Sunday, October 5, 2008

How I Feel About Adoption

If I had been asked before my son was born, my response would have been that it wasn't something I ever really thought about.

I knew my dad's cousin and wife had adopted after their sons were born - twins (brother and sister) from Africa and a Malaysian girl - but it was never something that was discussed. When I was 17 I found out an old school friend had been adopted but I wasn't that curious as I knew she had contact with her natural mother.

At 19, the reality of adoption hit me hard when I was forced to surrender my son. There was no good reason for it to happen. My parents just didn't want me raising my son as I was single and there was no way his father and I would marry. We had split on bad terms and neither of us wanted to get back together. Plus I knew he would never accept his child as his.

I completely retreated into myself and I had no support from anyone. I was lied to, not just by my parents but also by the adoption agency. Had the agency told me my rights, I would have been able to get the support to keep my son. Eventually I was told it was too late to stop the adoption.

For 23 years I refused to talk about my son -- even to my husband -- as my family had made it quite clear that it was in the past and to get on with my life. Even the adoption agency told me I would forget about my son, get on with my life, would have more children. They said I would never be allowed to search and my son would be too happy to with his adoptive family to search for me. So I suffered in silence and wouldn't let anybody get too close to me emotionally as I was so scared of losing grip on my emotions. I felt like a complete freak as what I was feeling wasn't what I was told would happen.

I never forgot my son, but I got on with my life because I had to for my own sanity. I could have searched eventually as the law changed but I believed what I was told -- that he was too happy to want to find me.

I didn't have more children unfortunately and my son DID decide to search. He found my family in 1999, but they basically lied to him for years. Then I found him through Genes Reunited in 2004.

Reunion unleashed all the emotions that I had locked away for so many years. The intensity was such that I sometimes thought I wouldn't endure it. I went through anger to the point of fury, shame, guilt, pain, sadness even loneliness but what helped me through was the joy of finding my son alive and well. I didn't know I could love someone so much that it almost hurt.

Reunion isn't easy by any measure and probably one of the hardest things a person can go through. I don't ever regret finding my son but I do regret that he was adopted in the first place. I cannot turn the clock back so I have had to learn to move on.

Pip, who lives near London in the UK, is a birthmother to a 27 year-old son and has been in reunion since 2004. This post was written for especially for Bridges. She also writes at My Rambling Thoughts, Pip's Journal and Relinquishing and Reunion.


Lori said...

I can't imagine all the issues you must have to deal with in coming together after all those years.

Thanks for sharing your view, Pip.

anymommy said...

This is an aspect of adoption that is rarely discussed. It needs to be out there more so that everyone involved in adoption understands the consequences for all. You are brave to post your experiences and feelings.

SeaStar said...

I, too, am glad you shared your eperience and feelings here -such a hard story.

luna said...

like lori, I can't imagine what you have been through. thanks for sharing your story here.