Since my reunion, 5 years ago, I’ve heard from several family members, both adoptive and biological. Usually it’s not good. This is from my adoptive cousin, on my father’s side.
My adoptive parents farmed me out to various relatives when I was a kid. This cousin was very kind to me,and her house was my favorite place to stay. Of course, I would have preferred to remain in my own home, but that was out of the question.
M I don’t understand why you would be in a group called “Adoptees against Adoption”. Can you explain it to me?
I don’t believe in infant adoption. I don’t agree with secrets and sealed records. I think that too often infant adoption is about couples who want a child, not about a child who truly needs a home. I believe in family preservation, wherever possible.
M what is your adoption story? Did you find out why your birth mother made an adoption plan for you? Have your feelings against adoption affected your relationship with the mother who adopted you? I’m very curious, because some of your FB posts seem so bitter. My goodness, Mitch and Ramona adored you. You were everything to them. I used to be so jealous of you, because you got the best of everything, being their only child. (Although I did benefit from some of your “cast-offs”, like an itchy camelhair coat one year.) Anyway, I have fond memories of you as a child. I hope you do, too.
I wouldn’t say my dear mother made an adoption plan for me. It was more that she had her back up against the wall and could not think of any other options.
It’s a long sad story, if you really want to know, I’ll be happy to tell you, but be sure you’re sitting down, in a nice calm place when you read it.
I also can’t imagine you getting any hand me downs from me, since I am 4 years younger, and a lot smaller than you!
Infant adoption is a very complicated thing. It’s not as simple as a woman not wanting her baby, and another woman wanting it. Before a child is adopted, it is relinquished. I lost my entire family when I was 5 days old. Ramona and Mitch may have adored me, but they could never really be my parents. Infant adoption involves a lot of secrets and pretending. Not usually healthy things in a person’s life.
My mother was born on Sept 14, 1943. Her mother was 16 or 17. Her father was a light skinned black man. Mixed race marriage was a forbidden thing back then, and my grandmother was called many nasty names because of her relationship with my grandfather. My grandmother was probably abused as a child, by her father. She was promiscuous and a heavy drinker. She liked spending time in bars and slept with a lot of men. My mother was responsible for the care of her younger sister from a very young age. My grandparents separated, and my grandfather ended up in Michigan. My grandmother used to leave my mother and her younger sister, Louise with her mother while she went out drinking. My grandmother’s name was Patty. Patty’s mother died, and she started to leave her daughters with her father while she went out drinking, but came home one evening to find her father molesting my mother. My mother was 3. Patty decided to send the girls to live with their father, in Michigan. Patty dumped the girls in Michigan and took off. My grandfather, Jimmy tried his best to care for the girls, but he had to work. Louise was my mother’s half-sister, the result of Patty’s affair with another man, but Jimmy treated her as his own child. Jimmy found a couple to take the girls in as foster children. He would visit and send money for their care. The foster father was a pedophile, who regularly molested the girls. The foster mother would beat them severely as well. My mother said they were basically tortured, while from the outside everything seemed normal. My mother lived there from age 5-11. During this time, I believe my mother developed multiple personalities. When Mom was 11, Patty brought her back home to New York. Patty had had several more children, and needed someone to take care of them while she went out. Mom describes her foster father crying and saying how much he loved her, and kissing her romantically, goodbye. She was 11.
Things back in New York were horrific. Patty was a negligent mother and housekeeper. The babies ran around in filth. Rats and roaches filled their tiny bungalow. Mom was responsible for trying to keep order and feed the younger children. She told me she could not go to school because her mother would stay out for days at a time, and she could not leave the babies alone. Her mother was the town bar fly. Patty had 7 children with 7 different men, and at least one illegal abortion as well. Her boyfriends would beat her regularly. None of them took responsibility for the children they fathered, and the family lived in squalor. My father’s family lived in the same town in New York. They were the rich family who lived up on the hill. My father’s name is Robert Mc. His family owed Mc’s picnic grounds. It was famous in the town. My grandparents were prominent in the town. They were masons and active in the community. My father’s family owned acres of land and a large farmhouse. They grew vegetables and had animals. My father is one of 5 children.
My parents started dating when she was 14 and he was 17. She got pregnant at a young age, and Patty arranged for her to have an abortion from the same abortionist that she herself used. My father worked all summer to pay for the abortion. A few years later, my mother got pregnant again. This time my parents got married. They were planning to raise me in an apartment attached to the Mc farmhouse. Then, something happened. I really don’t know exactly what. My mother said that she went into a church for advice, and they told her about adoption. She went home and told my father, and he loved the idea. They moved to another part of New York, to hide the pregnancy. When I was born, they didn’t tell anyone. My mother took care of me in the hospital for 5 days, then my father came and picked us up. He drove us to the Spence Chapin adoption agency in Manhattan, where they left me. They took turns holding me while they filled out the papers necessary for my abandonment. My mother was described as weeping during the entire time. She told me that my father worked on her, the bigger she got the more he told her that I would have a terrible life if they kept me, worse than the life she had. She was broken down and had no self-esteem. She thought she wasn’t good enough to be my mother, but she was. All she needed was support. My parents went home and told their families that I was stillborn. No one questioned their story. or even asked what happened, or had a memorial for me.
I think that my father’s parents knew that I was alive. I think they did not want to help raise me because my mother was black. There was plenty of room for another kid in the Mc house. My spoiled, rich father took advantage of a poor mentally sick woman. He used her for sex, but did not want the responsibility that came with it. My father was 22 and my mother was 19 when I was born. 6 months later, my parents’ marriage was annulled. My mother got no alimony, or any support from my father.
She attempted suicide after I was gone, and she truly lost her mind. 4 years later she had a son with another man. His family helped her raise her son, my half-brother James
My life with my adoptive parents may have seemed enviable to you, but it was not as great as it seemed. We lived in a 1-bedroom apartment. I shared the room with Ramona, and Mitch slept on the couch. They had a loveless marriage.
My mother tried to have her own child for 10 years. That was what they really wanted, but it was not to be. Adoption was a last resort. My parents struggled to live on Mitch’s small salary for 6 years, when Ramona went back to work. Work was what she really loved best. At first she worked part time, while I was in school, but in the summer she had the opportunity to work full time. That was when she started boarding me out. I stayed with Ramona’s sister, Isabel for 2 summers. Isabel had 4 children. all older than me. I had never been away from home before and was frightened and alone. This was the summer after first grade, when I was 6. My cousins were Ethan, who was 14, Jane 12 and Mary who was 6 months older than me. They had an older sister, Kitty, but she was out of the house a lot of the time.
Ethan was left in charge of us girls a lot, while Auntie Isabel went to her social activities. There was incest in the family, and he would have us touch him. I was scared of him. He exposed himself to me. I was trapped and alone. I didn’t even know how to use the telephone. I wondered why Ramona left me there. I wondered why she adopted me, if she was just going to board me out. I didn’t understand why I was so unlovable. I decided I had to make my heart hard, like a stone, so I wouldn’t care about being left anymore. I tried really hard, and it worked. I began to hate Ramona.
I told Ramona that I didn’t want to go back to Auntie Isabel’s for a third summer, but I didn’t tell about the incest. That’s when I came to your house. It was much better there. I liked the lake, and you were all much nicer than Auntie Isabel’s kids, plus, no sex abuse. I was happy with your family, but still felt abandoned by Ramona
Ramona went to work full time when I was 9, and then I had to go to a friend’s house every day after school. I didn’t like that. I wanted to go to my own home after school. Ramona would work all day, come home, make dinner, then go out to play bingo in the evenings. I stayed home with Mitch. I was an only child and very lonely. Ramona also had a boyfriend during this time. She would go out with him on Thursday nights, and say she was shopping in the city. I was still sharing a room with my mother, my parents said we could not afford a bigger apartment.
We never spoke of my adoption. I had no idea who I was, or where I came from. I was living in a world of strangers. I remember asking about my “other mother” and having Ramona scream, “you don’t have another mother, I’m your only mother”. After I stayed at your house, I started going to summer camp. My parents sent me to an all Jewish camp. It was Kosher, and we had Friday night services. I was not very athletic, and hated camp very much. Finally, I was old enough to stay home alone! I scoured my apartment, and found my adoption papers. I finally learned my name, Marylee Mc. I told no one, but I repeated the name over and over in my head.
I started smoking pot at 14 and drinking at 16. It helped with the pain. I couldn’t wait to get out of my parents’ house and left home at 19 and moved in with Don. We’ve been together ever since. The pain of my adoption never left, but I was afraid to find them. As I neared age 50 I feared I would not find them alive, so I hired someone to find them. We reunited, but it has not gone well.
I believe that most women do not want to give their children away. There are extreme cases where a mother is a true danger to her child, but that is rare. more often it is poverty and fear that cause women to relinquish.
I wanted my mother. Ramona and Mitch were fine people, but not my people. I have a big family. They want nothing to do with me. My birth certificate has been altered, and the real one sealed. I am not legally related to my parents. My children are not legally related to their ancestors. My descendants cannot accurately track their roots, because my birth record is false. That makes me very angry.
Only an adopted person can understand how it feels to be given away by your own parents. We are not supposed to speak about our feelings, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have them.
I feel the pain from my adoption every single day. My mother died on Sept 1, and my brother James kicked me out of hospice so he could be alone with his mother. I did not go to her memorial service, I am her first born, but I am nobody and nothing to her legally. My father married a woman younger than me and I have a sister who is 27 and a brother who is 19. So, that’s part of my story.
Oh, M, I had no idea you had such pain in your life. There was NO indication from your visits that you were so lonely and unhappy. I’m glad you found Don. How many children do you have?
I have 4.
This one was not so bad! She did not judge or condemn me. She is a fundamentalist christian, so I imagine she is from the “adoption not abortion” camp.
There was no indication that I was lonely or unhappy because I did not trust anyone. There was no one to confide in, at that age. They would tell my adoptive mother. I kept it all inside, and it seems like I did a pretty good job.