Adoptive Mum in denial?

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Adoptive Mum in denial?

Postby md83 » Sun Feb 15, 2009 3:50 pm


Some of you may know my story, feel free to look back and have a read of my story..

Basically, Ive been reunited with my birth siblings, despite having not met my birth parents and things not being very good between me and them. Things are going very well with my siblings and my adoptive parents have recently came back to uk from abroad where they now live and have been fine with me contacting my birth relatives and have always been supportive. Today though, I raised the question of wether they are going to meet my siblings while they are over here...

My dad is definately up for meeting them and is quite excited about it but my mum has said she doesnt want to as to her they are not my brother and sister and are nothing to her, so she cannot do it.

When I have discussed with my birth siblings about them meeting my mum and dad Ive had to explain that it may only be my dad they meet as my mum cant come to terms with it all. This is fairly embarrassing for me and I worry how it looks to my birth siblings... They say they understand but I really dont know how i feel about the matter.. I really wanted to stop it being about me and my birth siblings and more about us all as an extended family.

I would love nothing more than to have my parents and my birth siblings laughing, joking in the same room and I thought it may be a possibility. Now I dont know if i feel angry or guilty towards my mum as she is entitled to an oppinion on the matter and entitled to make that decision for herself but I just feel maybe she should be thinking about me more on the matter. Is that selfish of me? Am I right to feel that she should be interested in getting to know them??? Im not one to bury my head in the sand about matters and I feel that is what she is doing as she cannot accept that she did not give birth to me and that I have biological siblings outside of our family. Im her little boy and i think she thinks meeting them will somehow change that?! I dont know....

My heads just a bit confused on the matter and would appreciate some thoughts on this.....

Met Birth Brother, Sister and Nieces 01/06/08 thanks to the great support from all on the AA forum!

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Postby j-h-g-5 » Sun Feb 15, 2009 5:31 pm

I would say your dad is showing a sensible attitude and putting you first, and having consideration for your birth family's feelings, and that puts him in a great light.

I cannot comprehend your mother's attitude here. It sounds incredibly short-sighted - selfish even, to me. Like someone saying 'this is my ball, and you aren't playing with it!' or if you are going to play with it, then I will go away and sulk elsewhere. Sorry to sound mean (as I know you and her are close) but I do not see why she would not want to be supportive, especially considering what you have told me about her in the past (all the fostering etc).

As far as your birth family's reaction - I would take them at their word. They are already used to having slightly unusual parents themselves, so I doubt very much that your mum's refusal to participate will make them worry in the slightest.

It might sound a great idea to have everybody in the same place, but in reality, there will always be someone who cannot bring themselves to participate. It is a pity, but you cannot change people in that regard.

Be happy that your dad wants to be involved, and who knows - she may change her opinions when she hears from him about what they are actually like.
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Postby md83 » Sun Feb 15, 2009 5:44 pm

Thanks John, Appreciate it.

In my mums defense she is in no way and has never shown any signs of being a selfish person. She has been really supportive and always said she would be there to support me in any contact I make but it just seems she cannot get her head around or accept that it has actually happened. Surely if she knows Im not going anywhere and theres no risk to what we already have then she should be interested in meeting them...

Seems to me that she has such a motherly instinct when it comes to me and therefore I'm hers and noone elses. Again, it would seem its a generation thing as I think people of my generation are a lot more open minded (without wanting to put all people over 50 in the same bracket as I know thats not strictly true ;-)) I think it has probably shocked me so much because she has fostered and worked so closely with social services etc over many years so I thought she would have a proffessional view on the matter. Guess its different when its your own adopted child.... :?
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Postby j-h-g-5 » Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:00 pm

I can understand her attitude if she was asked to meet your birth parents, but that is unlikely to ever happen. In reality, your brother (and sister) represent no threat to her family, and could indeed add to it in some respects if she were to allow that to happen.

At the end of the day, it is her decision of course - and as an intelligent human being, she has no doubt deliberated on the matter for some time before coming to her conclusions. No doubt is a case of the heart vs the head, and on this occasion, the heart seems to have prevailed.
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Postby alabasium » Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:31 pm

Hi md83

Oh dear, adoption can be so messy can't it? I'm an adoptee and met my birth mother about 4 years ago. My adoptive mum was quite ill at the time and I didn't tell my parents about this reunion for about a year. I felt horrendous during this time and one of my worst fears was that my mum would be cross with me.

Lo and behold when I told her, she was initially interested but then went all weird and said she never wanted to talk about her again. I guess, at least your parents showed initial interest.

I don't know how old you are but adoption back in 60's and 70's (and earlier and probably a bit later too) was different to now. I guess many women in particular were told to just get on with it (both as BM's relinquishing children and AM's in terms of becoming the mum). I really don't think there's enough support for either, now in the 90's onwards when many are starting reunions. It must be really confusing. It's also interesting that these are siblings so we would think, pose less of a 'threat' (if that's the correct word?).

However, during the reunion and 'telling' phase, I always maintained that I was the child (even though I was of adult age) and everyone else was an adult and should have acted like one! I think I ended up worrying about everyone else's reactions when I probably should have concentrated more on making sense of it for myself. Everything else seemed to fall more into place when I let go of trying to make it all better for everyone else, during that difficult time, in reunion.

My dad was a little more interested (sounds like this is mirrored for you too?). The attachment literature writes at length about mothers and attachment - maybe it feels different for them somehow - I don't know. Maybe dad's just don't get as much research on them.

What I found most hurtful about my AM's defensive attitude was that it was if she was rejecting part of me, by denying my birth roots. Do you feel the same? Maybe patience is the key here (though I remember feeling quite cross when others suggested this, as why should we as the adoptees have to be patient?! :wink:

I wish you luck in your reunion. Families are so complicated!
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Postby Trace40 » Mon Feb 16, 2009 8:32 am

Hi md83,

I fully understand what youre going through with your a.mum.

I began my search for my b.mum last June and shockingly found her within 5 days of starting. My first thought was not to say anything to my a.mum as she was 70 yrs old and very very set in her ways.

As far as my a.mum was concerned I belonged to her and I was doing wrong by wanting and needing to find out where I came from. Things were extremely difficult for us when I did tell her what I had done and tried to involve her in the initial reunion and meetings afterwards. My a.mum wouldnt speak about my at all and even when my 3 children would mention things to her she would change the subject quickly.

I was really hurt by the way my a.mum had reacted and it did put a dark cloud over the way things were going with my I felt guilty every time I spoke to them or met them even though things were going fantastically well with them all.

I tried many many times to reassure my a.mum that she would always be my mum and that I wasnt looking for a replacement in anyway but just needed to know things about my birth etc... My b.mum really wanted to meet my a.mum and was so grateful to her for giving me a loving home which I grew up in but it wasnt meant to be.

Sadly, my a.mum passed away last October very suddenly so I never got the chance to introduce her to my b.mum. I still wish now that things could have been different but I think her age and the things that were said to her by SS when she adopted me installed the blinkers which she wore and refused to take off.

I know my a.mum was told that as soon as I was given to her that there was no chance that my b.mum or her family could ever get in touch so not to worry about anything like that. I was adopted in the 60's so things were different then to how they are now.

It's such a difficult thing trying to juggle 2 families to keep them both happy and spend time with them both and the pressure and stress it puts on us is terrible and isnt something anyone should have to go through.

I miss my a.mum terribly and still have times where I feel guilty for making her miserable the last 6 months of her life but then I think, well I waited 40 years before searching for my just to keep her happy and last June was the time for me to do something for me.

If your a.mum wont meet your siblings then go along with your dad. Maybe in time your mum will come round to the idea of meeting them and will realise that having them in your life doesnt change how you feel about your a.mum and dad. I would say try to reassure her but then I think, we shouldnt have to constantly keep reassuring them that we love them etc..

Good luck and I hope things turn out well for you and your siblings.

Take Care
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Postby md83 » Mon Feb 16, 2009 9:08 am

Thanks Everyone, your words really help.

for the record I'm 25 so my adoption went through in the 80's.

Tracey, I feel very sad for you and what happened but I admire the fact that you allowed yourself to put you first on the matter as you knew you were doing nothing wrong.

In these situations, either when i'm involved or when reading about someone else, I try to put myself in the shoes of the person making things difficult. In my case this time around though I just cannot understand why my a mum doesnt see my birth relatives as an addition and not a replacement. I could understand it (i suppose) if she actually thought she would lose me, but we are soooo close that we all know that would never happen. it all just seems a bit contradicting as I've always been offered the support but now I feel that there are conditions to the support and maybe it was just offered on the belief that it will never happen.

As you say, she may come round to the idea when my dad gives her good feedback about them.

Its funny, all of the females in the family are very cautious and dont appear to be interested in meeting my birth relatives but my dad and brother have exactly the same attitude, where they both are willing and actually excited about meeting them.... I wouldnt like to comment any more on the reasons behind this for fear of a battle of the sexes on the forum 8) :lol: :D
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Postby ~Sooze~ » Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:41 am

must be the maternal instinct Matt! ;)

Ah, I think its understandable why your Mum reacts like're her boy! Simple! I know you're not asking her to meet your b/parents...but still, your sibs are your birth relatives....part of where you come from. And your sister, well, she just sees you as HER grew up together! I think sometimes out adopted siblings find it hard to understand...and maybe feel a little envious!
I have 2 sisters, my adoptive parents natural daughters. My eldest sister never speaks about my adoption, birth family...nothing. The other sister has been really supportive. But as I have brothers in my birth family, she feels a little envious, as she always wanted brothers! Saying that, she has met some of them.....more because she was curious really whether I looked like any of them!!

There could be any number of reasons why your Mum and sister are finding it difficult. But at the end of the day, they have to decide for themselves....and I think in time, they will all meet and it'll be fine. You have given them the option to meet, you've not hidden anything from your family, on either side. You've done the right thing and your Mum will always be there for you....she's just not quite ready yet. :)
Born 1965 Adopted 1966
Traced Birth mother and 8 siblings 1987
Reunited with another adopted sibling 2008
Met with 3 siblings on birth Fathers side January 2009

At present, in contact with 9 out of my 12 siblings :-) Not doing too bad!!
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Postby lilit » Tue Feb 17, 2009 11:47 am

Just to balance out any "battle of the sexes" I can say that my adoptive father has said not a single word about my adoption since the day I was told about it - when I was about six!

Matt, you have my sympathy, my amum is currently doing my head in re. my birth family as well, it's like she can't just be happy for me, which is really quite upsetting - it's not like I don't feel confused enough about the whole thing.

I think you'll just have to let your mum get on with it, get your dad and siblings together and enjoy yourselves, and your mum might come round after that. It's her that's missing out, so try not to let it bother you too much. Easier said than done, I know :roll: .
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Postby ladyarcher » Tue Feb 17, 2009 3:16 pm

I have to say that I didn't feel any urge to merge my two families - in fact I was very positive about wanting to keep them separate. I was adopted in 1946, aged just under two, and brought up as an only child. My a.mother was totally absorbed with me, sadly excluding my a.father from very much input in my life generally. In fact I really barely knew him. It was my a.mother who had been determined to have the child that nature had denied her - and my mother who was determined to be in every nook and cranny of my life. She always described us as 'best friends' etc.

When I traced she wanted to be in the midst of all that too. I did not want her there - it was a part of me that I could keep to myself, probably the only part actually. She did know I was tracing, it was very difficult to keep anything from her, despite the fact that I was by then in my mid-twenties and married, with my own home and children. She was also very attached to my first husband so was very involved in my marriage and family.

I was very determined that I did not want to mix the two daughters that were me. Fortunately for me, my second husband was totally in agreement with me on this. The person we did let in, was in fact my second mother in law, who was a sweet shy un-pushy and timid lady. She and my b.mother got on very well as they were very alike in their frightened approach to officialdom and authority, and general lack of self-confidence. They were very much products of their age and background in that decisions were always made for them by the man of the house, doctors, teachers, lawyers, vicars, etc were in authority etc.

My b.mother would have been totally overpowered and over awed by my a.mother. I did not want her feelings of guilt and fear exposed to my a.mother's determined questioning. Although my attitude of keeping them apart caused some annoyance to my a.mother, I was very glad that I had as I am sure that I would have had very little chance of getting to know my b.mother if I had mixed them. My b.mother would just have been frightened off. They are both gone now of course. I keep in loose touch with my older and younger halves.

born 1944
adopted 1946
reunited with b.mother 1972, and with other relatives over the years.
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Postby Diane » Wed Feb 18, 2009 7:41 am

Phew Mat this is a difficult one for you. I was a lucky one where as my Adopted parents have met everybody, and been happy for me.
When they met it was all a bit emotional for all, there was Mum and Dad being faced with my true relatives, my own flesh and blood. It oftens makes me wonder did it make Mum and Dad feel 'not whole' they often would say that what was menat to be natural for any couple was not natural for them and that they were denied the gift of being able to have their own birth children, and I can really understand that. I wonder if this is what worries your Mum, that being faced with those that are your blood relatives brings to more home to her the fact she is not your biological mother, even if we are talking of sibblings. I hate to use the word jealously maybe fear would be a better word, but could it be that talking and supporting without actually meeting is not real for your Mum but actually meeting means she is faced with the truth. Burying head in the sand. Do you think that she has fear that she will loose you, not matter how much you try and reassure her.
Please don't let this come between you, by the sounds of it she has been an excellent mother to you, and always will. Maybe you will just have to respect her choice and see if in the future things change.
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Re: Adoptive Mum in denial?

Postby sylvie » Fri Aug 10, 2012 5:11 pm

Possessiveness isn't love.

Possessiveness is all about the person feeling it, not about the person they're trying to possess (and control).

Love wants what is best for the loved one.
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: Adoptive Mum in denial?

Postby ladyarcher » Fri Aug 10, 2012 6:04 pm

Well said, Sylvie ........... as this thread is now three years old, it makes one wonder how things turned out in the end.......if there is an end ....... is Md83 still trying to juggle the two halves of himself in order to protect his a.mother......... or has she come to realise that there is not a threat, and that in fact the greatest threat to her relationship with Md83 comes from herself in shutting off from his reunion.........

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