Help needed as I start my search

Moderator: AfterAdoption

Help needed as I start my search

Postby Simple » Tue Jun 04, 2013 4:44 pm

Hi Folks
This is my first post so please bear with me!
I am 45 years old and was adopted as a baby boy at 6 weeks through a CofE Family Welfare Council in Bradford. I have some paperwork that was given to me by my adoptive parents 25 years ago and this has given me some background to my adoption including my birth mothers full name, her age, her schooling and details of the teacher training course that she was undertaking when she became pregnant. There is also a description of my birth father though no details beyond the fact that he was unwilling to offer any support at the time hence my adoption. There are also some notes written by my adoptive father that have lead me to think my birth mother may have from the Nottingham area and possibly studying in Bradford - this has lead me to a potential lead to her birth and her parents details through the ancestry records.
I have held off searching before now as I felt that I owed loyalty to my adoptive parents but this is constantly nagging at me now and I need to know more of what became of my birth mother as I feel so sorry that she was put in the position she was. Whether this can lead to contact I dont know at this stage but I do know I want to at least try and search.
Initially I contacted AA who suggested that I contact my local authority ( Tameside ). I have done this and they in turn suggested contacting the local authority who would have collected the paperwork ( Bradford ). I have done this too but initially they said contact AA or your local authority! before saying they would have a look themselves. Im hoping thats ongoing but havent heard anything so far... I have also contacted the Register Office to get a proper copy of my birth certificate and started to look through ancestry.co.uk to see if I can turn up any leads, though its pretty difficult to know whether when you turn something up its of significance or you are chasing down the wrong line altogether.
I'd really appreciate any feedback from others who are further down this route or have had successes. Also any suggestions of other databases I could try.
Many thanks!
Simon
Simple
 
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Re: Help needed as I start my search

Postby Jackb72 » Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:56 pm

Hi Simon

I tried to post earlier but to no success. I think I can help. Pre 1975 you have to see a councellor. I'm from Rotherham and have already started searching. Message me and I will forward you the names and tel number of the agent allocated by my local authority hopefully it will be the same one you'll have to use.

Kind regards
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Re: Help needed as I start my search

Postby ladyarcher » Wed Jun 05, 2013 4:28 pm

Hello Simon, and welcome........I am sure you are not 'Simple' .....lol.......and certainly anything to do with adoption and being adopted is not 'simple' at all........

Not to wish to contradict Jackb72 .......but in your case you have a very good deal of information.......and so you do not need to contact any organisations, such as AA, or the local authority in order to carry on with your search...........you know enough to do everything without any outside help if that is what you want to do.....the business about going for counselling if you were adopted before 1975 is almost more to do with helping the birth mother, because for adoptions prior to that time she would have been told that there was no way she could be found...........not always quite accurate, but as a general rule this would have been the case.......the counselling would be helping to make the adoptee aware of the sort of reactions they might get from a b.mother......but actually there is not really any magic difference between b.mothers own thoughts pre or post 1975.......they may be delighted, drowned in guilt, terrified because their parents may be still alive and do not know.... they may have a later family and are frightened of the reactions.......etc....... pre or post 1975 is not going to change any of these thoughts and feelings.....

The important thing if you decide to make your own search, and possible contact, is to be very sure that you have the right person.....you can do this by sending for a copy of your birth cert. from the Govt. Record Office in Kew, London.....or going to Kew and searching the records yourself.........that will give you your b.mother's address at the time that you were born.........bear in mind that sometimes girls/women were sent, or went of their own accord, to a different area to have their baby.....to protect their parents' reputation among the neighbours, and to protect their own reputation........you get the copy of your birth cert. and that tells you your mother's address and age.......you then need to find out if she has married later, and possibly had more children.......to be accurate with this you would probably be best to get your mother's birth cert. and check the names of her parents......i.e. your grandparents, so that you can see that you have the right wedding, because a marriage cert. will have the girl's parent's names on it.....and more addresses etc.....if you have the time and the inclination, you can do this searching of the registers at Kew yourself........or you can, for a fee, get them to search for you, but you may have to wait a bit as they usually have quite a lot of requests.....especially if any of the 'Who do you think you are.......' series are showing.......

The copy of the birth cert......may or may not have your b.father's name on it........going back 45 years there was not the dna stuff that you see on programmes now.......sometimes a b.mother would refuse to give a name......not so in your case as you have his name.......sometimes she would be advised not to put it on the birth cert. because if she did then he too had to agree to the adoption, and this could cause problems, either he might not want to, or he might have disappeared from her life by then.......also, if not married to her, then the man had to acknowledge paternity to be on the birth cert.....and that meant he could be chased for maintenance........so sometimes a man might say he doubted that the baby was his.........all sorts of things go through peoples' minds when the feel that their lives are out of their control, and they sometimes say things that in the normal course of events they would not dream of saying.........and later may well regret......

What I like most about your post is that you are wanting to find out how your b.mother is, how her life has turned out...........that you have sympathetic feelings towards her........there are a few birth mothers on this board, and I am sure they will be heartened by your attitude towards your b.mother......some on here disagree with me....... but I have always felt that it is the responsibility of the adoptee to try and find their b.mother.......just to say, 'I'm ok', and if more in the way of a relationship came from that, then that is a bonus........I have always felt this because until recently there was no hope for a b.mother wanting to trace her child.......the only one who could do it was the child.......and even now, it is not all plain sailing......

As I said, you would appear to have all the information you need to make your own search, and it is not against the law to do so........I felt, when doing my own searching, that it was purely the business of myself and my b.mother........I too was lucky enough to have names and addresses, unusual in those days.......I felt that perhaps my b.mother would be upset/frightened/even angry.......if a stranger in the form of a Social Worker, or intermediary, turned up appearing to know all about my b.mother's private life at a time when she would have been very unhappy......and that someone else knowing all her business might well have put her off ........she could have refused to see me etc.......as it happened I was right, because she was a very timid person, scared of authority figures, and would probably have run a mile........I would not advocate this approach the other way round though, of course, because a b.mother knows she has had a child, but an adoptee might, even these days, not know that he/she was adopted......

If you are going to make contact, there are things that you must think about......such as what you want from the contact, and how you want the contact to be, and how much there is to be of it,........lots of other thoughts and feelings, but you have time to think of these while you are searching......

Good luck.........and keep coming back here for help and support.......you will always get it......

LA
born 1944 - adopted 1946 - found b.mother 1972 - sadly missed b.father who died young, but who had told his subsequent children that they had two English sisters so when I made contact with them in Canada they were not shocked.....four years ago finally found full sister who had been adopted separately to me........I had found out about her when I was 25......it took me 40 years to find her.....I would never have given up.......
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Re: Help needed as I start my search

Postby ladyarcher » Wed Jun 05, 2013 4:37 pm

Sorry Simon........I forgot to add......have you put yourself on the Govt. Adoption Contact Register.......this is a sleeper register, in that you put a message on there, and if the person you are looking for puts a message on, then the original is triggered and a link made........you can opt to be contacted direct, or via a named intermediary, or you can opt to say that you are ok, but do not want contact.......the messages stay there forever......my message for my full sister was on there for 15 years, and was triggered when she, aged 64, decided to do some searching........a bit late for most things, but not too late altogether, and I was able to fill her in on all the family detail, which she had not got from her 'file'.......
It doesn't cost a lot to go on the register......you can google it.......

LA
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Re: Help needed as I start my search

Postby Simple » Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:34 am

A quick update...

I found my mother, emailed her and we have exchanged a number of letters and photos over the last month or so. I was actually rather embarrassed in the end how easy it was - perhaps I should have tried that bit harder a few years ago... I did have some really lucky breaks though.

We have subsequently met and had lunch and chatted for hours. It has been fantastic and Im only now realising what I have bottled up over the years. We are meeting again in a couple of weeks before everyone goes away for the summer and has a proper chance to take stock.

Thanks everybody!
Simple
 
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Re: Help needed as I start my search

Postby ladyarcher » Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:49 pm

So happy for you Simon, and so happy for your b.mother too ........ well done for being brave and doing it yourself ........so many adoptees are so scared of rejection that they fail to take that deep breath and just go for it ........ that means that many birth mothers are left forever grieving, wondering and worrying, and many adoptees stay in a zone of feeling un-wanted and rejected .......

Especially well done for being a man that did it.......statistically fewer men do search .....so statistically more b.mothers who had baby boys are left wondering.........

LA
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Re: Help needed as I start my search

Postby Simple » Fri Jan 27, 2017 10:34 pm

So, after 3 years or so I thought I'd better post an update...

I am still in touch with BM and we have settled into what our relationship is likely to become. That is contact - the exchange of emails, the occasional text, cards and greetings and meeting up once or twice a year. My children have another grandparent and my BM has 3 new grandchildren. All is well and more than I could have thought possible only a few years ago.

But, the problem... My BM has family, children, grandchildren, a brother - my uncle. 3 years down the line only my uncle knows about me - he was 15 when I was born and knew what was going on - my BM told him shortly after I made contact and he was "delighted" but we haven't been permitted to meet. It's similar with her children, she shares lots with me, they have active online and media presences but despite telling me she would tell them 3 years ago, the "time still isn't right" and they don't know. This didn't bother me initially but does now - I'd rather not be a secret anymore - I would like the opportunity meet them and their families and introduce my own. I have their emails and mobile numbers aren't hard to find in this case but I must respect BM's wishes and let her come to it in her own time. This is hard for me and it's raised on occasion but seems to be something of a no go area...

So there you go - my experience has been hugely positive yet still unsatisfactory to an extent or am I just being greedy in wanting more than I could hope for?
Simple
 
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Re: Help needed as I start my search

Postby JJ » Sun Jan 29, 2017 5:43 pm

Hi Simon

I think it's human nature and natural curiosity to 'want more' - I am/was in a very similar boat to yours and can empathise with your mixed feelings.

I can only talk from my own perspective of course, but it may help you in processing your own responses to your situation.

The only people that ever knew about my birth mother's pregnancy were my birth father and his mother, and my birth mother's mother. The two 'children' (birth mother and father!) were ordered never to contact each other again and my birth father was sent to live with his parents in Scotland. (He was 19 and had been born abroad, and although his parents returned to Scotland, they left him behind in a boarding school; he returned to the UK when he was 18, and this was where he met my birth mother, although he lied to her and told her he was 21; they became engaged and rented a flat together in London.)

My birth mother was told to return to *her* mother (her own father had died when she was a child) near Chester. When her due date approached she went to London, staying in a mother and baby home in Putney. After the birth, she returned to Chester and life continued with no mention of me ever again. However, my birth records revealed that she had written copious letters to the adoption agency during and after my birth and adoption, and had even visited the agency begging for news of me right up until the doors were closed in 1975, by which time I was 16. On her last visit she left a contact number should her daughter ever try to make contact.

She never told a soul apart from this. She married and had three children and no one knew. She and I finally met in 2008 and she initially told me that she would like to tell her family about me. Soon after this, she orchestrated a conversation with her husband about a 'friend' of hers who had been approached by a child who had been given up for adoption. Her husband's shocked and negative response was such that my birth mother resolved never to tell him.

A year or so after I met my birth mother, I traced my birth father, now living in the USA. I contacted him through his cousin, who's details were given to me by my birth mother. Initially my BF said that he wished for no contact, but within a couple of months he had changed his mind. His only difficulty with the whole thing was that his wife, who was a staunch Roman Catholic, had been led to believe that she was his 'first love'... and the arrival of a daughter would create an impossible situation.

I carried on with an email relationship with my birth father, and a more tangible one with my birth mother, until she suddenly died in 2012. After her death I contacted her three children, who had lost their father two years previously. They were delighted, but saddened that their mother had never felt able to reveal her secret, and the sadness turned to annoyance with one of my brothers at what he called the 'wasted' years.

My birth father's wife died 18 months ago, and since then I have met him in person when he came over to the UK last year. He plans another trip this spring. He promised me that he would tell his extended family about me, and he is gradually doing it, in his own time and when he feels it is appropriate. So far he has told only one of his sons - I can only speculate as to why the other is still uninformed, but I trust that he knows more than I do how to deal with such sensitive information. He has also spoken about me with a few of his cousins, including the one who helped in the early stages of tracing.

I am in regular contact with my three siblings from my birth mother's side, and the cousin from my birth father's side, but so far, that is all. I have not heard from my father's son.

So, I think what I am trying to allude to in this long and rambling post, is that not only is there a massive loyalty issue which affects all the people involved; there is also the important fact that time and events can, and do, change perspectives.

I felt, and still do feel, the same way as you about respecting the birth parents' wishes, but it was hard, because to me it felt like a kind of rejection. I had to keep reminding myself that the emotions involved are so convoluted and entangled and that keeping the boat steady is, for some, far easier than giving it a good old push...

So no - I don't think you're being greedy in any way - I think you are reacting in an entirely understandable way and I hope that in time your birth mother will be able to feel brave enough to introduce you and your family to hers (your birth relatives) ... it *is* courage, I think, that's called for here, and for some it's just impossible, however much they might want it. The fear of being exposed for being somebody other than the person that the family knows; the fear of being judged harshly by those they love; the fear of having to answer to why they didn't feel able to 'confess'.... all these things are just really scary.

Time.... and courage. And patience from your end!! It sounds to me as though she is blessed to have such a sensitive and thoughtful son.
JJ
 
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Re: Help needed as I start my search

Postby ladyarcher70 » Thu Feb 02, 2017 8:18 pm

Quite right JJ ......... telling the later children would suddenly show the parent that they thought they knew in a totally new light...... it would make them not the person their children thought they were, and there would be a great fear that their children would, as you say, judge harshly, or possibly even cut them off altogether ....... I remember another poster on here a while ago being distraught because she thought she was a precious first child.......and then found out that she was not her mother's first born..... to some folks this seems to matter .......

I was very lucky in that my b.father told his subsequent children about the two English baby girls he had in the war......so not a shock to them when I made contact..... but I think this is probably unusual .......

LA
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