Giving up my baby

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Re: Giving up my baby

Postby julie2009 » Wed Jul 09, 2014 3:08 pm

Hi Turtle

Hope you are keeping well. After reading some stories on this website where a BM left a letter or note to be given to the child should the time arrive when they begin their search I had always hoped that would have been the case for me but sadly it wasn't. I had always assumed it wasnt the "done" thing back in the early 70s as these BMs were told to forgot and move on with their lives and that the child would never be able to trace them in years to come.

My mum watches that programme Long Lost Family. I watched it once but it was to close to home for my liking. I think my own upbringing would have been different if my BM mother has of been still alive but sadly this was not the case and I am thankful and so are my parents for that girl to make that decision even though now I realise it was such a heartbreaking decision for her to make.

I like what you said to Cleo that her son has the key to the door and only he can open it but it is coming to terms when this will be.

Take care

Julie xx
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Re: Giving up my baby

Postby Turtle » Wed Jul 09, 2014 3:19 pm

Hi Julie.

I am fine and busy packing for our summer holiday - to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary! I hope you are well too and enjoying a bit of sunshine.

I would have loved a letter too. I think some mother's even leave small gifts. And as for a photograph, that would have been amazing. These tiny things mean so much when you have nothing.

My file contained nothing like that, although it did have two handwritten letters from her to the social worker. They are very precious to me.

I think, as you say, it wasn't the done thing. My a.parents were asked for a photo of me, to give to my b.mother, but they didn't want to because they thought she would look at me and want me back, so one was never sent. When I read about it in the file, I thought it was so sad that they wouldn't make that small gesture, when she had given up so much.
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Re: Giving up my baby

Postby julie2009 » Wed Jul 09, 2014 3:38 pm

Hi Turtle

Just a quick reply before you go on holiday. I would have loved to have seen my BM handwritting - it would have meant so much to me.
I am sure those two letters are very special to you. I read in my file that she cared and provided for me for 10 days after my birth and a little note from her would have been precious to have.

Her sister told me at the start that she had the baby bangle from the hospital in her possessions but never mentioned this again. I remember her sending me by email two photos and the first one was my BM holding her daughter who would have been a year younger than me. It upset me a bit but then I had to remember she gave me up to the best parents ever. I don't ever recall my BM asking for anything at the time of the adoption but again this was 1971.

Hope you have a great holiday and enjoy your milestone anniversary.

Julie xx
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Re: Giving up my baby

Postby Turtle » Wed Jul 09, 2014 5:27 pm

Thanks Julie.

My birth mother also had another daughter a year later. When I saw the information on Ancestry, it felt like I had been kicked in the stomach. It was such a shock. In my mind, I always refer to her as my replacement. There is nothing like a bit of dark humour to make the situation less intense. After the initial shock, I realized that people move on and that hopefully it would have taken some of the pain away. (She already had two sons when she had me, so giving up a daughter must have been hard).
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Re: Giving up my baby

Postby sylvie » Wed Jul 09, 2014 7:59 pm

Turtle and Julie

I thought you might find the following quote interesting. It refers to women who have another child very soon after relinquishing one to adoption.
It comes from a summary of research done over decades - the link to the rest is below the quote. The research shows that women don't move on or get over it, despite appearances.

Dr. Kathryn McDermott, “Rights of the Relinquishing Mother.” Human Rights Commission Discussion Paper, July 1984. Sec. 55, Canberra, ACT.

The bereavement experienced by the natural mother and her continuing concern about the fate of her child, can take many forms. Some mothers report posting unaddressed birthday cards to their children each year.

Another possibility is that the bereaved mother will attempt to “replace” the lost child, either by adopting or getting pregnant again as soon as possible. In either case, she is likely to realize too late the new baby is not a substitute for the lost one.

McDermott quotes from Shawyer (1979): “The emotional havoc wreaked on the natural mothers of adopted children is frightening and it reaches into every other relationship they have with subsequent children and partners” and the mother who repeats her pregnancy in order to recover her adopted child becomes evidence of “the kind of woman” who is unfit to raise a child.


http://www.originscanada.org/adoption-trauma-2/trauma_to_surrendering_mothers/effects-of-adoption-on-mental-health-of-the-mother-what-professionals-knew-and-didnt-tell-us/
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 » Wed Jul 09, 2014 8:05 pm

I posted the last post not to try and elicit sympathy for relinquishing mothers, but rather to show how important adopted people are to their original mother. I think adopted people often don't realise that.
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 Turtle » Thu Jul 10, 2014 6:50 am

Another possibility is that the bereaved mother will attempt to “replace” the lost child, either by adopting or getting pregnant again as soon as possible. In either case, she is likely to realize too late the new baby is not a substitute for the lost one.


I definitely was irreplaceable. :lol:

sylvie wrote:I posted the last post not to try and elicit sympathy for relinquishing mothers, but rather to show how important adopted people are to their original mother. I think adopted people often don't realise that.


I struggle with that so much Sylvie. I can understand that my mother was in a difficult position and that life back then was different, but I still know she had choices. Probably more than most. My b.father, who she was having an affair with, wanted to keep me. She had moved in with him. He had also taken on her existing two children. She had that option to stay with him and therefore keep me, but instead she chose to return to her husband. My gut feeling is, that her two sons may have been struggling with the changes, as young children do. So did she chose their needs over mine? I will never know. I just know that my b.father was devastated by the decision. So she did have choices, but still let me go. So whilst I can understand that difficult decisions were made, it doesn't take the pain away of what happened and the impact that has had on my life. I still strongly feel that rejection.
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Re: Giving up my baby

Postby julie2009 » Thu Jul 10, 2014 8:12 am

Hi Slyvie

Thank you for the quote. It does make some sense. I remember asking my BM sister a while back did she ever talk about me and she said whenever she did she would have been upset for days afterwards. She said she feels she never got over having to make such a life changing decision and I don't blame her for this. Maybe years ago before I saw the other side of the coin I would have felt some hostility against her but whenever you are a mother yourself you try to see all situations from both sides.

Hope you are keeping well yourself.

Julie xx
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Re: Giving up my baby

Postby julie2009 » Thu Jul 10, 2014 8:46 am

Hi Turtle

I can fully understand your hurt in all this. I didn't realise your BM already had two other children. I was my BM first child which maybe provides some consolation. I think the same thing happened my sister she had an elder brother but for some reason she was given up for adoption after she was born - more than likely something similar to your BM's story but she declined to find out anything further.

My story is my BM was 25 at the time and was in a steady relationship with a guy from a different religion. She worked in a factory and met him when she was a patient being treated for TB in hospital. I discovered she had been engaged to someone else a few years before this so in a way she too had choices.

Sometimes I sit trying to work out different scenarios to what it must have been like back then or what my life would have been like if things had of worked out much different to how they did.

We have to remember Turtle no matter what the circumstances were at the time we didn't ask to be born.

Take care and chat again

Julie xx
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Re: Giving up my baby

Postby sylvie » Thu Jul 10, 2014 9:47 am

Turtle, I'm so sorry. And yes, you are undoubtably irreplaceable.

I sense you will be a meticulous researcher, and so will be basing your understanding of the situation surrounding your adoption on facts. But I wonder if you have them all.
I also know that so much pressure and influence happens in a way that leaves no evidence. It happens in our head, or in our immediate environment, and perhaps those who don't experience it or witness it would find it almost impossible to understand.

Here's an example: my son said he would like to invite me to his son's birthday party, but because his amum is hostile to me, he can't.

On paper, with no understanding of an adopted person's experience, I could think 'But you're an adult. You're independent. You have a partner, a job, a house, a car. This is your son. Surely you can choose who comes to his party. You're his parent. No-one can tell you what to do now you're adult. You're free to act on your own preferences. So if you don't invite me, it's because you don't want me there. You're making a choice'.

But it just isn't like that, is it?

What it looks like on paper has no bearing on what it's actually like for my son: the sense of loyalty, guilt and gratitude that he experiences particularly acutely as an adopted person (that I don't have as I'm not) alongside the love he has for his afamily; the ambivalent feelings he sometimes has for me as the mother who gave him up to adoption; the stress - as LadyArcher has described about herself on other posts here - of being a different son to each mother.

On the surface, it looks like my son has choices, and strictly speaking he does.
But I actually think my son feels extremely disempowered by his inability to choose freely based on what he'd really like (which, in his words, is to have both families present and united in his life). There are all sorts of invisible influences and pressures that are preventing him making a free choice about what he'd like.

I don't know whether this is a good or rubbish example, but I just wanted to show the discrepancy - especially in adoption I think - between what things look like on the surface and how things are actually experienced. I think in adoption, those two elements are very often miles apart. I think it can look like a person has a choice, and strictly speaking they do, but they don't feel they do, or they don't know how to exert that choice (for whatever reason).

I'd just like to share something that was recently said to me that really made me think.
It was along the lines of: 'It's not just what happens to us that we have to contend with in our lives. It's also the stories we tell ourselves about what happened to us'.

I say this, Turtle because - without directly finding out from those who were there - how can you be sure of what in the personal history that you have amassed is fact, deceptive half-fact or story? I say that with great respect to you.
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 Turtle » Thu Jul 10, 2014 2:17 pm

julie2009 wrote:Sometimes I sit trying to work out different scenarios to what it must have been like back then or what my life would have been like if things had of worked out much different to how they did.

We have to remember Turtle no matter what the circumstances were at the time we didn't ask to be born.


It would have been interesting to be a fly on the wall in those days, to see what really happened. All we can do is piece together bits of information to try and fill in the blanks. There is a lot of guess work.

Personally, I don't tend to think about the alternative of being kept. As it didn't happen, it seems irrelevant in my mind. I think if I did that, I would end up going round in circles. I certainly know the damage that has been done by my adoption. I think that my life would have been easier if I had lived without that. It has taken me over 40 years to even start to get my life back in order and even then, I don't think the anxiety problems, that I have had to deal with all my life, will ever leave me. At least they are more manageable now and life isn't such a constant battle.

As for not asking to be born. Yes Julie, that is the bottom line isn't it, but then I guess every child, adopted or not, could make that statement. All parents bring us into the world without any input from us. It is their choice to give us life. Once we are here, we just have to deal with it as best we can.
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Re: Giving up my baby

Postby julie2009 » Thu Jul 10, 2014 2:37 pm

Hi Turtle

If only that was the case. The only reason I said about my BM keeping me was because her sister told me before if their mother had of still been alive she would have done everything in her power for her daughter to be able to keep me. I don't understand because a few years back all of this didn't annoy me in the least for the last year or so my anxiety over it all has got worse. I was also told my BM suffered from anxiety and was very nervous. I remember her sister telling me once they had trouble trying to get her to get on a bus one day into town and I think maybe this is something I have inherited from her.

Good for you getting on with things. I remember a friend of mine saying at the start some things are best left in the past and sometimes I think she is right but then on the other hand some things we need to be aware of certain things in our lives and we have that right too.

You are right Turtle that no child asks to be born into this world and as you say we have to get on with it the best we can.

Take care

Julie xx
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Re: Giving up my baby

Postby Turtle » Thu Jul 10, 2014 2:43 pm

sylvie wrote: I sense you will be a meticulous researcher, and so will be basing your understanding of the situation surrounding your adoption on facts. But I wonder if you have them all.


You are quite right Sylvie. I am a meticulous researcher. I fully understand what you are saying about having all the facts. You are of course, right, I don't. But who does? If I went back in time, to when my mother was pregnant, she would give me her view on what happened. It would, however, only be her opinion. My father, would give another point of view, her husband, another, etc.etc. None of these would be facts, just opinions. To make things more complicated. If we moved forward to the present day and asked them again what happened, their memories, by now, because of how the brain works, would be different. Those memories would be deleted, distorted or generalised. So, when we look at things logically, we are always dealing with very few facts. Mainly because most of the time we are dealing with emotions.

I fully understand what you are saying and totally agree with you. There are two sides to every story. As they say, there is no reality, only perception.

I am certain that my mother had limited choices and as much as I can sympathize and understand that, it doesn't alter the fact, that, as a baby, I had none. People made endless decisions for me, and then, to make matters worse, never followed things up to see if the right decisions were being made.

It isn't until we reach adulthood that we can start making our own choices, and even then, there is a huge amount of input from other people. They say, no man is an island. How true that is. That is because the rest of the world, including those closest to us, can't help themselves. They have to put in their two-penny worth and make their opinions known. (As if they know what they are talking about!!!) So we are always going to be influenced by other people - and especially people pleasers, as so many adoptees are, in their vain attempts to be accepted.

sylvie wrote: 'It's not just what happens to us that we have to contend with in our lives. It's also the stories we tell ourselves about what happened to us'.


I absolutely agree with that. But that is why I have spent so much time over the past decade, learning about how the brain works and trying to get it to work for me, and not against me. My screwed up brain from my childhood, should have been removed and replaced at some point. If only that was possible. :lol:

As you like quotes, I thought I would share this one with you.

"Forgiveness means giving up all hope of a better past".

Basically Sylvie, whatever happened in the past is gone and there is very little I can do about it. I have a curious mind, and so constantly like to challenge my thoughts and learn more, which is why I love chatting with people on here, but at the same time, what is done, is done. Can't change that. The past is just a ghost. The future is only a dream. My philosophy on live is ..........all we have is now..... better make the most of it!
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Re: Giving up my baby

Postby Turtle » Thu Jul 10, 2014 2:50 pm

julie2009 wrote:The only reason I said about my BM keeping me was because her sister told me before if their mother had of still been alive she would have done everything in her power for her daughter to be able to keep me. I don't understand because a few years back all of this didn't annoy me in the least for the last year or so my anxiety over it all has got worse. I was also told my BM suffered from anxiety and was very nervous. I remember her sister telling me once they had trouble trying to get her to get on a bus one day into town and I think maybe this is something I have inherited from her.


It is so hard when you are constantly trying to make sense of it all and usually, it just doesn't make any sense. I can understand your anxiety getting worse, when you are told that your grandmother would have tried to make things different. That sort of thing can mess with your head. I have suffered with severe anxiety for years. (I have treated for it for over 30 years), so I know a thing or two about that. I don't know if mine is inherited or not. From what I can find out about my mother and her family, I think that is unlikely. I think there is more chance of it being the result of being adopted. They have done quite a bit of research on adoption and it's link with anxiety.
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Re: Giving up my baby

Postby sylvie » Thu Jul 10, 2014 10:21 pm

If I went back in time, to when my mother was pregnant, she would give me her view on what happened. It would, however, only be her opinion. My father, would give another point of view, her husband, another, etc.etc. None of these would be facts, just opinions.


In my case, I try extremely hard not to express my opinions when in conversation with my son about his adoption. Mainly because my opinions as a mature woman are a world away from those of my teenage self, and because I don't think my opinions particularly help the situation. I try to keep to what I remember clearly. If I'm not sure of something, I'll check in my diary entry for that day and see what I recorded. If I don't know, I say I don't know. I constantly reiterate that the things I say are from my viewpoint only - whether these are memories, feelings, experiences, occurrences etc. But they did happen.

I think the problem with filling in blanks is that, in the world of adoption, very little is neutral. So I observe again and again how often those blanks in a story or in a relationship get filled with people's fears or assumptions, and if those are wrong or mistaken, it's tragic (at least it seems so to me). Such errors could act to confirm erroneous fears, or even worse, keep apart people who might really benefit uniquely from having each other in their lives.

My motivation for saying all of this is that I see so often how adopted people assume there must've been something wrong with themselves, or wrong with their original mothers, when there was something very wrong with the time they were born in, with its judgements and punishments based on its (now unbelievably outdated) negative view of pregnancy outside marriage.

About quotes, Turtle - actually, I usually can't bear them! The one I referred to was what a counsellor said to me recently, in response to the deep anxiety I've experienced ever since losing my son. I was worried about something, and she said that I wasn't just dealing with what had happened (ie. losing my son), I was also dealing with the stories I was telling myself about that (ie. that I wasn't good enough to keep him etc). The truth was, I was good enough to keep him, and I wish I had.

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