Could this explain failed reunions?

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Could this explain failed reunions?

Postby athensrunner » Sun Apr 27, 2014 5:21 pm

One of my adoption FB friends wrote this earlier today and I thought this is very wise words...things to take into account when searching and when in a reunion hence why I posting this under searching. It is a long read but hopefully it is worth reading.

From Adoption Healing Supplement:


“The prisoner disintegrated because he could never find out what he was guilty of” The Trial by Kafka

Why do adoptees and moms say “Baloney!” so often when I try to explain the actions/behavior/thoughts/feelings of their other?
I think that the reasons are unconscious and powerful.


Why do moms and adoptees often find it hard to understand that the behavior of their other could be the result of the trauma of losing each other?

I think that a mom would prefer to believe her child is uncaring rather than to believe her child was damaged by losing her. Her guilt may sky-rocket if she accepts this. Also if she can “de-value” her child by thinking her child is just not a nice person, then she didn’t “lose” so much by being separated from her child.

I think that an adoptee would prefer to believe her mom is uncaring rather than to believe her mom was damaged by losing her. It fits the adoptees belief that she is unlovable and unworthy. Also if she can “de-value” her mom by thinking her mom is just not a nice person and didn’t love her in the first place, then she didn’t “lose” so much by being separated from her mom.

To accept the truth, we have to fully grieve the loss of our “other” and on the surface that is much more painful. On the surface these two “belief systems” diminish pain. But in reality they both cause more pain.

Why are adoptees and moms so prone to blaming their other for their behavior?

Unless we have read a lot about the trauma inflicted on ourselves and our other by adoption loss, it is hard to understand the psychological forces that affect one’s behavior. And, most adoptees and moms are used to being blamed for their behavior so there is a built in mechanism for blaming others.

We are all victims of adoption loss and victims should not be blamed. Victims should be given help.

To accept the truth about someone’s behavior, we have to fully grieve the loss of that person and on the surface that is much more painful.

On the surface blaming diminishes pain. But in reality, refusing to believe the truth causes more pain.

Why do adoptees find it so hard to believe their mom had no choice?

Sometime last century I had begun dating a young woman. I care for her very much. One day she came to me and said she could not see me anymore because she just found out that she was pregnant from her relationship with her last boyfriend. I asked why that meant she could not see me anymore. She said, “Because you know I am pregnant. I had to tell you but now that you know, I can’t face you again.” And that was that. I think of her often, wondering what she did. Adoption? Abortion? Keeping was out of the question but I didn’t know about the way moms were treated until I came out of my adoption closet. When I started to meet mothers of adoption loss, I thought back to Barbara... “so that’s the way it was for her back then and why she could not see me again!”
For an adoptee who did not know someone who went through the humiliation, shame, brainwashing, etc., that pregnant women were subjected to, it can be very difficult to accept someone having no choice.

“I was 17 and unmarried, unsupported and terrified. You offered me only your vilification and scorn and plotted to take my baby from me.” - L.E.

When my therapist suggested to me that there were reasons why a mother might not be able to keep her baby, I literally screamed, “Bullshit! There is No Excuse for her not keeping me. None!” It was not until I met moms and listened to the abuses they suffered that I finally understood. I then remembered Barbara and then also remembered high school and, “The Girls Who Went Away.” One day they were just gone. No explanation ever.

We adoptees must learn by reading and talking to moms. We have no right to judge them or what it was like for them. We did not walk in their shoes. We need to accept that what they tell us is the truth. The societal brainwashing of mothers is expertly done and continues today.

To accept the truth about the lack of choice of our mothers, we have to fully grieve the loss of that person and on the surface that is much more painful. We have to accept that we were loved and cared for and that is also more painful than continuing to believe what we were “programmed” to believe, that we were just throwaways, unwanted, uncared for and unloved.

On the surface not blaming diminishes pain. But in reality refusing to believe our moms causes more pain.

Why do adoptees and moms find it hard to believe that their Aother cares about them and loves them?

To accept the truth, we have to fully grieve the loss of our “other” and on the surface that is much more painful. To do this grieving, we have to recognize the enormity of the loss of the mother/child relationship; the sacredness of that most powerful of all the forces in nature, that we have lost because of adoption; the trauma caused by that separation.

On the surface, believing our other doesn’t care or love us allows us to devalue them as human beings, meaning we lost less and that means less pain and it means we do not have to grieve. But in reality this “devaluation” causes more pain because it reinforces our worthlessness as mothers or adoptees.
We need to feel and grieve the loss of our “others” to feel loved and cared about. Yes, we have to take the risk of losing the love and caring but, I’ve never met a mom or an adoptee who wanted to endure the loss of their other again. And, if we do not take that risk, we are cheating ourselves out of one of life’s wonderful treasures.

Why do some friends, strangers, adoptive parents and even some other adoptees and mothers of adoption loss say “Baloney!” when we express our pain?
When it’s another adoptee or mother of adoption loss, my belief is it’s denial or repression of the pain. It’s just too painful to contemplate. I do not believe that anyone can lose a mother or a child and not suffer from the trauma of that loss. But I suspect that many if not most cannot touch it enough to do the kind of work we are talking about in this book. It’s just too terrifying. We need to recognize that we, who dare to face our demons, are the strong ones, super strong in fact but, more about that later.

When we are talking about strangers, friends or adoptive parents, I think something else is going on unconsciously. I live near one of the largest shopping malls in the country. A few years ago I was entering the mall and a bus-load of children from a local rehab hospital was unloading a few dozen kids suffering from what appeared to be cerebral palsy. They were sitting in wheel chairs with their heads off to the side, wrists twisted, faces in grimaces and I wanted to get away from them as fast as I could. I walked very fast until I was far away and sat down ashamed of myself.

A light bulb went off in my head. Why did I want to run away from those kids? Simple. My mind could not tolerate the thought of me being like them. Being confined to a wheel chair, twisted up, in pain, confusion, perhaps never being able to live a normal life... That was unthinkable. And I had an AHA moment. I wonder if those who do not want to hear of the pain of the loss of a mom or child cannot contemplate or tolerate in any way the thought of what it would be like to be one of “us.” Why else would people deny our pain and suffering? I don’t know if I am right but I think it’s a strong possibility.

To Summarize

To understand and accept the behavior of others, to not take it personally, to not judge or blame, we have to fully grieve the loss of our “other”, a painful process. To do this grieving, we have to recognize the enormity of the loss of the mother/child relationship; the sacredness of that most powerful of all the forces in nature that we have lost because of adoption; the trauma caused by that separation.

For others to accept that we were hurt by our adoption experience, to have empathy for us, they have to be willing to project what it would be like to experience what we have and that maybe be too painful to even contemplate.

I hope you all find it as enlightening as I did
Birth mother in an international adoption, reunited with my son in 2017...still working at our relationship, it is a long process but I think we will get there eventually.

My ramblings as a birth mother
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Re: Could this explain failed reunions?

Postby sylvie » Tue Apr 29, 2014 10:21 pm

Thank you very much for posting that, athensrunner.
I will read it again at a later date, when my eyes aren't so blurry, but I really appreciate these sorts of thoughtful articles.

I heard a phrase recently that made my ears prick up. It went something like this:
'It's not just the things that happen to you that you have to deal with. It's also the story you tell yourself about the things that happen to you that you also have to deal with'.

That provoked a lot of thought, particularly about adoption.

One of the things that has really puzzled me is how two entirely different stories around adoption can exist at the same time.
I know that, among women like me who never had the chance or the honour of bringing up our own children, that many of us mourn inconsolably (in deep privacy) about that fact.
At the same time, I often hear the view from adopted people that they believe they were just 'thrown away'. When I first heard this, I was aghast, it was the absolute opposite of everything that I, and many women like me, intended.

I thought of my son.

The facts of his life are that he did not have me near him when he was a baby and growing up, as nature had prepared us to be, and he was adopted by strangers who became his family. These are some of the bare facts that he has to contend with, and had had to adapt to.
If he then told himself the story that I had 'thrown him away' - that is, that I hadn't cared about him, or that he wasn't worth keeping - that would add a whole other layer of pain onto his experience. Pain based on a story which was not true. Pain which he would have to deal with despite it arising from a fiction rather than a fact.

Sometimes I think:
What if the mother wasn't faulty (ie. she wasn't all those dismissive words commonly used against her)
What if the baby was utterly loveable? (ie. she or he was treasured)
What if they had the same connection as every other mother and baby, except that they were broken apart by the time or era they were in? What if that is actually the truth of what happened in most adoptions from the 1940s - 1980s?
How would understanding that change the relationship between them in their reuniting relationship?

Perhaps it wouldn't, but perhaps it would.
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: Could this explain failed reunions?

Postby ladyarcher » Wed Apr 30, 2014 10:19 pm

I think that often two things that are completely separate become fused in the minds of some, but hopefully not all, adoptees......the two things are the feeling of insecurity, and the feeling of not being wanted. They are, in fact, two different emotions altogether.

Of course, people can only speak from their own feelings, but I have to say, that although I have always felt great insecurity and a lack, or loss, of 'belonging' ....I have never felt 'unwanted' or 'thrown away'.......I have no idea why this is, because it is the way I always felt..... it cannot be put down to the fact that I was much wanted and much loved by both my birth parents for around my first two years, because I did not discover this until I was well into my twenties, and found my b.mother, and some years later I found out more when I got in contact with my b.father's family and had a lot of information from my youngest half even way back, many years before I knew my own 'story', I did not feel 'thrown away'.....

Maybe the reason I did not feel unwanted is because I was loved and looked after by my b.parents for my first two years ...... they were both married, but unfortunately not to each other eventually there was a 'reckoning' ....... my Canadian b.father who was posted over here in the war, had to return via a posting in Europe, to his wife in Canada, and my b.mother's husband who had been posted abroad for several years, returned at the end of the, my secure little world suddenly changed to strangers everywhere.......first into a Childrens' Home to keep me and my baby full sister away from, and safe from, our b.mother's husband......this also separated me from my three older half siblings and my grandfather who had lived with us all.......then on to another strange house, and two strangers who were now my 'new' Mummy and Daddy, but this also separated me from my baby full sister......who got a different 'new' mummy and daddy when she was around six months old.....

So I grew up with gut twisting insecurity and a constant feeling of not belonging, and always being on the outside of any 'circle' looking in, but not part of any peer group. For the most part I have grown out of the 'not belonging'.....probably because I have five children, now all adults, and I belong firmly in the middle of them...along with my husband ...... and also I now have sufficient 'chutzpah' to go and join clubs and organisations which interest me.......however we have twice moved to v.small villages where everyone knew and/or was related to everyone else going back generations.......the first time was when we retired early in our mid fifties, and went to Scotland...... the people were very friendly and one was not made to feel an outsider at all, I joined the Church, and the Church Ladies group, local history group, the garden club, the Scottish version of WI, a book reading group, went swimming and Line Dancing, and was on committees for the Sailing Regatta, the Village Hall, the yearly Flower Festival, and was a founder member and Committee member of the area Horticultural Society, I also worked for the first two years we were there as a Home Carer so I got to know the old folk of the village and through them, their families......later when my disabled a.mother came to live with us I did Bed and Breakfast...........most weeks I could be 'out' nearly every evening ......we built our own house in three acres of land, and I set up a small market garden selling produce locally, and we had some hens too.............we were there for ten years....

........then six years ago we moved to a small village in mid Wales, but for the first five years I did not join anything at all, mainly because we had decided originally, that we would only stay there for three years, and also because our three younger adult children, plus several of their 'significant others', and a grandson all lived with us, so six adults in and out here and there at work or at College kept one fairly busy........then as they gradually were taking up their own lives we decided to put the house on the market and move to Cornwall.......some of you will know that we failed in this, partly due to the housing crash, and we were unable to sell our house, then eighteen months ago I was very ill, and our girls did not want us to move away, both of them being settled when our house eventually sold, we simply moved to a smaller cottage in the next village...

....this may all seem irrelevant to the topic of feeling 'not part of...' but now we have decided to stay here I have joined the local WI for this village, and also the History Society, and a Writers' Group, and some Mondays I go to the informal 'knit and chat' which happens to be next door...........all the people are very welcoming, and many in the village are incomers anyway, so I feel fairly well 'in a place'.....however I got a sudden throw back to the 'on the outside' feeling last week when half a dozen of us were at our Chairwoman's house, discussing the competition entries we were doing for the WI this coming weekend......once the business was over, the chat became general over a glass of wine, and all the others happened to be totally local and had been there for several generations at least, most of them were farmers' wives and had a lot in common to talk about, and they all knew each others' children, and each others' parents etc......and some had been at school together........and all of a sudden I had absolutely nothing to contribute to the was deliberately shutting me out, but I could hardly go on about having had two orphan lambs fifteen years ago, and that I used to have some hens, but there is only one left now, and it is ten years old as I had them for my sixtieth birthday......

The other sign of insecurity is hoarding.......and I am probably one of the worst.....or best, depending on how you judge it ......getting rid of things will make me feel physically ill,........ things seem to have their own lives, and if I get rid of them, who will look after them.......who will care where they came from and what their story is we are rather crowded in this cottage I am afraid......... my a.parents' toys, my toys', the toys from my boys now aged 45 and 46, the toys from my three younger children, now 35,32, and 30 .....vinyl records, old 78rpm records, four record players of various sorts and sizes, three sewing machines, one is my a.mothers, one the one I had for my 21st, another is a treadle machine that I bought, several typewriters, and now two computers, hundreds of books,........ china and ornaments and furniture going back to my a.parents own parents......not even my 'real' ancestors.... how daft is that......mountains of material, that I will probably never manage to turn into garments, curtains and chair covers, sets of curtains going back over fifty years, which are now fashionable again as 'shabby chic', but will need altering for current window sizes.... wool that must represent flocks of sheep....I can barely knit, but my a.mother could never pass a wool shop........countless other unconsidered trifles too numerous to is a problem.....

So, no feeling of being unloved or unwanted....... but still a great insecurity of 'not belonging', ......two very different feelings.......and needing to hang on to 'things', because 'people' disappear......

Sorry to ramble.......

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Re: Could this explain failed reunions?

Postby sylvie » Wed Apr 30, 2014 11:21 pm

Ah LadyArcher, I love hearing from you. Everything you say is so valuable and so insightful.

things seem to have their own lives, and if I get rid of them, who will look after them.......who will care where they came from and what their story is

Two things crossed my mind when I read you post, particularly about the anguish you feel about getting rid of things, and the collection of things you've amassed as a result.

One was that all the things you own are like a very personal museum, where objects have meaning and provenance and a history.

The other was wondering whether it would be a rich experience for you to choose a selection of these objects as a focus for some writing. You are a good writer, with a sensitive and perceptive turn of phrase and a committment to an inner truth - I think those are perfect ingredients for writing something very interesting. I just wondered if that would be something you'd like to do, for yourself and possibly for your descendents to treasure.

Just a thought x
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

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