The Second Rejection As an Adoptee
*Asterisk indicates name has been changed to protect the person’s identity.
I never knew there was such a thing call ‘The Second Rejection’ that many adoptees go through after meeting their birth parents. I thought something was wrong with me, but later found out that it had nothing to do with me. I scoured the Internet looking articles, blogs, and research, anything that would reassure me I’m not the only one who has gone through continuous rejection from their bio mother. Scanning through the search results, I kept seeing the phrase, ‘The Second Rejection.’
It was surprising to learn that this is a common thing most adoptees experience after they have reunited and sometimes before reuniting with their birth family. I have had my own experience with this.
In my post, The Chronicles of An Adopted Child: Part One, I briefly touched on meeting my birth mother *Valerie. I never typed up Part Two, but will continue it here.
I spent some time with Valerie and my half siblings, thinking it would be a good bonding experience. It was nothing but a fallacy. No bonding took place and I was quickly shut out by Valerie. This rejection and avoidance had been constant ever since 2000. Many times I was reduced to tears because of the way she was treating me or said something that cut deep in my heart. My mom would wipe my tears and reassured me that I was loved.
From what I can gather, when young unwed mothers were sent away to maternity homes, they were told to move on with their lives after their baby was born. Now, don’t look at it as if they were being cruel because they weren’t. I think it was a way they reassured the girls they were doing the right thing.
I can only assume that these girls felt guilt and shame because of being sent away to be with other girls going through the same thing as well. When the ‘honeymoon phase’ of being reunited is over, there are some birth mothers who feel that guilt and shame come back that they had suppressed years ago. The only way they seem to know how to deal with it is to disconnect from the now adult child. That disconnect is looked at as a second rejection. Some adoptees maybe feel they were first rejected because they were put up for adoption.
If you are in the process of looking for your biological family, here are a few words of advice to follow:
Drop any unrealistic expectations you may have about them.
- If you were adopted through an agency, understand they will make you complete extensive counseling before you meet your birth mother or birth father in person. The counseling is there to help both birth parents and adoptees address issues that come along with reuniting.
- Register on your state’s adoption registry. Check the cost and guidelines. If there is a match, the next step will be counseling.
- Should your birth mother track you down through the web, which is what Valerie did with me, contact your adoption counselor immediately. Going around the protocol of the counseling can lead to devastating results.
- Any snail-mail letters that are exchanged between you and your birth parents are subject to be read by the adoption counselors before either of you get them. This happened to me since I was adopted through an agency, so not too sure if it may happen anywhere else.
Should you face that second rejection, just know it’s nothing to do with you, and you’re not alone in this. Cling to those who love you for you.