No appreciation from your daughter until she is 23

Moderator: AfterAdoption

No appreciation from your daughter until she is 23

Postby Turtle » Fri May 17, 2013 2:02 pm

I saw an interesting little article in The Times this week.

It said that

"The average teenage girl has 183 quarrels a year with her mother and does not start to appreciate her until the age of 23.

Girls have 123 bouts of tears over boys and 257 fights with their siblings each year.

In a poll of 2,000 women, one quarter said that their teenage years had been full of anxiety and had an impact on all the family. Rows over tidiness, answering back and dating boys were among the top 20 issues to crop up between mothers and daughters. But three quarters of those questioned said they were grateful to their mothers for the way they were brought up, even if they didn't realise at the time".

I did wonder what adoptive mother's particularly thought about this. After all, at 18 your daughter can go and find her b.parents, when in fact this might be an unstable time in her life to do so. I must admit. If I had known at 18 that I was adopted, I may well have traced my at that stage, because I was so overwhelmed by life. I don't think it would have been a good decision to make. It would have just been made in a time of confusion and self doubt.

So what do you all think, adoptive parents, adoptees and birth parents, is it a good time to search?
Posts: 404
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2010 8:12 am

Re: No appreciation from your daughter until she is 23

Postby Summerbaby » Fri May 17, 2013 5:27 pm

Gosh that is a good question, and I think that depends on each person individually as to how emotionally mature and curious they are, and whether they are ready to cope with the rollercoaster that comes along with reunion. I was in my early 30's when contact was made with me, and we were both lucky in that it was the right time for us both, and we were both ready (as ready as anyone can be) to navigate the journey/adventure, that is reunion, together.
Dreams do come true!
Posts: 26
Joined: Mon Dec 24, 2012 9:45 pm

Re: No appreciation from your daughter until she is 23

Postby Turtle » Fri May 17, 2013 6:10 pm

It just seems to me, that most of the people on here were considerably older when they started searching. A lot of that may be due to the information that was around at the time and also so many people have said that they needed to be "ready". Nowadays, so much more is available at the click of a button. Ancestry type sites, people finders and facebook all allow for easy contact. The thinking time has been cut down considerable. You don't have to compose a thoughtful letter, you can just make contact via all these modern forms in an instant.

I actually think that 18 is such a young age to make such a life changing decision. There is a lot of knowledge and ability to cope that comes with age.
Posts: 404
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2010 8:12 am

Re: No appreciation from your daughter until she is 23

Postby ladyarcher » Fri May 17, 2013 10:14 pm

Eighteen is quite young, I think, for a lot of the things that they are 'able' to do.......they can vote, buy alcohol, enlist to defend their country, they have been legally able to drive for a year already.......they can get married before 18 with their parents' consent........I think they can have a bank account before 18...... I think that perhaps young people are given more and more 'permissions' to do things at younger and younger ages, but at the same time they are taught less and less about things that will equip them to cope with 'outside life' responsibly............and as you say, Turtle,......coping with all the feelings about adoption and possibly having a reunion is not easy at any age, but probably worse in the teenage years which is an age when a lot of life can be a bit of a turmoil.......

Posts: 1623
Joined: Sat Jul 12, 2008 11:15 pm
Location: Gt.Britain

Re: No appreciation from your daughter until she is 23

Postby skyebluepink » Sat May 18, 2013 8:45 am

I do think it very much depends on the individual. I have the privilege to teach young people up to the age of 16 and some of them show such great maturity even before the age of 16, whereas for others they might not begin to grow up until their 20s or 30s. LA is right in saying that at 18 we are considered old enough to vote, get a mortgage etc etc - we are considered adults in every way.

I have a pupil who at the age of 11 told me she was adopted as a baby and thinks of her bm all the time, and that she really wants to find her. Perhaps at 18 she will be mature enough to start that search, but if it's something she has been thinking about for so many years already then it would seem cruel to deny her that for an additional number of years. To deny her that at 18 would be like saying she wasn't adult enough to search, when she is adult enough to do virtually everything else. For most, it isn't just a case of going on Facebook and looking up a few people. Most of us need to apply to find out our bm's name, and doing that does take a certain amount of readiness and maturity.

Often at 18, young people are busy living their exciting lives - going out, dating, going to university. I do think perhaps that young people who go on to university are kept in a child like state, dependent on their parents for a few more years - and that is perhaps why it takes them until 23 to fully appreciate their parents. By 23 they are probably likely to have started working and perhaps moved out of the family home. From my own experience, I wasn't ready to search at 18 and I didn't know how to. Bt just because I didn't want to, doesn't mean we should stop everyone, and of course there are those bm's out there who pray for their adopted child's 18th birthday so they can receive that letter or knock on the door and be reunited with their child again. I can imagine that as the years pass and that contact isn't made, it must be so difficult for a bm who wishes to be reunited with her child.

Whilst I do love the Internet - it was what brought about my own reunion and the subsequent support on these forums- I do agree that it has the potential to cause great problems where reunions are concerned. I think our society is becoming more "want it right now" and people are less happy to wait when they feel they can do things instantly themselves. I know from the posts of others on here that children under the age of 18 have the ability to contact birth relatives if they have the names - it has the potential to take social services out of the loop altogether. This is perhaps both a good thing and a bad thing.

So I suppose what I am saying is that we are all different and will search when we are ready. I expect it's true that many older searchers didn't search because it was so difficult in the pre-Internet days, but even so, it still took me many years of having the Internet before I felt ready. What I think is more important is that social services realise the potential problems that could be caused by the Internet and do something more to support adoptees - offer more of a visible service to help people who are searching, and warn about the dangers of too much too soon in terms of contact. It's probably even more important in the coming years - it seems to me that a lot of adopted children nowadays were adopted because they were considered to be vulnerable and at risk, rather than older adoptees who tended to be adopted because of pregnancy outside marriage. I do fear for these children trying to trace their birth families that they might have a greater chance of difficulties if they do trace - and therefore they need that support all the more.
Come and read my random musings at
Posts: 355
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2011 8:47 pm

Re: No appreciation from your daughter until she is 23

Postby Turtle » Tue May 21, 2013 3:55 pm

I wasn't really thinking about a law change here, more the emotional impact. Yes, you are right, at 18 you can do just about anything, so there is no way you can stop people tracing their birth parents. But having read some of the posts on here, I wonder if it is a good idea. No matter how savvy you see young adults at that age, being faced with a complexed situation like that can have such an impact. It is all wonderful, if it goes well, but if it doesn't? We know from this site, how older people struggle with a second rejection. I think it would be a rare 18 year old, that would shake that situation off and carry on with life.

Plus, as you say, adoptions are so different these days. Gone are the days of unmarried mothers or children from affairs, being handed over because of the "disgrace". Now there are other factors involved, possibly drug and alcohol problems or abuse. So these adults aren't necessarily being faced by a birth mother who handed a child over due to "moral" pressures, but in some cases, unfit mothers.

Social services, as you say, could do more to help the situation. I haven't heard a thing about my files, since my interview 2 months ago. No follow up what so ever. As you point out, young adults with fast moving lives, may not be so patient and think that the internet offers a much faster outcome.

As for the impact on birth mothers, waiting for their child to appear at 18? Well, this cuts both ways. If at that age, like the original article that I started this topic with says, there is no appreciation for the mother, then that could apply equally to adoptive and birth mothers in this case. If I had got hold of my b.mother at that age, there are plenty of things that I would have liked to say to her. I had been through some of the most challenging years of my life, and so I don't think that conversation would have been very pleasant. As you age, you mellow considerably. Even though I don't want contact with her now. I certainly wouldn't be angry if she tried to make contact, but I would have been then.

Also with all the information that adoptees are now given, is there a certain amount of pressure to trace? They have all the information in front of them at that age, no silly interviews to get hold of a file. They know that as they reach that age, they are allowed to trace, and so it is almost like reaching a target and being given permission to act. Some may do it, just because they can, not because they are ready.
Posts: 404
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2010 8:12 am

Re: No appreciation from your daughter until she is 23

Postby julie2009 » Thu May 23, 2013 3:45 pm

I agree with LA that 18 is too young to go to on the "finding birth parents journey" At 18 I would never have considered tracing anyone. I was far too young and enjoying life going out with friends etc. Going by this forum the average age seems to be late 30s early 40s.

I did think about my own background in my 20s but it was only after I had my second daughter the curiousity got the better of me and this started me thinking about my life before I was adopted and the reasons behind it but then the whole system has changed.
My own friend's 11 year old son has already told her he is going to look for his birth mum when he turns 18. She said it will hurt but she will support him 100%.
I have already said to her wait until he is 18 and see what he decides. He may have other pressing matters in his life then like other boys and will put the whole thing off until he is older.

Again there are mature 18 year old and then again there are some immature ones who wouldn't be able to handle this part of their life when the time comes.
Again I think it is too young for a person of this age to cope with and while the law states there is no need for a initial meeting to take place while us older adoptees had to undergo first meetings and then wait for a second meeting to be arranged to locate our files which can take up to months going by my experience. Do others agree.

Julie xx
Posts: 519
Joined: Wed Sep 16, 2009 2:42 pm
Location: co. antrim

Re: No appreciation from your daughter until she is 23

Postby sylvie » Mon Jul 22, 2013 2:06 pm

I actually think that 18 is such a young age to make such a life changing decision.

It's funny how we look at age, isn't it?

If you imagine an adopted person seeking out their original family at 18, it seems clear how very young they are. How relatively newly emerged from childhood they are, and thus how vulnerable.

Yet if you considered that same person, at the same age, signing adoption papers instead, they're suddenly seen as adults at 18. Fully formed and old enough to take responsibility.

Our expectations, and our compassion, seem different for the two 18 year olds in each of these situations, even though they are the same age.

We see one as young and vulnerable, and the other as adult and capable of taking the sole responsibility for decisions that will affect numerous lives forever.

Just an observation, on how we view the same thing differently.
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.
Posts: 308
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2011 9:39 pm

Return to Adoptive Families

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests