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On the Today Show

In Adoption on June 27, 2011 by Carolyn

Today on “Today” they are talking about finding birthparents/children on social networks such as Facebook or MySpace.  This is out of order about my adoption story but it ties into people being told they are adopted who had no idea and the secrecy that still surrounds adoption. 

My mother was always for closed adoption.  She felt that this would be confusing to the child to have two sets of parents.  Many times I shared my mother’s view on topics, more by osmosis rather than me forming my own opinion.  Now that I am grown, now that I have experienced reunion and failure in reunion, I strongly disagree.  While in a perfect world, you could be adopted and that would be that, you cannot take a child from another person without questions, needs and a bit of confusion.  I think so much fear lies in that after taking this child and making them your own the fear is one day they will leave and you have been replaced.

I feel very misunderstood. My birthmother thought that I was trying to replace my mother with her.  I refered to her as my first mother and wanted to be sure that she was acknowledged as my mother in some way, especially after carrying me for nine months and putting myself before her.  Back in the closed adoption era from the 60’s they were told not to think of us as theirs, we don’t belong to them, separating us and our bond.  I wanted to be sure to let her know, we do have a bond and I acknowledge that.  This is not to be confused with my MOM!!!

I made the mistake of sharing too much of myself too fast.  Certain things that were said and done by both me and my mom, were very misconstrued by my birthmother.  Unless you had gone through certain experiences of my life with me you could not begin to understand where I come from.  Things were taken completely out of context and used against me.  I am especially hurt that words that my mother said were completely taken out of context and used to hurt me right after her death. Had my mother been alive, after she ripped my birthmother’s eyes out, she would have explained what she meant and let her know that what she said was NOT the case. Obviously it matters because it still hurts. If I didn’t care, it wouldn’t matter.  I think we for some inner reason would all like the approval of the person who gave birth to us.  Funny, she has said very harsh things, mean things about her mother, her aunt who she lived with while she was pregnant with me and after, and even her own children.  The thing is, I can separate what is “venting”, and what is, “I am new to this relationship and I do not understand the dynamics of their relationship”, where she was unable to do that.  I have heard by many, both experts and lay people, that when you suffer a trauma, you are stuck at the age you experiences it at when dealing with it. So while I am surprised at her immaturity in handling the situation, I have to remember, in dealing with me, my adoption, her pregnancy, her marriage, her annulment, her giving me up, she is still a 15/16-year-old girl.  She has always said that she made the right choice and has never had “issues” like other birthmothers. The anger it brings her when she says this makes me thing of the saying, “thou protests too much.” I don’t see how you cannot have some issues when you get pregnant at 15, the first time you have sex, you are forced to get married, forced to get the marriage annulled and forced to place your child. All your choices were made for you.  I was never seen and never spoken about. Your daughters were told about me as a threat basically. “I got pregnant and had to place a child and if the same thing happens to you, you will place also.” Which I found interesting, there would never be a discussion, looking at the situation for itself, the one thing you hated, that your choices were made for you, you would have done to your own children.  Only one daughter recalls you telling them about me, the other says you never did tell her, she learned about me from her sister.  But yeah, you are completely fine and have NO issues whatsoever.  You are only fooling yourself, keep up that wall that you placed around yourself 46 some years ago and have never really let down.  And you call me manipulative?  Well, if I learned it from anyone, it sure isn’t my father as you claim, I inherited it from you!!!

But I digress. My point was and is, I do not think that closed adoption is good for anyone involved. It leaves the adoptive parent always worried that they can be replaced by the biological, the biological parents has issues and so does the adoptee. I am not saying adoption is bad. I am sooo grateful for my parents, they were the best, but to take a child from their biological parent and place with another parent and think there will be no issues is CRAZY!!!! It all sounds good, but it is NOT realistic. An open or semi-open adoption, where questions can be asked as they go along, children can see who and where they come from, why they were placed. Is a much better alternative. Openness, not more secrecy, actually is what bonds the family together.

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