What to Do If You Are a Birth Mother and Do Not Want to Be Found
Birth Mothers Who Do Not Want A Reunion
What is the Difference Between Open and Closed Adoption?
Closed adoption- is when the adoptive family and birth mother remain confidential, with no contact prior to or after the placement of the child.
Open adoption- is when the adoptive family and the birth mother have contact prior and after the placement of the child. There are varying degrees to how open an adoption can be ranging from phone calls, letters to face-to-face visits.
First Mothers Who Do Not Want To Be Found
Birth mothers, also known as first mothers, biological mothers, bio moms and natural mothers, are women who became pregnant, gave birth and then gave their baby up for adoption. Some birth mothers gave their baby up for adoption during a time period when adoptions were closed. She was lead to believe she will never see her biological child again once the adoption was finalized.
For some birth mothers, after the adoption happened, they needed to close the door and move on from the painful adoption experience. There are many reasons why a birth mother may not want to be found or have a reunion with their now adult, biological child.
A birth mother may not want to be contacted by their adult biological child for the following reasons:
- She was promised by the adoption agency her biological child or the adoptive family will never make contact with her.
- She may have feelings of shame and remorse from the pregnancy and subsequent adoption that is too painful to feel and face.
- She does not want anyone to know about her secret, of giving birth and giving a baby up for adoption.
- She has since remarried and had additional children and has not told her husband or current child about her past history of giving a child up for adoption.
- She may fear what her biological child will say, do or want.
- Her pregnancy, birth, and adoption experience were traumatic and she may fear the emotions a reunion might resurface.
- She may have been told by the adoption agency, adoptive parents, or her own family that it is in the best interest of her child to never have contact with her, even when this child becomes an adult.
- She may have been raped and gave the baby up for adoption instead of an abortion. She may fear seeing the child, now an adult, would resurface the traumatic memory of the rape.
- She may not want to face the adoptive parents who raised her child.
- She may fear the adoptive child will ask who his or her biological father is. She may not even know who the father was if the child was conceived when she had multiple sexual partners, or conceived during a one night sexual encounter without ever having contact with him again.
- She may fear the reunion will bring remorse and painful memories of a broken heart when the biological child's father left her or broke up with her because of her pregnancy.
- The biological father may have been threatening, abusive, an alcoholic, or treated her poorly. She may be frightened a reunion with her biological child may also reconnect her to a man she fears and wants to stay away from.
- She may be unsure how to relate to her biological child who is now an adult.
The Past and Future Collide in Adoption Reunions
Birth mothers who read more about how adoption directly affects their biological child and why some adoptees may want to find them, will benefit from this understanding if their child does make contact. Below is a recommended book.
A collection of compelling stories of closed adoption and the mother's who gave their babies up for adoption.
Prepare for a Reunion Even if You Do Not Anticipate One
It is best for birth mothers to be prepared for the possibilities of their biological child finding them. A Birth mother who prepares for a reunion, regardless if it happens or not, will give herself the ability to work through some of her past issues.
The possibility of an adoptee finding their birth mother increases as sealed adoption records are opened and modern technology makes it easier to track down someone when you have their identifying information.
The choice for an adoptee to find their birth mother is an individual one and the reasons behind it are unique as well. The adoptee may want to find their birth mother because he or she is seeking medical history, or wants information on their biological lineage. Or an adoptee may be seeking their birth mother because he or she may hope to grow a relationship with her.
Here are some steps to help birth mothers prepare for the possibility of their biological child making contact:
- Be aware, if your biological child is now over the age of 18, he or she may try to seek and make contact with you at any time.
- Be prepared for him or her to write you a letter, call, email you or come knocking on your door.
- You may want to write a note today listing all the medical information and peculiar traits he or she has inherited so you can offer at least this information when your biological child connects with you.
- Be forthcoming and truthful when he or she does contact you.
- Do not ignore him or her and hope he or she goes away.
- If you are positive you do not want a relationship with your biological child after he or she contacts you then be upfront, truthful and sensitive about your feelings. You will probably devastate him or her. A sharp clean cut is painful but easier to heal than a long jagged and deep cut.
- Perhaps you can be forthcoming in giving him information about his or her medical history, or who the biological father is, and even help him or her connect to full or half siblings, even if you do not want a relationship with your biological child .
- If you are unsure how to proceed after he or she contacts you, be truthful about that.
- Be prepared for him or her to contact you and once hearing his or her voice or seeing his or her picture you might have a drastic change of heart and a need to see your child.
- Perhaps ask yourself why you are keeping this secret from your husband all these years, and if it is time to have a full disclosure. The truth does set you free. That way, if your son or daughter does contact you, you have already dealt with this part of the experience.
- If you tell your children, the ones that you raised, you once gave a child up for adoption, know they might be so excited to know their half or full brother or sister they might want to seek and find him or her.
- Go to therapy. If the past is too much, perhaps it is time to unload the hurt and gain a different perspective of yourself and the situation you were in. Therapy can provide an opportunity to let go of the grief and pain.
- Some states, such as in Ohio, sealed adoption records are now in the process of being opened. Ohio allows for a birth mother to leave a note with the child's original birth certificate. If the adult adoptee seeks their original birth record, they can be notified if their birth mother would like contact or not and how they would like to be contacted. Know the laws in the state where you gave your baby up for adoption. Times are changing and sealed records are now being mandated by the courts to be available to adult adoptees.
Reunions are Emotional
What Do You Think?
Do you believe adoptees have a right to find and make contact with their birth mother?
- 45% Yes, of course. It is their heritage and right to know where they come from.
- 13% Yes, but only if the birth mother consented when she signed the adoption papers 18 or more years ago.
- 11% No, what's done is done. The records are closed for a reason.
- 27% No, birth mothers were promised their privacy.
- 3% I don't know. I am not adopted, nor a birth mother. It is hard for me to have an opinion.
Sealed Adoption Records are Opening
Times are changing and the rights have shifted away from protecting and sealing the hidden away. The 'hidden away' is a person. Let go of the promise you were told as a young adult that he or she will never find you. This promise offered, formulated from the adoption agency, your parents and whomever was done in a way to be 'supposedly helpful.' When this legal binding promise was made the interest of your son's or daughter's need to know their kin was overlooked. So was the fact he or she would not have his or her necessary medical and heritage information.
Remember your son or daughter is a living breathing part of who you are. Can you make room if he or she does find you? Can you integrate that part back into your life? And if the answer is still, no, then let him or her know you are not at a place in your life to embrace your son or daughter again, and it is not about him or her but your inability to open a door that was once shut.
Mother and Son Adoption Reunion
Reunions are complicated and a life changing event. They are not simple and highly complex. So is adoption. Some birth mothers may fear their adoptive child is seeking them out for revenge because of the initial abandonment. This fear is quite the opposite of what most adoptees feel when they are seeking to find their mom. They usually want an opportunity to meet the woman who is in fact their biological mother, and often this desire to meet their mother comes from a place of love and curiosity.
Bill writes about this in a letter to his birth mother. Adoption: A Letter To My Birth Mother Who I Never Knew.
He states in this heartfelt letter:
"It is not for me to judge you; you did what you thought was right at the time and I can never know why you made that decision because I wasn’t there and I am not you. There is no blame in this letter."
This sentiment is often shared by many adoptees.
He continues with his letter:
I guess I wanted you to know that I love you and I wanted to thank you.
Each birth mother has a decision when her biological child seeks and finds her. She can either provide the opportunity for a reunion or disown the reunion. Before she makes a decision to deny her biological child of a reunion, it is recommended she firsts reconcile her own past and makes peace with who she is now and who she was then. Reconciling the past and making amends can be life altering and freeing. It might just help her understand why she fears a reunion and what the walls around her represent. It also might help her break down the walls and initiate the process of reuniting and hold her baby in her arms, sometimes for the very first time.
Questions & Answers
I'm a mother who does not want a reunion after I had a sealed/closed adoption in 1977. My child has found me. What are my rights?
I am not sure what your rights are in your corresponding state. I think I would research what your rights are in your state as a birth mother. If your biological child has found you and you do not want a reunion, I will suggest telling your child this, as kindly as you can and the reason why. From the child's perspective, even an adult child, it will feel like being abandoned, again.
If you can give your child a reason to why you do not want to go forth with the reunion, it will help the adult child not internalize that something is wrong with them.
Maybe in time you might want a connection with this child.Helpful 8
Me and my twin brother were adopted right from birth in 1964. It was a sealed adoption. We just found our birth mother and are contacting her by phone today. How do we start the conversation?
That is a tough question. I am sure when she receives the phone call she will be shocked and not prepared as you and your brother will be. Since you had more time to think about the upcoming phone call than she would of. Consider starting with a letter in the mail or an email.Helpful 2
© 2013 Carly Sullens