Over the last 20 years, many birthmoms have come out of the “birthmom closet” and talked about their pasts. Many have searched for the children that they lost to adoption, and many have reunited. These are women who have dealt with the past in one way or another and moved on.

Unfortunately, there are still many women who refuse to acknowledge what they went through, and who have kept it a secret all of their lives. For these women, the child they bore and gave up becomes THE secret.

Many of the women who worked so hard at keeping their secret have not even shared with their husband that they had a child that was relinquished. Nobody in their life knows what happened but them.

That is a huge secret to carry for such a long time, and the weight of it must be enormous. I can’t even imagine how it must feel to keep a secret like that from the entire world.

For this group of birthmothers, they live in fear of being found by the children that they gave up. They are terrified of a knock at the door or a phone call that will result in their secret being revealed.

How could you possibly explain to a husband of 25 or 30 years why you never shared the fact that you had a child before you married them? These women are scared to death that their marriages and family lives will be put on the line if their child shows up.

I worked with an adoptee who searched for her birthmother for years. She finally found her and made contact and was told that she could never have a relationship because her very existence was a deep, dark secret.

The situation was devastating to the adoptee, but it couldn’t have been easy for the birthmom either. She HAD to want to know her daughter, but didn’t dare let her into her life.

Historically, one of the biggest problems in adoption has been the secrecy. Sealed records make adoptees and birthmothers alike feel like there is something to hide, otherwise why would the records be sealed?

For so many years birthmoms were actually encouraged to keep their experience a secret. That may not be the case today, but there are still many thousands of birthmoms keeping their secrets, because they don’t know any other way to handle what happened to them.

I look forward to a time when most adoptions will be open, all parties concerned with be honest and forthright with each other, and respect will be accorded to all parties. The secrets of adoption need to be left behind.

Advertisements

I did a session with a birthmom today that left me with a lot on my mind. She gave up son up in what was supposed to be an open adoption, but the agency refused to commit anything about that to paper. Even though the birthmom spoke with the adoptive parents and they agreed to regular visits, pictures and ongoing contact, there was nothing to prove that they had made that commitment.

In point of fact, the adoptive parents refused this birthmom contact with her son for 18 years. Only when he was old enough to start making his own decisions did she get to see him.

This birthmom was very angry, and felt betrayed. How could she feel anything but betrayed, under the circumstances? An agreement had been made in good faith (at least on the part of the birthmom) and years down the road she was still feeling like the system had completely let her down. And it had!

I have no answers here. I’m just railing against a system that treats people the way our current system does. Nobody has a right to treat another person the way the birthmom I worked with was treated, and the way the many other birthmoms through the years have been treated.

Feeling betrayed by the system? This may help:

Setup:

  • Even though I feel angry about having been betrayed by the entire adoption system, I deeply and profoundly love and accept myself.
  • Even though I was lied to and misled by the adoptive parents and the adoption agency and that makes me angry, I deeply and profoundly love and accept myself.
  • Even though I was betrayed by a system that only cared about my child, and not about me, and that makes me really angry, I deeply and profoundly love and accept myself, and I hold myself in kindness and compassion.

Reminders:

  • I’m so angry
  • And I feel betrayed
  • The agency lied to me
  • The adoptive parents lied to me
  • Nobody cared about me
  • They only cared about my baby
  • And that makes me angry
  • And feeling very betrayed
  • I’m so angry
  • But maybe I can start to let go of that
  • I feel so betrayed
  • But maybe I can work on that
  • I was lied to
  • But maybe I can put that behind me
  • I was betrayed and that hurts
  • But I need to move on
  • So much anger
  • So many feelings of betrayal
  • But I choose to start working
  • On releasing those feelings
  • Letting go of the anger
  • Letting go of the betrayal
  • Letting those feelings drain away
  • And replacing them with an energy of healing.

And to all you birthmoms who have been through this kind of painful experience, I wish you healing and peace on your journey.

Should adult adoptees have the right to their birth records when they reach adulthood? This is a question that ignites a lot of emotion for both adoptees and birth family members.

According to statistics from the American Adoption Congress (AAC), 95% of the adoptees that they surveyed expressed the desire to be found by their birth parents. An amazing 100% of birth parents wanted to be found, and 98% of adoptive parents supported reunions between their children and their birth families.

Avery’s 1996 research on the attitudes of adoptive parents in New York regarding access to identifying information found that 84% of the adoptive mothers and 73% of the adoptive fathers agreed or strongly agreed that an adult adoptee should be able to obtain identifying information on his or her birth parents.

With those statistics in mind you have to wonder who the government is protecting by keeping adoption records confidential, and keeping adult adoptees from finding out where they came from.

Over the 17 years that I’ve worked with adoptees, I have known quite a few who were sick, some very sick, so they petitioned the courts to get their records released, and lost. Why should anyone ever have to suffer just because their medical history is a secret to them that the government won’t release?

I had a dear adoptee friend a few years back that dropped dead of cardiac arrest while washing dishes in her kitchen sink. She had a birth family history of serious heart problems, but had no idea, and no history to pass along to her doctor. She had searched for years unsuccessfully.

When every side of the adoption triad agrees that the right thing to do is to open adoption records to adult adoptees, the government needs to get out of the dark ages, open their eyes to reality, ignore the protests of the attorneys and adoption agencies (the people making money on adoption) and open those records to adoptees at age 18.

Tapping Script: It Just Ain’t Fair!

Setup:

Even though it makes me furious that the government doesn’t want to to find out where I came from and what my medical history is, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.

Even though I’m angry that the government has the power to keep me from finding out about my own past, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.

Even though I’m mad as hell at the government from keeping my own records sealed, and keeping my own past a secret from me, I deeply and completely love and accept myself, and I choose to consider that maybe this will change some time soon.

Reminders:

  • All this anger
  • The government is keeping secrets
  • I’m so mad
  • That I can’t even find out where I came from
  • I’m furious
  • The government has no right
  • To keep the secrets of my own past
  • From me!
  • I’m so mad
  • The government sucks
  • They act like I’m still a child
  • Even though I’m an adult
  • I have the right to know
  • About my own past
  • And it makes me mad
  • That the government won’t tell me.
  • The government stinks
  • They won’t let me get my records
  • But I choose to consider
  • That this might change
  • Because I have a right
  • To know my medical history
  • We all have the right
  • To know where we came from.

Trust is a big issue in the lives of many people, but this is especially true for adoptees. Much of this lack of trust goes back to feelings of abandonment. In the words of Nancy Verrier, “It is difficult to face the fact that by definition every adopted child is an abandoned child, who has suffered a devastating loss. No matter that the adoptive parents call it relinquishment and the birth mother calls it surrender, the child experiences it as abandonment.”

Because this abandonment happens so early that there is not a conscious memory of it, many adoptees aren’t really even sure why they feel that way…they just know that they do. Keep in mind that although this memory may not be accessible to you, the adoptee, it is stored in your subconcious, and our subconscious has a lot to do with our normal day to day behavior.

You may not even realize that the memory is present until something happens in your life to trigger the subconcious, bringing that feeling to the forefront. Maybe as a child, your best friend deserts you to play with someone they like better. Maybe as a teen your first boyfriend tells you that he wants to break up. Any situation is which you feel that someone has abandoned you is going to trigger the feeling. Suddenly you find yourself intensely sad, or maybe intensely mad. You know this feeling….you’ve felt it before…you don’t like it. Unfortunately, there is no way to ‘turn it off’. The memory is a part of your past, whether you’re aware of it or not.

Some adoptees go through their entire lives without being able to trust the people in their lives. This is incredibly sad for all concerned. Sometimes the fear of being abandoned again is so intense that the adoptee would rather not get involved in a relationship than to take a chance on opening up to someone and then being abandoned…again.

The good news for anyone who is dealing with this issue is that EFT can help. Through EFT you can access the memory of abandonment, and you can tap your way through releasing those negative feelings. EFT can help you to get to a place in your life where you can trust others and open to relationships. Your life will be richer and fuller, and all because of a bit of tapping. Don’t take my word for it…try EFT yourself.

Rejection. It’s a word that nobody involved in an adoption search wants to think about. Unfortunately, rejection is something that every searcher needs to consider. It happens. It’s terribly sad for all concerned, and can emotionally deeply wound the person being rejected, but it is one of the possible outcomes of any search.

Having personally been through a 7 year search myself, and having held the hands of hundreds of searching adoptees and birthmothers, I know how common it is for searchers to say that they’re prepared for any outcome in their search. The reality is that you can never truly be prepared for rejection. If you’re an adoptee, how can the woman who abandoned you once already abandon you still again? If you’re a birthmother, how can the son or daughter to whom you gave birth totally turn their back on you? There can be so many reasons, and knowing those reasons can help to better prepare you for whatever outcome your search may have.

In my 17 years of working with adoptees, it has been my experience that adoptees most often reject their birth families because of guilt over their adoptive parents, or direct pressure from their parents. There seem to be 2 distinct flavors of adoptive parents, those who understand their child’s need/desire to search, and support it, and those who go into a panic at the very thought of their child searching for their birth family.

Supportive parents understand that by standing behind their son or daughter in their search and possible reunion, they are strengthening bonds of love, and showing that the needs of their child is important to them.

Unsupportive parents have often not had close and loving relationships with their children, and they feel threatened by a potential reunion. Out of fear of losing their child to his/her birth parents, these adoptive parents frequently lay a heavy guilt trip on their kids. Their goal is to strengthen their relationship, but in reality their actions often alienate their children from them, and put up walls of resentment that may never be torn down.

Birthmothers have very different stories. Based again on my experience in working with birthmoms, the reason most often given for a birthmother rejecting her child is that the birth of that child has always been a deep, dark secret. Birthmoms are sometimes so shamed by what they’ve been through that they never tell a living soul about the baby they had and relinquished. They marry, and don’t tell their husband. They have more children, and don’t tell them. To these birthmoms, it’s like it never happened.

Suddenly, out of the blue, a son or daughter calls them on the phone, and they go into instant panic. To tell their husband after so many years that they weren’t honest with them is unthinkable. They can’t figure out any way out of their situation, so they turn away the son or daughter that they desperately want to know, because they’re afraid their family will be torn apart if they don’t.

There is so much pain for a person being rejected that it’s nearly unbearable. No matter how well you may think that you’re prepared for any eventuality in your search, you are not prepared for rejection. I personally lived with this kind of pain for 5 years, before finding an EFT practitioner that could help me to work it through. Thanks to EFT, I can discuss my rejection by my son without emotionally falling apart. Prior to those sessions, I couldn’t even bear to think about that subject.

If you’ve been rejected too, and are feeling that unbearable pain, there can be relief for you too. In situations like this, the relief is so intense that afterward you can’t imagine how you got through each day without EFT.

Don’t do what I did if you’ve been rejected. Get your life back, get your emotional balance back, and learn to smile again.

For far too many adoptees, the title above describes accurately how they feel. All the paperwork may have been done, the court appearances may have been made, and all the legal technicalities may have been worked out, but none of those things makes an adoptee feel that they are truly part of a family.

So many adoptees that I have worked with over the years have never truly felt that they are part of the family that adopted them. This is particularly true for adoptees whose families have had children of their own the old fashioned way.

Adults may not think that the things they say are noticed, but children have a way of hearing things at family gatherings like, “Oh, that’s their adopted daughter Mary”. Emphasis on adopted. They aren’t saying “That’s their daughter Mary”. Very different! That kind of thing tells a child immediately that there is something different about them. They may not have any idea what that difference is, but they know that they’re not quite the same as the rest of their family members.

Then there’s school to deal with. Neighbors talk. Their children hear. Those things they hear are then repeated at school. “Mary, I know that’s not your real mother! Your real mother didn’t want you and gave you away!”. Hearing something like that goes a long way toward improving that adoptee’s self esteem and confidence. How can you feel good about yourself if you think you’re a “throw-away kid”? And you know that your school mates think that too. Painful stuff there.

There are so many things that can contribute to an adoptee’s feeling of not fitting into their family that I couldn’t possibly talk about them all, but starting out with the feeling that you’ve been abandoned, as so many adoptees do, certainly doesn’t help. Sadly, this is not a topic likely to be discussed with parents, who might offer support. What child would say to their parents that they don’t feel like a part of the family? None that I know.

What I do know, however, is that adult adoptees who are still dealing with this issue can get relief through EFT. A few rounds of tapping can most likely turn around that feeling of not fitting in, and make you feel more comfortable with yourself and who you are. Turn that discomfort into a feeling of comfort and peace with EFT.

Example Setup Phrase:
Even though I’m so sad that Uncle XXX said things that made me feel like I wasn’t part of my own family, I deeply and completely love and accept myself, and I choose to consider that I might actually really be part of this family.

Back to No More Adoption Pain

Adoption search is a complex topic. There are so many things that can happen during or at the end of a search that it boggles the mind.

Adoptees in search of birth families seem to have the best track record. Since they have access to non-identifying information, they have an advantage over birth family members. Their adoptive parents may also have information, even identifying information, concerning their family of origin. All of this can be extremely helpful in a search.

At the end of an adoptee’s search, the situation can go in different ways. They can find a birthmother or other birthfamily member that welcomes them with open arms. This is the happy ending that most adoptees hope for. Unfortunately, adoptees can find that their birth family (usually their birthmother) wants nothing to do with them. This is most often due to the fact that the birthmom has never confided to anyone about the child that she gave up, and years down the road, after keeping the secret for decades, they are afraid to tell the truth. This is a sad situation, but is not uncommon. Adoptees can also find at the end of their search that their birthmother is deceased. There may still be siblings who welcome them, but not all birthmoms go on to have other children, or tell the children they have about “their secret”.

A birthmother searching is more complicated. Since they are usually not entitled to non-identifying information, they often have a lot less information to use when searching. Some states have birth indexes which help in searches, but access to a birth index depends on the state in which the child was born. Birthmoms often have to bite the bullet, and pay a professional searcher to find their child. The end of a birthmom search is more up in the air than an adoptee search. Birthmothers are rejected by adoptees far more often than adoptees are rejected by birthmoms. A complicating factor for birthmoms is that once they’ve found their child, the adoptive parents may feel threatened by them, and when this happens, it usually prevents any kind of a relationship from happening, sadly.

More and more often over the last few years, I’ve seen adoptive parents helping their kids to search. These kinds of searches have the best chance of a happy ending, since the searcher has the support of their parents in their search. I’ve seen a number of wonderful reunions that came about when adoptive parents helped their children to search. When everyone is involved, and adoptive family, birthfamily and adoptee all come together as an extended family, wonderful things happen.

The most important thing for any searcher to remember is that you never know what you’ll find at the end of your search, and you need to be as prepared as possible for any eventuality.

If you are currently searching, and are feeling stressed, why not try a little EFT to rid yourself of the stress?

Setup Statement:
Even though I am really scared about what I may find at the end of my search, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.
Reminder Phrases:
This fear, what will I find?, this fear, searching is scary, I choose to transform this fear, into an energy of healing, I choose to release negative feelings, and embrace positive feelings.

Back to No More Adoption Pain

Anger — we all feel it, but not many people find it acceptable. When we were children, most of us were encouraged not to show our anger, and we carried that habit over into adulthood. We get angry about all kinds of things, but we’ve learned over time how to “stuff those feelings down”. Maybe we smoke a cigarette, maybe we have a drink, or maybe we go around the block until we’ve walked it off, but we seldom let others see or know that we’re angry.

There is lots of anger in the adoption triad. We’ve got angry adoptees, angry birthmothers and angry adoptive parents. To each of us, our anger feel justified, and it may be.

Adoptees are often angry because they feel that they’ve been abandoned. In their minds, their birthmother saw them as an inconvenience, and it was far easier to let somebody else raise their child than to raise it themselves. Very seldom is this actually true, but lots of adoptees feel this way.

Other adoptees are angry that they have been, as they see it, victimized by the adoption community. The decision about where and how they would live their lives was made by others, and even as adults they’re not allowed to know about their families of origin. This is an anger that I feel is well justified, and I’d like to think that at some point the system will be reformed so that adult adoptees can always find out where they came from. Everyone deserves that right.

Birthmothers have their share of anger. Many are angry at their families and “the system” for forcing them to relinquish children that they didn’t want to give up. That anger is intensified by the fact that birthmoms are not expected to or encouraged to express grief over the loss of their child, but are instead told to “forget it and move on”.

Birthmothers have virtually no rights when it comes to getting non-identifying information so that they can find their children. That makes it mighty hard for a birthmom to search and find. This is still another reason (again, justified) for anger on the part of birthmoms.

Adoptive parents feel that they have plenty to be angry about, too. Many get angry at their children if they decide to search for their birthfamily. They feel betrayed, theatened, or just plain jealous, and therefore they are angry. Some are also angry at birth family members who have found their children. These parents harbor the feeling that once relinquishment papers are signed, a birth parent has given up any right to ever know the child.

So much anger, for so many reasons… Anger is usually an uncomfortable thing to deal with, and we end up with guilt on top of that anger. EFT is the most effective method that I’ve ever found for dealing with anger. Once you zero in on an incident that made you angry, and tap through 2 or 3 rounds, the anger is often totally gone, and you are left with a feeling of peace and calmness that is far more pleasant than anger.

Why not give EFT a try for your anger? Five minutes of tapping might just give you the relief that you’ve been hoping for.

Back to No More Adoption Pain

The quick answer to this question in most cases is NO!

Abandonment is a fairly common issue for adoptees. Even though the logical part of their brain may recognize that they weren’t actually abandoned, that baby who lost his/her mother so very early feels abandoned anyway.

Many birthmothers, particularly those of more mature adoptees, really didn’t have options as far as keeping their child. Family and societal pressures forced them to relinquish their child, even though for many of them it was one of the most traumatic events of their life.

Mothers of younger adoptees may have had options, but may have also realized that a child raising a child is not a good idea, and you can’t offer that child the best life if you can’t even take care of yourself.

It’s important for adoptees to realize that the vast majority of birthmoms carry emotional scars for a lifetime after losing a child to adoption. You don’t carry a child in your womb for 9 months, and then just put it out of your mind. Birthmothers never forget the children that they lose.

This is not to say that there aren’t some women who willingly give up children and don’t look back, but for most birthmothers, they carry their child in their heart for a lifetime, whether or not they ever carried that child in their arms.

For adoptees with abandonment issues, please know that EFT can give you tremendous relief from any pain and anger that you may be feeling, and can lead you to a place of peace in your heart.

Back to No More Adoption Pain

My child was born in the ’60s. It’s a very different world today, where children conceived outside of marriage are not a shameful thing. Back when my son was born, though, there was a terrible stigma to becoming pregnant if you weren’t married.

In addition to the stigma of a pregnancy if you were unwed, there was the fact that birthmoms at that time didn’t have options, as they do today. Back then, you had 2 choices — to surrender your child for adoption so that (in the words of social workers) they could have a good life and loving 2 parent family, or to keep and raise your child, with everyone looking down their nose at you and judging you. Not much of a choice. (Just to clarify, abortion was not yet legal in the U.S.)

Birthmoms at that time were often treated badly. They often weren’t allowed to see their babies when they gave birth. Sometimes they weren’t even told the sex of their child. Their rights weren’t explained to them, what few they had. Many were forced to sign relinquishment papers when they had barely recovered from the delivery of their child. All in all, it was a very bad time to have a child out of wedlock.

Even within our own families we were shamed. Many birthmoms were sent away to live in unwed mothers homes until the birth of their child, because their family didn’t want anyone to know they were pregnant. My own mother told me that I humiliated her in front of every relative, friend and neighbor she had. What I had done was unthinkable to her.

I think that it’s important for the adult adoptees of today to understand how their biological mothers may have been treated, and what it was like for them. Shame that deep seated is not something that you get over. You carry it with you for a lifetime.

I have personally dealt with a number of birthmoms who refused to acknowledge a son or daughter that found them because they had NEVER in their lives told a single soul about the child they gave up for adoption. It’s not about them not wanting to know that child; it all about not being able to face and deal with the shame of their past.

Searching adoptees, please keep in mind that this could be your birthmother. Maybe, hopefully, she might have been treated better, but that shame from the past still can have a powerful impact on us today, and for many birthmothers, it does.

Birthmoms, please know that EFT can help with this shame, and I am living proof of that.

Back to No More Adoption Pain