Giving up my baby

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Re: Giving up my baby

Postby julie2009 » Fri Jul 11, 2014 8:24 am

Hi Slyvie

You haven't upset me in the least and as I have said before it is good to see the other side of the coin - the birth mum's side of the story.
All I know of my own BM story is that she was 25 at the time, in a steady relationship with a person who came from a rival side of her religion you can guess as I am from N. Ireland and back in the early 1970s this would have been the main factor for the relationship not to work alongside other reasons.
I am told in my papers her father was aware of the pregnancy but when I mentioned to her sister before did he know about the adoption she said he didn't as this was arranged in my own hometown. She came from a different town. Her sister had no love whatsoever for my BF and she made no qualms about this either. She said he had ruined her sister's life. According to her sister the only other people who knew about me was an older spinster aunt and my BM younger brother. The eldest brother didn't because he lived in England at the time. My own BF said he didn't know I existed because my BM had told him she was on the verge of travelling to England and he assumed it was for an abortion.

I am not one for quotes either Slyvie and I am shocked at what that counsellor said to you - how could you ever deal with having to make such a lifechanging decision and at such a young age and also someone else on this forum mentioned something before about hormones playing a part which is true and some girls were forced to make these decisions while not fully understanding the full implications.

I have to say my BM was a little older than you but even then she felt she had no choice but I was reassured it was carried out in my best interests and both myself and my parents cannot thank her enough.

Take care

Julie xx
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Re: Giving up my baby

Postby Turtle » Fri Jul 11, 2014 2:29 pm

sylvie wrote:I hope my words haven't upset either of you.


Absolutely not. I appreciate you being so open and honest about your views and experiences of adoption. There are too many lies surrounding the subject, particularly back in my era, when it was easier to cover things up.

I shall now be off the site for 3 weeks, whilst I celebrate my 25th anniversary up in Scotland and Yorkshire. I am so looking forward to the break.

Thanks to everyone who has answered this thread. It has been a fascinating discussion.
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Re: Giving up my baby

Postby sylvie » Fri Jul 11, 2014 8:17 pm

Have an absolutely brilliant time!
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: Giving up my baby

Postby sylvie » Fri Jul 11, 2014 8:44 pm

Hey Julie

About what the counsellor said - it was actually helpful.

She wasn't saying I wasn't good enough to keep my baby - that was what I was telling myself. That is what I believed about myself.
My counsellor was just pointing out how this belief, this untruth, was adding to the already deeply painful fact that I was separated from my baby and didn't know where he was or if I'd ever see him again.
She was saying: the facts of this situation are a lot to deal with already. But on top of that I was also trying to deal with a very painful story that I was telling myself too, a story in which I'm not good enough to be my son's mother. It was a story because the facts were that I WAS good enough to keep my son, I just didn't believe it. I believed the story instead, ruinously.

I think I see this in the things some adopted people say to themselves.
For example, the facts of my son's life are that he grew up adopted, with all that can bring (being different in nature from his family and so not always being understood; being teased at school; wondering why he had been adopted; not knowing his medical or ancestral history etc etc). Being adopted is the fact of his life.
But on top of that fact are also painful stories he could tell himself, about not being wanted or not being lovable or about being rejected by his original mother. But these are stories, they aren't facts. I think you know, Julie, how much I love my son, and how untrue these stories would be. But if he believed them, he would have that additional emotional pain to deal with, as well as the facts of being adopted. Does that make sense?

I thought what the counsellor said was really helpful, because it helped me separate the things that are real/factual from the things that I fear/punish myself with.

I'm sorry you've been experiencing anxiety, love.
I must say, for the first time in my life, I've found counselling to be really helpful. I think though that it must be done by someone who understands the complexity of adoption, otherwise they just won't get it.

Take care, dear Julie x
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: Giving up my baby

Postby julie2009 » Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:29 pm

Hi Slyvie

I am glad to hear that you found the counselling most helpful. Sorry I can't comment on how unmarried girls would have been treated back then but I assume a lot of them back in the early 70s were told by social workers etc that they were unfit to bring up a child on their own and the child would be best being brought up by a capable married couple. According to my BM sister is was a family friend who was a doctor at the time who arranged for my BM to travel to make the necessary arrangements. I am so glad to hear your low esteem at the time was given a much deserved morale by going to see this counsellor.

I never really thought of some of those points you mentioned about being adopted. The only thing I would agree with is the family history of medical problems. I think the law should have been changed then to include this important information when certain details were being recorded. Maybe they felt this has no significance at all when in fact it does to me and possibly many others on this forum.

I can't recall telling myself any stories about being rejected but I do recall always trying to be a people pleaser to the best of my ability. Maybe unknownst to myself I was trying to get people to take to me without the feeling of being left out it that makes sense. I also hated to see anyone being left out or being treated differently to others.

Emotions have a big part of play in adoptions.

Of course you love your son Slyvie. Do you mind me asking did you leave anything small with him like a note or toy before he was adopted. As far as I know nothing was left for me or maybe back then that was the done thing severly all ties so to speak. I know my BM sister has the little hospital bangle and mentioned this to me before. I don't know if I would be strong to ask if she could send this to me because I would probably just burst into tears which wouldn't really help matters.

Take care Slyvie

Julie xx
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Re: Giving up my baby

Postby sylvie » Wed Jul 16, 2014 6:38 pm

Hi Julie

No, I don't mind you asking anything at all, and also I really like hearing your perspective too as it helps me to understand things too.

Before he died, my grandad gave all the grandkids a very particular little silver memento and I did the same for my son. I didn't know whether this and a few other very small items (I can't describe them as they would be identifying) would be passed on to him - I hoped they would be. I found out later that they were, but I know of other women whose gifts weren't passed on (there is an interesting essay here about this: http://adoptionvoicesmagazine.com/adoptee-view/something-i-still-cry-about-2/#.U8bDEUBrFRw ).

I have also kept things like my antenatal record, including the date I first felt my son move.

Julie, would it feel right for you to be with your b. mother's sister when you get your little hospital bangle? I know you haven't asked for it yet, and that you feel unsure about that, but if you do decide that you want it, would it be comforting to be with her when you do, rather than just getting it in the post? Just a thought.

I can't help hoping that no misunderstandings stand in the way of you and your b. mother's sister getting to know each other. I say this because I know the world of adoption is absolutely rife with misunderstandings, and that communication is essential to keep things true (I say that with absolutely no blame to anyone, just an acknowledgment of how tricky relationships are when people have been separated by adoption).

All the best, dear Julie.

PS. About the counselling? I have that now. I didn't have any at the time. I was offered anti-depressants back then, which I didn't take. I knew I was having a completely normal reaction to being separated from my son.
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: Giving up my baby

Postby julie2009 » Thu Jul 17, 2014 9:03 am

Hi Slyvie

Likewise I like to hear your side of things too as it helps me to try to put things into perspective from the birth mum's side. You see Slyvie as mine is no longer alive and I have to rely on her sister to give me her version of events I really find it helpful hearing how you handled your journey back then.
Sorry I can't recall was your son's adoption arranged in the 70s or 80s. I feel as if I am quizzing you now.

I remember when my brother was adopted early 1980s his birth mum had left a small cuddly toy that he was to keep even while he was fostered before being adopted the toy remained with him.

You say about being with my BM sister. The problem is Slyvie she lives some distance away and I just think reading between the lines it would be too much for her to cope with as she last said to me she misses her sister so much and that was when I realised maybe me contacting her to too painful for her to deal with but she assured me before she always wants to stay in touch. An email from her out of the blue would be nice.

I just have question would my BM have wanted to trace me or would she have preferred to leave things as they are. I don't think I will ever find out.

Good for you refusing to take anti-depressants - sometimes I think we have to face things in our lives face on. Don't get me wrong some people do need them but do they ever solve anything.

Take care Slyvie

Julie xx
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Re: Giving up my baby

Postby sylvie » Thu Jul 17, 2014 2:25 pm

Hi Julie

I had my son in the late 1970s. Don't worry - you can ask me anything, I really won't mind at all. If I can't answer for any reason, I'll say so.

I just wanted to say something about this:

reading between the lines it would be too much for her to cope with as she last said to me she misses her sister so much and that was when I realised maybe me contacting her to too painful for her to deal with but she assured me before she always wants to stay in touch.


Honestly, I would take her at her word - that she always wants to stay in touch.
Even if thoughts and feelings about her obviously beloved sister come to the surface and bring tears with them, that's okay isn't it? It's quite natural, especially as she's lost her and they do sound close from everything you've said before. Also, my sister often howls her head off when she thinks of me and my son being separated - she's just empathising with us both, and feeling her own sadness too, that we all were without each other for many years. Don't feel responsible for her tears, Julie, you aren't responsible for them and they are just natural outlets for emotional pain. Let her have them, knowing you aren't at all responsible for them. Death and the adoption system of the past might be, but you certainly aren't.

An email from her out of the blue would be nice.


This is always such a tricky one, isn't it?!
Not knowing what is too much or too little contact. I'd tell her you'd like that - you never know, she might be holding back because she doesn't want to crowd you.

I'm glad your brother had that little toy.

All the best to you x
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: Giving up my baby

Postby julie2009 » Fri Jul 18, 2014 9:20 am

Hi Slyvie

Lovely to hear from you again. So things back then would have been similar to my own adoption which took place in the early 1970s. I might be repeating myself here Slyvie but I remember asking her sister once did she ever talk about me and she said she did and for days afterwards she would be upset but she always said she kept her true feelings well hidden and she was a gentle kind of person. In a strange kind of way it was nice to know because I think a lot of adoptees were under the impression that their birth mums and even their family never thought of them.

I remember a social worker once saying to me that some birth mums never told any of their family and to tread carefully with this and this was well before I made contact with her sister but going by what my papers said my birth grandmother had died and my BM sister was a year older than her so in fairness she would have needed someone preferably female within her family to confide in.

I read a story yesterday Slyvie and it brought tears to my eyes about an unmarried mother who was orignally from Cork in Ireland who had to give her baby daughter up for adoption. The adoptee discovered that this same girl had died three weeks before she tried to trace her but her birth sister told her that their mum walked the streets of Cork Every day trying to find the daughter she had given up. I hope I didn't upset you Slyvie with this story.

Thanks for your insight about the email issue. You see I am a very impatient person Slyvie. Whenever I send an email I always expected one back but I have to realise at this time of year she might be on holiday. She even told me one day she has a folder with all my emails and letters in it and a few photos I sent her a while back.

Thanks again for your outlook on this Slyvie. You are such a kind and lovely person.

Take care

Julie xx
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Re: Giving up my baby

Postby sylvie » Sat Jul 19, 2014 10:21 am

Hi again Julie

Aw, thanks for those lovely words! I hear your kindness and thoughtfulness often in your posts.

I was thinking about the role of sisters. It sounds like your b mother's sister was very close to your b mother, not just in age but in terms of being a confidante or solace or simply a witness to her grief. I am similarly close in age and affection to my younger sister, and she has been the same to me. She is also now close to my son, and he to her.

One of the thing about such sisters is that they tend to know a lot more about the emotional truth of what went on at the time of a child's adoption away from their original families. The sisters tend to see the bigger family or social picture as well as having insight into the private and deep feelings of their troubled sister. They are privy to information that parents or wider family members aren't.

My own sister knew me from being a child, was right by my side throughout my pregnancy as a teenager, visited my son in the pre-adoption foster home with me, heard me crying many times after the adoption, and watched how I assembled a life together afterwards which - around my son's birthday - melted away as the sadness took over. She also saw how happy-beyond-measure I was when I was reunited with my son. She knows more about how I feel about my son and his adoption than anyone. I'm guessing your b mother's sister is in a similar position.

I'm also guessing that you are very important to her, just as my son is very important to my sister. You said she has a special folder for all the things you send her - we only do that for things we want to keep, from people who matter to us, don't we?


I think a lot of adoptees were under the impression that their birth mums and even their family never thought of them.


Every year on my son's birthday, my sister would ring me up to share in birthday wishes with me for him. Over the years, when we didn't know where he was or if we'd ever see him again, we'd often sit round the kitchen table talking about him and thinking about him and wondering about him.
We NEVER, EVER forgot him. We never ever would.

I know it looks very different from an adopted person's point of view, but from our point of view, it was that we had a precious member of our family missing, and we knew it all the time. We continued outwardly doing the everyday things of life, but we were a family with someone irreplaceable missing. Even in those times we weren't consciously thinking of him, he was there, in the air around us, a great big space where he should've been.

I know it's so hard for many adopted people to understand that as I think sometimes there is the idea that being given up for adoption meant that the child wasn't wanted. According to that train of thought, being missed doesn't make sense.

But many women, including me, were very attached to their babies, but couldn't find a way to keep them (in my case, because of lack of support from around me, and a lack of strength within me due to my young age). Also, many women, including me, didn't believe we had a right to keep our babies because if we did, we'd be denying them a wonderful life with adoptive parents who could give them everything that we couldn't. I don't think most of us felt any differently from any mother - the difference was that we couldn't keep ours, or felt we couldn't.
Perhaps that helps explain why we never ever forgot our children, and why we missed them so much.

Yes, I read that article about the mother looking the streets for her child. It made me cry too. I felt I really knew how she felt deep inside.

I hope you and your b mother's sister can create an ongoing relationship with each other. I think that is probably the best way you will ever know your first mother, if you'd like to.

I also think that one of the biggest problems in reuniting situations is each party thinking that the other one doesn't really care that much, or isn't really bothered, when they usually really do and are just scared of over-stepping someone's boundaries.

Just my tuppence worth!

xx
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: Giving up my baby

Postby ladyarcher70 » Sun Jul 20, 2014 1:14 pm

I wonder how and why it is that so many adoptees do not want to find their b.mother, I know many don't, and that statistically we are told that it is more often men who are not interested in tracing.......

My own full sister delayed making any moves in tracing until she was 64....... and even now has a very dismissive and judgemental view of our b.mother..... sadly she did not trace in time to know our b.mother........I knew her quite well, over the course of around ten years......for any of you who are new to this board and have not seen earlier posts of mine, my full sister and I were given to different couples for adoption, and I spent 40 years looking for her, having found out about her when I was 25.......

My full sister has a 'brother', also adopted...... however her brother has no wish or interest in tracing his b.mother, all that he knows is that she was quite young.......now it greatly saddens me that somewhere is a now fairly old lady......if she is still alive......who may have spent the last sixty plus years wondering about the baby son that she had to give up ...

..... not only is he dismissive and judgemental of his birth mother ....the same attitude as is evident in my full sister ..... he also refused to meet me, or to let his sister talk about me....strange how some people are.......

I have a slight dilemma, in that I know enough about my full sister's adopted brother that I could trace his b.mother............and I often feel that I should, just to tell her that her son is alive and successful..... if she is still alive she would be around 82 now....

....reading your posts, Sylvie, and AthensR, and Cleo, and Incognito, and many others that I have known over the years, I feel very strongly that there should be an automatic system in place to tell birth mothers and fathers, in confidence that their babies are safe and well at regular intervals............just my view, particularly knowing how tortured my own b.father was all the rest of his life, and sadly not finding him in time to tell him I was ok..........

LA70
born 1944 - adopted 1946
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Re: Giving up my baby

Postby cleo » Wed Jul 23, 2014 6:21 pm

Dear all,

Yes i had a little gift for my son, but was adviced not to give it at the time as it may put an extra burden on the A.parents if ever they decided to tell my son he was adopted...

I kept his gift all these years, and when he came looking for me nearly 3 years ago, i gave him his gift after 30 years and told him what had happened, i think he was totally shocked.

Yes i guess adoptee's get an idea thta because we gave them up it was probably because we did'nt want them in the first place....gosh if only they knew, it was the worse decision i have ever had to make in my life, i don't think anyway can imagine the heartache and pain all these years of not knowing what our baby must be thinking...mostly negagative it seems from my son, until i told him that i had always always thought about him and always loved him to bits.

We both went through so much...... guess even now its hard to imagine....

I have seen lost long families on the web, well the older series anyway, must admit i get so upset watching it, not sure its good for me?

I'm still in turmoil about what to do about my son, but for the moment i feel as though i should let go and let him get on with his life...he knows how to contact me if he ever needs too...i just hope he doe'snt leave it too late....


Take care everyone x
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Re: Giving up my baby

Postby julie2009 » Thu Jul 24, 2014 10:15 am

Hi Slyvie

Sorry I am only getting back to you now. Thank you for your kind words.

You are right I guess they were close too as there was only a year between them and with having no mother to talk to my BM felt she had to confide in her only sister. I remember telling a social worker this once and she told me in no certain terms should I contact her sister encase she knew nothing about what went on. She kept saying a lot of family members were not aware of adoptions within their own families dating back to the 1970s. I do remember her sister telling me that their younger brother knew about me but not the eldest one because he had since moved to England and didn't really keep in touch.

She told me that my BM was a very private person who kept her inner feelings to herself. I just wish I could have heard her voice as these things are very important to me but I never will. You might find this strange but when I was speaking to her sister on the phone one day a few things she said sounded very similar to what my own mum would say. I found it a bit freaky to be honest.

I think it is lovely that you included your son's memories in every family gathering even when he wasn't there in person and that you acknowledged the fact that a member of your family was missing. I think that statement says it all and it is very important for an adoptee to hear this as a lot of adoptees no matter what age feel the pangs of rejection.

I can even recall feeling left out when two of my sister-in-laws and my mother-in-law met up for lunch one day and I wasn't asked. Sometimes we get the feeling we are not wanted and no words can describe how that feels.

Take care Slyvie and chat soon

Julie xx
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