Another birthmother that I have met through the internet sent me this story. I have kept it as anonymous for her and her son. I hope that she likes what I have done with it. Just kept it at her story. The information in this story is invaluable. I have sought to understand my own birthmother through the very same channels that this mother has done. I have links to many of the same birthmother blogs and groups that she has used. If I had the chance to help my own birthmother to heal, I would lead her to these links. I would personally give her the phone numbers of birthmothers not only in her area but across the country. These women have been instrumental in my own healing process. Just as this woman has been for me. Thank you for giving me your story to publish on my blog.
My first born son and I have been reunited for about 5
years. I have the great privilege of getting a second
chance to know and love my first born son from "up
close". To have him back in my life brings me the
greatest of joy.
Some time has passed since I was in the first elating
and confusing phases of reunion with my son and during
this five year period, I have worked on, and continue
to work on, some of the difficult issues that reunion
brings to the surface. Thankfully, I haven't had to do
Other mothers who have lost children to adoption have
been a great source of understanding and compassion. I
have "met" many on the inter net and had the bonus of
the opportunity to be among a group of reunited
mothers living in my city and throughout its burbs.
Also CUB (Concerned United Birth parents) has a
chapter locally and I attend their monthly meetings
when I am able. The adult adoptees I have "met" on the
inter net and at CUB have also helped me tremendously;
particularly in understanding some of the more common
adoption issues from the adult adoptee viewpoint.
My son was born in the mid '70's. His father and I
dated in high school and into college. A pregnancy
out of marriage in our very conservative mid west
community was still a scandalous, shameful thing. My
family's unspoken motto is "Look good at all costs."
I was to hide my pregnancy from the neighbors; not go
for dental appointments and to avoid all relatives.
Though my parents didn't ever discuss the option my
being shipped off to a maternity home; I was leaving
town soon after I discovered I was pregnant to return
to the dorm for my sophomore year in college. Since I
was not yet "showing" in late August as I left town,
in hindsight, I was pretty much as good as sent to a
maternity home and far away from scandalous gossip.
I was able to finish winter quarter of that academic
year and returned to my parents house in late February
to await the birth of my first born son. My child's
father and I attended Lamaze classes together. His
father was with me when my "water broke" and labor
with our son began. His father was present for my
entire labor and delivery. Though we were not
planning to marry, we did birth our child together.
I always wanted my child; I did not want to surrender
him to adoption; but I remember that I thought, and
was told, that if I really loved my baby, I would
surrender him. And course I loved my baby. I would
have given my life for my baby.
30 years of hindsight gives me the perspective that I
had my back against a very tight corner; no air to
breathe due to pressure and coercion from family and
the adoption agency. His father and I had absolutely
no legal counsel; an appalling fact; sadly the norm
for parents like us.
So, I surrendered my child to adoption. And continued
to do as I was expected. Got a summer job at the same
time I went back to the agency clinic for my post par
tum exam. And in the fall I returned to school.
Finished up my degrees; not one but two, as was
expected. Got married and had other children as was
expected. I kept my mouth shut as was expected; kept
the secret by not even telling my other children of
their brother's birth. "Moved on" as was expected...I
think I even had myself convinced that I had "moved
I kept my son, his birth, all the events surrounding
the surrender, and his father in a separate part of my
being. I had to compartmentalize them in order to
function in my day to day life. However, I spent an
enormous amount of energy to keep my overwhelming
feelings at a subconscious level. It was like I was
keeping a gigantic pressure filled beach ball
submerged underwater for 24 years. This huge "beach
ball" was like a living organism that resided in my
gut and I expended a tremendous amount of emotional,
mental and spiritual energy into keeping it down below
the surface. I think I got so used to living with it
that I functioned eventually with very little
awareness of it being there.
The month my son turned 18, I contacted the adoption
agency. My son also contacted the agency about 4 or 5
years later. We are very fortunate in that then the
agency made the effort to contact each of us by
letter. The letters stated that as we had each made
agency contact, if we were interested in contact with
one another, we could begin through the agency.
So one summer afternoon, while standing in my kitchen,
I opened a hand addressed letter to me.
There was no return address at all on the envelope.
I had no idea that this was a letter from the agency
stating that my son had contacted the agency and that
I could contact him through them. At that moment, the
pressurized ball shot above the surface. The illusion
of my calm and controlled waters broke.
I did not respond to my son right away through the
agency. I didn't say "no contact" but I didn't say
yes, either. I just pretty much avoided giving any
Thankfully, for me, my son was persistent and about a
year later, when he later told me that his life was a
bit more settled, he contacted the agency, again. I
can't exclaim loudly enough, that I am so thankful for
my son's persistence. Five years ago we exchanged our
first letters through the agency. About a year later
we had our first phone calls. And 4.5 years ago, I had
the greatest joy of seeing my son, again, for the
first time. We have been able to see another about 2
times a year. There is half of the U.S. between us
but we have cell phones, email, and airfares. And I
believe we have worked hard at building a foundation
of trust in our relationship.
When I stop to think that if not for my son's
persistence I would probably not have this chance to
know him, I am horrified. I think that I would have
remained frozen in an unresponsive state had he not
again contacted the agency.
And I have done some soul searching as to why I didn't
jump immediately on the chance to have contact with my
son when I read that first agency letter in my kitchen
that summer day 7 years ago. Reunion with my son and
the second chance to know him as an adult and to build
our relationship is one of the greatest joys of my
life! I can't stand to think that I might have totally
lost that chance.
So why didn't I jump on that chance immediately?
I think it was simply that the emotions rising to the
surface with the reality of a reunion were too many
and each too great for me to begin to deal with. I
didn't know how to begin to address even one of my
feelings. All feelings seemed inextricably bound. I
simply avoided dealing with my loss, grief, shame,
anger and even greater than these; the joy of my son's
existence. It was all too enormous. All these emotions
compressed inside that huge beach ball held in my gut
that took every ounce of energy to keep submerged.
I had no tools, or support to deal with it by myself.
Then, I got on line to research adoption/reunion and
began to find so many other mothers who were just like
me. Mothers who lost their children to adoption.
They were telling their stories. Each was the same as
mine. Different cast; same story line.
This was a huge relief. I was not alone. And then I
began to meet in person some other mothers of loss.
They were like me...housewives, mothers, teachers,
nurses, business leaders; backbone of the community
people. And they reached out to me to hear my story;
which I needed to tell; over and over.
They helped me to see that I needed to cut the chain
of secrecy and tell my other children of their
Living without telling them was making me physically
ill. My sons all now have the opportunity to build
their own relationships as they wish.
Early in reunion, I found over and over one particular
statistic that hit me really hard between the eyes.
There are 6,000,000 adoptees in the US. That means
there are 6,000,0000 mothers of adoption loss out
there. 6,000,000 million fathers. Makes me feel not
quite so alone, anymore. Glad to be not so alone, but
wish in this case I was a bit more lonely.