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Old 07-20-2009, 12:55 PM
 
136 posts, read 266,339 times
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Before I was born, the couple that turned out to become my adoptive parents couldn't have children. Much time has passed and this couple are now both at rest, and I will never know who had the problem, my adoptive dad or adoptive mother. I suppose it doesn't really matter now, except that this fact led to me being adopted.

My adoption was done many moons ago and back then, things were done differently (and it was a different world). This much I know: my adoptive mother, a bit naive I guess, ran a classified ad the the city newspaper, something to the effect about a "childless couple looking for unwed mother, goal: adoption." This ad actually ran for one day, and then the ad editor killed it. He or she told my adoptive mother "we can't run ads like this, sorry!" But the one-day ad did attract an unwed mother, and the deal was done. When I was born, the attending doctor wrote my adoptive parents' names directly on my birth certificate. This is how these (somewhat embarrassing) things were sometimes handled back then. So far, so good? I had a very "normal" childhood and a half-brother came along, from the same unwed mother, a year and a half later. My adoptive parents adopted him too...the same way.

Well, things rolled along pretty "normal" and "typical" until I was 11 years old. We lived in a trailer at that time and I was in the back bedroom with my brother, and we were both supposed to be asleep. He was, but I wasn't. I was listening to my adoptive mother talking to her sister (my adoptive auntie), and I heard auntie say, "oh, you mean you haven't told them yet?" My adoptive mother mumbled a reply. My auntie said "oh...you should tell them they are adopted!" So...that 11-year-old learned by accident he was adopted. My immediate reaction back then was to feel a horrible tingley electric shock feeling surge through my mind and body.

Did I confront her? No. I could not bring myself to confront my adoptive mother. I was numb, scared and confused. I carried this "discovery" for years and years and pretended...for her sake, I guess. Finally, when I was much older, nearing adulthood, it came out and we talked it out. But I have found that carrying that awful knowledge and the years of pretense I went through was really a burden for a kid. Oh, I made it to become a more-or-less typical adult, but this has shadowed my emotions and thinking for years. I do not trust nor believe many people anymore. I don't know what secrets they harbor or what nasty revelations (or lies) they might hand me. I felt I got burned as a kid, really burned.

On the positive side, as an adult I rationalized that your parents aren't those who pumped you out, they are the ones who raised you and changed your diapers and clothed you and fed you and sat up with you at night when you were sick, and put up with your tantrums and triumphs and inevitable disappointments.

Long story short...adoption, tell the kids young or don't tell them at all, or tell them when they're adults?

Comments?
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Old 07-20-2009, 01:25 PM
 
199 posts, read 585,865 times
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Tell them (the children) when they are old enough to understand that even if their parents' were not able to "conceive" them they (the parents) wanted to be their(the kids') mom and dad because they loved them as soon as they saw them.... Giving birth does not make you a parent...and not giving birth makes you no less of a parent... Your mom, unfortunately, felt she was protecting you by not telling you...she never even considered you both to be adopted to her in the first place.... I have considered adopting....... what my husband and I need to figure out, however , is how our families will react etc...we don't want them making the kids (biological or otherwise) feel any different from each other and we want our son to understand taht maybe his brother or sister looks diff and may be born to different people, but they are still related..
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Old 07-20-2009, 01:36 PM
 
Location: Mid-Atlantic
1,820 posts, read 4,002,528 times
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Well , if your children were to be adopted Internationally the obvious answer would be "yes".
However,I think that in any case,international or domestic adoptions, that the children should be told early on.
We always talk about our girls birth mothers and have from as early as age 2... of course it needs to be done in a sensitive manner and one in which is age appropriate.
We started by reading books about adoption (children's books and there are many,many of them out there) and as they have gotten a little older, we talk about "her" on Mother's Day as well as their birthdays.
I want them to understand that although this woman is someone we do not know,that she is an extremely important part of THEIR lives,she gave them life and she also made the difficult decision for whatever reason,to not bring them up.
I want them to respect that important part of their lives,but at the same time,understand that we are their parents.

As for relatives not understanding adoption,thankfully,we have been greatly supported by both our family & friends. It has never been a question of relation by blood or not.
Remember-giving birth does not make one a parent. Loving,supporting,disciplining and encouraging your children , are what make you a parent.
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Old 07-20-2009, 01:45 PM
 
Location: Hillsborough
2,825 posts, read 6,122,322 times
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My two sisters are adopted (when I was a teen) and it was never hidden from them. We have always talked about when we traveled to pick them up, we have pictures from their "adoption day" (the day we went to court to sign the papers), we've read books about love makes a family, etc. There was never a specific first time they were told, they just always knew. I think it's the right way to do it.
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Old 07-20-2009, 02:51 PM
 
136 posts, read 266,339 times
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In many ways, I am still traumatized by the way I found out. Instantly, at age 11, everything changed. The carpet was pulled out from under that kid. Everything I had believed was erased and something new, ugly and difficult to comprehend had crept in.

I spent years hiding that accidental knowledge. So far I think I agree with the posters who have said "tell them early on" but now I've told my story, I will try to keep myself out of it. Adoption and the ways it was done back when I was born was different. It was almost sinful to be the adopted child. I have long since forgiven my adoptive Mom because she did what she had to do back then. Moms are human too, you know? And not perfect...

I think if my half-brother and I had been told from the beginning, and made to feel wanted, maybe a bit "special," it wouldn't have taken me 30+ years to heal...
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Old 07-20-2009, 05:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nmweatherman View Post

I think if my half-brother and I had been told from the beginning, and made to feel wanted, maybe a bit "special," it wouldn't have taken me 30+ years to heal...
You were wanted.. by the parents that raised you.
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Old 07-20-2009, 05:16 PM
 
136 posts, read 266,339 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steelstress View Post
You were wanted.. by the parents that raised you.
As an adult I realize and accept that now. My main issue was finding out by accident (and my reaction to the knowledge). I still have post-traumatic stress syndrome from that time long ago.

Maybe I should start a poll on this subject and have the Parenting frequenters vote: Tell them young, tell them older, don't tell them.

I am really appreciating the responses to this. Again, this is 2009 and folks are different now (to say thye least). Back when it happened to me it was (trust me) a whole different world.
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Old 07-20-2009, 06:20 PM
 
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I think if my half-brother and I had been told from the beginning, and made to feel wanted, maybe a bit "special," it wouldn't have taken me 30+ years to heal...

As a birthmother, this is hard to hear. Just because your birthmother gave you up for adoption, didn't mean you weren't "wanted". Really. Sometimes, we want MORE for our babies than what we can provide (i.e. - a sane family, a roof, food, a father, clothing, etc) and don't want them to suffer for our poor choices. In addition... how could you DOUBT that your adoptive parents wanted you? They didn't have a one night stand... they had to TRY to get you... labor may be difficult (or hell, depending on the situation), but adoption has it's own ups and downs!

I know my firstborn was raised always knowing she was adopted. She just turned 17 last week.

In addition to being important to not lie to the adopted children, I also feel the "other" kids should always know about the first. My younger two (9 & 6) know everything I know about their older sister. Yes, it has caused some "moments" when others wish to correct them when they tell someone new that they have an older sister. But, we are upfront and honest... with them and others (although I don't go around "advertising", my 6 year old daughter tells everyone who stands still within earshot long enough!)

Remember-giving birth does not make one a parent.


I disagree with that statement. Even though I stopped making parenting decisions for her when she was 3 days old, she is still my baby. I may not be her "mom", but I AM her birthmother, whether or not she chooses to ever look me up.

A birthmother makes many parenting decisions... first and foremost, the choice to not simply kill the baby and pretend it never happened. Second, to care for themselves during pregnancy. Then we choose our baby's adoptive parents. And finally, we let go and let them grow up without our interference.

But that's just my two cents.
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Old 07-20-2009, 06:51 PM
 
136 posts, read 266,339 times
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SSKKC, thank you for your insightful post. My half-brother has a different father than I do, so this naturally makes me wonder about my birth mother. Wouldn't you wonder?

Make no mistake, I have long-ago accepted my situation and accepted my adoptive parents. All of it doesn't weigh on me like it used to, except when I have to do a medical evaluation and they ask me what conditions or illnesses run in the family. I have to tell them I don't know, that I'm adopted. (That is one thing I inherited, not knowing what runs in my genes, or from whom).

I will never know who created me (or my half-brother either), but I long ago accepted that those who raised me and put up with me are my "parents."
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Old 07-20-2009, 10:56 PM
 
Location: Texas
1,365 posts, read 2,469,838 times
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I honestly believe that if I were adopted as a newborn, I would want to be told as soon as I was old enough to understand. I think all parents should. Atleast once the child starts asking about "how they were born." Once they ask that, there's your perfect opportunity to tell them. Or lie. But I don't think you should lie to children.
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