Some people's mothers

I can now see how an adopted person could get so fed up dealing with their biological parent that they would say screw it and just go ahead and contact other family members. I'm not saying they should, and I haven't and likely never (never say never) will, but I can now see how it all could evolve.

This October marks a year since I met my biological mother. This January will mark 2 years since our initial contact via email. At the moment I am going on week number, ohhh let's see, maybe 4 or 5, and unanswered email number 3. Email number 1 was a pretty nice mail (I solicited opinions) in which I asked point blank who my biological father is. I haven't heard squat since. No "eff off and die", no "sorry Campbell, I will not tell you", no "I need more time", not a damn word.

I realize something could be wrong with her, she may have no Internet access, she could even be dead for all I know but it's not likely since I haven't seen an obituary yet in my daily searches. Also, based on the past 2 experiences where I worried something may be wrong and it turned out all was well, she'd just not bothered to mail back, it's more likely that she's just ignoring me again. If I'm wrong and she's ill or dead, I will not feel the slightest bit of guilt for being ticked off and that's her doing, not mine.

I have done all I possibly can to prove my dedication to protecting her privacy. She has no legitimate reason to fear I will betray her if she gives me the information I'm entitled to, which is knowing who my biological father is.

I write this post not to solicit my reader's pity but rather to inform those thinking of searching. To tell those who've gone against their mother's wishes and contacted family members that I can see how it can happen. To let in the closet mothers know how frustrating it can be from the adopted person's side of it all. How disrespectful it feels to be ignored when you've taken great care with your mother or father's feelings and circumstance.

How tempting it is to just say screw this.

Why should I continue to care how you feel when how I feel is apparently meaningless to you?


  1. This is simply sad. I wish your biological mother would extend simple courtesy to you. Just an acknowlegement that you have contacted her and asked a question. It doesn't appear you are asking much.

    People are so messy.

    Your point is well made. I would never fault you or anyone else who would continue on to contact other family members when they have first reached out to their biological mother with little to no avail.

    If your biological mother had asked that you never contact her again, or indicated that you were a part of her life she wished would remain a secret (should a person ever be a secret?), I can see why you may (or may not) choose to contact other family members.

    But to simply be ignored.

    That seems like it would incredibly hurtful.

    I admire that you would consider digging deeper and possibly searching out other members of your biological family. That takes great maturity and forgiveness to allow yourself to move past the initial hurt to seek others who might not treat you the same.

    I don't have any experience being an adoptee. But I appreciate you sharing your experience because it helps give me perspective on what it might be like to be adopted.

    And it makes me sad. So much loss for you. And unanswered questions.

    Thanks for sharing.


  2. I wish your (bio) mom could be honest with you. That is one thing that I swore I would do ~ no matter what. No matter the question I would only be completely honest with Christopher in reunion. I was tired of the lies that already exist in adoption, I didn't need to add any more.

    I wouldn't fault you at all if you do decide in the future to reach out beyond your mom to get the answers you deserve.

  3. As a firstmom I can't even imagine why someone would keep the name of the biological father a secret. Is is possible that your bio mom does not know? I've heard of situations where such is the case. Just a thought.

  4. There is no right way or wrong way. I have talked to adoptees who have been waiting for more than a decade for their mothers to reveal their existance - that takes an incredible amount of patience that I doubt I would have.

    I am sorry you are in the midst of this. My story is different than yours. I know who my father is but he doesn't have any more time for me (as in providing my family health history because my doctors needed it) than he had standing up and being a man when it counted before I as born. After many years I can finally say with honesty - his loss - not mine. Yet at the same time I check the SSDeath index to see if he has passed away. It is never easy or as planned - emotions or reality.

  5. Sorry Campbell. This situation is really unfair. :(

  6. That's so unfortunate that she's not even responding to communication. What if you sent her flowers or a gift in the mail, and tell her that you appreciate her? Does the honey approach work with her? Some people it does, some it doesn't. I feel fortunate that I was able to meet my father, even though it was only once. Because it explains things about me that I wouldn't know from just knowing my mother. My prayers are with you!

  7. I'm sorry Campbell. It sucks :(
    I do not understand how she can just continue to avoid like this, whatever the circumstances surrounding your conception.

  8. I'm sorry Campbell. I feel fortunate for my daughter that when we searched and found her mother, she did tell us who our daughter's father is. At least my daughter will have a name and physical description.

    I was thinking the same as Gail, is it possible your mother does not know who your father is? That may be hard to admit, even to yourself. Hugs to you. It is not fair. You have a right to this basic information even if the answer is "I don't know."
    Hugs, Kris

  9. When I met her we talked a bit about it. She told me that the man in my non identifying information is not the person who is my father, that it was just wishful thinking on her part. The non identifying info gave a description of him and said I already had a half brother at the time of my birth, that he was seperated from his wife. I think that it's now that she's lying, not then. I think that he's likely still married and she's afraid I'll out him. If I'm right, it's insulting to me that after all this time she doesn't trust me, never mind think enough of me to simply write me back. It's just common courtesy to reply in a timely manner, especially to something of such a serious nature.

    In ten seconds I could contact two of her sisters, both of her adult children, an adult grandchild, and numerous relatives and have been capable of doing so for over a year. I've not even told my mother her (bio mom) last name in my dedication to protecting her privacy.

    I guess I just find it all insulting. It's rude, thoughtless, and not a way that I act or treat people. This is far more than I should be saying but you're all so kind and I want you to know I appreciate your comments. If I ever hear from her again, I'll be sure to let you know. Thanks.

  10. I think it's also frustrating that she wants to keep you a secret. That makes me equally mad. It would be better for her to just tell everyone now that to keep the lie going. I hope that she'll come around eventually. I'm sorry that you're being treated like this.

  11. I'm so sorry Campbell. My daughter will be in this situation in many ways. He siblings are all adultm and she is only 3, they know nothing of her existence. I did, with the support and words of Ms. Marginalia, get her first mother to tell me her father's name. I am so glad she has that. I have not reached out to him on my word, but I did search and have all his contact info.

    Every day that passes is a day my daughter does not know her sisters and they do not know her, and that is incredibly sad. In fact, my daughter is about to become and aunt at 3. Sigh...If and when my daughter wants to meet her sisters, I will assist her, I can reach them...

  12. That is so good you have his name, Trish. Keep keeping track of him. Would you be able to vaguely share why your daughter's first mother doesn't want you to reach out to him? Why she doesn't want her other kids to know?

    Oneinchofgrace, thanks. What bugs me is I am letting her have her secret, what can't she give me something in return, you know?

  13. It's about control. Not necessarily about controlling you, but about her no longer feeling in control of things in her life -- specifically this secret.
    My guess is that she feel's alot of shame and regret and has convinced herself that having this secret out would be devastating for her.
    The reality is she may never get beyond these feelings and give you what you need/want, the whole truth. That puts you in a catch 22 position, if you go against her wishes and contact siblings, etc. you risk looking like a jerk for not respecting her wishes (in their eyes) and if you don't you risk ending up with a lot of you own regrets not getting to meet the rest of your family.
    This really sucks! I am sorry.

  14. I get this 100%. As you know, my parents are married but nobody else knows about me. I'm trying to be respectful. I've been responded to. But NOBODY will tell me what the time table is. I don't think they understand that while this has potential to upset the lives of their kept children, this has huge potential to mess with me too.

    Communication is good. Clearing the air is good. I really hope this works out and she gets back to you. ((hugs))

  15. You could very well be right Cheryl, she has in conversation (about things unrelated to adoption/me) talked about her tendency to like to be in control of what's going on around her.

    Jenn, I always follow your story because of us having in common being kept secrets from siblings. Of course your siblings are full siblings and are still children, not the same at all as my circumstance but still, I can relate to many things you say and feel.

    Your first/birth/bio mom...sheesh I'd like to tell her to take advantage of the fact her other kids are still kids, that every day she waits makes it worse. Not to mention her husband knows he's your father!! She's really in the best place to come clean about it all. Anyway, sure would love to talk to her lol

  16. Sorry she's being silent. It's disrespectful. I think silence is worse than anything else. Even if she doesn't plan to tell you his name, she should tell you that she won't tell you. I think many first moms choose silence over conflict with us adoptees; conflict is understandably messy, and mixed up with issues of shame, etc., it's all the more painful. But I feel they owe us the respect of being honest about the decisions they are making. We don't have to like them, but they need to tell us about them.

    And as we are adults, we are then free to make our own decisions, based on theirs. Respect is key, but they first need to respect US.

  17. I've been thinking about your situation for a few days now and your bio mother's actions seem wrong on many accounts. Despite your tx you have been very respectful for quite some time. At this point, what could it hurt to go ahead and introduce yourself to your siblings and your aunts? It seems like you have nothing to lose and possibly much to gain. I am so sorry that you have to deal with all this.

  18. "That is so good you have his name, Trish. Keep keeping track of him. Would you be able to vaguely share why your daughter's first mother doesn't want you to reach out to him? Why she doesn't want her other kids to know?"

    It's all very vague anyway. She was 40 and he in his 20s. I guess she told him and they agreed to an abortion or something like that, They broke up, she says he was no good and our daughter "dodged a bullet" no further details on what that means. She did not name him at any point, and being in a putative father's registry state his rights were gone 30 days after birth (she was placed with us at 2 months, long story not mine to tell) She hated his mother too. Who knows the truth?

    She his her pregnancy form everyone and got no prenatal care. She believed and continues to believe that no one would support her choice to place. She bottom line did not want to parent and start all over, and she did not want father to parent with his mother. She thinks her daughters could not have handled the loss but "planned to tell them when they are older" whatever that means.

    My thoughts are that to some degree her sisters do know their mom was pregnant- they did ask and she denied- and that mom just wants it to come out so she can stop hiding. I don;t think she will ever tell of her own will, though. There was a lot of sneaking around etc. and there are tons of photos, OBC (!) and other things in a box that can easily be found.

    I often feel really shitty about participating in this web of lies. What will my daughter think of my actions? Will she blame me? I do my best to have all the information (and photos, lot and lots of photos) she needs to do with what she wants, but is that enough? Will she hate me?

    This is all so complicated, and I hate the thought of my beautiful girl feeling pain, feeling rejection, feeling any less than her sisters who were raised by her first mother.

  19. I personally don't think your daughter will hate you Trish. Not for all this stuff anyway. Sounds to me like you're respecting her first family as best you can. Focus on being the best mom you can and be there to support your daughter if the time comes, and be confident in the role you play in her life. Your daughter may or may not feel those things Trish. I don't think it does anyone any good to automatically assume everything negative an adopted person goes through growing up is adoption related, to do with attachment, abandonment etc. No offense meant to you personally at all but it can have to do with the adoptive parent themselves and instead of thinking about what they may do differently in parenting that adoptee, it's just taken for granted that there is something wrong with the adoptee by virtue of having been adopted. Don't fret too much yet, enjoy her and keep up with the info gathering. I think it's great!

    Gail, you're right in that I really don't have much to lose but there's just something that seems wrong about it to me. I guess if I were to though it might ease my conscience to warn her of my intentions ahead of time. I don't know. Not even sure if any aunts would even have knowledge of who my bio father is although they could have some guesses I suppose.

  20. What a dilemma. I feel bad for you. I can't think of anything more you could do to win her trust, other than to continue as you are doing, and who knows how long that could go on for?
    Like Gail said, you have been respectful and discreet for a such a long time, you'd think she'd have given you her trust by now, instead of leaving you in this difficult position.
    Not that it really helps to consider such a thing and it may be that it really is just avoidance on her part, but do you think it is possible that the withholding could be a kind of challenge?

  21. " you think it is possible that the withholding could be a kind of challenge?"

    Who knows, eh? Could be I suppose but I just don't REALLY know the woman.

  22. Don't get me wrong, I don't fret this every minute (though some days I really do stress it from am ethiocal perspective). I enjoy every minute as a mom to my most aswesome daughter. And as a mental one person do not necessarily impact another in the health clinician, I know there are many things that impact development, and that things that impact same way or at all. Still, I'd rather have everything for my kid and she not really want it than have nothing and she really need it. And I'd rather recongnize and validate adoption related issues should they manifest than to pretend they don't exist if one just loves the child enough.

    And I don't think she'll hate me one day (for this at least). At 3, She thinks I rock as a mom!

    Enjoying the commentary here

  23. Thanks Trish. Sounds to me like you have a good handle on it all. I really like that you'd rather have everything and she not want it than have nothing and find she needs/wants it. Your daughter is fortunate you understand there are many things that impact development, not just being adopted.

    I wonder if pretending adoption related issues don't exist even happens much anymore? Seems to me more like people assume or expect they will (or do) exist and that preventative treatments or therapies are the norm. That any little thing is an indicator of attachment issues, any unacceptable (to the parent) behavior on the part of the child must be because they are adopted.

    I know as a parent I look at myself first when I had/have an issue with my son, I don't automatically assume it's him.

  24. "I wonder if pretending adoption related issues don't exist even happens much anymore?"

    Oh believe me, it happens, a lot. It happens as much any issue that parents pretend doesn't exist. I guess it depends on what population you are talking about, too. I see lots of adoption in my work, kin and non kin adoption, or informal adoption (a ton of this- mom leaves kid with neighbor and never returns, or comes in and out) I also see lots of foster care issues, migrations issues, etc. You'd be surprised how much attachment issues are totally overlooked, even by professionals. Adoption or not, I can diagnose at least 60% of my clients with attachment disorders.

  25. Hmm now you have me thinking Trish. I take what you're saying to mean that attachment issues are a pretty big deal and not unique to those involved in what may be considered typical adoption. That attachment issues can also exist in intact families.

    Now I'm wondering if you have seen situations where parents think their child, adopted or not, has attachment disorders when in fact it's them, the parents, who are the ones having trouble attaching or are just dissatisfied with the way their kids show attachment.

  26. It depends on how you are defining "intact." Attachment issues can and do occur, quite often in fact, in families of origin. That said, there is often a relational rupture that occurred.

    We've gone off on a tangent. I can write volumes on attachment. To answer your question, I have not seen- in my practice-parents believe their child has an attachment disorder (especially when one exists). I have seen parents think their child is just bad, and not look at their own parenting, or recognize that there are relational issues that affect behavior. Sadly, this happens quite often.

  27. For those still checking in here, I finally heard back from bio mom. She said has already given me more information than she likely should have and is sorry to disappointment me but cannot give me any more information. She apologized for taking so long to reply but my asking really threw her for a loop.

  28. I'm so sorry Campbell. That's really infuriating and hurtful. I have no words...

  29. Ah Trish, you know what? I'm not infuriated nor hurt now to be honest. I'm pleased she finally mailed back. It's obviously a very big deal to her for some reason. I'm disappointed I don't get to know something I'm pretty curious about, especially now with all the secrecy!

  30. I'm glad you are not infuriated or hurt. We are [very obviously] different types of people. What you are "pretty curious" about would drive me completely batshit crazy! Sometimes I wish I wasn't this way, but mostly, I love my over the top curiosity and love doing the detective work that follows!

  31. Was just speaking to my sister about my passion for "detective" work. It's things driving me completely bat shit crazy I try very hard to avoid ; )

  32. I have to say that I don't think I'd be as nice as you. I'd probably contact my bio siblings. Frankly I think she's being rude. She's a grown woman now. Adoption isn't taboo. She should grow a pair and deal with it. You deserve answers if you want answers. I haven't tried to find any answers because its not something I care to look into right now. But...that said, if I felt I was getting the run around like you have been...I'd take my search farther. Maybe if her bio children knew they would persuade her to tell you what you deserve to know.


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