and the other girl, my full sister, has an 'open' marriage .....but has stayed married ..... not perhaps the greatest marital records, but those of us with second marriages have done better second time around and all of us second-timers have been married around forty years........ so were we influenced by our mother's marriage, I guess not....in the long run ..... and my b.father's family say my husband is like my b.father in his ways........which is really nice, as my b.father was in my life until I was nearly 2 .....so although I can't remember him, some memory of him must still be in me somewhere.....which is a happy thought....

LA
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Re: Death of birth mother

Postby JJ » Sun Feb 07, 2016 11:54 am

What an interesting family dynamic LA!! And fascinating about your husband being like your birth father! :)

Since I last posted, my birth father has emailed me several times. He has really opened up to me, and has sent loads of photographs of his two sons (naming them as well, instead of referring to them as 'my sons'.) Also photographs of himself as a young man, and on his wedding day and throughout his life...

I have, at his request, sent more photos of me and my daughter and grandsons; and we have both been scouring all the pics for family likenesses....

He has said that he is incredibly lonely since his wife died last summer, so I guess it's nice for him to have a sort of pen-pal. He keeps saying how happy he is that we're back in touch, but so far no suggestion of meeting up. I still thinks he wants to keep the relationship secret. Just as my birth mother felt, he feels that his children will judge him negatively. I doubt that they would.... my mother's children are just sad that their mother felt that she had to endure a lifetime of secrecy because of the way in which she believed (correctly at the time - late 1950s) that society viewed her and others in her position.
JJ
 
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Re: Death of birth mother

Postby ladyarcher70 » Thu Feb 11, 2016 10:00 pm

I am afraid, JJ, that my family is incredibly complicated....... I wouldn't even attempt to explain it all ....... my b. mother had eight children with five different gentlemen ..... my older two half sisters and half brother were with her husband.......myself and my full sister with b.mother's Canadian true love from whom she was parted at the end of the war .......at which point she went into a bad time mentally and financially, losing her older three children to her first husband, and me and my sister to adoption........ She had another boy as far as we guess with the Dr that she was housekeeper to........ another boy later who died young, no idea who his father was ......and finally when she married again much later, she had my youngest half sister..... I wish I had asked her about the two boys, because the one who might have the Dr for a father, would have loved to know....... however I never asked her much about her life, and in any event that boy did not find me until after our mother had died...... why didn't I ask her more about her life you might say ........ well, it just didn't seem polite ....... she was timid and fragile, and I didn't want to frighten her off .....her second husband, who was a rough diamond, but an absolute brick, protected her, and told me that after the boy that died was killed, mother had a breakdown ......

I sadly did not trace my b.father until too late...... but have been extraordinarily lucky in the acceptance I have found with his children whom had always told that they had two English sisters ....... and in fact two of my nieces have visited me and my family here in GB .... one some years ago when we were living in Scotland and she was doing her gap year........, and one with her family, here in Wales eighteen months ago .... and I have been given loads of stories about my father from those two nieces and from nephews, half brothers, and cousins in Canada......the internet is a wonderful tool......so I have a very clear picture of my b.father.......as well as actual photos of him of course....including one very precious one of him here in England at the wedding of his best friend in the war........ there he stands, in uniform of course, next to my b.mother who is holding me aged about a year old, and b.mother was expecting my full sister ..........

LA
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Re: Death of birth mother

Postby JJ » Fri Feb 12, 2016 12:14 pm

LA, what an absolutely fabulous photograph that must be!
My birth mother's children found a photo of my birth mother and birth father taken at a very glam party.
My birth mother had written their names and the date on the reverse; it was taken when she was about 2 months pregnant with me.
They were engaged at the time, but I think the reality of an actual baby concentrated their minds! At least, that's what my BM said - my birth father to this days insists that he was never told about me.
My birth father's cousin actually remembers quite clearly how devastated my father was about the break up; he went to stay with them in Scotland for a few months straight after, but never mentioned the cause, only that they had separated and the engagement was off.
The photo is the closest I'll ever get to a family shot!
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Re: Death of birth mother

Postby JJ » Sun Apr 17, 2016 9:12 pm

Well curiouser and curiouser... the last email I received from my birth father says he is coming to the UK next month and hopes that I'd like to meet him! So we've arranged a day and a place and a time... Moral of the story - never give up hope :)
JJ
 
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Re: Death of birth mother

Postby ladyarcher70 » Sat Apr 30, 2016 12:46 am

Well JJ ......... as you say.....curiouser and curiouser.........people can always surprise us ......... hope all goes well, and we will 'watch this space' ......

LA
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Re: Death of birth mother

Postby JJ » Sat Aug 27, 2016 10:00 pm

SO... I met my birth father! It was a really lovely day and we talked like we had known each other all our lives. There was no awkwardness - nothing. Just a real sense of 'knowing' each other. Of course, we have been pen pals for about 7 years, so that helped. He also met my daughter, one of her sons (the baby) and my partner, and everyone got on really well.

Since he returned to the USA he has told his oldest son about me and our meeting, and is planning on telling his youngest son when they next meet.

It's been a long, slow process, but well worth the wait.
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Re: Death of birth mother

Postby cleo » Thu Sep 08, 2016 2:43 pm

Hi JJ

Just catching up on your story, woah how amazing that you met your birthdad, what doe's his sons think about it all knowing they have a half sister? Funny you should mention about when you met it was like you had always known him, it was like that with my son, its as if i had always known him, which deep down of course is normal as he is a part of me, but funny how it just seems 'right' at the time.

I wish you all the best, and that the rest of the family come to accept you too and a new family link will be created. Really happy for you and will keep fingers crossed for you for the future.

Will keep an eye on your posts too for updates ;-)

Take care and enjoy every minute xx
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Re: Death of birth mother

Postby JJ » Tue Oct 04, 2016 11:45 am

Hi Cleo

Thank you for your lovely comments - I can appreciate I think the bitter-sweet feeling of being glad for someone else's positive news, whilst being sad for one's own situation... I really hope that things do turn around for you and your son.

If I have learned one thing since embarking on my search and making initial contact, it's that people's attitudes and responses can change over time, depending on external influences (and probably a bit of meditation, too!)

My birth father was insistent that he never wanted to meet up and that he wouldn't tell his family, and he asked me not to contact his family, either. He was trying to protect his wife, it turns out - and also didn't want his 'good character' called into question.

Now his wife is no longer here, not only does he feel that he can be more open, he has realised how quickly life passes by, and I guess he didn't want to die with any regrets.

He emails me pretty much every day, long interesting emails about his life experiences, and about his sons and his dog and just general stuff. In turn I send him emails about my boring existence!!! And he loves receiving pictures of my grandsons, the younger of whom he met when he came over for that visit to the UK.

He has called me a couple of times on the phone and says that he is planning another visit in the spring and we will have more time together.

As far as his sons go - well.... it's a bit odd I think - he only told one son, and he simply said that he had lived with a woman before he met his wife (their mother) but that it hadn't worked out and she had had a baby adopted. The son apparently asked about my birth mother and then said that it must be a lovely feeling for me not to be a secret any more.

I told my BF that I thought that was an amazingly selfless response and that he sounded like a great chap.

My BF said that he would tell the other son soon, when the time is right.

Since then (about 3 months) no mention of it, and when I told him that if either of his sons ever wanted to find me they could look me up on Linkedin or FB, he completely ignored it!

So... I can't really answer your question - it has crossed my mind that he might not actually have told his son; just told me that he had as that's what he thought I wanted him to do - I don't know.

Part of me wants to ask him outright, but another part of me feels that it's not really any of my business and that I don't have any right to interfere.

One more thing I have learned is that everything changes, things simply don't just remain static - and so one day I might get more information, or one day it might just not matter to me any more...until then, I wait!!

I do agree with you about the feeling of having known someone forever - and I do hope that one day your son will find a way of making contact with you again - it's only a wild guess from the perspective of an adoptee, but I imagine it may have more to do with his feelings of guilt and divided loyalty - these are such strong emotions and ones which many adoptees struggle with.

Take care, JJ x
JJ
 
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Re: Death of birth mother

Postby cleo » Sun Oct 09, 2016 2:52 pm

Hi JJ,

Yes i am always happy for other people where their situations seem to have turned out positive for them, i guess in gives me hope in one way that its not all down hill for everyone, and emotions and feelings have alot to answer for when we are caught up in the whirlwind of it all.

I totally agree with you that with time peoples attitudes and replies change, my son said that he would always stay in contact with me, yet a few months down the line he stopped contact all together.

It is nice to read that your BF is in regular contact with you, even if he has not told his sons about you, at least you have him ( i am looking at this view now from the last couple of years where i have had time to reflect on my own situation) I never insisted on questioning my son about his mum and finding me. My son never told his mum about me, and to this day i still don't think she knows that he came looking for me.

How can you say that your life is boring, you have grandsons, how i would love to be a 'proper' grandmum to my sons 2 boys...if anyone has a boring existance its me...haha

Hmmm yes abit of a dilema with his sons then, being told or not, but if i were you do not insist, it could just make your bf back off...another thing i learn't with my son, even though i did not insist, i just simply asked a question that he would not honestly answer.....

Thats great news, another visit and more time together...reminds me of a time with me asking my son asking that next time i came to the uk if we could spend more than a hour together, he said at the time he would see what he could arrange....of course, it never happened :-(


I too would like to think that he stopped all contact because of his loyalty towards his mum, and also because maybe of us being 'too close'...by this i mean, when i first met my son i could'nt help but always hold his hand and give outbursts of cuddles, i know it may sound daft, but after all the years waiting and hoping, anyway on one occassion i did ask if he ever held his mums hand when out walking...he replied 'no' he has never done that he always walks by her side, thats all. So i must admit i felt priviledge to to this, but looking back now, this is what he probably mean't by being "too intense"....although for me it was the love i have for a son i had been waiting to meet for over 30 years..........nothing more...but again some people take things a different way, although i did explain this to my son at the time and he did reply that he understood my emotions.....

There are times i would like to try and meet his mum but then i think whats the use, i have to let go of the past, my son doe's not want me in his life, so why should i bring out the bag of worms and start a whole new episode of hurt.

I do still live in hope that maybe just maybe one day my son will change his mind, but deep down, i doubt that he will. I was watching philomena again the other day as it came on tv, my husband started looking at me, and i just cried (silent tears just rolled down my face) he came and hugged me, no words, just total understanding on his part....... i guess trying to be a tough cookie i will not succeed, the pain of adoption and losing a son a second time will haunt me until the day i die.

Take car JJ and enjoy your little ones, give them extra hugs whenever you can and remember your life is not boring xx
cleo
 
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