Reflections.

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Reflections.

Postby Donotunderstand » Sat Dec 21, 2013 11:02 am

I've just been watching a youtube video of my nephews and their mother(adoptive) singing in a church choir (found a link through facebook where we are "friends"). Its made me reflect on how different their lives are to what they would have been if they'd stayed with birth mum. From a chaotic neglectful birth home they have secure, structured lives. Instead of being dirty and wearing ill fitting clothes, they are clean and well dressed. Instead of going through life without parental support, they have parents who guide and support them. Instead of (probably) being in the "wrong" crowd and getting into trouble, they have aims in life and belong to groups where they can achieve their aims.

Was removal from birth family and adoption by strangers a high price to pay for all this? Could/should we,the extended birth family. have done more to support birth mum and helped keep the family together. Perhaps the children will be able to tell us one day.
Aunt to a sibling group split up by Adoption and Residence Orders. Mum to birth children age 28 & 26, and adopted 14 year old (youngest of the sibling group)
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Re: Reflections.

Postby Turtle » Sun Dec 22, 2013 8:54 am

I think you have to remember that adoption has changed so much over the years.

Most of the people writing on this site were involved at a time where society viewed young women getting pregnant out of marriage, in a very negative way. They weren't bad people, they were just caught out, doing something that most young people get away with. Contraception was different and less reliable. Even in my case, the child of an affair, back in the sixties, there was no option of abortion. So mothers back then, had to go ahead and have the baby and then were told to hand it over to people who would give it "a better life".

Nowadays it is different. Young people are more knowledgeable about sex and contraception and even if they don't use that knowledge and still have unprotected sex, they still have other options such as the morning after pill or abortion. Society doesn't force unmarried mothers to give their children away. So there is a massive amount of choice for mothers. So often, the children in the adoption processes nowadays come from a different background. The are problems such as drugs, alcohol and violence. These children can be at risk. Social services often give parents the benefit of the doubt and sometimes with dreadful consequences. Children aren't taken from their mother's for making one mistake.

So whilst adoptees of the sixties (and around that era) can look back and feel they were taken away from a mother whose only crime was to get pregnant, children from a later date, such as someone I know, where taken away due to abuse, drugs and drink. It is a totally different ballgame.

Children do pay a price for being removed from their parents, sometimes that price is necessary. I always think it is wonderful when a family member steps in and gives the child a safe home. You only have to read books on the psychology of adoption, to realise that being with a family member is such a wonderful idea. Unfortunately that isn't always an option. As for trying to support the mother to help her keep the children, although that is a great idea, not all mothers are what we imagine them to be. Some simply don't want their children around them. And yes, some people who adopt, should never have been allowed to, because a child goes from one abusive situation to another. Many of us have come across those stories. There are so many sad cases, where things don't work out right, but there are many cases that do.

All we can do as humans is the best we can. If adoptees look back and see those signs, then that makes a terrific difference.
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Re: Reflections.

Postby Donotunderstand » Sun Dec 22, 2013 10:08 am

Thanks Turtle. As my husband visits birth mum quite often I know that her home life hasn't changed much. Her husband died two weeks before our daughter was born and she now has a different partner who seems to have helped her minimise her "rages". However, the home is still not a pleasant place to be. All that aside - as an in-law I can see that birth mum was almost recreating her own childhood environment - same number of children, same alcohol abuse, same violence. My husband and his siblings have all come through it but are different in how they view their abusive father. My husband has nightmares about the violence, his sister pushes that to the back of her mind and prefers how hard her dad worked to put food on the table (but most of his income went on whisky/beer) a brother also only talks about the good times.

I feel sad that birth mum could not see how bad her lifestyle was for children - after all thats how she was brought up. Its true though, that once the children became toddlers she seemed to forget that they were children and talked to them in an adult way and expected them to fend for themselves, with their 7 year old sister taking responsibility for bathing and dressing them even though she had not been taught how to do it.

We have kept in contact with the adoptees all these years so perhaps one day they will be coming to us for answers.
Aunt to a sibling group split up by Adoption and Residence Orders. Mum to birth children age 28 & 26, and adopted 14 year old (youngest of the sibling group)
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Re: Reflections.

Postby sylvie » Mon Dec 23, 2013 12:45 pm

There was absolutely no question of neglect or abuse in my family. I was 16 and obviously single, that was enough to deem me an unworthy mother to my son.

Instead he went to an older married couple. In a toxic relationship. With addiction issues and unreliable finances. Where he grew up believing his fundamental self was faulty because it wasn't understood. Where his need for a loving, reassuring hug was pathologised.
Don't tell me that was a better life.

Enough of the fairytales.
Reunited with my beloved son after decades of separation which began when I was a young teenager and he was newly born, and finally ended a few years ago when we met again as fully-grown adults.
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Re: Reflections.

Postby ladyarcher » Mon Dec 23, 2013 2:45 pm

Sylvie..........that is so bad........forgive me if my memory lets me down, but I do not remember you posting about your son's a.parents before ......

......it is such a betrayal to lose your son to a worse life....... you would almost certainly have been given the 'they can give him so much more than you can give him.......' story ........and then to find out that they were flawed, so badly flawed that they have given your son far more unhappiness than the usual insecurity that most of us adoptees feel.........you must feel that you want to somehow punish or call to account the people who failed so badly in 'choosing' them to be your son's parents.....

..I am pretty sure that my a.mother would not have 'passed' the personality 'tests' nowadays .... and one wonders how good 'authorities' are still, at judging people .........I know that I want to hold someone responsible for not letting my birth father have me ......but given that it was in 1946, there is no-one left to blame......how you must feel about your son's a.parents is beyond my imagination......

LA
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Re: Reflections.

Postby Turtle » Mon Dec 23, 2013 3:00 pm

I don't know when your son was adopted, Sylvie, but when I was adopted back in the sixties, no one ever came to check to see if the child was ok. They were placed in a family and that was it. I find that staggering. I realize it is now totally different, and some may say too much but how could SS place a child in a family, having done a few interviews and checks and then never return to make sure there weren't any problems? It seems insane to me and a lot of children paid the price for it.
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Re: Reflections.

Postby Turtle » Mon Dec 23, 2013 3:03 pm

ladyarcher wrote:..I am pretty sure that my a.mother would not have 'passed' the personality 'tests' nowadays .... and one wonders how good 'authorities' are still, at judging people
LA


I feel the authorities didn't judge on the things that are really important such as seeking balanced, stable people. Instead they put marriage and finance at the top of the list.
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Re: Reflections.

Postby ladyarcher » Tue Dec 24, 2013 12:01 am

Absolutely, Turtle.............and as well as marriage and finance, do not forget 'religion'....... one of the criteria in the late forties was that the couple would be a good church going middle/middle to upper middle couple..............my a.parents were pillars of the Baptist Church......my full sister's a.parents had 'High Church' connections.....and although not Catholic, they did send my sister to a Catholic boarding school for a while....

...........my sister got the 'upper middle' a.parents.......she had a nanny.....and, as I have said on here many times, she had her own pony, which she could keep at home as 'daddy' had a paddock or two.......I only got to ride at the local stables, although amazingly my sister did keep her pony at the same stables for a while.......I did get my own horse in the end, as my husband bought me one for my fiftieth birthday.....

....my a.mother had once mentioned that the family that owned the department store where my a.grandfather had worked for many years, had adopted a baby girl at about the same time as my a.parents had adopted me.....it was so unusual for her to make any comment on adoption in that way, that it stuck in my mind, and it occurred to me years later, when I discovered that I had a full sister, that perhaps that baby girl might just by coincidence be my full sister........I knew that she had been adopted to the same area as me......some years ago, while I was still looking for my sister, I got in contact with that family........the original couple who had done the adopting had by then died, but I was put in touch with their son, by then a man in his fifties.......'brother' to the adopted baby.........when I explained that my a.grandfather had worked for his father, the son said 'oh yes, I remember G.......' simply using my grandfather's surname.......not Mr. ...... the public school accent, the tone of voice and the mode of address quickly tuned me in to the fact that these people thought themselves well above their employees ........ although, of course, they were actually only 'trade'......funny old world, our social niceties.....

....when I did find my sister she too had been shoved several steps up the social ladder, about a rung and a half higher than myself.......had 'presentation' still been around when she 'came out' I think it likely that she would have been 'presented' ....... sometimes, if she is getting a bit 'above herself' I gently remind her of our Council house origins......

Several girls in my year at the GPDST school that I went to, were also adopted, although strangely none of us talked about adoption to each other at all, ever, particularly strange as one of the girls was a close friend of mine for several years - still is - she was the 'daughter' of a vicar in one of the nearby villages.....so, the pillar of the Church thing again...........and although I never made a secret of my adoption, she never let on that she was adopted......it wasn't until I was in my forties and searching the registers in St Catherine's house, that I came across her name - adopted name of course - talking to her years later at a school reunion, she said that she did know that her father was a GI, but she had never wanted to trace at all.......there we were though, several adopted girls at a very expensive girls' school, not where we would have been had we stayed with our b.mothers......so you could say that we had been given good opportunities that would not have come our way if we had not been adopted.......I have no idea what the a.parents of the other girls were like,........ good or damaged.......we just never talked about it.......whatever they were like, the common denominator was financial.......our school was not cheap......

It would be interesting to know the statistical breakdown of the socio-economic positions of adopting parents during each of the decades since the war, or even before it......... I think that probably there was a big gap between people who 'farmed' out children amongst their relatives........ if, for example, a man lost his wife in a village in an agricultural area, then children would be taken under the wing of the next nearest relative totally informally......probably no 'authorities' ever got to know of it.......but then there would be a totally different 'set', who for whatever reason were not able to have children, and whose 'position' enabled them to adopt in the official legal sense........I think legal adoption became 'law' some time in the 1930s, or possibly late 1920s........not so very long ago really........

I am not at all sure, Turtle, that a.parents even now, get much in the way of 'follow up' after an adoption........I do know that only a few years ago if one fostered a child who had difficulties emotionally, or was physically handicapped, then the social services helped with regard to getting appointments and seeing specialists, etc.........but that if a child was adopted the a.parents had to go down the same route of waiting and persisting, than ordinary parents did, because once adopted, the child was not considered to be any responsibility of the social services.........that may have changed now, and also might be different between areas......

to sum up........for many of us adoptees we were sent to a life of financial security and opportunity that we would never have had, yet too, for many of us, there remained, and remains, an unfilled space.......

LA
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Re: Reflections.

Postby Donotunderstand » Tue Dec 24, 2013 10:08 am

to sum up........for many of us adoptees we were sent to a life of financial security and opportunity that we would never have had, yet too, for many of us, there remained, and remains, an unfilled space.......

LA[/quote]


Your final line seems to answer my question..................
Aunt to a sibling group split up by Adoption and Residence Orders. Mum to birth children age 28 & 26, and adopted 14 year old (youngest of the sibling group)
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Re: Reflections.

Postby cleo » Sun Dec 29, 2013 4:11 pm

Yes i have to agree,

I got the sense of feeling, now looking back that what i was doing was the best for both myself and my son? i did'nt have the finance or help at 16, and was lead to believe that he would be better off in another family....luckily he was, he has had a great upbringing, he was close ot his dad even told me he looked upto his dad too, and seems close to his a.mum too. They are financially doing very well, and had had a loving relationship until his dad died a couple of years ago.
My son has a very good job too and is doing very well in his life.
I feel an outsider to his soical ranking so to speak, but i love him with all of my heart, always have and always will, the wheels of change have come and gone, and not sure where it will go in the future, all i know is that this is an ongoing hurt for u both, whatever his feelings are towards me now, and yes the unfilled space just seems to get bigger when things don't work out :-(
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