Should I leave it alone?

Moderator: AfterAdoption

Should I leave it alone?

Postby rc01 » Tue Feb 04, 2014 9:36 pm

Hi

I haven't posted in a while mainly because life passes us all by. I am a 32 year old adoptee - BM died when I was 12 - and 8 years ago I was searching for BF and ended up finding birth aunty and grandfather (BF side) who I have continued a relationship with all this time and now I am very close to birth aunty and we speak almost every day. Reunion was initially very traumatic and hard but worth it in the end.

What has caused me some worry/upset in recent weeks is that I have found my BF on Facebook (not connected with him, just can see his profile) and I am struggling with what to do. My birth aunty/granddad fell out with him years and years ago due to gambling/theft issues and to be honest I have no wish or desire to have an ongoing relationship with him. My life seems complicated enough already (I have 2 sisters who don't have anything to do with Birth family), adopted family and birth family so I really don't need another separate family member and I think I can genuinely say I don't want/need to know him.

The problem is that I can't settle - I've always felt this strong desire to let my birth parents know we were OK and they made the right decision - almost to put their minds at rest. I didn't get that chance with BM and I really want to contact BF and let him know this without giving away my identity and letting him know I don't want an ongoing relationship. What I can't decide on is whether this is fair to him? Would I just be dragging up historical issues or would it be something he would want to know?

I have joined facebook under an anonymous name and even drafted a message but can't decide whether to send. Partially due to whether I am being fair to him contacting him to tell him I don't want to see him but also what if it prompts him to try to trace me which I don't want. Problem is I can't help thinking if I don't let him know this I will regret it forever like my BM.

Others experiences/opinions would be appreciated especially from birth parents - how would you react to such a message?

Becky
rc01
 
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Re: Should I leave it alone?

Postby ladyarcher » Wed Feb 05, 2014 1:18 pm

I know that not everyone agrees with me, but I have always felt that adoptees should make some provision to let their b.mother/parents know that they were ok.......this does not necessarily mean that they should have grand cuddly reunions, although if that is what every one wants, there is no reason not to........in the past, and to the greater extent still now, it was impossible for a birth parent to find out what had happened to their child ...... however bad a person was, and most b.mothers of course, were not 'bad' in any sense.......even someone who was naive, immature, uncaring, made mistakes, whatever..... deserves a chance of some sort...........both men and women can change as they mature........not everyone does, of course ....... but many do change and regret how they were, even feel amazed that they could have behaved in certain ways when they were young..........

So........ perhaps your b.father should receive some news about you, but perhaps in this case the news should be at a distance.......you know that your aunt, and your grandfather, have cut contact with your b.father ....... it is quite a big decision for a father to cut off his son, and a sister to cut off her brother.......so you know that whatever the extent of your b.father's crimes, they were eventually beyond what the family was prepared to put up with, excuse/forgive, etc...... and obviously you do not want to spoil the relationship that you have now with your g.father and aunt......

However, there is always the chance that perhaps your b.father has changed his life, or at least perhaps on a different level, has some feelings or concerns as to what happened to you ....

...now you have already got yourself a FB account in a name that you feel will not give away who you are........so you could make contact with him using that name, as if you were a friend or third party, a go-between ........ and simply say that you have been asked to contact him to assure him that his daughter is ok and has a good life but does not want to disrupt his life in any way.......you don't have to use the rather harsher term about 'not wanting contact' ........ you could keep it brief and simply say that 'his daughter would like to know that he is in good health and has a reasonably happy life too' that tells him all you want him to know, and gives an opportunity for him to send a message to you if he wants to do so....

...but do take care....... even though he is your biological father, it does not always mean that a person is good for you to have in your life.....introducing a person into your close family is something not to be done lightly and in a burst of reunion enthusiasm...............what you don't want to do is to reintroduce someone who is going to cause distress to your grandfather and aunt, or to yourself, and who may cause actual harm by perhaps wanting money or opening your life to other people that could cause you fear if they are criminals.............. that is, of course, a worst case scenario......and there will be many 'grades' in between.....so take care to guard yourself and be aware.....because once you have given away your identity, you can't hide it again......

.....for example, when I found my b.mother I was very careful initially to make sure that she was someone who I wanted in the lives of my two young sons ........ she was lovely as it happens, and I was lucky enough to be able to have her as part of my family for around ten years before she died ...... but if I had had concerns about her, then I would have left it at 'I'm ok, hope you are ok too ' ......

Good luck........

LA
born 1944 - adopted 1946 - found b.mother in 1973 - 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 .......she had no idea that she had a full sister..... we are now good friends......
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Re: Should I leave it alone?

Postby rc01 » Wed Feb 05, 2014 11:44 pm

Thanks LA and yes I think your idea of being "a third party" is much better than me stating I don't want contact which does seem harsh if he might want this however this is my ultimate desire - it is maybe selfish if he has changed but I really don't need the added complications in my life and from a personal perspective I have gained what I needed from reunion (e.g.. family mirroring, renewed confidence, genetics) from my auntie and Grandfather for the last 9 years. I just couldn't live with myself if I learnt he has passed away and I hadn't told him it was OK and his decision to have us adopted was a good one. I don't want anyone living with demons because of me when I am happy if that makes sense.

I agree that we have a sense of responsibility towards our birth parents and I have always found it to be very strange as if our roles were somehow reversed through adoption and it is our job to "make things right" when usually parents do that for their children. What is also odd is that we are (or perhaps we just feel we are) responsible for everyone - it is our responsibility to ensure our adoptive families don't feel squeezed out through reunion as well and it sometimes feels that we spend more time worrying about everyone else than ourselves...

I have decided that I should let my auntie and grandfather know what I am going to do prior to sending any message so they understand my intentions and if anything untoward does occur it is not unexpected which would be unfair. We did talk about it years ago and they said if I wanted to find him that was fine but they didn't want anything to do with him so I am sure they may be worried but it hopefully will not damage our relationship.

One thing that I feel a little apprehensive about is whether I should be doing this on facebook. Birth father's facebook page has a few photos of him on it but other than that is basically covered in soft porn of naked women - if that were me (which it would never be as I wouldn't display content like that so openly :shock: ) I would be extremely embarrassed that a family member had seen it and I am not sure whether contact on facebook is really appropriate? Problem is I guess is that is the only source I have unless I go down an intermediary route.

I would be interested to hear from any birth parents and whether they would welcome such an intrusive approach or whether I should just try a message through an intermediary or not bother at all? It sounds like you have sought out a number of family members LA and been largely successful with reunion which I have too but must admit I am feeling very apprehensive and scared about this one xx
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Re: Should I leave it alone?

Postby sylvie » Thu Feb 06, 2014 2:44 pm

Hello Becky

I don't really know what to advise but I'll just share a few of my thoughts.

I've always felt so warmed by LA's encouragement for adopted people to contact their original family members, although of course it's entirely up to them.
When my son was adopted into another family, I had no way of knowing what his new name was, where he lived, or even if he was dead or alive. That was the norm for the time, and it was as if my son had vanished from the world. Forever.

By various flukes, which I grabbed and treasured, I amassed enough snippets from the social workers before his adoption was finalised to be able to hazard a guess at what he might be called and whereabouts he might live. But they were flukes and could've led me up entirely the wrong path - I could've very easily been holding to my heart information about an entire stranger.

Luckily, it wasn't - it was him. We sought each other around the same time and our first contact began on Facebook, on a page I created that was solely for us to get to know each other on. The privacy levels were on absolute, so no-one but us had access, and we wrote to each other and got to know each other that way, before eventually reuniting.

Using Facebook in that way gave us a helpful space to get to know each other, and to feel safe while we did so. In our case, we got closer as we did, but in a different situation others might become more distant, it depends on the people involved.

I think you are right to discuss things with your original family members, for the reasons you say.
Intuitively, based on their views of him and the images on his FB page, I think I would possibly choose a pseudonym until I was sure I wanted continued contact, or I'd even use an intermediary.
There is no way of knowing whether contacting him will be a good thing for him or not. Some people prefer living in denial, while others thrive on facing reality, so I think I would concentrate on your own feelings and pay respect to your apprehensions and your wishes until you are guided to act in some way.

Another thought - do you know how much contact he had with your mother while she was pregnant with you? I think that might be indicative of something (his headspace etc) though as LA says, people can change with time.


What is also odd is that we are (or perhaps we just feel we are) responsible for everyone


This is a tricky one, isn't it?

I look at my son, and I've noticed how he seems to take on responsibility for everything. Including alsorts that are definitely not his responsibility.

I've already decided to speak to him about this soon, as he doesn't have to and shouldn't have to do this.
I certainly don't expect and definitely don't want him to be responsible for anything other than himself and any children he has. What I do want is for him to listen to, pay respect to, and prioritise his feelings and those of his child and partner.
Taking on responsibility for everyone often simply leaves a person immobilised and unable to act. And somehow delivers a message to themselves that their own feelings are less important that those of others.

Sorry I can't say anything particularly helpful but just wanted to reply.

Best of luck with whatever you decide to do.
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: Should I leave it alone?

Postby rc01 » Sat Mar 08, 2014 11:50 pm

Thanks Sylvie - sorry I have not responded until now.

I decided to go ahead and message BF on facebook under a pseudonym - I sent it on 22nd Feb and not had any sort of response so I guess he has either read it and doesn't feel the need or want to respond or hasn't logged onto facebook since (he hasn't put anything new on profile anyway). I spoke to birth family first so they would know what I was doing but I just thought it was too good a opportunity to pass up - him being just there on facebook.

I don't know a great deal about him as most of my adoption file I accessed several years ago talks around my birth mother and her life rather than his. My birth parents were married very young and were just 16 and 18 - pregnant with my eldest sister. I believe they were fine bringing her up initially - their relationship was new and they appeared to support each other. A year later my second sister was born and the year after that came me by which time things were not so good and they were breaking up and getting back together again. He kept leaving her which I believe was due to jealousy over other men (potentially justified) and the pressures of been so young with children. Whilst birth mum was pregnant with me there was an incident where my birth mum left my 2 sisters at a phone box in town after ringing birth father and telling him to pick them up! So I think by the time I was born they were pretty much broken up and he had left the home entirely - my birth auntie tells me that although they all visited the hospital when I was born they didn't see a lot of me due to my parents breaking up - and probably just a couple of times before I was taken into foster care at 10 months old. So to answer your question he was quite present with my two sisters but by the time I was born probably not so much..

I know from birth auntie and granddad that he went off the rails a bit following their break up - they know of at least 2 other women he fathered children to locally and never had anything to do with them afterwards, he begun gambling more and then stealing to fund the gambling which led to them falling out.

When my birth mother died when I was 12 it was in the local press quite a lot because she was a prostitute so the headlines were pretty brutal - both at first and whilst the trial was ongoing. Apparently birth father got in touch with Social Services at this time to alert them that she was 3 girls' mother and that we should be told about her and protected. I always thought this showed he cared - even if only a little - and certainly at least that he thought of us.

Anyway back to the present I must admit I am surprised to be feeling as disappointed as I do that he hasn't responded to my message, that perhaps it doesn't mean anything to him after all. I told myself all I wanted was to let him know I was OK and that's true - I really don't feel like I would want him in my life but yet I am disappointed and am checking facebook daily to see if he has answered. He hasn't so I then check his profile page and see if it has been updated - it hasn't so perhaps my disappointment is premature but there nonetheless. I'm a bit annoyed to be feeling this way as I wasn't expecting to and genuinely thought it didn't matter - that somehow I had worked through any rejection issues I still had but... nope, still there !

I suppose whatever or nothing comes from the message I have the peace of mind that I have fulfilled what I wanted in letting him know the three of us are OK and perhaps if he is still the man I am told he was - someone who lies, takes no responsibility, moves on, steals to gamble I am better off not even hearing from him. I guess just a short thank you message in return to say I am OK and glad you are etc etc would have been nice and show at least an acknowledgement.

Thanks for your message though Sylvie - your son sure is lucky to have you in his life and I hope everything continues to work well. I would be interested to know how the conversation re responsibility goes ! There aren't too many adoptees who can acknowledge the traits which are there and reunion brings them all to the surface so makes everything harder at the time. Strange isn't it how we talk about adoptees as not believing their own feelings are important AND being narcissistic - surely both can't be true. Just a thought!

This site really is a godsend - even just to vent. Thanks all.

Becky
rc01
 
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Re: Should I leave it alone?

Postby CC » Sun Mar 09, 2014 7:53 am

Hi Becky
I haven't posted on here for a long time but I read your post and wanted to make sure you are aware of difficulties others have previously experienced when making contact through Facebook. Did you send a friend request to your birth father along with a message? I ask this because sometimes if a message is sent by someone who is not already a friend, Facebook will send these messages to the recipients 'other messages' folder that not many people are aware exists. There is also no notification given for messages received in this folder so it may be that your birth father has not seen the message even if he does update his account.
CC
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Re: Should I leave it alone?

Postby sylvie » Sun Mar 09, 2014 6:07 pm

Hi Becky

Thanks for your lovely words about my son. I feel very very lucky to have him in my life, and very blessed.

Strange isn't it how we talk about adoptees as not believing their own feelings are important AND being narcissistic - surely both can't be true.


I would never say adopted people are narcissistic. Do people say that? How rude of them, and how dismissive! I would be down someone's throat if I heard them say that.

I don't think my son takes responsibility for everything for narcissistic reasons. I think (but I don't know) that it might be because he expects to have to carry the lot of others on his shoulders. I suspect that being adopted might have something to do with that, but because I'm not adopted I don't know if that's true. But I do see on these forums sometimes adopted people who seem to shoulder the weight of responsibility for everyone, whereas I don't see that so often in non-adopted people. Just an impression, possibly completely wrong.

Hey, no need to apologise for replying late - I didn't expect one, and was just throwing in my two pennyworth in case it was useful.

All the best.
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: Should I leave it alone?

Postby rc01 » Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:40 am

Thanks CC and no I wasn't aware this was how Facebook works. I have now sent a friend request as well as the message which I am slightly worried comes across like over-ly persistent if he has already seen the message and chosen to ignore it but at least I know when he logs in he will have seen it so thanks for that :wink:

Sylvie - the "Primal Wound" of adoptees is often described as the "Narcissistic wound" by psychologists on the subject which I find rather contradictory to a lot of the traits we are also known for having! Most poignantly the one whereby we don't express opinions and feel our feelings are less important than others/ take responsibility for other people yet from what I understand of the definition of Narcissism it is self-absorbed and self indulgent so rather conflicting don't you think?

I think you are right re a number of adoptees carrying the weight of responsibility for all those around them - it certainly feels that way sometimes when I am juggling different parts of my family - sisters who don't want to be in touch with birth family, adoptive family, birth family and trying to give them equal credence and time in my life - made even harder by the fact I am arranging my wedding for later this year which isn't year with so many different elements of family! Friends always tell me I should just do what I want - so do some family members but trying to manage everything is tough and hold various events so everyone gets to attend and not upset that someone is there they don't want to see!

What I find odd is how I can have so many faces and I don't mean that in a 2-faced way but I seem to be different people - at work I am a successful business owner - respected by my staff who I believe can be intimidated by me ! which is very surprising as my adoptive family would never see me like that - I am the baby of the family and can never be taken seriously, not necessarily in a bad way but I was brought up as the youngest of 5 so I think you just continue the roles from your childhood. To my birth family they see me more as the adult (presumably because they didn't know the child me) but is a more informal relationship than my adoptive family i.e. we go to the pub and socialise like you would with friends whereas with adoptive family very much like tea at home and family gatherings etc. Sure this is not unique to adoption and is probably something most individuals have experienced this but I do find it interesting as to where character is really defined and what personality is.

Becky
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Re: Should I leave it alone?

Postby ladyarcher » Tue Mar 11, 2014 12:16 am

What is an adoptee.....

Is he/she

a) a people please-er ....... subconsciously afraid of being 'sent back'....

b) shoulders the responsibility for everyone else's happiness/comfort.....
. ......because as a baby/small child there was a subconscious understanding that he/she was adopted to make the a.parents happy

c) a chameleon, that takes on the colour of any and every background, in order to be part of whatever crowd they find themselves in....

d) a 'shape shifter' who is desperately trying to find which shape fits him/her.....

e) a piece of jigsaw.... trying to find the right shaped hole in the puzzle to fit into...

Now to some extent one could say that everyone will be part of any or all of the above at some time........but I feel that in adoptees all these characteristics are perhaps more marked ........ and of course 'a)' and 'b)' will only apply to adoptees.

LA
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