*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.
I decided to write from my point of view what it is like to be adopted. Some people may be able to relate and some may find it interesting to know what adoption is like.
When I was around 5 or 6 years old, I asked my mother the where do babies come from question. She did not go into a bunch of details, but did her best to explain. I asked her if I grew inside her tummy and she told me, “You didn’t grow under my heart, but you grew into it.” She explained that God had chosen me to be with a different family than my birth parents. She then went on to explain what adoption meant the best way she could so that I could understand it. There were times I would look in the mirror and wondered who I looked like, thought that my bio mom was perfect in every way and so on. I was never made to feel like I was a mistake or accident, I was accepted and adopted into a good family. My mother told me that she would pray for my bio mom every night while she rocked me. She knew one day that I would want to meet her. There were some underlying medical issues that I went through as a child and my parents had no medical history on my bio parents. It made it a bit trying for them to know if what I had was family history illnesses. As a child it’s hard not to think about where your bio roots came from. For years I wanted to know who did I get my height from, where did my ancestors come from, who’s eye color do I have, are my bio grandparents still alive, would my bio mom and dad ever want to meet me…. I could go on and on with the questions. I mentioned that I thought my bio mom was perfect. My thoughts as a child were that she had never been in trouble with the law, didn’t do drugs and was stable. I wondered more about my bio mom than I did my bio dad when I was growing up. I thought about how it was possible for one or both of my bio parents could be a celebrity. Hey, it could happen, right? When I was around 14 or 15 years old, I was looking through my adoption records and found an envelop that was taped up with what looked like packing tape; it had my name on the front of it. At that moment, I felt like I had been betrayed because my mother told me she would not hide anything from me about my adoption. I took the envelop and ran upstairs to open it in my room. Right in front of me, on that piece of paper was a physical description of my bio mom and some info about my bio dad along with a little medical history. I don’t know how many times I read that document over and over. I eventually confronted my mother about the document and she told me she felt like I couldn’t handle reading it at that time. She did take me back to the adoption agency so that I could find out if there was any way I could get some answers to my questions. The lady told me that I could write letter to her and she would research my file to find the answers. By age 18, my questions started to get more answers when I started communicating with my bio mom. She and I had registered on a database that would match us up should one of us join it. On my 19th birthday, I finally got to meet her along with my two half sisters. It felt awkward at first but I slowly warmed up. The only mom and dad I had known were my parents, but it was interesting to get to know my bio mom as well. My question about where my ancestors was answered along with some others I had. Things slowly started to sink in that my bio mom was not the perfect person I had imagined in my mind. She is human like everyone else and makes mistakes.
I found out that my ancestors were coal miners in Alabama and Kentucky and that in some way I am related to a family that makes clarinet reeds. I also found out that my ethnic background consist of Dutch, English and French hence why part of my blog has the name Dutch in it.
Part two will continue on with more experiences….