Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Lost Boy: My Story

My story starts with my mother. In 1942, my mother was 18 years old and dating my father. Mom got pregnant. My maternal grandparents were god-fearing farm folk, my paternal grandparents were quintessential British snobs. Both families were horrified that this scandalous behaviour had occurred in their family. Mom might as well have been branded. My obviously pregnant mother and my father scurried away in the dark and wed. Three months later I was born. My paternal grandparents never let my mother forget that their only son “had to marry her,” and as I was growing up it was obvious that I was still an embarrassment to them. They took my brother on vacations with them every year, they never forgot his birthday, they had albums full of family photos – just them and my brother. My maternal grandparents, on the other hand, got over it, loved me – spoiled me - and supported my mother 100%.

Throughout my adolescence, my parents closely monitored my social activities. In fact, on several occasions, my father followed me on dates. My mother lectured me endlessly on appropriate behavior with boys. I did not know, at that time, they were trying to protect me from experiencing their shame and family disapproval.

Fast forward to 1962: I was a very inexperienced 20 year old, madly in love with a dashing pilot, 22 years my senior and married. He was going to leave his wife and marry me. We ran off together. My parents did everything in their power to put an end to the relationship, but to no avail. I got pregnant – but he already had children and more children were not in his plan. My father wanted to have him arrested, and my mother began the nightmare of reliving her shame.

As soon as I began to show, my parents sent me to a home for unwed mothers. I was safely secreted away from relatives who would click their tongues and say “like mother, like daughter.” Double shame! I tried to kill myself while I was there. The pain and loneliness were unbearable. Neither Mom nor Dad ever visited me there; it was too painful for them. Several young women carrying illegitimate babies came and went during my three months there. All cried themselves to sleep every night. Occasionally, defiance would rear its head, and someone would say, it's not like we are the only ones who “did it,” we just got “caught,” and there would be murmurs of assent around the sunroom and for a few moments we didn't feel “cheap.” Those moments were rare.

I went into labor in on a beautiful July afternoon in 1963. The staff told me to call them when my pains were five minutes apart. I didn't have my mother or a husband there to support me, so I walked the gardens for five hours, by myself, because I didn't know what else to do. I was scared. When the pains started getting closer, the Home called my parents and then called a cab to take me to the hospital. I went to the hospital all alone. I delivered my beautiful son all alone.

I was told that, because I was giving my son up for adoption, I shouldn't see him because it would make it harder for me. I saw him. His perfect little face will be forever imprinted on my mind and the intense love I felt for my baby has never gone. That fierce love, that only a mother can feel, is why I had to give him up – I did not want him to bear the stigma of illegitimacy, the shame of having an unmarried mother and of not knowing his father. I wanted him to have everything I could not give him – respectability, two parents, a loving extended family and a life without shame. It was worth the pain.

I have not been able to search for my son, because I still weep when I relive his birth, seeing him and giving him up. Love hurts and I would not be able to take the pain of losing him a second time.

79 comments:

  1. Thank you so much so sharing your story. Your feelings are totally understandable. Best wishes to you.
    J from Ireland.

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  2. powerful, amazing, everything that being a mother is. I admire your strength and thank you for sharing this.

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  3. I feel your pain, well not all of it. I came from the same exact situation, with my paternal grandparents/and even my dad, to this day, they act like I don't exist, we live in the same town (of 200 people). My brother on the other hand that was born after me is worshiped. It is a hard road. Even though I am 30 now with a child (born out of wedlock!) of my own...DOUBLE shame on me (that's what they think!). But, I decided to do what I wanted to do. And accept the consequences, there turned out to be NONE by the way! HA. I have a beautiful son, and my deranged paternal family is without a beautiful daughter and Grandson! BUT my maternal family got over it and loves us like no tomorrow. Double shame on THEM in the end!

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  4. I cannot begin to express how profoundly moved I am by reading these words.

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  5. I am so sorry for what you had to endure hon. The "olden days" were not always kind in their thinking and mannerisms. Doubly sorry for the loss of your little boy. Perhaps he is searching for you and will one day find you. There is always hope. Keep that candle in the window to lead him home.

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  6. Beautifully expressed. You made quite a sacrifice. I guess I believe in karma because I also believe that because of what you did and the love you've put out in the universe for him, he's led a wonderful, wonderful life.

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  7. I'm the mother of two adopted children, both born in the 1970s. In my mind, as well as in their minds, there is always a lurking thought of the birth parents. We seldom talk about it, but it's there. Neither of them have wanted to search for their birth parents, but if they ever do, I'll fully support their efforts.

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  8. I can only pray that my daughters' birth mothers love them and think of them that much. Do you think so? Both my girls were abandon and all I can do is guess that it was under force and/or pressure. I don't judge whatever happened in their lives, but I wish everyday I could tell them they are ok and loved more than humanly possible. My heart breaks for you and for them and all birth mothers. By the way, I always refer to them as their mothers too and my daughters know how much we as a family love their first mothers.

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  9. I cannot think of a bigger sacrifice a mother could make for her child. I have a deep respect for you, even though I don't know you.
    My child was conceived out of wedlock. I would be lying if I didn't roll the idea of adoption around in my head. I couldn't imagine going through something more painful. If my boyfriend had refused to be there for me, I'm sure I would have gone that route. Fortunately, he was there for me and we decided to marry (we had been dating for 3 years previous). Although we are now married, people still throw daggers at us with theirs eyes because we didn't start our family the "traditional way. " I could only imagine the judgement you must have felt back in the 60's!
    I'm sorry you had to go through that alone. Your should have had someone by your side. I'm sure, if given the chance to meet him again, he would understand and maybe even thank you for the selfless decision you made.

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  10. Thank you for sharing this. Until recently I'd never really thought through the pain of adoption from the birth mother's perspective. I think that's a story that often is overlooked, and it's posts like these that will help others see there is a whole other side of the adoption story.

    I've been watching Catherine's search, and hoping she will be able to find answers for you.

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  11. There is a blessing in the Jewish tradition that came to mind as I was reading your story. It starts with "May God bless you, and keep you." I wish that for you, and I hope you don't feel alone anymore.

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  12. You are so strong to have gone through this and I'm so sorry that you had to be alone. Your beautiful words are so powerful, and I really hope with Catherine's help, something will happen that will change the current end of this story. Sending you virtual ((hugs)) seems cheesy but they are meant with real love.

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  13. A very close friend of mine discovered at 54 years old when her father passed away that she has an older sister that she never knew. Her mother was pregnant when they married and to avoid the shame and stigma of having "had" to get married they moved away - had the baby and gave it up for adoption - then moved back to their home. It is so sad to me that society back then was so horribly disapproving - they got married and still gave that baby up.

    Your story is moving and sad, I hate hearing of you alone in the home for unwed mothers and delivering alone. How sad that your parents couldn't even come and ease your pain that day. :(

    I hope you find him - he probably wonders about you all the time too.

    Thanks for sharing.

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  14. I am so sorry that you were treated so poorly, and that the people who should've supported you and protected you were too busy dealing with their own baggage to handle your pregnancy with the love and compassion you and your baby deserved.

    Thank you for sharing your story. I wonder how much of your idea of yourself as a "Bad Grandma" and your daughters idea of herself as "Her Bad Mother" is the legacy of this story, and your mother's story.

    You're not bad. Neither is your daughter. Neither was your mother. You're human. None of us are perfect. We make mistakes and we live with consequences, sometimes for decades.

    I hope your daughter finds your son. I would really love to bear witness to the healing of all of this pain and shame.

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  15. I cannot find the words to express to you how deeply sorry I am that you had to bear this pain.

    I can only say, as a mother who lost her son (albeit differently) and a mother who adopted a son, my heart breaks for you.

    I hope you find peace.

    Thank you for sharing with us, the blog world, your incredible story.

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  16. I've been following this story on Catherine's blog, but to read your own words was a moving experience for me. My heart breaks for you. You have to be a strong woman to do what you did and I admire you for it.

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  17. We learn from history. Your story, and so many others, are how we as a society of humans today are going to be able to learn more tolerance and hopefully, one day, how to love each other regardless of our choices. Thank you for sharing your voice.

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  18. Thank you for sharing your story. It is heart-breakingly sad and honest. Your son would do well to have a chance to meet you now and know the way you feel about him and the circumstances surrounding his birth.

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  19. I cry reading this, both for your pain, and realizing that six years later, my birth mother would go through a similar experience. Because I cannot tell her, I'll tell you my heart is filled with nothing but love and understanding for her. I know there were not other options for either of you, and as lovely as my life has been, the loss still makes me sad.

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  20. thank you for sharing your story with us.

    may you find peace and forgiveness in yourself. you are strong woman to have made these choices, and your son should be lucky to know the love you have and have always had for him.

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  21. Thank you for sharing your story. I am an adoptee, born in the late 1960's. My birth mother was 15, and she lived your experience of general abandonment, a home for unwed mothers, and painful choices. She did what was best for me, as you did for your son. It takes tremendous courage and love to make that sacrifice. I have a great deal of respect for you and women like you.

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  22. thank you for sharing this heartbreaking experience with us all HBG.I hope you can find some peace and comfort knowing that you are not alone in this sad situation....

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  23. You have a very powerful voice for this tragedy. I'm sorry society failed you like that.

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  24. It's a sad thing, what was done to women in the name of morality a generation or two ago. It's still being done to an extent, in the refusal of some to accept that people with hormones are going to be sexual, those who preach abstinence as the only form of birth control, and those who set themselves high enough to judge others, while hiding their own mistakes and poor judgment.

    In 1962 I married a man I didn't love, because I had already been intimate with him and actually believed that no other man would want me, since I was no longer a virgin. Seventeen years and three children later, I was divorced, and found that times had changed, nobody really seemed to care that I was not a virgin. Maybe they wouldn't have cared in 1962 either, but that's the kind of head job they did on us back then.

    I'm so sorry you had to go through this, and I admire you so much for publicly speaking about your pain. I hope you find him, and I hope he is kind to you.

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  25. My goodness, you have certainly walked a mile. I'm very sorry for your pain, thank you for sharing with us.

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  26. Oh, heartstopping. And eerie too, because my brother was born in July 1963. But I know where he is, and what he looks like, and what he does. I hope that you find him, since you seem to want to.

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  27. Thank you for sharing this. You are one of the bravest people I know. I can't imagine how hard it is to give a child up for adoption and I think it takes the largest act of love one can give. You are truly an inspiration to many and I think you are incredibly brave. Thank you.

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  28. Thank you for baring your soul. What a beautiful post. I am an adult adoptee and now an adoptive mother. I am grateful to have an open adoption for my son so he and his birthmom won't have the same sort of pain and questions that you and I did. I have always struggled with the worry that I was placed because I was "not good enough". Witnessing the love that my son's birthmom has for him and the love you have for your son helps to heal me. As my adoption was international and completely closed, I will never be able to find my own birthmom, but I think of her very often and send her love, peace, and gratitude for the sacrifice and pain she bore for me. Since I can't find her, may I send that love to you? (And as a side note, if your son is not searching for you, please don't take that to mean that he doesn't care deeply about you - we adoptees have much the same fear you do - of a double loss. "What if she still doesn't want me?")

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  29. Wow.

    Your open and honest telling of a very hard story is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

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  30. Thank you everyone for your supportive comments. I believe everything in life happens for a reason - giving a child up made me acutely aware of how precious a child is and the wonderful privilege of raising them. I have never stopped thanking God for giving me two beautiful daughters and I have treasured every moment of their lives.To Lettergirl and MommaTrish, if I knew my son felt about me the way you feel about your birth mothers,I would be at peace.
    To Confessions of a Mom, I pray that my son's adodptive family is as loving, compassionate and generous as you are. I have to believe that only love, and desperate circumstances would drive a mother to abandon her children.
    To Queen of Misfits, I truly admire your courage and absolutely, double shame on them!
    her bad grandma

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  31. What a touching story. Thank you for sharing.

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  32. You deserve peace and happiness. I am so sorry you have had to feel any shame over your act of love in trying to do what was best for your child. Our society has lots of room for improvement but I hope we have at least made some headway in learning that the child is not illegitimate, only the relationship that created that child is not "legit" under certain people's views (and not all). My mother scorned my sister for keeping her child conceived out of wedlock, and then viewed her differently when she married some years later, only to have that man who made her "legit" turn out to be a philandering bastard. Family values, indeed! Thank you for baring your soul.

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  33. Such a heartbreaking story. It's so sad that social conventions often stand in the way of people's happiness.

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  34. I feel so sad reading yours (and your mother's) story. It must have been a terrible feeling instead of being a wonderful experience to be pregnant and give birth to a perfect healthy baby!
    I hope you find your son and I am sure he will understand why you did what you did!

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  35. Thank you for sharing such a heartbreaking story. I hope you find your son.

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  36. Thank you for sharing this with us all, it is truly a very private and touching story.
    Sometimes, things come together in a way you never expect and hopefully, someday very soon, you will have a wonderful ending to this long, sad story.

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  37. Dear Bad Grandma, I've been following this story through HerBadMother's blog, and my heart SO goes out to you, to her, to your whole family. I am a birth mother too, who was blessed in 2001 to find my lost boy. I've emailed info on the person who assisted me in that search to Catherine; perhaps it will help her, or you.

    There's so much more I'd like to say, but here is not the place. Just know you're in my thoughts and prayers. Bless you.

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  38. I just want to send you the biggest hugs the internet can hold.

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  39. I can't even imagine how difficult this was for you to not only write but to share with those you don't know. As one of those people, I thank you.

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  40. Like mother like daughter: honest, clear and true. I am sitting here in front of this little screen, leaking. Again. May your bravery somehow draw your beautiful lost (& found & surely loved by those who raised him) son back into the circle of your life. When we take these risks, hold out our hearts, there are rewards known and unknown. Good for you for telling your story.

    One of my dearest friends is adopted. I have listened to the other side of this story too. There are so many facets, but yours, the birth mother's is so rarely held up to the light.

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  41. This is so beautifully written. I can feel your pain come through your words. Your love for your son is evident. Thank you for sharing something so very personal.

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  42. What if he's looking for you, wondering why you haven't looked for him?

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  43. I am an adoptive mother of a beautiful little girl. I ache, reading your post and knowing that some woman, who gave me this gift, greives on her birthday each year when I celebrate. And I ache for my baby who, because of the circumstances of her adoption, will never meet her first mom.

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  44. My husband(38) was given up for adoption. Although he adores his adoptive parents, he is now contemplating having his adoption records unsealed. I believe he wants information for health reasons because he was born with some physical abnormalities and because we can't answer those oh so important questions when we take our own children to the doctor. I commend you for making the attempt to find your child and my heart goes out to you at the same time. I can't imagine the wonder and emptiness that has plagued you through the years. I wish you well and will be following your blogs.

    My prayers are with you!!!

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  45. Thank you for sharing your side of such a powerful and painful story.

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  46. Thank you for your story. I am adopted and am reunited with my birth mother. She and her other two daughters are now part of my extended family. And she and I are both grateful to know each other. I hope you can find your son - I know it's an enormous emotional risk - but I have certainly appreciated (beyond what I can say really) that my birth mother was prepared to meet and know me.

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  47. you are a beautiful soul. From one birth mother to another, thank you.

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  48. I am so sorry. What a heartbreaking, maddening story. And it happened--and still does happen--to so many women.

    I am an adoptive mom though open adoption, and my children's birth mothers have said that, though it is at times difficult and sad, being in ongoing relationships with their placed kids is healing for them. I hope you find your son someday soon, and the same is true for you.

    Thank you for having the courage to share this with us.

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  49. You are kind of amazing. I cannot imagine. This is breaking my heart. I am sad for your parents also, you as a child.

    As a society people think we have come a long way but we still have a kind of craziness when it comes to young girls and pregnancy. I wish someone had been there for you, to help you. To be with you when he was born. To give you whatever support you needed. It is so heartbreaking to think of you alone, and of those other girls in the home.

    I hope you find your son. Maybe it sounds crazy but the love you had for him and still has matters, I think. I know it hurts you and maybe he can't feel it. But he is and always has been loved.

    I have recently discovered I have a missing half brother that I will never find or see who was born before me. All I can do is hope for him, that he is well.

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  50. Both of my grandmothers were pregnant when they wed. My mother was forced by her mother to have an illegal abortion in 1942. My parents were terrified I would get pregnant, so I did of course. To this day I have a charming sister who who trash talks single mothers and "illegitimate" children. My son turns 25 next week. He's one of the best things that ever happened to me.

    You're not alone.

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  51. oh gosh, i'm all in tears. being pregnant IS being a mother. i'm thirty weeks now with my first. to have done it all and reaped none of the benefits would break any woman's heart. be well and know that you and your son are infinitely loved and valued and that the bond of motherhood, though never formalized in person, is still just as strong as if you'd had him by your side all these years. i hope someday he will know what an amazing woman he came from. it would probably bring him comfort and a great deal of joy.

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  52. Again, thank you all for the love, support and the respect you have given my story. Telling it was one of the hardest things I have ever done. Your response has helped give me, I hope, enough courage to face my biggest fear - rejection. It has also helped me realize the selfishness of the decision I made years ago not to search for my son. For twenty years I have put my need to protect myself from potential further pain ahead of my daughter's need to find her brother. I still have misgivings because its no longer my personal story - my daughter is now intimately involved
    and I can't protect her.
    Her Bad Grandma

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  53. Isn't it amazing that the heart is the only instrument that still works when it's broken?

    Many, many hugs to you!!

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  54. My best friend gave up a child for adoption at 17 and then again at age 33..BOTH were gut wrenching for her..the second adoption is open, and she has been able to see him and know him and have a relationship w/ his parents..and it has been much easier for her this time..the first time was harder b.c it was not open..
    he is going to be 17 this year..we do know where he is and who adopted him (she chose the family..)
    he will come looking for her, I tell her this all the time..and he will be grateful for the life she gave him, as hard as it was..

    I hope you can find your son, you deserve to..and he deserves to know you..and how much you love him...

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  57. How sad that things were so cut and dry back then.............
    I am glad to see this new generation is more open and accepting........

    This must have been a difficult story to tell.
    And I understand the need to protect your daughter................

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  58. Mom. Don't worry about protecting me. I have a resilient heart, you know that. Let ME protect YOU. I'm involved and invested because I love YOU. And I'll do anything and everything that I can to make sure that this story has an ending that does NOT involve further heartbreak. Everything that I can.

    I love you so much.

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  59. I hope you someday find him. I have a feeling you will.
    I am so sorry for your pain. YOu are very brave in telling your story.
    God bless you and keep you.

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  60. Your story is my story, except that it was in 1970. My son was born March 10, 1970. I went to the hospital alone. I was allowed to hold him one time. They told me I could have a picture of him, but I declined, because I did not want my parents to ever get to see him. I felt like is they did not want him, they shouldn't ever get to see a picture of him.

    I don't search for him because there is too much strife and unpleasantness in my family still. As much as I love him, and hope he has had a good life and a loving family, I just can't bring myself to find him and have to introduce him to the freak show that is my extended family.

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  61. I just can't imagine how hard that must have been. How hard it is still. That was a brave thing you did.

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  62. what a profoundly wrenching journey. much admiration to you and your family.

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  63. Search for your son! Face your fears, for his sake. As an adopted child, he is likely longing to know his biological roots.

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  64. i am so so sorry for what you had to go through.

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  65. On December 21, 1965, I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy at the Methodist Mission Home in San Antonio, TX. I, too, gave him up for adoption and regretted it every day. On May 15, 2005 I registered on Adoption.com and 30 minutes later got an email from a "Texas Adoption Angel" with an attachment of all the births in Texas on December 21, 1965. I did know his first and middle name and when I typed it in, it went straight to him. I found a website with names, addresses and birth dates and found him. I called him that afternoon when I got home from work abd left a message that if he was adopted from MMH and born on his birthdate that I had reason to believe I was his birth mother. He didn't call me back until a week later and we talked for over an hour and emailed many times. His wife and mother then called me and we talked and talked. Two months later, my two daughers and I flew to Texas to meet him and his family (his mother was there also). We all hit it off and he has been to my home twice since then and we've been back there one more time. We talk every month or so and have a good relationship. He has a wonderful mother and we are more friends than mother/son. I accept this and am just so happy that he is healthy, happy and has a good life with a great family. I'm also thrilled that he and my daughters have a relationship and he seems to be glad to
    have someone he is related to by blood. He looks more like me than my daughters do.

    I know I've rambled on, but I did want you to know that reunions do turn out to be happy times. I hope if you decide to look for your son that you find him as easy as I did. I didn't have any idea that it would be that simple. I know a lot of people have a hard time finding each other.

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  66. Thank you so much for sharing this. I just met my father a couple of months ago. No, I wasn't adopted, but he was never in my life - my mother raised me alone. I was in awe of him the first time I met him. I finally knew where I came from. I'm sure that your son (if he knows he is adopted) is wondering where he came from, too. I hope this works out for you in the best way possible.

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  67. Years ago, I remember my mum making a fuss because my daughter had already two children before her wedding (to their father). When she died (mum) I was reading through old family papers and discovered that mum, herself, was 6 months old when her own parents married. My own husband is one of 9 children, we were the only couple not pregnant when we married.

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  68. It was so moving reading this story in your own words. Follow your own heart and instincts. They've helped you raise an outrageously impressive daughter and I doubt they'd steer you wrong now.

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  69. amazing, heartbreaking. i hope you can know him again someday, that your fear of losing him again is someday outweighed by hope that you will not.

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  70. Thank you for sharing your story here, I'd read some of it from your daughter's perspective on her blog. I'm commenting here b/c I am an adoptee. My birthmother relinquished me to LA County Social Services in March 1967. I was her FOURTH child, and the THIRD she'd given away for adoption. She kept her oldest, a daughter (my 1/2 sister). She gave two boys to Social Services in 1964 and 1966, and then me.

    I struggled for a LONG time about her choices. Her choice to get pregnant, not once but several times. Her choice not to use birth control. Her choice not to seek an abortion or keep all of us. She was over 18 for all four births. She was married to my sisters father, who was also the father of her 1st son. She made those choices as a GROWN woman, never telling her family about those choices, not even her daughter, my sister.

    Sometimes, I think, no, I know, I'm still angry with her for the decisions she made 40+ years ago. Choices that separated me from my three siblings, that kept her oldest daughter from knowing the truth even of our existence, that kept my grandparents from knowing me & my brothers, or even my birthfather from knowing that he had made a baby girl (I'll never know who he was)...

    But I'm also grateful b/c I had a WONDERFUL adoptive mother. Both my adoptive parents died last year, and it's them that I grieve for. I miss my mother in particular every single day. She was the one that took care of me, my birthmom was simply a vessel that took me to her, where I was SUPPOSED to be. I know that now, and so I thank my birthmother for delivering me to her.

    I spent almost 20 years looking for my birthmother and siblings. I wanted to know where I came from. I wanted to know my medical history. I wanted to see who I looked like.

    In 1996 I got lucky & located her not 20 miles from my home in Southern CA. We reunited shortly thereafter. I've also found my two brothers, though they chose to have nothing to do w/ our birthmother (they have their own reasons, I respect them & am glad to have them in my life). I'm very close to my sister, the one my birthmom kept. She is a beautiful and unexpected gift in my adult life.

    Not all adoptees choose to search, not all birthparents will either. I've been very active in the Open Records movement so that other adoptees and birthparents NEVER have to experience what those of us who were relinquished into a CLOSED records system had to. It's agony to not know. Not just for the birthmoms, but for US (adoptees) too.

    I am SO glad to see you sharing your story here b/c it helps all of us in the adoption triad to see that this is NOT a simple or even an easy choice.

    I wish you all the best in someday being reunited w/ your son. If for no other reason than for some sense of peace, that he is okay, that he was loved, and that he understands.

    HUGS,

    Cheryl ~

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  71. I feel your pain, well not all of it. I came from the same exact situation, with my paternal grandparents/and even my dad, to this day, they act like I don't exist, we live in the same town (of 200 people). My brother on the other hand that was born after me is worshiped. It is a hard road. Even though I am 30 now with a child (born out of wedlock!) of my own...DOUBLE shame on me (that's what they think!). But, I decided to do what I wanted to do. And accept the consequences, there turned out to be NONE by the way! HA. I have a beautiful son, and my deranged paternal family is without a beautiful daughter and Grandson! BUT my maternal family got over it and loves us like no tomorrow. Double shame on THEM in the end!

    ~anonymous~

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  72. Smiling, Beguiling said...April 16, 2009 at 7:22 PM

    Smiling, Beguiling said...
    Thank you for sharing your story here, I'd read some of it from your daughter's perspective on her blog. I'm commenting here b/c I am an adoptee. My birthmother relinquished me to LA County Social Services in March 1967. I was her FOURTH child, and the THIRD she'd given away for adoption. She kept her oldest, a daughter (my 1/2 sister). She gave two boys to Social Services in 1964 and 1966, and then me.

    I struggled for a LONG time about her choices. Her choice to get pregnant, not once but several times. Her choice not to use birth control. Her choice not to seek an abortion or keep all of us. She was over 18 for all four births. She was married to my sisters father, who was also the father of her 1st son. She made those choices as a GROWN woman, never telling her family about those choices, not even her daughter, my sister.

    Sometimes, I think, no, I know, I'm still angry with her for the decisions she made 40+ years ago. Choices that separated me from my three siblings, that kept her oldest daughter from knowing the truth even of our existence, that kept my grandparents from knowing me & my brothers, or even my birthfather from knowing that he had made a baby girl (I'll never know who he was)...

    But I'm also grateful b/c I had a WONDERFUL adoptive mother. Both my adoptive parents died last year, and it's them that I grieve for. I miss my mother in particular every single day. She was the one that took care of me, my birthmom was simply a vessel that took me to her, where I was SUPPOSED to be. I know that now, and so I thank my birthmother for delivering me to her.

    I spent almost 20 years looking for my birthmother and siblings. I wanted to know where I came from. I wanted to know my medical history. I wanted to see who I looked like.

    In 1996 I got lucky & located her not 20 miles from my home in Southern CA. We reunited shortly thereafter. I've also found my two brothers, though they chose to have nothing to do w/ our birthmother (they have their own reasons, I respect them & am glad to have them in my life). I'm very close to my sister, the one my birthmom kept. She is a beautiful and unexpected gift in my adult life.

    Not all adoptees choose to search, not all birthparents will either. I've been very active in the Open Records movement so that other adoptees and birthparents NEVER have to experience what those of us who were relinquished into a CLOSED records system had to. It's agony to not know. Not just for the birthmoms, but for US (adoptees) too.

    I am SO glad to see you sharing your story here b/c it helps all of us in the adoption triad to see that this is NOT a simple or even an easy choice.

    I wish you all the best in someday being reunited w/ your son. If for no other reason than for some sense of peace, that he is okay, that he was loved, and that he understands.

    HUGS,

    Cheryl ~

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  73. Bad Grandma
    Not all grandmas are sweet, cookie-baking, free-babysitting-providing, cuddly little old ladies. Some of them are BAD.

    Tuesday, April 7, 2009
    Lost Boy: My Story

    ~lol~ jk~
    My story starts with my mother. In 1942, my mother was 18 years old and dating my father. Mom got pregnant. My maternal grandparents were god-fearing farm folk, my paternal grandparents were quintessential British snobs. Both families were horrified that this scandalous behaviour had occurred in their family. Mom might as well have been branded. My obviously pregnant mother and my father scurried away in the dark and wed. Three months later I was born. My paternal grandparents never let my mother forget that their only son “had to marry her,” and as I was growing up it was obvious that I was still an embarrassment to them. They took my brother on vacations with them every year, they never forgot his birthday, they had albums full of family photos – just them and my brother. My maternal grandparents, on the other hand, got over it, loved me – spoiled me - and supported my mother 100%.

    Throughout my adolescence, my parents closely monitored my social activities. In fact, on several occasions, my father followed me on dates. My mother lectured me endlessly on appropriate behavior with boys. I did not know, at that time, they were trying to protect me from experiencing their shame and family disapproval.

    Fast forward to 1962: I was a very inexperienced 20 year old, madly in love with a dashing pilot, 22 years my senior and married. He was going to leave his wife and marry me. We ran off together. My parents did everything in their power to put an end to the relationship, but to no avail. I got pregnant – but he already had children and more children were not in his plan. My father wanted to have him arrested, and my mother began the nightmare of reliving her shame.

    As soon as I began to show, my parents sent me to a home for unwed mothers. I was safely secreted away from relatives who would click their tongues and say “like mother, like daughter.” Double shame! I tried to kill myself while I was there. The pain and loneliness were unbearable. Neither Mom nor Dad ever visited me there; it was too painful for them. Several young women carrying illegitimate babies came and went during my three months there. All cried themselves to sleep every night. Occasionally, defiance would rear its head, and someone would say, it's not like we are the only ones who “did it,” we just got “caught,” and there would be murmurs of assent around the sunroom and for a few moments we didn't feel “cheap.” Those moments were rare.

    I went into labor in on a beautiful July afternoon in 1963. The staff told me to call them when my pains were five minutes apart. I didn't have my mother or a husband there to support me, so I walked the gardens for five hours, by myself, because I didn't know what else to do. I was scared. When the pains started getting closer, the Home called my parents and then called a cab to take me to the hospital. I went to the hospital all alone. I delivered my beautiful son all alone.

    I was told that, because I was giving my son up for adoption, I shouldn't see him because it would make it harder for me. I saw him. His perfect little face will be forever imprinted on my mind and the intense love I felt for my baby has never gone. That fierce love, that only a mother can feel, is why I had to give him up – I did not want him to bear the stigma of illegitimacy, the shame of having an unmarried mother and of not knowing his father. I wanted him to have everything I could not give him – respectability, two parents, a loving extended family and a life without shame. It was worth the pain.

    I have not been able to search for my son, because I still weep when I relive his birth, seeing him and giving him up. Love hurts and I would not be able to take the pain of losing him a second time.
    ~lol~ jk~

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  74. I'm sorry for your pain, and I hope you find your son. I lost a baby boy too, but to stillbirth. I think I might have a fairly good idea how desperate your longing to see your son must be.

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  75. I found you through your daughter’s blog.

    All I can say is I have tears in my eyes as I read this and relived my own story, so different and yet so similar. I too placed a son for adoption, yet it was in 1990 so past the days of maternity homes, but before the days of open adoptions. I have recently found him, yet I'm still scared to death of what the outcome with be. The thought of losing him a second time is terrifying and I feel as though I’m powerless to stop it if he so chooses.

    Thank you for sharing your story. I wrote about my story for the first time last year and it was so amazingly cathartic that I started a blog just about the whole experience:

    http://deejaya.blogspot.com/2008/06/coming-out-of-closet.html

    http://waitingtospreadmywings.wordpress.com/
    If you ever decide you do want to search I would be happy to help in any way I can.

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  76. Thanks for sharing your story. I too am a birthmom, a recent birthmom and some of your story still holds true for me. I raised my first son alone, he's 20 now and I placed my second in an open adoption. I can't imagine your pain in a closed adoption, I think I would go nuts not knowing. (((Hugs))) I hope you find your son and that your reunion is a positive one.

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  77. I can relate to the pain, although I might not understand tottally. Each of us birthmoms have very different stories, very different pains, and very different adoptions.

    You brought tears to my eyes.

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  78. I think you are a brave woman with enormous heart. Tears here, for what you've been through, and much respect and admiration.

    kelly

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  79. Take a course in "LEARNING" 101. FIND YOUR SON, use every search engine out there (they DO make a difference) Don't give up, it's easier than you think, you might want to find a meditator through the court in which he was adopted out. Why should you care what other people think? How would you lose him a second time? You made the decision (or it was made for you) people that provided for him & loved him at a cost, that's LIFE, if you are that judgmental of yourself, that is the double whammy standard that other's have put you under-their judgement, not yours. NARROW-MINDEDNESS SEEMS TO BE THE "killer" HERE. I this is either a story book fable or there must be too much fluoride in your drinking water, or both. FIND YOUR son, & you may discover that he isn't as narrow-minded in his thinking as you & those that you seem to be trying to protect other than yourself. Your son would be a grown man by now & if he chooses to get to know you as a person, and the good of you as that person, you will find that he understands & this will flood you with `good to yourself' as he is a human being also & his life has as much value as yours; could be an enlightening experience for both sides. Be the woman that you were meant to be, give it your best shot in finding your own flesh & blood, you have NOTHING to lose, but an entire new world to gain! Do this before it is too late as life is short & NONE of us knows how much time we have left on this earth. LOVE & Best wishes. P.S.sssst: (He did say that he thought about me often.)

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