Anonymous: Dangerous Liaisons
My bmom’s sister has an adopted son, about 10 years old, and she is *terrified* that meeting me will be detrimental to him in some way. She doesn’t want to explain to him who I am and where I came from, and she doesn’t want me to teach him how to search. (Like I would tell this sort of stuff to a ten year old anyway.) To ensure that I do not meet him, she has gone out of her way to disinvite me from any and all family functions that she has a hand in. I am specifically not invited to the family reunion at Horse’s Ass, SC this year.
Susina Damaschina: True Tales of Conditional Love
Like most adoptees, I often wondered and fantasized about who my biological parents might be. It never really occurred to me to search. The whole idea must have been taboo since I can’t remember it entering my mind as a child or even as a teenager. I often wondered if I would ever just magically meet up with my birthparents, and for a time I entertained the notion that my aunt was my birthmother. When, in a drunken moment of desperation I finally questioned her about it, she had the nerve to reply, “No, but if I were, I wouldn’t tell you”. What an asshole. Then and there I knew she couldn’t be my birthmother. My birthmother would smile beatifically and welcome me with open arms. She would accept me as I am, be proud of my accomplishments and enrich my life with her great knowledge. My birthmother would never say anything so harsh and so rude. Little did I know…
One day, soon after my 18th birthday, I was eating dinner at my father’s apartment. Somehow the subject of my adoption came up and my Dad said that he had the adoption papers with my “original name” on them. Naturally I went ballistic jumping around like an idiot and shouting “Where?! Where?! What is it?! What is it?!”. My Dad got a big kick out of this and tried to draw it out but eventually he went into a drawer and handed me some yellowed papers. It was the decree of adoption and there typed in bold black capitals was my “original name”. My Dad told me that I could go to the agency and get non-identifying information. I think he may have been as curious as I was. The next day I made an appointment.
It took another seven years for me to embark wholeheartedly on my search. Soon after I finished school I decided that it was time to find a husband and start a family of my own. It was then that, like so many others, I decided to search in earnest.
I will spare you the particulars of my search. Suffice it to say that I was completely obsessed with it for a year and a half. After about six months in full-throttle obsesso- mode I found a grandparent. It was a wonderful experience except that she didn’t want me to contact my birthmother. She said it was a painful episode in her life that no one spoke of after it happened. She said some family members didn’t even know about it. She said that I shouldn’t want to rock the boat. She even said that she would put our correspondence in a locked vault and that she had instructed her lawyer to have them destroyed upon her demise. What the fuck had I gotten myself into?! At that time I was too caught up in it all to really consider the implication of her attitudes. I was scheming behind the scenes to find biomom. Using some very sneaky homespun tactics, I tracked her down and discovered her name, address, phone number, place of work and work number. Not wanting to betray my grandmother (who had no idea of what I had done), I sat on this information for nine whole months. When my grandmother came out to visit me a year after I had contacted her, she still didn’t know that I had this information. I would just look at it. Didn’t do anything with it. Didn’t even call and hang up. Just sat and waited.
As you know, the day came when I couldn’t sit on it anymore. One sunny June morning I must have had spring fever or something because I woke up knowing I would talk to my birthmother that day. Not to sound mystical or anything, but something just clicked and I knew that would be the day. I went to work but I couldn’t concentrate. At 11:00 I would call her at work. And I did. And she freaked. I mean, she was happy. She dropped the phone and I could hear her screaming “My daughter!, My daughter! It’s my daughter! She found me!”. So I started crying like an idiot on the public phone in the hallway at my work. Later I saw that my mascara had run all down my cheeks. I should have put on the waterproof!
Biomom was on a plane out to see methe same week. I got all prettied up, but with no makeup so that she could see what I look like au natural. My girlfriend drove me to the airport to meet her and I twiddled my thumbs and tapped my feet for about an hour waiting for her plane to arrive. When it finally did she was one of the first ones out. I smiled politely and she shook my hand. It was all quite civil really. No hugging, no sobbing, no no starry-eyed soul-searching stares of long-lost recognition. Just sort of pleasant.
As we left to return to my place I started picking up pieces of evidence which would eventually lead me to believe that my biomom was a freak. She struck up inane conversations with about 5 different strangers on the way from the terminal to the baggage claim to the car. She handed out stickers to several children. She took down addresses. She accosted people speaking foreign languages. At that time I was a bit star- struck and I thought “Oh, how delightfully eccentric she is!”. Yah. Right.
When we got back to my apartment, I showed her around but she was much more concerned with telling me every detail of her life since she was boruntil that very day. Neither of us slept that first night. She confessed all manner of things to me. Things I didn’t particularly want to hear, but hey, if it made her feel better…
The second day she let loose her first real bombshell. “You know, I have to tell you something. I named the wrong guy as your father.”. Er, OK. So tell me about Tom. It didn’t hit me straight away that some other poor slob had been running around all these years thinking he had a daughter somewhere out there. Later, when that other poor slob wrote me a letter I realized how stupid my biomom had been. Oh well, we’re all entitled to mistakes. Problem is, biomom made a few too many.
The next time I saw biomom was a few months later at my wedding. My parents had invited the bios and their spouses and everyone got along very well. Biomom and biodad danced together at the wedding which was veryscary to watch, the least because she is an Amazonian 6’2″ and biodad is a stout 5’5″. Everyone was on their best behavior.
The real trouble began in the months following my wedding. I got pregnant pretty much right away and biomom started calling frequently and writing long-winded letters about how Jesus had saved her soul from mortal perdition. She sent me tapes on how to attain salvation. She sent me a personally inscribed Bible. She even sent booklets on how the theory of evolution was “The Devil’s Monkey Business”. When she called she would always ask that I allow her to pray for me over the phone. She prayed in tongues, which basically means she spouted gibberish in a very solemn tone and then said “Amen”. I felt obligated to say “amen” too. So gradually I was getting sucked into her influence. I had never been a member of any organized religion in my life and this whole scene was very new to me. Basically I wanted her acceptance. She hadn’t seemed very interested in my past or interests or accomplishments. She was just fixated on herself and on Jesus. And on sucking other people into her Jesus-trap. That’s what I started to realize all her aggressive solicitation of strangers was about. Unfortunately I was still under her spell.
When I was four months pregnant I went out to visit her by myself. Like a needy child, I decided to accept Jesus to please her. She took me to her church, paraded me before a bunch of beaming. over-fed fundamentalists and was very warm and loving with me generally. She even took me to a christian “therapy” session during which I tricked myself into thinking that Jesus himself had pulled 100 yards of rotten intestines out of my body. Hey, maybe I’m just as nutty as she is!
But not quite. A few months after I returned home I realized what I was doing. I was lying to myself and to my biomom so as to gain her acceptance. I was scared to tell her how I really felt. She was so happy that I had found Jesus! Who knows how she would react? The charade could only go on for so long though. One day she called me and I just told her point blank that I didn’t believe in Jesus and I had done it just to please her. She tried to talk me out of it, but I stood my ground. Everything was downhill from there. No more frequent phone calls, no more letters, no more elaborate packages in the mail. I wonder if she felt betrayed. I wonder if she understands the irony of how she treated me.
The next time I saw biomom was when my first son was four months old. She came out for an obligatory visit and basically made my life hell. The first night she broke down crying and begged me to forgive her. For what? She told me that she would have aborted me had it been legal. She told me that she had even gone to the very door of the abortion clinic but turned back at the last minute because she feared for her own life (abortion was illegal back then). I was very understanding and told her that of course I forgave her. But the bitch wouldn’t stop there. Then she told me that she tried several “natural” methods of aborting me, obviously none of which worked. Fine, whatever. Then she told me that I was a big mistake and that God had punished her for sleeping around before marriage. Oy fucking vey! Still, I was patient. Then she started crying even more and told me that I had ruined her life!!!!! And there I was, patting her head, wiping away her tears and telling her “It’s all right, it’s all right”. But it wasn’t all right. From that point on the only feelings I could have for this woman were pity and disgust.
These themes were the topic of several subsequent conversations, all initiated by my biomom and all ending with me saying “Of course I forgive you. Stop torturing yourself.”. I still can’t figure out why she insisted on repeating these hurtful things over and over to me unless they were designed to guilt me into accepting Jesus or something. Whatever the reason may be, I have now decided that I simply don’t like her and I will be happier without her in my life. Being basically compassionate, I will send her the obligatory birthday and Christmas cards, but that’s it. And she’s lucky she’s getting that. Just as I’m lucky to be alive.
“Adoptee Bob”: The “L” Word – Be Very Afraid
Sometimes life is filled with little coincidences. My wife and I are both adoptees, and as luck would have it, we were placed by the same agency in the state we live in. After many years of thinking about doing a search, we both decided to get serious about it and pay the agency to do first contact. Our motivations for searching were very similar, basically wanting to know our real last names and genealogical information, so we could fill the gaps in our “self-image” that only knowing where you really come from can answer. Both of us, if given the opportunity, would have preferred to just get our files without the b-parents being alerted or contacted in any way, but unfortunately in our state dual consent is required, and there was no way to avoid this. The letters were sent, and the die was cast. We began our wait.
Fortunately, we did not have to wait long. Both searches resulted in contact within two weeks, both b-moms overjoyed that we were looking for them (at least at first). Funny thing: before we paid to do our searches, we had attended a adoptee support group meeting, and rolled our eyes at all the angst-ridden whining adoptees who had already been reunited babbling on about what nutcases their b-moms turned out to be, and what hijinx and headgames the b-moms were laying on them. Gee, wouldn’t it be fun to go to the meeting and tell them how great our reunions turned out? Good thing we waited a few months, considering where we finally ended up.
My wife’s first call to her b-mom goes well, and the first thing out of her b-mom’s mouth is “Oh god I love you so much”. Hmmmmmm, this gets me a little worried, I thought it was a little early to be slinging the “L” word around, kinda like a girl you pick up in a bar telling you she wants to have your children after the first date. Then she was begging her to call her “mom”, and to drive up as soon as possible. Okey doke. We drive up and she was all over my wife, telling her that they were going to be best friends and do everything together for the rest of their lives. I call this the “Honeymoon Period”, and we go home thinking this is the coolest thing that ever happened to us.
My first call to my b-mother goes much the same. Lots of b-mom crying asking my forgiveness for giving me up, and few shots at herself as “not being worthy” and “needing to lose weight before meeting me” and a few other self-loathing type comments. Fortunately, my b-mom lives on the other side of the country, so I had plenty of buffer distance and we could not see each other anytime soon. I came away from the call thinking my b-mom was a little kooky and down on herself, but a nice lady, and she immediately started passing out my phone number to all my aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, and my phone was ringing off the hook with “overjoyed” relatives who declared that “now the family was complete again”. I call this the “Honeymoon Period”, and I hang up the phone thinking this is the coolest thing that ever happened to me. How deja-vu!
Fast forward to visit #4 at the wife’s b-parents. Turns out that b-grandpa had a taste for little girls, and b-mom was at the top of the list. Sad, and disgusting, and not something you would normally share with your b-daughter in casual conversation. But not only did b-mom like to talk about it, she liked to go into gruesome detail, describing sex acts, positions, etc. My wife politely rode the conversation out, but it truly disturbed her, not only to hear that she was a blood relation to a child molester, but now she could picture the crime in detail in her head, thanks to b-mom’s colorful blow-by-blow (literally) description of the event. Later that evening, b-mom drives us by her brother’s place and we have a nice two-hour visit, really liking my wife’s new uncle. My wife and I are both like, *whew*, at least THAT was pleasant! This warm fuzzy feeling does not last long, however, as on the way out of the driveway, b-mom goes, “yes, he is really nice, but did you know he got caught screwing his stepdaughter?!” ALRIGHT ALREADY, we had had enough at this point, and my wife breaks it down for b-mom: we understand you have been though a lot, but could you please save all this soulsearching for another time? We hardly know you, and you are unloading a boatload of really vile family secret type crap on us, and in addition to ruining our self-esteem you are making us puke. Could you please have mercy on us and change the subject? Well, the honeymoon ended right there. B-Mom starts crying, and goes “but that is part of me, and you have to accept it, and if I can’t talk about it, I can’t be close to you”. She then stopped calling and corresponding (they would send cutesy little cards to each other almost every day) and put on the deep freeze anytime my wife would call, suddenly no more I-love-you’s or come- up-and-see-me’s. I call this the “Reality Period”, that she never really gave a crap in the first place, and that b-child was fun to have around until it did something b-mom didn’t like.
Suddenly, my wife was one of those angst-ridden whiny adoptees at the support group meeting babbling about what a nutcase their b-mom is. Oh, the humanity! But at this point, I cautiously consider myself fortunate, I am getting along great with my B-mom’s family. By now I have met both my uncles and one of my brothers, and am going broke from calling everyone else in the clan every other night long distance. Things couldn’t be better…but then I made the ultimate mistake: I asked “The Question”. What was my b-dad like?
After my ear healed from all the high-velocity shrieking about how dare I even ask such a thing, I hang up the phone and decide to look for b-dad without telling b-mom. She apparently harbored some 30-year-old hatred for him (can’t we all get along?) and the mere mention of his name sent her into a seizure. Anyway, I get his real name from my adoption records (which b-mom doesn’t know I have, she had lied to me about what his name was) and I manage to find an uncle, who relays my message to my b-father that I am looking for him. Trying to be as unobtrusive as possible (since I didn’t know if he remarried or if he even knew I existed) I told the uncle that I would not bother him again and gave him my number to pass along, and if I didn’t hear anything I would drop it, no hard feelings. Unfortunately, the uncle copies my number down incorrectly, and my b-dad goes apeshit trying to call me. Finally, since I had told my uncle I had been reunited with my b-mom, b-dad calls one of her relatives and tries to get my number, and she finds out that I am looking for b-dad. She is not amused.
The next day she calls me, again shrieking, and it goes like this: she was devastated because the imaginary little child (me) who was a constant companion in her head for the last 30 years was now “dead to her” (direct quote) and that whomever or whatever I was had evilly taken his place like some sort of doppleganger. It became apparent that b-mom was a few fries short of a HappyMeal, and she told me she didn’t want to speak to me from this point forward since I had committed the ultimate sin of contacting my b-father….and then she hung up on me. Peachy. I call this the “Reality Period”, that she never really gave a crap in the first place, and that b-child was fun to have around until it did something b-mom didn’t like. Suddenly I am one of those angst-ridden whiny adoptees at the support group meeting babbling about what a nutcase their b-mom is. Oh, the humanity!
Is there a moral to this story? I don’t know, maybe be careful what you wish for (finding your b-parents), ’cause you just might succeed. They may not be anything like you, they may be poor, they may be stupid. They will probably be a little nutty. You will probably end up in a support group and join the legions of the whiny, or just shake your head in disbelief and take it all with a grain of salt. They will probably make you miserable at least a few times, and may make you cry more than make you laugh.
Do I have any advice for you guys out there searching? Sure do. Don’t get your hopes up too high. I almost guarantee that your “fantasy parents” are much more cool than the real ones you will eventually find. Take everything VERY slow, and keep your defenses up until you REALLY know where they are coming from. They will probably lay a bunch of emotional stuff on you (we miss you, we will love you forever, we will always be there for you) that they probably do not really mean. In spite of what they say, you are a stranger to them, and they blew you off once…and it is easier to do it again than accept that you are an adult with feelings and desires EQUALLY as important as theirs. As soon as it gets a little messy, don’t be shocked if you get a pink slip in the mail.
Was it worth it? Yes and no. We went through a lot of crap, and that sucked. The b-moms in this story put a lot of emotional mileage on us in a very short time, and we have nothing to show for it, they are both out of the picture now. (better now than later, though, and we are both grateful we found out how flaky they were early in the game). The silver lining? We both came away with some great relationships: my wife is very close to her younger brother, and I am very close to my b-dad and my two brothers on b-dad’s side. Unfortunately, I lost contact with all the relatives on b-mom’s side as they all jumped in bed with b-mom when she excommunicated me from the clan. They wouldn’t even return my calls to tell them my side of things…I was the “missing part of the family” alright. I call this the “Who Needs You Drooling Cretins Anyway Period” and I am feeling a lot better about everything now. Just don’t sit within earshot of me at the next support group meeting.
REASON #1 TO OVERTHROW THE GOVERNMENT by Adoptee Lori
I started searching for my birth parents on my 18th birthday – at least, I THINK it was my 18th birthday. I’m not sure anymore, since my records all seem to have different dates.
The first thing I did was to send off letters to the Post-Adoption registry. They wrote back, saying that if anyone in my birth family also registered, I’d be contacted. Over the years, I made sure to write them on a regular basis, reminding them of my search, making sure they had my current address and phone number, etc.
I was already annoyed at the closed-records system, and so on top of registering my name, I joined a bunch of search and support groups, and regularly wrote letters to politicians who had the power to change the laws.
It made me even angrier, when most of the politicians replied with comments like “it’s none of your business”, “your birth mother doesn’t want to be found, that’s why she gave you away”, and “we have to respect your birth mother’s right to privacy”. What about MY rights?
Finally, after several years of unsuccessful searching, I was at the point where I was ready to break into the records office with a large army of adoptees armed with machine guns. Ready to take what was rightfully mine. It was right about that time, when I received an anonymous phone call from someone who said that the law had just been changed. Adoptees could have an active search done (for a fee, of course).
Figuring that paying several hundred dollars for a search would be easier than a shootout, I went ahead with the search. It was completed within three months, and everyone has been found. It was nine years after I first started searching, that I first talked to my birth father. My relationship with him is going okay. But here is what REALLY ticks me off:
Firstly, my birth mother died three years after I started searching. The cause: suicide. The reason: because she couldn’t bear to live, not knowing where I was and if I was okay. According to my b-mom’s family, she talked about finding me CONSTANTLY. They sent to to psychiatrists and other doctors, who told her that she should look for me. But her mother kept talking her out of it, telling her that I probably didn’t know I was adopted, and how she would ruin my life if she contacted me.
As well, I found out another very interesting and annoying tidbit of information. – One, that I’m sure the government wishes I didn’t have. NEITHER of my birth parents gave me up!
My birth parents were engaged. Both were happy when they found out they were going to be parents. My bmother’s mother didn’t like my bdad, and made up a bunch of lies about him to tell to my birth mother. She bought it, and viola – break-up. But, even then, my birth mother had decided to keep me. She wouldn’t even discuss giving me up. She even went out and bought baby clothes and other baby stuff for me before I was born. Four days after my birth, my bmom’s mom shows up at the hospital, and sees that I’m still there. She tells my bmom that she’s supposed to give me up for adoption, and bmom refuses. A few days after that, bmom’s mom shows up AGAIN, and takes it upon herself to call social services to come and get me. Bmom goes ballistic, and tries immediately to get me back. Both bmom and bdad contact social services on a regular basis for the next few YEARS, trying to get custody of me, or at least a little information. Neither one keeps me a “dirty little secret”, and talks about me regularly. (In case you were wondering, bmom was 18, and bdad was 21 at the time. Bdad had a steady job and owned his own house. Neither had criminal records.)
Does anyone else see the IRONY in this? Not only did the f#cking government keep the records closed, when NOBODY ever asked for this, but I SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ADOPTED! I thought America was supposed to be land of the “free”, not land of the “you aren’t allowed to raise your own child if it’s a bastard”.
Reunited with a Junkie on Sally-Jesse Raphael by Michelle
I always knew of my “adoptee status”. It was made clear to me in several special ways. I think the most original was when adoptive grandmother sat down thirty family members on the day she had decided to grace us with her death and had people stand up one at a time and hear what they would receive as a bequest at the time of her death. When it was my turn she said that she was Oh So Sorry, couldn’t leave anything to Michelle because it was important to her that all of her belongings stay “in the Family”. Nobody objected, or comforted me as I was officially “outed” from the family that had “chosen” me. However, EVERYONE objected when I began to search for my birthfamily. They regarded my need to find my “real” family as a sign of my disturbance. Well, duh…..Of course I was disturbed. And very alone.
Knowing that my birthmother had kept two of my brothers when she had attempted to sell me, I began looking earnestly for some clues. These clues took fifteen years and twenty thousand dollars to sort out and they led me to a reunion on the Sally Jesse Raphael Show with a 600 pound junkie who said she hated me. My existence had always been disturbing to her. She prayed daily for some kind of “retroactive abortion”. And claimed she had no knowledge of what had happened to my brothers. In the three years following my reunion with her, our contact was limited to collect phone calls where she promised info in exchange for large amounts of money. I always complied, she always reneged. Then when she ran out of drugs I would receive collect phone calls where she would tell me of how she murdered my brothers and promise that I would receive the same someday, somehow… I bought dogs, fenced my property, installed security systems. Always traveled under an alias with a bodyguard. The FBI and sheriff’s special investigation teams eventually became involved. I vowed that she would die in prison for the deaths of my brothers. This would be my retribution. Six months ago I received information that she had actually abandoned my brothers in San Antonio, TX. Several large companies, including 3M donated a dozen highway billboards to me and put my brothers baby pictures and my story on them, park and bustop benches were also donated. I launched a large press campaign and VOILA! A Miracle! I found my brothers alive and well in Houston and joyous to know me. Someone was finally grateful and happy that I existed…..This has been quite an adjustment.
I still receive the regular bi-monthly harassing calls from birth and adoptive family but am learning to take them in stride. And the comfort zone that I have found as far as my need for revenge is filled. I am happy in the knowledge that birth-monster saw live on TV my reunion with my brothers. That she heard them say how special I was and how they had no need for her. Ever. She will never go to a man-made prison, but until her death she will have to live in the one of her own making. Where the children she betrayed turned out well and happy, where they love each other and not her. Where we are good productive people and she is not. And where we have love and she sits alone in a dark house, STILL wondering why we have so much and she has naught.
The Rollercoaster Ride, an Update — by Babs Barfbag
A year has gone by since my reunion with my birthparents. Although I’m still experiencing the ups and downs of the classic reunion rollercoaster, I have gained another perspective as I continue to ride the loop-to-loops.
The insight that I have discovered and I hope to pass along to you, is that I am not alone on this rollercoaster ride. I have many friends who have been there to support me in my despair and share in my joys. And there are others who have been deeply affected by my journey, as well. But unfortunately the sheer terror of the first several loops that we as adoptees usually come across can make it difficult for us to see and hear these other fearful riders, sitting in front and behind us on the rollercoaster: our adoptive family, our birthparents, our spouses and the extended family of our birthparents.
The fear of a second rejection (see “The Second Rejection” story) and the terror that this can touch in us goes very deep. The shock and hurt of being met with suspicion and shame for the first time in our lives is also a bitter pill to swallow. I wasn’t even aware of how deep and intense these feelings had been for me, until I took a step back and read my painful “Rollercoaster Ride from Hell” email that I wrote several months ago.
So, as I sit here a year after my reunion, what would I do differently? Well, for one, I would have ensured that my hurt and anger wasn’t displayed in a public forum. Sadly, my birthfather’s family read the anonymous “Rollercoaster” email that I wrote during a particularly painful time in my reunion, and it has upset them very much. Although my intentions were to get my feelings out in a safe, private and cathartic way, the result has been that the love and acceptance that I have longed for, has now been pushed even further out of reach.
When I was in the depths of despair after meeting my gravely ill birthmother, my birthfather reached out to me and offered love and support and for this I will always be grateful. But along the way feelings were hurt. How I wish I could turn the clock back and learn to be more patient and to more fully understand his family’s sensitivities. And how I wish that they could have understood the terror that their perceived rejection brought up in me. And how I wish that my birthfather knew just how precious his love is for me.
We all need to understand the potential for such miscommunication and deep emotions during reunion. I think it’s naive for us to go into it all thinking that things will go smoothly, and that we will be welcomed with open arms. Although we may be kind, caring and worthy individuals, the press and the odd “horror story” have made many people cautious and leary. Sadly, the shame and secrecy of our origins still lurk in the shadows. Some birthparents’ have buried the scars of relinquishment so deeply, that it is a painful proposition for them to even touch them. The intensity of reunions can bring up jealousy in spouses and adoptive families And our need to reconnect with our birthfamilies, to see our “hall of mirrors”, can be intense and scary to our birthfamilies who have never experienced this void. We can try and clear up the misperceptions of our motivations, but in the meantime, we need to accept it as reality and not to take their apparent caution as an outright rejection (easier said than done, I know!)
In hindsight, I wish that I could have better understood my fear of a “second rejection”, and had addressed it before embarking on the reunion journey. This may have been a pipe dream, as it was hidden deeply. And after facing a rejection from my birthmother, I was particularly sensitive to another in my birthfather reunion.
As my adoptee friend, Elizabeth, so emotively writes:
“Is it losing our Dads we are afraid of, or the fear of loss itself that makes us react to their silence with such terror? Thinking further, I realize it is not just simply a fear of loss, it is so much more. Personally, it is the fear of losing what is so precious, not just once, but twice. Our origins strand us beyond the reach of their protection, beyond the reach of their arms, beyond the bond of blood.”
Reunions can be very painful undertakings, but with mutual understanding and respect, I believe, we can minimize the angst. I can only hope that through my experience, I can help others. And I hope that “found” birthfamilies find the courage to share their experience so that searching adoptees can learn from it.
And what about my birthfather reunion? Well, I hope and pray that my new insight and patience will bring more joy and less sorrow. And I hope that he and his family will find it in their hearts to understand my fear, hurt and anger and look beyond it to get to know the sensitive, loving (and sometimes over zealous) person that is underneath.
Abandoned and Confounded by Left Behind
was more of an abandonment than an adoption, but the story is just as weird. Back in the 50’s mom was a real party girl. He marriage to my father? lasted 18 months. Enter hubby #2, the ex-con. That lasted about 6 months longer. She walked out on him, me and my newborn half brother. Married #3, forgot to divorce #2 (details, details). Has little girl. The courts had given custody of my brother to an uncle, and me to grandma & grandpa. In 1962, mom decides that we should all be the “Waltons” and live as one big happy family. That lasted a year, when she booked for San Diego with a sailor, and bro and sis never to be seen again.
Fast forward 30 years to 1993. I have always wondered what ever became of my brother and sister, and had done some searching. Shoot, I knew a whole lot more than most adoptees knew, names, dates, SSN etc. No luck.
Out of the blue, I get a phone call from a young woman who believes she is my sister. Wow, my long lost half sister. Wrong – this is a different girl. She has a birth certificate (original) that lists mom and hubby #3. He still lives by me, and gave her my name. I share my info with her and within 24 hours, she finds mom.
Well, I really didn’t want to see her that much, but was very interested in my brother and sister(s). I call my brother first, and he’s thinking ‘all right what’s the scam?’. After talking for an hour he really starts to believe this is for real. Well, he talks to mom, and she calls me. I wasn’t ready for that, but she offers to fly my wife and me 2,000 miles to see her.
Meanwhile, sister #2 has an intermediary call mom. Boy, does that go badly. She kept saying there must be some mistake, you have the wrong person, someone lied, stole #1 sister’s birth certificate and copied the info., whoever gave birth in a hospital under an assumed name, and so on. Now sister #2 doesn’t know what to think or do.
Back to my trip. Its really quite awkward. We get to meet brother and sister again, after 30 years. She had changed their last names. Also I found out I had two other brothers, one who died. We talk around a lot of issues, like WHY DID YOU LEAVE ME. She won’t discuss it. It is a closed chapter in her book of life. It is my choice whether I want to be part of HER family.
My brother and I get along great, talk a lot on the phone, he’s even come out here for a visit. Sister #1 believes everything mom says, and gets real defensive about her. Sister #2 is still in limbo, either a victim of second rejection, or someone that will have no way of ever finding bio-mom. Brother #2 is ok, but has been dominated by mom for so long, that he has moved away from her and stays only in casual contact. Brother #3 is the one who died. Too bad she never let me meet him. Being 2,000 miles away is bad for Bro and me, but keeps things between mom and me a nice distance apart.
By the way if anyone knows a cheap (free) DNA lab, my brothers and I are willing to help sis #2 prove or disprove whether she is part of the family, like she would want to be.
Will the real Birthmother please stand up? by Adoptee Louise
The nonidentifying info on my bparents was that they were struggling students, married but with no support from their parents, and they just couldn’t keep me and continue with their studies. I was relinquished for adoption at 18 months old. I had this image in my mind that they were young and passionate and independent, and that the times (1968) were not kind. I hoped maybe I had siblings, and we would all have a lovely reunion.
When I got the original birth certificate, my parents’ ages were 31 and 45! And they were Canadians. The man, R., was pretty easy to track down in Vancouver, and he was very kind about talking to me, but he isn’t my bdad! It seems that Bmom is a little careless with the truth when it’s inconvenient. R. explained that he had been separated from bmom for more than a year when I was born. I have two half-brothers, 4 and 5 years older than me, whom mommy abandoned when she ran off with my bdad. She was never a student in CA; I don’t know where the agency got that fantasy. Apparently when I was born she was trying to get more money out of R. in their divorce settlement, and thought she could pass me off as a third kid, so that’s why she put his name on the birth certificate.
Anyway, he had a current address for my bmom, he still sends her gifts nowand then and hopes that she will have more contact with the sons. But he told me that I should try my grandmother first. Like, he was gently trying to warn me that bmom was a bit flaky. I really wanted to meet my mother, so I ignored his advice. I had a friend call her for me, so as to break the news gently, but she freaked and told my friend that I should leave her alone. I let this sit for almost a year, but finally I thought I should at least get her to tell me who my bdad is, I had a right to know that, so I phoned her myself. She didn’t freak but she was very cold and said she couldn’t talk. I figured I had caught her in a bad situation.
Next school break I went up to San Francisco, where she lives, and walked past her apartment building a few times, and finally phoned her and said I was so close, could we meet? She was in a pretty good mood this time, and offered to meet me for lunch at a restaurant nearby. You know how you have fantasies that some day you’ll pass your bmom on the street, your eyes will meet, and there will be instant recognition Mother! Well, I think I could have passed this lady a thousand times and never guess that we were related. There is NO resemblance; I am tall and fair, while she is short and dark. But she saw me and immediately knew who I was (maybe it was the lost and abandoned look on my face?).
So we met, but I was feeling really confused because she was so different than what I expected. If her age on the birth certificate is right, she should have been 52 years old, but she looked thirty-something, and her face and body seemed quite youthful. She was dressed in a classic, elegant suit and wore a lot of jewelry, and she chain smoked during our whole interview. She was quite reserved at first, but quickly warmed to telling me about herself and her life when I was born. But I’ll spare you the details because, to make a long story short, she contradicted virtually every detail of the story later on.
We met 3 times during that weekend, and by Sunday evening I felt as if I had met 3 different women. She is either schizophrenic or a pathological liar or maybe a repressed character actress! Mom#1 was a serious student whose parents had never taken her studies seriously and just wanted her to get married; they always pulled her out of school and finally `made her’ marry R. When she met bdad he rescued her by taking her to CA and helping her `get away from them’ (R. & her parents… & her kids, I presume, but she didn’t mention her sons). Bdad was quite a bit younger and helped her catch up on the childhood she never had (shy smiles). Then I was born and made life too difficult for them, and she ditched me to keep him, but it was too late. She said wistfully that she had lost contact with him long ago and that I would never find him.
Mom#2 was a pretty normal kid of the `60s, smoking a little pot, hitching her way through Europe, thinking that `fatherly’ R. would make her a mellow life. No mention of studies or stifled career; and still no mention of her other 2 kids (I didn’t tell her that I knew about them). Then she met bdad and was `swept off her feet’ in love `for the first time!’. But bdad kept running away from his own life, had abandoned his other partners before her, totally disdained his own parents, lost his job, tried to go to law school but couldn’t do it, started beating her — she really got into her anger over this. Her parents had to rescue her, found her with a shattered arm and broken jaw, but insisted that she leave the baby (me) in CA if she was going to make a new life for herself. She didn’t want to leave me, but her parents made her do it (more anger, no sorrow). She said that bdad ran off to Asia to avoid criminal charges, and (with a disdainful toss of her head) that I would never find him.
Mom#3 was a feisty street smart kid, who defied her parents, trashedschool mistresses in several countries, traveled the world, married R. for his money, ditched him because he wasn’t sexy enough, etc. (She smoked and chewed gum during this meeting.) In this version, she rescued bdad from his first wife, and `set him up’ in law school, and she even gave up her two sons (! big eyes), all to set bdad’s life on course. But he wasn’t as smart and successful as some of the other students, so she dumped him (and me) and ran away with another guy. Bdad tried to keep me for a while, and then he put me up for adoption. Mom#3 reassured me that bdad was really sexy and told me several intimate things I really didn’t want to know. And she said that I look a lot like him. Joy. And she again said that I would never find him.
To her credit, she never said that she loved me. She never said that it broke her heart to leave me behind at 6 months, or was it 12 months? Or was I 15 months old when she last saw me? She never had to wipe a tear in telling me these stories. She hadn’t saved any photographs of me as a baby — I don’t know why this chokes me, but it does. She acted like she wanted me to be her new pal. On the third visit I started asking questions about some of the inconsistencies, and she got quite mad at me for asking. She insisted that everything she had said was true, and that she was a very honest person who never lied her defensiveness alone was pretty damning, and what about R.’s name on the birth certificate? Oh, well.
The only thing consistent in her stories was her insistence that I woulnever find bdad, and her complete lack of interest in me or my life. She didn’t want to hear about my aparents, my studies or my social life. If she felt any guilt or remorse, for me or my half-brothers, she didn’t show it.
I went home, confused and overwhelmed at first. I was so disappointed. I had wanted to find a mother who looked like me, who would hold me in her arms, who would connect me with my female heritage, and what I found was a self-absorbed, lying twit!
I’m glad to say the story doesn’t end there. Last summer I contacted R. again and asked to contact my grandmother. He said he had told her about me (she also lives in Vancouver) and she was eager to meet me! With great apprehension, I finally called her and we had a wonderful chat. She told me my real history, as much as she knew it. We had a number of long phone calls, and finally she invited me to come up to Canada and spend a few days with her and meet my brothers and my other grandmother(!). When my plane arrived, I was met at the airport by two ladies in their 70’s, both tall and fair like me. I walked into their arms and got the most wonderful 3-way hug of my life! It was the most natural thing to do!
It turns out that bdad was an adopted child! He had searched for his bmom while upset over his first divorce, and he had found her in Vancouver and was visiting her when he met my mother. Both of my grandmothers didn’t like this new romance (for its timing) and argued with their children about it, and only succeeded in pushing the two lovers closer together; `the kids’ ran off to CA. The grandmas were completely cut off from communication for more than a year, but during this time they got to know each other and became good friends. When they heard that there was a baby and things were going badly they went down to CA to try to help. Bmom and bdad wouldn’t have anything to do with them, even tho their lives were in total crisis by this time. Both my grandmothers wanted to take me home and raise me, but bparents would not consent.
I told them about the amazing tales of bmom; bits and pieces of each of her stories are true. The part about getting beaten that was her first husband, in Italy, and she had abandoned another baby there! (I love Damsel’s expression, `Oy fucking vay’. What else can one say?) So I have a half-sister as well! R. was her second husband. Bmom and bdad never married each other, although each has been married at least once more since. Bdad does live in Asia now, and travels a lot; I may get to meet him some year when he visits, but I’m in no rush. As far as I can tell, both of my bparents have spent their lives slamming doors on people: their parents, spouses and children. In the emotional sense, they are armed & dangerous!
What gets me most in this whole revolting story is my bdad. I guess I’ve come to the conclusion that bmom was (and is) a nut case. So I’m prepared to accept that she is not in control of her own life. But bdad was a little more lucid and intelligent. Tell me, how could an adoptee, who is clearly suffering from all sorts of personal problems himself, choose to conceive a child that he could not expect to keep? With a lady who had already abandoned 3 children! [Bmom’s comment was that she was `so fertile’ and he always said that `birth control is for losers.’ Hello?] And I’m carrying the genes of these people? Makes me afraid to have kids!
THE LYING GAME–as directed by my birthmother…by Disillusioned in New York
I always wanted to search for my birthparents, and I tried to get the process rolling when I was nineteen. When I contacted the Catholic agency that handled my adoption (evil, horrible people!), I was told that I “have no rights,” that I was too young to search, and that they’d never tell me anything. (Admittedly, I didn’t approach them in the most ideal manner–but hey, I was an angry, passionate teenager.) The callous dismissal I got from Catholic Charities enraged me. I cried for hours, and then I called the ACLU and everyone I could think of–telling them of the heartless injustice I was facing. No one cared–except the people at Adoption Crossroads–who really just wanted me to give them $75 in membership dues
I was terribly disheartened by my first searching attempt, but it opened my eyes. I had no idea, for example, that my birth certificate was “amended,” and I did not realize that b.c.’s are filed in the hospital by BIRTH NAME, not date of birth. (This still seems absurd to me.) I soon understood that I would have to find my original birth name, and that this whole thing was way more complicated than I originally imagined.
I figured I would have to wait until I was older and had some money, and then I could hire a P.I. to do the dirty work for me. I was so upset and frustrated by my first attempt that, for the next five years, I was too scared to search. Finally, my friend found the Adoptees Internet Mailing List, told me about it, and I subscribed. This was great–tons of searching tips, support, etc. Lots of people were “finding” and reuniting, and it was exciting to witness all the success. I did get a little depressed from time to time, when my search seemed to stagnate, but for the most part I was totally obsessed with finding my birthparents. I had learned how to be cool and professional, and this time, I suckered those stupid social workers into telling me much more than they intended. (This felt amazing–sweet revenge!)
I never really had a mental picture of what my birth mother would be like. All I knew about her was that she was supposedly pretty and very smart. I found out she was from a huge family–eight kids–and that she was Irish. This was all very exciting, but I still had no actual fantasy of my perfect birthmother. I just hoped that I would find her alive–and, of course, I hoped she’d be glad to know me.
I never really expected to find my birthmother, but I had some incredible luck and invaluable help from a member of the Adoptees Mailing list. She found one of my b-mom’s brothers, and I called him up. I tried to be very discreet and I said that I was an old college friend of Marilyn’s, but he wouldn’t give me her phone number. Finally, I HAD to tell him who I really was–her long-lost daughter–and after a few minutes of disbelief and intense quizzing, he believed me, and he called her right up.
She phoned me immediately, but was kind of strange. She said, “My brother said you wanted to talk to me.” I said (trembling uncontrollably), “Yes. And you know why, right?” And she said, “No.” So I start to go into my spiel about searching, and I rattle off my birth date, and she cuts me off and says, “I know I’m your mother.” (So she knew exactly why I called and was just being evasive…) Then she tells me all about her life and her childhood–this is a three hour monologue–and I write copious notes, in a state of absolute amazement.
On the phone, my birthmother seemed sort of emotionless–very quiet and rehearsed. I wondered if she’d been waiting twenty-four years to tell me about herself and had written out a whole long speech. She was a little miffed that her brother found out her big secret–that she had reliquished a child–but at least I had located the one sibling she was reasonably close to. If I had broken the news to her second sister, for example–with whom she was obviously a little competitive–I think my birth mother would have been very ashamed. But, how am I supposed to know this stuff, right? I DID try to be very careful…and anyway, the agency report I received said that her family all knew about me (a total lie, as I found out).
During that first conversation, I asked my birth mother a million questions, but she didn’t ask me ONE THING! Not a “How was your life? What are your parents like?”–nothing. I thought this was strange, but I let it go. She also didn’t give me any personal information about herself–never offered to tell me her last name, where she lived (though I knew it was Chicago), her phone number, kids’ names, address, nothing. I was hurt by this, and I didn’t understand it–but again, I just let it go. I hoped she would call me again the next night, and we could really catch up (this always seemed to happen with the other adoptees who “found”), and I hoped I’d get to meet her very soon.
She did say a few encouraging things to me–like she wanted her kids to know me, etc.,–so I thought we had a future, and I hoped she would warm up quickly. After all, she had called me right away–she must be interested in knowing me, right?– I assumed she was just working through her “shell-shock” and that’s why she seemed a bit cold.
But, since she neglected to give me any “identifying information,” I couldn’t contact her again unless I went through her brother, and I didn’t want to involve him anymore. So, I waited for b-mom to call me. I waited a long time–three months–and then, starting to think that she was never going to call me again, I began to try to locate her on my own. I got her mother’s death certificate and obituary, and I managed to find out her married name. Then I called Chicago information, and bingo! I had her phone number and address. So, after a bit of hesitation, I wrote her a letter and enclosed some photos. A few weeks passed, and I still didn’t hear anything (weird, right?), so I called her and left a discreet message on her answering machine.
One morning, when I came into work, I found a long voice-mail message from her. She was shocked that I had found her phone number, but quietly explained that she was “just very confused, and this whole thing is hard to deal with.” She said she did want to know me, and acknowledge me, but wasn’t sure where to start. She said that we could meet if I came out to the midwest on business (plans I had mentioned to her in my letter), and then she said she’d been “trying” to write back to me, but was having trouble.
So, I forgave her for being so unresponsive, and soon after this, we had our second long talk on the phone. She told me a few more things, but again, mostly talked about herself, and didn’t ask me any questions. I had told my parents about my finding her, and they, though surprised, were supportive and wanted to know all about my birth family. But they, too, thought it very odd that Marilyn didn’t ask me anything when we spoke, and that she was so unresponsive to my letter and generous offering of photographs, etc…
With my adoption group, I whined a lot about my difficulty understanding my birthmother, but people said that I had to be more compassionate and patient, that she had spent a quarter of a century repressing the memory of my birth, and that this whole thing was bringing up difficult issues for her, etc… I could certainly see that this wasn’t easy for her, but frankly, I thought (and I still think) that not responding to letters is just plain rude and inconsiderate. When she wrote to me (as she did rarely, by email), I always wrote back, just to be nice. I thought she could at least do the same–but often, and especially if I asked her a “difficult” question (like, how come you didn’t tell me where you lived? how come you won’t tell me my birth father’s name?), she just wouldn’t answer. This always pissed me off, but I tried to keep my frustration in check, for fear of alienating her.
I soon figured out that my birth mother’s “game” was not answering. This left her in control–and was especially upsetting to me because, as an adoptee, I had spent my whole life out of control–with no legal right to knowledge about my birth family and personal history. Now, my b-mom was pulling another “authority” thing with me by witholding information. I wondered if she realized it.
We were supposed to meet in Minnesota, but she left me a voice-mail (at the last minute) saying she couldn’t make it–she had mixed up the dates or something, and already had plans to go to her secretary’s wedding. I thought that meeting me was definitely more important than making a mercy appearance at some cheesy wedding, but whatever. I still hoped she would surprise me at my hotel and that we could meet and have a wonderful weekend. I waited alone, in vain. She never even called me in Mpls., as she said she would.
The holidays came up. I sent her presents. She sent me nothing–not a Christmas card, not even a thank you for the gift I gave her. I thought this was super-rude, and I told her so. She responded with some lie about being busy because of “a death in the family”–but wouldn’t go into any detail–and then, as punishment, she didn’t write to me for over two months.
In February, I broke the silence by writing her a letter telling her how frustrating it was for me to make so much effort, and not get anything in return. Until we stopped writing around Christmastime, she had been promising to send me photographs (I had no idea what she looked like–and she had tons of photos of me), and to tell her kids that I existed. I asked her what happened to all the promises she had made–and why our relationship didn’t seem to be progressing. She finally responded, angrily, that she was “not the maker of empty promises” and that she and only she had the right to tell her kids about me and she would do it “when and if the time is ever right.” She also said she never imagined that her child would “disdain” her…Well, how am I supposed to feel after she never follows through with her promises, and never seems to act in good faith?
Soon after this, I received a color copy collage of family photographs–but with no letter. At least I could see what she looked like–though the most recent photos were over ten years old. I graciously thanked Marilyn for the photos, asked her a few questions about my siblings, and she started to warm up a bit and resume regular communication by email.
We made new plans to meet–this time in NYC where she was traveling on business. Again, at the last minute, she canceled, saying her plans had changed. I was very disappointed, and I thought this was odd, but I accepted it. I did tell her, however, that if our roles were reversed, I would have been on the next plane to see her after that first phone call. I didn’t have enough money to travel to Chicago, but I thought she could have at least invited me…as usual, Marilyn didn’t respond.
Meanwhile, my birthday came and went. No card–though I did get an email. I also got repeated questions about whether I had received her present yet. No, I said, not yet. This went on for months–“Did you get my present?” “No, not yet”–and then a few months later, she admitted that she hadn’t gotten around to mailing it yet. (I never did get it. Oh well.)
In May–almost a year after our first contact–we finally met in Pennsylvania. I drove for hours to meet her in some godforsaken corporate hotel complex. We hugged ( I wasn’t sure if we would), and went out to dinner. There, I showed her the baby dress that the nuns had made for me and that I was wearing when my adoptive parents came to pick me up (this dress is one of my a-mom’s most treasured possessions)–Marilyn just nodded, and didn’t seem to care. I tried to show her some of my photo albums, but again, she didn’t really seem to be interested in my life. She talked A LOT about her other kids, and she talked endlessly about her work…I realized that she must be very self-absorbed…and I thought she was rather boring. My boyfriend agreed. We had a few drinks, took some photos, and left. I came away from our “reunion” feeling very unconnected to her, and strangely empty. I certainly didn’t regret meeting her, but I realized that I didn’t love her automatically–as I thought I would.
After our reunion, we wrote regularly–sending real time messages. Marilyn continued her two famous topics of conversation–her family and her work. I tried again to ask her who my father was. She grudgingly answered, “Frank,” but wouldn’t go into any more detail. She later told me that she was searching for him as a present to me, but wouldn’t tell me what she had done so that I could help (I considered myself a skilled searcher at this point, and I knew I could find him if she’d just give me some clues). I did find a message she had posted on the AOL birthfather’s bulletin board–so then I finally knew my b-dad’s full name.
I was unable to “officially” search for my birthfather because I didn’t really know any details about him, but I did a few phone disk searches for men with matching names, and I sent out discreet letters. I got some wacko responses, but didn’t find the right guy. Marilyn was no help, and said only that she was looking but that his whole family “seemed to have disappeared.” I was depressed by this news, but I believed her, and was flattered that she wanted to find him for me.
Soon after this, it dawned on me to search for families with my birth father’s surname–in his hometown. There could be some relatives living there–even if he had moved away. Jackpot! I found his dad–a super-sweet old man who was thrilled to hear from me. He called his son–my birthfather–and we had a wonderful, long talk on the phone, and made plans to meet immediately. I was so happy–I called Marilyn right away to let her know. Big mistake! Her icy voice almost froze my ear through the phone line! She was not happy! And why? Because she’d been lying about looking for Frank–sure, she posted a message on the birthfather board, but that’s ALL she did. I knew then that she was a big-ass liar. Frank’s parents had lived in the same house in MA for forty years! They certainly did not “disappear!”
How cruel is that? To lie to your child and break promises?! She was doing everything a “bad” parent does–and I had finally seen through her. She wrote to me soon afterward, apologizing for her bad reaction, and said that I should have understood that Frank was a part of her life she wanted to keep private. She said he was a good guy and that he always held a special place in her heart. So why couldn’t she have told me that?? The first time we spoke she said she never loved him, didn’t want to discuss my conception, and insinuated that I was a product of date rape! Nice, huh? Now, I find out that it was all quite the opposite, but she wanted to keep his memory private. I told her that I didn’t think it was fair to keep the subject of my birthfather private–precisely because he is MY FATHER and I have a right and a need to know about him.
Marilyn seemed to “get over” my finding Frank, and I told her about our meeting, etc… She then opened up a bit, and went into some detail about being sent to the maternity home, and told me that it was hard for her to think about that, and she guessed she had resented Frank for being the one who got off so easy. I could understand this, and was happy that she was finally being a little forthcoming.
I then told her I was planning a trip to Boston, and she said she had business there at the same time, so we made plans to meet for dinner. My boyfriend and I were staying in a nice hotel, and I gave Marilyn the phone number, she told me her flight plans, and we settled on six o’clock as a meeting time. Well, she never even called! Around eight p.m.–after freaking out, wondering if her plane was delayed or had crashed or all sorts of horrible thoughts–I called her hotel and found out that she canceled her reservation! I franticaly checked my messages at home, at work, everywhere. Not a word from her–even though she’d confirmed our meeting the day before!! My boyfriend said, “What do you expect from her? She’s full of it–let’s just go out and forget about her.” So we did, but I was still really upset and confused. How could she do that to me??
When we returned the next night, I called Marilyn at home. I said, “Uh, didn’t we have dinner plans? What happened?” She was weird and cold, and didn’t even bother to apologize or explain. She just said, “My plans changed because I needed to get some tests.” I said, “You could have called. I gave you my phone number.” She was just quiet. Whatever! So I said, “OK, hope you feel better, bye,” and slammed down the phone. A few seconds later, I called her back, ready to say, “You wouldn’t treat your other kids so inconsiderately, what makes you think it’s OK to lie to me and treat me like shit?!”– but she didn’t answer the phone.
It’s been over a month since that final fiasco, and my attitude now is SCREW HER. She’s not worth my time. She obviously has major problems and I don’t need any more aggravation from her. I was always honest and giving with her, and she was just the opposite with me. Well, it’s her loss. I tried so hard to know her, but her defenses were much too strong. Now that I am essentially out of her life (unless she gives me a MAJOR apology), I know she has no reason to tell her kids about me, so I am thinking that I just might tell them myself. I don’t need to be on Marilyn’s good side anymore. And I truly believe that we all have a right to know each other. Marilyn shouldn’t be able to control us or keep us apart with her secrets and lies. Who knows? I might actually have a nice, fulfilling relationship with her kids. As an only child, I have always wanted siblings, and it would be helpful for me to know them.
I have seen my birth father a few times now–luckily, we live close by. He’s a very nice guy, and seems genuinely interested in knowing me and making up for lost time. (The complete opposite of Marilyn!) The sad part is, now that I have dealt with the “difficult” birth-parent, I am having a hard time accepting the love that Frank offers me. I was so hurt by Marilyn that I have a hard time believing Frank might actually care about me. I just try to be polite, honest, and keep in touch with him. After all, that’s the least I can do for family.