14th September 2010

The following questions were asked on Y!A which I answered although I have answered questions like this before in the past.  I did so simply because there are ‘new’ people answering and asking questions there.

For people that relinquish a child for adoption how does it change you?

Does it make you less trusting of society?

Is it like losing an arm, a leg, another body part unwillingly?

How painful is adoption on the mother that relinquishes?

Do adopters think of these type of questions?

My response back was:

“Does it make you less trusting of society?”
Yes particularly as the people (parents) who should have been there and supported me let me down. I had suffered years of emotional abuse from my mother but being forced to surrendering my child was the final straw. She made me feel completely worthless and good for absolutely nothing. The social worker from the adoption agency also made a good job of helping to destroy what little trust I had in society. She promised to support my decision to be a mother but did nothing to do so and then lied to me to ensure the adoption went through. So between her and my parents I lost all trust as my parents were cruel about the things they said to me. Their actions ensured that I could never have a normal relationship with anybody because I still have trust issues 29 years on

I don’t think so and they will believe simply what they are told. My son’s adoptive parents believed I wasn’t ready to parent and wanted him to have two parents. Post reunion and about 1 year into them knowing about it – reunited 2004 but they didn’t know until 2008 – we all met up for a meal last year. We had talked over the phone only before this except for us meeting his adoptive dad once but that’s a story in itself. During the evening I was asked questions such as did I think of my son on his birthday. My response was I thought of him every day not just his birthday. Each time I saw pained looks as by this time they already knew the truth of why my son was adopted. Seeing me f2f made nor does anybody fully know the real me.

“Is it like losing an arm, a leg, another body part unwillingly?”
Yes, I have heard people say that even years later they can feel the lost limb and pain in it even though the limb isn’t there anymore. Even now I suffer real pain of not raising my son and it is gut wrenching. I have referred to my son being adopted as an invisible amputation. Reality is I haven’t had a limb removed and I know my son is alive and well but it doesn’t take away the pain.

“How painful is adoption on the mother that relinquishes?”
It is virtually impossible to explain properly and the best way to describe it is if you cut yourself or have a bad fall which is excrutiatingly painful. It’s like that but it never goes away completely. There are days, weeks, months where I do consciously think about it then something will happen that will bring the full force of the pain back. This is why I self harmed which didn’t hurt but released the pain inside and why attempted suicide in the past as I couldn’t stand the pain.

ETA Misread the last question so will answer it now.

“Do adopters think of these type of questions?”
The reality is more real for them to deal with that I had wanted to raise my son.

It gets back to what I have repeatedly said and written in the past that nobody can begin to understand what it is like unless they have experienced surrendering.  I  can use words but it is difficult to find the right words to really describe the pain and despair of not raising a child that has been adopted.  There is no closure as such.  I know my son is alive and well but nothing can replace the lost years.  It is still a whole that can’t be filled.  Memories between us have been made, we have our own history but there is still that 23 year gap.  Trying to get people to understand this is impossible.  I lost my baby, I never saw my child grow up, there was no contact, nothing , then I reunited with an adult.  He is my child but he is also an adult.


About Philippa

I am married to Rick and we live in a small town in County Durham. We have two dogs, a cat and two budgies. I am also an adoption survivor. In 1981 my son was born and I was then forced to surrender him. It took 23 years and reunion for my to find out that my son's adoption was legally known as a forced adoption and illegal but social workers got away with it because mothers didn't know their rights.
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