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Contacting my birth mum (what an original title eh!)

PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 4:08 pm
by Acidman
Hello everyone. I am thinking of contacting my birth mother, and I have without a shadow of a doubt traced her. However I have a few serious doubts about if I should contact her.

Firstly what do I actually say? I am concerned that I am intruding on someone else's life, and could really mess them up, especially if no one knew. From what I am aware, her parents never knew of my birth at all, and if she has not told family members of my existence, it could cause serious problems, particularly if they get a random letter. I do not wish to either wreck her life or cause her any pain or misery.

I am also worried that she might think I am contacting her for financial reasons or think I have some sort of entitlement to a share of her money (which is most definitely not the reason!), as she appears to be quite well off, and has recently married, both her and her husband are very successful people in top careers (in fact I it was using company director records I found her!), as are the rest of her family. I was given up because she was a student and from what little I know, she was very clever and her father had a top job too. My adoptive parents were not of this sort of background at all, and I grew up modestly and became a railway worker. I am concerned that we won't have much in common whatsoever and it may cause friction. Tracing my birth dad for the record is more or less impossible, and I know absolutely nothing about him.

I am also not really sure what I want out of it, other than just curiosity, and really to see what she is like, how she speaks, and if we have any similar mannerisms, traits and so on, as well as medical records. I hold nothing against her whatsoever for what she did, I can see she had very little choice and she could have easily taken the abortion route.

Any suggestions would be gratefully appreciated!

Re: Contacting my birth mum (what an original title eh!)

PostPosted: Mon Mar 17, 2014 12:51 am
by ladyarcher
Hello Acidman, and welcome ....

.... I think in your position I would make an attempt to greet her when she is on her own.... .. you do not say how old you are, but if your b.mother has climbed the career tree then you are perhaps around the age of forty yourself......... this is a slightly statistically more likely age for men to search.

When I was searching for my b.mother I had decided that any contact was only the business of my b.mother and I did not use any social worker or intermediary of any sort.....I felt very strongly that a stranger approaching her in any way, and knowing all about an unhappy time of her life and her personal business, would be an unforgiveable intrusion on her privacy and might even mean that she refused any contact with me..... so, no letter, as someone else might be there when she received it and want to know innocently who was writing to her, or wondering why she was upset, no phone call, because someone else might pick up the phone.......and I would have to either ask for her, or pretend to be a wrong number........and again, she might have to explain ...... and no 'doorstepping' either, for the same reasons, anyone might open the door........

So having made sure I had the right person, I waited nearby and approached her when she came out shopping........I first made sure that she was not with anyone, and also that there were quite a few people around, so that she would not feel isolated or threatened.........I also wanted to make my own judgement as to whether she was someone I wanted to know, and wanted my young children to know........ as it happened she was lovely, as most b.mothers are......and in my case I had been quite right not to have anyone 'official' or 'in authority' to approach her as she was of that generation and social level of women brought up to be in awe, fear and respect of authority of any sort........and she was very timid and worried by authority figures such as teachers, solicitors, doctors, vicars, etc, you get the picture........not an attitude you are likely to find these days...... my b.mother was born in 1915...... and interestingly her father, and other men in the family were 'on the railway'........

Given my b.mother's education and upbringing, I too had little in common culturally with her.......I had been given a shove up the social ladder with my adoption, as indeed most adoptees were in those adopting parents were more likely to be 'good middle middle, or even slightly upper middle' class..... therefore us adoptees were more likely to get 'good' education, and a far better share of material things than half siblings that our b.mother's may have had after us...... however the cultural differences were not a barrier as she was a sweet and kind lady, and had plenty of common sense in her own way, and was always willing to help anyone in trouble........and these sort of character traits are far more important than having a fancy education actually.......but I took good care to keep my two mothers apart, because my middle class, hat wearing, church going, coffee morning, and 'lunching' a.mother, would have terrified my b.mother, and also would have pinned her down with intrusive questions.......

Now in your case, you say you are in a more modest employment than your b.mother.......but that does not mean that she is 'better' than a point in her life she made an error of judgement, and became pregnant.......however, as you say, she could have had a termination, but she didn't, and went on to do what she thought right, in giving you a life that she hoped would be better than the one she could give you at the time......she may have been very clever, but that did not mean that she was automatically going to be successful.....lots of clever people are spectacularly unsuccessful in their you can only look at the life that she had then, not the one that she has now.....

Some people disagree with me, but I have always felt that an adoptee has a sort of responsibility to trace their birth mother just to say 'I'm ok' and if any further contact and relationship occur, then it should be what is comfortable to both the adoptee and the birth mother ...... and be regarded as a bonus ....... I have always felt that the adoptee should do this, because for a mother to be unaware of what has happened to her child, is the most exquisite form of torture....and until recently b.mothers were told that they could never be traced and would never know how their baby was...... so their only chance was if the 'baby' looked for them later on...... and even that has only recently been officially possible.......though many of us have managed it unofficially.....

I know that perhaps having to hang around....lurk even ..... to try to meet your b.mother when she is alone, may make you feel a bit like a stalker.......but, as you have no idea whether her husband knows about you, I feel that a strictly private first approach would be better for is not as if she does not know she had you are not giving away any secrets ....... you just want to assure her that you have a good life - I hope you do - and let her know that you are grateful that she chose to have you, not to terminate you ....... and that you hope life has been kind to her ........ I don't mean financially 'kind', but kind in the sense that she is happy and fulfilled.......

Meanwhile, keep coming back here for any help or support that you need...... you will always find someone listening ......

born 1944 - adopted 1946 - found b.mother in 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 - five years ago finally found my full sister who had been given to a different couple for adoption......I found out about her when I was 25 ....... it took me forty years to find her..... when we get together, which sadly is not too often due to work and distance, we have a great time.....

Re: Contacting my birth mum (what an original title eh!)

PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 1:34 am
by Acidman
Thank you for your interesting reply. I must admit the letter I was debating sending was very open ended, something a long the lines of "Hello I am XXX, I am tracing my family tree and believe we may be related and have met on <birthday> in <town>." Admittadely that still might raise questions if it falls into the hands of someone else, but I thought it was the most diplomatic and easiest way, without revealing too much to third party obviously, but she would obviously know.

The idea of actually finding her in person is somewhat interesting, but she lives around 200 miles away in an area I am completely unfamiliar with. I am not sure how she would cope with some random bloke approaching her! Incidentally you are not far off with guessing I am around the age of forty, a little bit younger but pretty much there. I am a bit surprised I never really thought to look before, but then when I was 18 and legally able to do it, I was more interested in going out and drinking, and then the world of work and your own relationships take front seat after that I'd guess! I do worry I might intimidate her if I randomly went up to her in person, it's a hard thing to do, and I don't want to sound either over-officious or formal, or alternatively be 'matey', as either could be taken the wrong way or worry someone. A mate of mine suggested something vaguely similar in that he could instead just identify her, and hand her a letter, that I had written, although I admit I had visions of him pretending to be an American private dectective whilst doing it!

The difference in background shouldn't matter I would agree. Both of my adoptive parents came from working class backgrounds, and never had well paid jobs, but weren't struggling either, until things got much harder when my mum couldn't work, a few years after I was adopted. Trade unionism and football were very important to my adoptive dad, and our yearly holiday would be generally in northern coastal towns, or Wales.

My birth mum and her husband conversely certainly have very high powered jobs, and are members of the sort of associations and clubs which are traditionally not known for attracting the less well off (again making it easy in some ways to trace her). The problem is as much as there is also the potential difference in attitudes and suchlike, I don't really want to end up screwing her up either, especially if she has built a good life for herself and suddenly it opens up old wounds.

Thanks for the reply regardless! I realise that I am going to have to do a lot of thinking about it. I've registered with the government adoption register, so at least if she is on it and doesn't want contact then I will know, and if she does, then things will get interesting!

Re: Contacting my birth mum (what an original title eh!)

PostPosted: Tue Mar 18, 2014 11:35 am
by ladyarcher
Hi again Acidman........ yes, the family tree approach is also good, and I should have suggested that too, others on here have found it excuse is that I was writing at nearly two o'clock in the morning......but you were writing even later this it seems we have something in common in burning the midnight oil....

Glad to hear you have gone on the Govt. Adoption Contact Register.....that is another thing I should have suggested....however do not base too much hope on it because it is so little advertised that many people have never heard of it......given that, it is actually how I eventually found my full sister. I had put a notice on it way back nearly when it started......fifteen years later, when my sister at the age of 64 decided to do a bit of searching, my notice flagged up as soon as my sister's social worker started looking......I had got within a few miles of where my sister was brought up, in fact only a few miles from me. I was in the County town and she in a village about ten miles away. We had even both gone to the same riding stables.......anyway, that's by the by.

However you do not have the problem of still searching for your b.mother, although the distance is an obvious difficulty......perhaps you have even seen a picture of her if she is quite a high profile business woman. Perhaps for you the 'family tree' approach would be a good one..... of course you would have to be looking for 'family members' with her maiden surname, as her current married name wouldn't work as an approach, it not being 'her' name......and if someone else is around when she opens the letter then she could simply pass it off as an ordinary sort of enquiry because so many people are interested in tracing their family tree these days due to the 'Who do you think you are' programmes....... a better approach than your friend's American private eye

Good luck, and hopefully 'see' you again soon on here with good news......but of course come with not so good news too, as there will always be help and support here......