Luck of the Irish...I'm Irish you know, in my biological background

With the impending event of meeting my bio mother slowly getting closer, I find myself thinking about how it will play out. I've read about others meeting, from both sides, mostly mothers and daughters which is what my scenario is also. The majority don't seem to go that well, for whatever reason, hard to know for sure who's to blame, if there can even be "fault"  laid on either party.

I told my sister the other day, "I know I have no control over this situation of meeting my biological mother. Don't worry, I have no real expectations, basically because I really don't know what to expect." and I mean it. I have thought over what's the best way to get as many questions answered as I can which lends itself to wondering, just what do I REALLY want to know? I think I'll write out a list. Maybe try and list the questions according to their importance.

Then I get thinking, how will I let her know what I'm like, if she's interested that is. Maybe I should bring her a copy of this or maybe that just TMI. Of course I'd leave off the part where I say I'm not my husband, female, and adopted as that should be apparent.

Another thing that's crossed my mind is the possibility of meeting someone very  much like me, someone who I have no baggage with. I mean, it will be the person who gave birth to me but has never grounded or hit me. Never said no you can't go to that concert or made me wash a floor. Has never yelled at me, never made me feel guilty, never accused me of doing something I haven't done. Someone who's my mother but has never mothered me, a role we all know isn't just cookies and kissing boo boos. Uhh, sorry, but this has the possibility of being a very cool experience.

I used to go rollerskating as a young teen, mainly to meet boys. I would dream up scenarios of how things would go, who'd ask me to skate, how much fun I would have, and inevitably, at the end of the night when my friend's mom would pick us up, I'd be disappointed. Not because the night had gone badly, but because it could never have lived up to my expectations. It was then that I realized what I did to myself, how I set myself up to be let down, and started enjoying life way more.

Now I'm not saying there's something wrong with dreaming or being hopeful, quite the opposite, I am all for being realistically optimistic.

Having said all that, it'll be my luck to have taken after my biological father.


  1. I am excited for you. I hope it goes well.

  2. Campbell,

    Once something we never dreamed could ever really take place, is going to take place it's a crazy feeling. No matter what view you hold on adoption - meeting your mother is special and should be special...its a long time since you were parted.

    If I were to meet my mother (she had already passed when the courts opened my records)...

    Did she/was she allowed to hold me in the hospital?

    Did she name me?

    My/Our story of adoption without the SW perceptions.

    How would she describe her personality?

    Has life been good to her and what did she do? Does she have other kids?

    What are her hobbies? What is she good at?
    What types of books and TV does she like?

    What is/was her/our family like? Where did our ancestors come from and why?

    Getting a sense of who she is - is what I would hope to achieve from the above questions. I would also ask if she would be willing to share my family health history and any pictures of my grandparents etc.

  3. I'll come back and reply to this post when I've had more sleep(sick all night coughing...ugh) but I just had to laugh and comment that our similarities are shocking as usual. LOL I'm Irish biologically as well. Raised Norwegian so when people would ask about my heritage I would say Norwegian and they would look at me strangely and just smile. I'm short, chubby, have too much red natural highlight and a temper to match it at time. So NOT Norwegian to look at. Of course I know from my name (mom told me she figured I was Irish before they told me my birth name when I turned 18) that I was Irish genetically. But it was more fun to play with peoples minds and watch their gears turn at the news of my heritage :)

    My kids though...they could pass for Norwegian in a heartbeat!!

    Okay off to steal a bit more sleep while the little one naps.

  4. Alex, it's those stinkin Irish Catholics shunning their Wild Irish Roses ; )

    No offense to all the non shunning Catholics and Wild Irish Roses out there...I joke, but what I say is likely true for the most part.

  5. Sandy, your comment just confirms what I already know about how fortunate (did anyone else hear a loud PRIVILEGED as I typed fortunate?) I am to have gained as much knowledge about my biological mother and her family as I already have, pre meeting.

    I know I was named and what my name was because my parents gave me my adoption document.

    I know she has other kids, different father. Facebook has accommodated me quite nicely in seeing pics of them.

    I know one of her main hobbies, in fact it's what allowed me to see pictures of her already.

    I know I had a paternal half sibling when I was born from non identifying info supplied by government family services.

    There is still much to know, some of which you've mentioned in your comment, but I do realize I'm not only a "happy adoptee", but a rather lucky one too.

    Thank you Sandy, for weighing in. I enjoyed your comment :D

  6. I am excited for you and wishing you and your first mom all the best with your reunion.

  7. Campbell,

    I have just come on to your blog so I don't know whether you have met your birthmother yet. Your post here shows a lot of enthusiasm and awareness which bodes well for a positive relationship.

    However, I have seen your writings on First Mother Forum and your other writings here and, as a birthmother, they give me pause. If you haven't met your birthmother, how can you be sure your adoption was the right thing? If you meet her and tell her that, you're pouring salt in her wounds.

    Far better not to go there. If you do discuss adoption, be flexible. Listen to what she has to say. Don't tell her she made the right decision or thank her for giving you a good life. Remarks like these can be very hurtful to birthmothers.

    Tell her how pleased you are to meet her. Tell her that while you have lots of questions, you also want to know her as a person, not just a source of information. Most importantly, tell her that if there are any disagreements or conflicts you hope that the two of you can talk them over.

  8. Hi Jane, thanks for coming to my blog and reading.

    I'd like to say first I appreciate you commenting and imagine you have the best intentions at heart when you tell me how to behave as an adoptee meeting my biological mother, what to and not to tell her. My guess is you're just trying to be kind and help even though at first read it ...well...gave me pause.

    My writings and comments here and at FMF have never been derogatory toward my or anyone else's biological parents. I have the utmost empathy and respect for mine and feel just horrible for other mothers who've lost children in unethical, corrupt adoption situations. Just because my way of viewing my adoption is different than most other adopted people who comment on your forum doesn't make what I have to say bad or wrong.

    It's my hope that my bio mom always wished that my life has been good, just as I'm glad to know her's has been good. It was a great relief to me to finally know she was ok too. We have had one exchange of non identifying letters facilitated through a family services agency where we both described how our lives had gone and interestingly had very similar pragmatic views on our situation of adoption. Since then we've had several brief exchanges of emails to arrange our meeting.

    Please don't worry about me or my mother. Her well being has always been extremely important to me, as is her privacy. I am a good, kind, responsible person who tries to be sensitive to other people's feelings and needs.

    Maybe we can both keep our fingers crossed that traits like that are genetic : )

  9. A question Jane, if you come back to read.

    I wonder what your advice is to adoptees that have full or half biological siblings who are unaware of the adoptee because their birth has always been a secret and the mother wants to keep it that way.

    This is my situation and I believe it's not place to out my bio mom. That it would be hurtful to her and possibly her family.

  10. Hey Campell
    I know your not fond of comments from people who are not themselves adopted - so it takes some moxi to right this....Your mother does not and will not have a right to control you or her other children. She does not have the right to prevent you or them from knowing each other and deciding for yourselves what, if any, kind of relationship you would like to have with each other.
    She will probably come to breaking this to them - if it takes her longer than 6 months....Annecdote time: My first reunion was my mother with her sister's family in Canada. My mom was raised as an only child her father died 2 weeks prior to her birth. Well I got to digging and found out he was married and had a child 5 years older than her he was a bigamust. I found her family the year her sister died. My mom was 65. She flew to Canada and took over as the "Grandma" for all her sister's grandkids and got close with her sister's daughters. I mean if you hand picked a family you could not pick cooler people. She never met her sister. They looked just alike only my mom is the painted hussy type. They both sang and had similar interests. Their mother's were ashamed and thought it would be best not to tell them.
    Now I'm not saying you and your siblings would hit it off, I'm just saying that its not for anyone to tell you or them who they can and can't talk to. And her embarrassment, not of you, but of "mom how could you have kept this from us" lying to them - she'll get over it.
    I know you want me to pipe down because I'm not adopted. Ok - back into my corner.

  11. Oh Marilyn, you're funny.

    You're mistaken about me not wanting comments from people who are not themselves adopted so you didn't need any moxy at all! What a waste ; )

    Nobody is controlling me except for me. I just could never do that to another person. It's just me. If she breaks it to them, great, hopefully I can help her analyze what their reaction might in a more realistic way than she's doing now having kept it a secret for 47 years.

  12. Campbell,

    Regarding telling the siblings: I have three daughters whom I raised, half sisters to my surrendered daughter Megan. They did not know about her until I told them about a month after Megan and I connected.

    It is your mother's decision whether to tell your siblings about you. I told my daughters about Megan because I wanted to have a relationship with her and I believed it would be unfair, actually morally wrong. as well as impractical to try to keep her a secret. Megan was curious about them and wanted to meet them. She also met a half-sister on her father's side. I think these meetings helped her fill in things about herself.

    Once you and your mother have had a chance to get to know each other, you can ask about meeting her other children if she does not bring it up.

    Regarding telling your mother you had a good life, that's ok. What is harmful is telling her you had a good life because she gave you up.

    If you haven't, you might read adoptee Jean Strauss' "Birthright." Strauss describes thanking her mother: "“One reason I had searched for her was that I wanted to tell her that she’d done the right thing. I always felt she deserved to know that. I proudly said it now on the phone, sure that this one sentence would make her feel good about her decision thirty-three years earlier to relinquish me for adoption. ‘You know, you did the right thing when you gave me up.”

    Her answer burst my hallucination. ‘I’ll never believe that. I should have never let you go. I wish I had taken you and run.’”

    Mothers' and daughters' understandings of the adoption experience and their expectations in reunion may be very different. I've written a paper on this, based on the memoirs of adopted daughters which we posted on First Mother Forum on May 5, 2009.

    I know I come across as preachy but I'm sharing from my own experience and that of the many birthmothers I've met.

    If you start off on the wrong foot, it is hard to repair the damage.

  13. "If you start off on the wrong foot, it is hard to repair the damage."

    I can totally see this being the case.

    Thanks very much for your thoughts Jane.

  14. Hey - just came across your blog via birth mom buds. I am a birth mom and just wanted to comment. One of the comments said not to tell your birth mom she made the right decision or tell thank her for giving you a good life. I have to say I disagree... I suppose this may be hurtful to some birth moms, but for me, this is what I most want to hear. I want to know my daughter is happy with her life and it has been good. For me, this would be healing. It would be the sigh of relief that things worked out the way I hoped they would. If she is happy, I am happy. I suppose what would be hurtful is if it was said as, "now that I have met you, I'm glad you didn't keep me" That would hurt. After meeting me, I would want her to think I am a good person, and she would have been okay with me. I think at some point we all think 'I should have just taken my baby and run.' Then I really look at the facts and what I could have provided at the time and I know I tried to make the best decision I could for her well being. I hope she has had a great life, and I hope one day it is her who will tell me about it.

  15. Foot? What foot? Your going to be you she's going to be her and everything will be fine. You'll end up thick as theives or you'll walk away saying "well there goes an hour of my life I'll never get back" and you'll be happy leave it at christmas & bday cards. Nothing either of you says at this point is going to make or break anything. You both WANT to meet each other. She WANTS to know you. What could your kid possibly say that would make you not want to know him? He could say the wrongest thing and you would not walk away cause he's your baby. Your her baby. I know what the first mom is saying - be sensitive to the fact that she may feel like her daughter is glad to be raised by someone else that she really was not worthy of raising her own child. Yikes that is a heavy drinking conversation. Its good to take that into consideration but you can't have all that weight on you when you first meet or you'll both walk away drained. Its enough for both sides to say "I've thought of you so often over the years and wondered what you'd be like and I'm so happy to finally meet you lets look at some photos..."
    on siblings again
    Oh but I'm bad. I have found many people's parents by going through their siblings. Why just the other day I surprise reunited a mom and her son and the same day his dad too (great f-ing day for me) but the mom was unreachable at her email address that she used to post looking for her son. Well I'd already found the son so I had to get hold of the mom somehow, so I figured out who her other kid was called the girl up at work (she's a policeman) and told her "hey I found your brother" Turns out mom never mentioned the adoption. That's the 4th sister I've surprised with a brother this year alone. Oh the kids who did not know their father's sold sperm, even they get over it quick. I have yet to meet a sibling who felt threatened. I'm sure its possible but that would be spoiled and weird. I'm an awesome gauge of what normal is under those circumstances what is normal is for people to be excited about getting the big brother or sister that they always wanted. We all live in the public domain. I understand that you want to be respectful and you should be.
    The first mom above said that it is the first mom's decision. What she does is her decision And what everyone else does is theirs. What is the worst thing that could happen? Knowing you will not make their little norman rockwell world fall apart the worst that could happen is that they are boring and don't react at all. They won't hate her they'll be too busy getting to know you - they won't be focused on the fact that she lied because its over now anyway. The sibling thing is not about her, she just does not see that yet.

    The sibling relationship lasts longer than any other relationship people have in life (not in this case but generally) You know your siblings generally longer than any friend, spouse or parent. Siblings are family all on their own whether they know where their parents are or not.
    Parents are just big kids anyway - we have to manage each other. Being busted out on a lie is scary but at a certain point we put on our big girl pants and face our sh-t.

    If you guys start out on the wrong foot go ahead and step all over each other's toes; its better than sitting still and at least you'll get the formality out of the way early.

  16. Campbell, I respect that you want to support your mother in her decision not to tell her family about you. That's great. You are talking to her, you are being respectful of each other, and if she decides never to tell your sibs about you, you're okay with that.

    Jane, I think it's wonderful that you told your other kids about Megan so soon after your reunion. That's as it should be.

    I agree with Marilynn, though, that there are situations in which an fmom controls too much at the expense of her child.

    Following your dictates, I would be sitting here right now, not knowing a damn thing about myself because my fmom rejected me twice through a CI and then ignored me. For 10 years. At some point, I decided I was finished carrying the burden of her past for her, being the outcast, feeling depressed and severed from who I am, and being on the edge of suicide, wondering what I had done to deserve a life in which I was treated like human garbage. The best thing I ever did was contact my brother. No, he didn't know about me. No, my fmom didn't like it. She still didn't talk to me, except to send a rude letter telling me she'd left me behind 40 years ago and to leave it at that. I got to know my brother, who is incredibly like me, look at pictures of my family in his house, and see myself mirrored in people other than my children. It gave me an immense sense of peace. Did I do this at a cost to my fmom? Sure. But did she have the right to chuck me on trash heap and pretend that I am less than human? No. Her rights didn't trump mine.

    The other thing that has come about from all this is a change in my fmom. Her secret is out. She doesn't have to struggle to keep it and lie anymore. She called me about a month ago to yell at me (this was our first ever phone conversation), saying that she'd told me everything there is to know, she suffers from anxiety and that her friends think that her situation is heartbreaking, and that I don't deserve to know any more about myself. I agreed with her it was sad, but then brought up how her unwillingness to give medical information to me resulted in me having serious complications after surgery that almost killed me and that have left chronic effects. She told me *everything*? No, she didn't. And now I am paying with the quality of my life. She told me that she wished she'd aborted me. I told her I agreed, it would have been the best option. She hung up, surprised that I agreed with her.

    She called back and apologized, her anger spent. We had an odd but decent conversation, and she was able to validate me as a human being for the first time, which I believe was good for both of us.

    If I had respected her wishes and left well enough alone, I would probably be dead by now. I made the right decision for me, which might not be the right decision for you or anyone else. But I am glad that I went forward with the idea, radical as it may be, that I am a person worth the same respect as my fmom.

  17. ms. marginalia, it may surprise you to know that I respect your decisions also. Although I do believe (feel I know) that there were some mothers who were led to believe in some way that the adoption would always and forever be behind them, really why should their right trump the adoptee's rights? It's kind of a chance they've taken, although sadly for some they were unaware they were taking a chance.

    For whatever reason, it would be far more difficult knowing I'd disrupted someone's family as they know it than to not ever know that family.

    For you, it's far more difficult not knowing the family and I totally respect that and empathize with you. Really.

    I do hope my bio mom tells her family some day and maybe now after having met me she will.

    Or maybe she won't.


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