Jump to content

For Birthfamily Members Who Didn't Know


Recommended Posts

Lately the agency has gotten a number of phone calls from the mothers of birthmoms, caring parents who found out late that their daughters were pregnant and planning for adoption.

Some of these birthgrandparents learned of the pregnancies after a homebirth, others got unexpected phone calls or letters or confessions along the way. And whether the birthmom is still at home (hiding under oversized clothing and avoiding noticeable weight gain) and denying concerned questions, or whether she has been living away from home, continually assuring her family that all was well denying anything is wrong... finding out about a loved one's unplanned pregnancy and adoption plan is always a painful surprize for the family members who love her and worry about her so.

Many birthgrandparents struggle with a sense of unwarranted guilt, feeling they should have somehow known what their daughters worked so hard to keep secret from them. Others battle with feelings of disappointment or anger or rejection. Many fear for what the future may hold. Some feel obligated to offer to raise a grandchild for the unprepared birthparent, while others worry about taking on the responsibility of caring for a child when they thought their parenting days were already through. Each face many stressful days and sleepless nights.

All have a sense of being alone in this, as they strive to find a way of supporting their son or daughter while giving them space to make their own best choices regarding the birthgrandchild's future. They struggle with wanting to respect their children's wishes but not knowing how to break the news (or hide it) from other relatives, who may or may not respond in a supportive manner. They too must face a grieving process for what has been and what might have been, when a baby comes too soon and alternative planning must be done.

Many birthgrandparents find themselves called upon to help make adoption arrangements, at a time when they can barely think clearly themselves and have no idea where to turn or what questions to ask. Most are unaware of the opportunities available through open adoptions, enabling birthparents and/or chosen family members to keep in touch with the child, and/or receive peace of mind in the form of letters, baby pictures, phone calls and sometimes even visits over the years. Some fear that this access or knowledge will somehow complicate the post-birth adjustment for their own children, and discourage such contact even when it truly could be for the best.

I'm hoping that our Forum family can offer encouragement, support and answers here for birthfamily members in such situations, whether we hear from them or not. (Many read, but never post... yet what a rainbow of reassurance is available.)

If your son or daughter is considering adoption, or has done so in the past, please know that the adoption community supports you as birthfamily members.  We respect you and appreciate the unconditional love you offer your "grown" child as he or she faces (or has faced) the biggest decisions of his/her life on behalf of his or her precious child. You are not alone! God bless you on this journey, and those you love, also.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

I e-mailed the first post by ElizabethAnn to my mom and asked her to respond and that I would post it for her (my mom is 68 and although she's quite savvier than most 68 year olds when it comes to computers & the internet (because I've insisted she learn!!  and because she's still working and has to use a computer) - I didn't think she'd be able to figure out how to post something on here.

As most of y'all know - I am a birthmother who placed  my daughter for adoption 14 years ago (not through Abrazo or through any agency/person associated with Abrazo - I found Abrazo through my husband's & my search to adopt our child) and my mom & I went through this together...as a team.

I'm posting her response un-edited and although hers is a brief response (well, brief compared to what I usually write...and she's the social one believe it or not...I'm somewhat of an introvert in many ways) - perhaps she'll post more in the future (I'll make sure I show her how next time).  

So, this is from my mom...my daughter's birth-grand-mother..

Her e-mail address is sdavidson@necbns.com, I'm sure she'll welcome any mails/questions/etc that anyone would like to send her (but be warned - she isn't a daily mail checker....so it may take her a week or so to respond).

Response to Elizabeth's posting

Date: Thu, 9 Jan 2003 13 : 02:20 -0500  

     

Some years ago I found myself in such a situation as you speak of in your recent posting about birth grandparents.  This was the youngest of my three daughters and I was a single mom working two jobs.  My daughter had been living with her Dad and Stepmother in California.  She had been unhappy in that situation and had come back to live with me.  When we discovered she was pregnant,  she made the decision for adoption and I supported whatever decision she made.  We then made arrangements for her to live at an agency that handled the adoption.  On weekends, I could bring her home to stay with me.  My greatest desire was for my daughter to be happy and healthy and whatever I could do to accomplish that was my goal.  She chose adoption because of our situation with finances and her desire to go to college.  This was not an easy time for her, one sister was very supportive but the other sister had young children that she did not want them to know about their aunt's condition.   My daughter did very well physically and delivered a healthy, beautiful daughter.  She also put herself through college and graduated with honors.  She had many sad times thinking of her daughter especially on the baby's birthday and counseling was not offered by the facility she used.  Many things have changed since then and more consideration is given to the emotional state of the young birth mother.  These young ladies need all the support they can get!  

Today, my daughter is the proud and happy mother of a beautiful daughter that she adopted.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

Lisa, your mom must be a very special lady.  And she is rightfullly proud of her daughter ! Reading her story made me think of how hard it must be for mothers when their daughters go thru this.  Who do they turn to, to talk abou5t it?  Even if they knew about the pregnancy from day one it still must raise up all sorts of questions. And worries about how others will view their duaghters.  (And even themselves as mothers.)  I could  see how maybe some parents don't want to know even when they need to.   Because as parents we always want to make things better.   And how could anyone do that in this kind of situation>?  I'm wondering if some of the Birthmothers here have any ideas on whether it was better to tell their moms or their dads or other relatives, + why or why not?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel that in an open adoption the birth parents should know. I think being open and honest to the family is very important. When I think of an open adoption...its not just the birth mom that has a relationship with the child...its the whole family. How would the adoptee feel if they only had a relationship with the birth mom and not with birth grandparents? I mean, what is the point of open adoption?... to be real and honest and having an openly loving relationship...how can it be real if the birth family has no clue? I can't imagine telling Micahela...I love you but I just can't introduce you to my family because they don't know about you... how would she feel... like a BIG shameful secret!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Paul and Michelle D

Birthfamilies,

Our daughter is with us today because of the strength and courage of a lovely young lady...and her family!  There is not a day that goes by, a prayer that is made, where Chloe's family is not regarded.  

You are all in my prayers...everyday.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 year later...

It must have taken great courage for you to come forward and ask for advice and support. I can "hear" the concern in your voice, for both your daughter and her unborn child. You have definitely come to the right place. We are a community of concerned, caring individuals who are here to support and encourage one another through life's many challenges.

I sense that you are still in a state of "shock" or even "denial" (how can this be happening to us...to our family!) What you are feeling is certainly normal. It's what you do with those feelings that really matter. (i.e. Do you "punish" your daughter in some way, or do you express your love and support for her through this difficult time?) I have some suggestions on how you can support your daughter in the coming months...

If your daughter is still in (high) school, there are services available through your school district to help accomodate her to continue her education throughout her pregnancy. (Please do not be "ashamed" to call...they've heard it all before!!) Here is San Antonio, there is even an alternative school for young mothers that provides child care services, so that the baby or toddler can be cared for in a safe and nurturing environment and the mother can continue her education and graduate with her high school diploma. Some high schools provide evening classes for young parents who must work during the day. Many religious groups (such as Catholic Charities or Lutheran Social Services, for example) can also provide free counselling and services. The best place to start is a phone call to your area school district or religious organization. They are sometimes the best place to provide counselling and referral services.

I know it sounds trite...but you are not the first parent to be confronted with an unplanned pregnancy, and you won't be the last. Please use those counsellings services and available resources. And please know that you have a caring, supportive community here on the Forum who will listen.

Take care and my best wishes for you and your family.

Edited by marthaj
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi 2sad,

I'm glad you found the forum...I can't even imagine the overwhelming emotions you, your family, & your daughter must be feeling. My mom was in your shoes about 15 1/2 years ago upon learning I was pregnant at the age of 17 - a senior in highschool. I didn't exactly tell her - she was suspicious (I have no idea why) and began checking the trash can to see if there was any evidence of a monthly female event - never saw any for about a month'ish and confronted about the possibility that I could be pregnant - I denied it and denied it and denied it (the last person in the world I wanted to know was her) and she finally told me that she had just made an appointment for us to go the doctor the next day for a pregnancy test so if there was any possibility I could pregnant - now was the time to mention it to her. I said it was possible and I can't remember what she said - she was very supportive - I'm sure we cried a lot that evening (my parents were divorced so it was just the 2 of us). We went to the doctor the next day - the test was positive - I was about 3 months pregnant at that time. The best thing my mom ever did was to tell me that regardless of what I wanted to do - she would support my decision - whether she agreed with it or not. At that point - she was just there for me - not trying to help me figure out what to do (I'm not sure how far along your daughter is but she really doesn't have to make any decisions about what to do in the beginning (just my opinion - some people may disagree...I'm not a professional or anything - just someone with lots of opinions).

As you're aware, she basically has 3 options - parent the child herself, choose someone else to parent the child (either family or placing the baby for adoption), or (and I'm sure this isn't something anyone wants me to say on here and my apologies in advance for offending anyone with this), terminating the pregnancy (depending on how far along she is in her pregnancy).

Based on your comment about her not really thinking of her future - I'm guessing she's leaning more toward wanting to parent the baby herself after she has the baby....which isn't the end of the world - there are many, many, many unplanned pregnancies where the person decides to parent and things work out well...and some where it doesn't work out so well but I personally think that one of the differences in how it all works out is related to the level of emotional support she receives from her family when she needs it - regardless - parenting isn't something that's an easy thing to do and there are so many things that can make it even harder if you're doing it alone or without a lot of financial resources or the maturity to accept what being a parent means. But - nonetheless - if this is something she wants to do, I would encourage you to be supportive of that and not try to change her mind (which is different from laying out for her what her options are in an unbiased way) - but just try very hard to understand that regardless of whether she's thinking of her own or her child's future - she has a right to make the decision for both of their futures and however difficult her future may be as a result of that (believe me, placing a baby for adoption is no piece of cake either - it haunts you for the rest of your life and I think that's true if it's an open or closed adoption (unfortunately, my daughter's adoption was closed so I have no contact or identifying information). If that's something she wants to do - I would encourage you to do everything you can to help her learn about the resources available for young mothers (I'm just assuming she's young and not in her 30's - I apologize if I seem presumptious)....I didn't know about anything when I had my biological daughter (I say biological just to clarify because my husband & I adopted our daughter through Abrazo about 19 months ago) - as far as I knew, there weren't any support groups available for teen moms, no resources, no child-care options other than the really expensive kind, etc. I now know that's not necessarily the case - there are agencies and programs out there for young mothers to help them stay in school and go to college, make a very good, secure, happy life for themselves and their child, etc (I live in Washington state which has some really amazing wonderful resources and support groups, etc for this).

If she's open at all to discussing adoption - I would try to approach it as something you're in together - you're learning along with her what adoption is all about, what it means, that you're going to be her rock while she's going through with it. If she's open to even considering adoption and learning more about it - I don't think you could have found a better place (Abrazo). She (& you) can talk to them and learn so much and get their perspective and just get lots of information about what kind of things to expect, etc. You are under no obligation whatsoever to do anything at any point in time (even if she decides to place her baby for adoption and gives birth and then decides this isn't something she can do (which happens)) with respect to placing the baby for adoption - you can just talk to them, get more info, go home, think about it for as long as you need to - they are the most non-pressuring place ever - that's not what they're there for - they're there to make sure that whatever decision your daughter makes, is an informed one and that it's the right decision for her.

Back on the parenting thing though - I posted something a few days ago about a book I had stumbled across called "You look too young to be a mom" (it's under Birthparents -> U Go Girl -> and then something about books (I'll look it up and edit this when I find the post)...it might be something she could read just to get a feel for what it's like...? I haven't read it yet but it's actually stories compiled by the author from moms who had their babies at a young age.

I guess most of all I would just say try to be as supportive as you can about whatever she decides to do - I'm sure that is something that is so difficult because you just want what's best for her and I'm sure you have a vision of how you see her future and being a parent right now just wasn't a part of that - but again, if that's what happens...it's not the end of the world (believe me, I thought my pregnancy was the end of the world for me...before we went to the doctor - I had my own suspicions that I may be pregnant because I thought it seemed like I was "late"...anyway - every night and every day - I would pray to God that I "just" had cancer and that's what was making me not have my monthly visitor - I prayed so hard that I would go to the doctor and find out that I had ovarian cancer or some kind of female cancer and I would have rather have faced that than faced being pregnant. That's how desperate I was and how scared I was (mostly that my mom would lecture me and tell me she "knew this was going to happen". thank goodness she didn't react or respond that way at all - I will never forget just how non-judgemental she was about it and how she told me that no matter what, we were in this together and she would support whatever I decided to do).

I wish you all well during this unbelievably difficult time in your lives...this is just so near and dear to my heart - I hope I never have to go through this with my daughter - it's just an extremely tough, difficult, emotional crisis type thing regardless of the outcome - if I do, I'm sure I'll be posting like crazy on here looking for answers (if the forum is still around by that time). Also know that it's nothing you did or didn't do or didn't teach her or whatever. My decision to do what one does to get pregnant was something I chose to do - despite knowing it was wrong and I was too young to be doing it. I have never talked to my mom about this but I do have a feeling that she somehow feels she failed as a parent by my getting pregnant and it had nothing to do with her or her parenting of me.

Lisa

Edited by linlacor
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi 2sad - I'm so glad to see your post again!!!

It sounds like y'all are doing exactly what you need to do - take your time, talk through it - cry as much as you need to - if ever there was a reason to cry, this is it - this is a HUGE thing - whatever the end result is, it will not be an easy for her and for you and for your family. I'm sure you already know that and I'm sorry for sounding blunt but I'm just being realistic as well. I will say though that although I thought my life was basically over when I found out I was pregnant - and I felt even more that way after I went through with the adoption - I remember thinking to myself after coming home and having signed the paperwork that relinquished all my parental rights over my daughter - I couldn't imagine ever being able to keep living if this is how I was going to feel for the rest of my life. The pain never goes away - there is a huge loss that a birthparent experiences when they place their child for adoption - but, I'm also here to say (and this is just my experience, other birthmothers may have different experiences) that each year, life became more bearable, the pain subsided and wasn't so sharp (it was heart-wrenching in the beginning - worse than anything I ever felt in my life - even my 12+ hours of labor (and they didn't do an epidural - I guess the agency I worked with wanted to make sure we "girls" felt all that pain so we'd think twice before getting pregnant again (just knowing the kind of agency that place was that I placed through - not a good place...not good at all) - I slowly began to put the pieces together, not feel so different (it aged me about 20 years - I went back to high school in February (after I gave birth) and I've never felt so different from people in my life - I had absolutely NOTHING in common with anyone there - I was so ready to be away from all of them and what seemed like really trivial problems that they'd complain about (who to go to prom with, boyfriend break-ups, weight gain, bad grades, etc) - as time went on, I even began to see and understand why this was actually something that I could benefit from in life, rather than dwell on it and let it be some horrible thing that I went through - it made me who I am today - I can honestly say I have no regrets about getting pregnant so young, I certainly have no regrets about my decision to place my daughter for adoption (despite how much I wanted to parent her (I almost changed my mind after I had her), despite how much it hurt me to do what I did, etc), I 100% believe that at that point in time, it was the absolute best thing I could do for myself and for her. I guess I was sort of selfish because I really was thinking more about myself when I placed her for adoption than her although she certainly factored into my decision. I had things I wanted to do in life (go to college, have a career, get married and be able to have children together with my husband and let it all be a "first" for both of us so we could experience all of that for the first time together)...and then when I thought of her, the real kicker for placing her for adoption was when I thought about how little time I'd actually get to spend with her - I knew I'd be raising her all by myself (even if that meant living with my mom - she worked 2 jobs and wouldn't have been able to babysit, etc while I worked and went to school) with hardly any money and that she'd have to be in daycare all day while I worked a full-time job - I figured I'd probably have to have some part-time job as well to be able to make ends meet (especially since I wouldn't have a college education) so that meant she would see me maybe 2 - 3 hours every day and to me, that just didn't seem like quality parenting - I wanted her to have 2 devoted parents, and hopefully one of them would be with her full-time (not work) and for her to have "things" that I could not provide her with. I also was concerned about how she would adjust when I did meet "Mr. Right" and got married and began having other children with my husband - I worried that she'd feel left out somehow or like her mommy was stolen from her in a sense (because for a few years, it would have just been the 2 of us - she would have had me all to herself - and then suddenly, a man would be in the picture and then brothers & sisters - it just didn't seem like a fair thing to do to her - if I placed her for adoption - she'd have her mommy and daddy from the beginning (and God forbid they ever divorce (I'm so against divorce having been raised in a divorced parent home) and she would have as "normal" of a life as one could have these days.

Well, sorry again for rambling - but I'm so glad to know you're all talking and able to talk (even if it means going through boxes and boxes of kleenexes every time) - you are in my thoughts and prayers - both you and your daughter - I am so sorry you're both facing such a difficult experience - I would never want to go through it again...I can tell you that. But, in a strange way, I feel as though going through it really made me a better person too - in my case, there is no doubt in my mind that I got pregnant for a reason.

Lisa

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 year later...

Please join me for a moment of prayer... for birth-grandparents (and other birth-relatives) that will never know their daughters' struggles, the life that grew within, the choice that she so couragously made (alone) to protect others, knowing openness with them was not an option... for the birthmoms that choose open adoption for their child's life knowing it is difficult to fulfill, feeling torn between her two families, especially during the holiday season when families are mean't to be together.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 year later...

The Washington Post today carried the story of a woman so frightened about her secret pregnancy, she placed an ad in her local paper that essentially offered her baby boy to whomever wanted him, no questions asked.

A family responded, taking the infant at the train station, and the traumatized mother shared her secret with no one but her sister, who promised not to tell.

And she didn't-- not for more than sixty years, when famed author Ian McEwan finally discovered the brother he never knew, that baby boy who'd been given away by a mother who was by now too infirmed to recognize the adoptee or answer any of his questions.

Read the whole story, here: Complete Surrender

And please-- don't let family secrets keep your relatives hidden from each other for this long. Life is just too short.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Praying that Katelyn's birthmother will let her seceret free. She needs to know her Korean birthgrandma.

Heather

Link to post
Share on other sites

Praying for all.

Linda

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 months later...

You know, I kept Fiona a secret from my parents for 3.5 years. I just told my parents last fall. Yes I feel a little better, but my dad is being a big jerk about it. My mom was even going to meet Fiona last month, but my dad forbid her to, so I had to rent a car so I could go see her.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry for the way it turned out. Hoping he'll come around soon, for everyone's benefit!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I truely hope to however, it's very unlikely. He thinks I should get past them and not talk to them at all, if I ever mention them he'll say something like, "oh, you are still involved with them?" It's frustrating as all get out!

Link to post
Share on other sites

While Briton's birthmom was pregnant with her she managed to hide her pregnancy from everyone but her husband (and this was even with visiting her family for a whole month the month before Briton was due). The background behind her pregnancy is one of the main reasons she chose to hide her pregnancy, however, I think her main concern was that they would downplay her decision to adopt and convince her to allow them to raise Briton, which isn't what Brandy wanted.

Since then Brandy's parents have found out about Briton and fortunately I can say that we have a great relationship with both Brandy and her parents. Briton's birthgrandparents have taken us into their family and have welcomed us into their home. The last time we met we talked about the secrecy, and they even told us about their fears when they found out about Briton. However, our relationship with them has showed that we are not going away. Briton is their grandbaby and as much a part of their family as she is ours.

I can't imagine not having the relationship we have with them.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 year later...

I PLACED A SON THROUGH ABRAZO 10 YEARS AGO AND THROUGHOUT MY WHOLE PREGNANCY I HID IT FROM MY FAMILY.NOT BECAUSE I WAS ASHAMED OF MY SELF OR MY BABY BUT, BECAUSE MY DAD WAS GOING THROUGH SOMETHING THAT NOONE REALLY KNEW OF, HE WAS ALWAYS PREOCCUPIED WITH SOMETHING AND I JUST DIDNT WANT TO ADD MORE TO WHATEVER IT WAS HE WAS GOING THROUGH AT THAT TIME.NOONE REALLY KNEW BECAUSE I WORKED AT A PRIVATE SCHOOL AS A PRESCHOOL TEACHER AND THEN AT A DAY CARE AT NIGHT SO I NEVER GAVE ANY ONE TTHE CHANCE TO SEE ME.WHEN I DID HAVE MY SON AND FINALLY TOLD MY FAMILY THEY TOOK IT RATHER HARD AND EVERYONE WAS RATHER MEAN TO ME FOR WHILE, BUT THEN MY DAD EXPLAINED TO ME THAT HE DIDNT KNOW HOW TO REACT BECAUSE HE HAD LOST SOMEONE HE DIDNT EVEN KNOW HE HAD!!! I THEN UNDERSTOOD WHY HE FELT THE WAY HE DID!!!OH AND THE REASON THAT MY DAD WAS SO PREOCCUPIED WAS THAT EXACTLY 1 WEEK BEFORE I GAVE BIRTH TO MY EVAN HIS"GIRLFRIEND" GAVE BIRTH TO MY LITTLE BROTHER!!!!!!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 6 months later...

Imagine if one day your mother, the one person you thought you could always trust no matter what, sat you down and said she wasn't who you thought she was... and that she'd had another daughter who happened to be your mother... who had died in the process of birthing another child who happened to be your sister, who 'd been placed for adoption... yet nobody had ever told you these crucial truths, and no one else in the family was willing to help you fill in these blanks?

One Stony Point woman is dealing with this very situation: Desperately Seeking One Lost Half-Sister. God bless her quest.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...

An amazing thing happened at Abrazo, today.

It involved a loving birthmom who had not been seen nor heard from in years, who'd hidden her pregnancies and adoption plans from her family out of fear of disappointing them.

She'd been convinced that they would "never" in a million years approve, and no amount of counseling could convince her otherwise.

So she placed. (More than once, and with more than one family.) Both of her children's adoptive families adored her, and wanted desperately to be able to keep in touch.

But she was wracked with shame, and in her fervent quest to keep things a secret, she fell out of touch with both families.

Each faithfully continued to send her letters and pictures, thinking since these mailings never came back to them, they must've been received. What they didn't know, however, was that the birthcouple's relationship had fallen apart, and that the birthfather was not sharing any of those letters nor photos with the birthmother. (None of them.)

Today, after many years of suffering in silence, she came clean with her parents. And despite all her fears, to her surprize, they embraced their daughter and the decisions she'd made for their grandchildren with both open arms and grieving hearts.

They drove her to Abrazo, where they asked our blessing to be involved and sought our help re-opening a long-closed open adoption. They wept with their daughter as they admired what few photos the agency did still have on file of the children, and when we got the adoptive families on the phone with them for the first time ever , their very first words were simply...

"Tthank you... for taking such good care of our grandchildren."

They have no intentions of seeking to undo anything. While they are admittedly broken-hearted that their daughter felt she had to go through all of this without them, they have told her they are proud of the decisions that she made and of the stable, secure homes she provided her children.

The adoptive family assured them that they have kept the entire birthfamily in their prayers, and have longed for any opportunity to reunite, for the sake of their beloved children.

Today, those prayers were answered! Glory be!

All of us who work here feel blessed to have witnessed this point of grace. May it lend hope and healing to others who may have similar circumstances in their own lives and adoption stories...

Link to post
Share on other sites

((((Abrazo)))) & ((((Elizabeth))))

Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh what an amazing amazing story. That would be a dream for me as an adoptive parent. :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree, what a heart warming story. So glad to hear this amazing story, and for the adoptive parents so happy to hear from this birth mom and her family.

Tracey

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...