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Recently found out I was adopted in 1973! Confused - very complex

Kayd1973
Community Member

So my natural father died 2 years ago and told me in a letter (which I got after his death and didn't bother reading until 2 months ago) that he was my natural father but my mother wasn't my mother.

This is the story.

In 1972 my father 33 years old at the time, got a 14 yo pregnant. Small country town. For whatever reason my fathers wife, who already had two children to him - a girl and a boy, agreed to fake a pregnancy and raise me as her own. When I was born my father and his wife were put on my birth certificate. So I was never formally adopted - my birth certificate was forged. Unbeknown to my "new mum", my father had her best friend pregnant as well. My new mother left and took the three of us away. She then tried to adopt me out but my father wouldn't sign the adoption papers! So I was raised with my "new mum" and her "new husband". I found out that he wasn't my father when I was 9. I always knew something was wrong. My "mum" treated me so differently to my older sister and all my life I have wondered why she didn't love me. I am not the only one that sees it. It is very obvious. So now I know my "mum" has lied to me all my life. I finally met my natural father when I was 16 and had an on again off again relationship with him till he died 2 years ago. I have suffered all my life with depression due to my "mums" treatment of me and abuse suffered at the hands of my step-father.

So, I have managed to track down my birth mother and have spoken to her on a number of occasions. I have also spoken to her dad on the phone - he is dying and wants to meet me but I have said no.

Over the years I have had counselling and felt I had finally resolved my "issues". Then I was hit with all of this. My relationship with my "mum" is fractured as is with my two other siblings. We went through so much trauma at the hands of my step-father that we have all built walls and I know that there is no way I can tell any of them about this.

The thought of meeting my birth mother is filling me with total dread - it is bringing up so many issues. I have had 3 terrible parents. I have managed despite that to build a life for myself and have beautiful children. I am worried - terrified meeting her will bring up all the past and leave me wide open to another break down.

I am not sure if there is other adoptees out there who have been through these mixed feelings. Reaching out in the hope that someone can give me some advise or words of wisdom!

10 Replies 10

Croix
Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Kayd1973~

Welcome here and thank you for posting. It must take a great deal out of you to lay all this down to strangers. don't worry, the people here are understanding.

I'll try to talk about your position gently, though it may be a little hard to read - I hope not.

I've had family 'issues' (lovely description isn't it) too, I was thrown out of mine for disagreeing with them over getting married. If you wondering why I bring this up it is because it taught me I really value family - well the decent ones anyway. For me at least life would be less without them.

They are only here for so long, then they pass away. There are members of mine I regret not being with while there was time, unfortunately it was impossible, no choice.

You sound a strong person, surviving in a world of deceit and little love. Then to go on and have a family of your own - with beautiful children. Beautiful children that come from you.

You did seek out your mother. If I understand she gave birth to you at 14. I don't know what sort of impression she made on you. You mentioned you spoke several times. I would think if the impression was bad or hurtful you would have stopped right there. If it was me I'd remember the good inside me came from somewhere.

Now I wonder why her dad wants to see you. When you are dying the really important things tend to take over - well for most I guess. If I had a daughter who got pregnant at 14 and gave the baby away then I might just want to make things right for her, say what happen and why. Not leave her alone to face the consequences of that act. Maybe that's it. Maybe he just wants to see his grandchild.

I doubt your birth-mother or he could have found you.

I'm not pre-judging your birth-mother, however I do know in a small country town in 1972 there were all sorts of pressures on a 14 year old - some from parents, some from doctors, some from others. I don't know the real story though.

Perhaps her dad does have something to say, could he write a letter? Would you think it a good idea?

As for meeting your birth-mother. Can you get some sort of idea how it might go in advance before making any decisions? Perhaps just setting out on the phone what your fears are and see what she says? She can't have hidden the matter from her dad. Maybe she has guilt and regrets. I don't know.

Please post again and say more. Do you have a partner? Perhaps someone to be with you if you meet .

I wish you all the wisdom and courage you need

Croix

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Kayd, welcome

I cant add to the terrific post Croix just posted. I agree with it in every way.

Your grandfather would want to complete his lifes wishes now.

Its a kind thing to do for a dying man, to visit and chat. Although I'm not discounting your trauma.

Whatever you decide you seem determined to be a better parent than the three you've had.

That makes you a special success story...

Tony WK

geoff
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni
hello Kayd, it must be so confusing to know what you really want to or what you feel you should do and I'm sure your mind will change quite regularly, so you're put into a situation that which perplexes you.
One thing I think you may have to address is your birth cerificate and whether you are happy to leave it the way it is or whether you want to have it altered, and if you want to do this, it's going to take a lot of paper work including affidavits and a great deal of effort by you.
This whole situation must be terrible for you, because you feel that you have not been represented as you should have been, that's a lonely place you are now in and how deeply sorry I feel for you.
To meet you real mum is going to be terrifying, but there might be a draw towards seeing her, because that's what I think I would want to do,but it's going to be very emotional for you and plenty of questions you need to know, and to meet your g/father is something I don't believe I would ever want to know, simply because he has made no effort to contact you, and now because you know, he wants to talk with you, for me that would be far too late and cause extra memories that you may not want to know.
It's such a difficult decision you need to really think about, because they could have tried to find out where you were but didn't.
This is going to create a great deal of anxiety for you, and as you are in the balance of how you feel, it's a worry for us.
Just do what you really want to do and not what you feel you should do.
My best. Geoff. x

White_Rose
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Dear Kayd

Hello and welcome to Beyond Blue. Thank you for trusting us with your story. There have been several threads on BB dealing with adoption issues. I will see if I can find them as you may find it useful to read them. Everyone's story is different of course but there are general themes.

What a complicated life you have. So distressing to live with these feelings of betrayal and hurt and I am sorry you have experienced this. You have found some good things in your life now with your partner and children. These are the happenings to hold on to and remember when the past decides to rear its head.

I can well believe how shattering it must have been to believe your past had been dealt with, then to find a completely new set of circumstances.

May I ask how you felt when talking to your birth mother? Did you feel reasonably comfortable? I think how you felt talking to her will probably be the same if you meet face to face. Certainly worth thinking about. The same with your grandfather. He probably wants to see his grandson. I think it is highly unlikely your birth family would have been able to track you down. Do you know if they tried?

An unmarried mother in the 1970's would have found life very difficult. At 14 your mom would have no idea how to raise a child. It is a shame her parents were not more supportive, but times were very different then. I hope I can find the other threads.

Mary

I have found some threads you may like to read.

Forums: Adoption - abandonment issues?
https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/online-forums/permalink/qjGIqHHzvGGEbv8AAOnT_A

Forums: Born abandoned - adoption
https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/online-forums/permalink/qdI6-nHzvGGEbv8AAOnT_A

Forums: Psychologist Misunderstanding Adoption Concepts
https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/online-forums/permalink/qkVaTnHzvGGEbv8AAOnT_A

Forums: Adoption is a curse
https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/online-forums/permalink/qixoZnHzvGGEbv8AAOnT_A

Forums: Adoption related Depression and Anxiety
https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/online-forums/permalink/qiC8jnHzvGGEbv8AAOnT_A

These are not live links unfortunately. You will need to copy and paste in your browser. Alternatively put 'adoption' in the search box at the top of the page. This will take you to the above threads with live links. There are several more you may wish to explore.

Mary

Jugglin_Strugglin
Community Member

Hi Kayd,

I have a complicated "history" too, though perhaps not as much as yours. I was privately adopted as a baby in England. I was the second adopted child of my "parents", they had adopted a boy 6 yrs before me. When I was 4, we became 10£ poms & came to Australia.

I always knew I was adopted, although it has now turned out there were some lies and omissions, so not exactly as open as I had thought. I only found out details after my father, brother, then finally mother in 2005 had passed away. 2 yrs later, I had a pH call from UK. A social worker for my brother!! who was looking for me. Until then, I had thought my birth mother was a young single girl. Wrong. I was the 3rd child, had a brother 10 yrs older & a sister 5 yrs older. My birth mother still alive (in her 90s now).

So made contact with brother. He didn't 'get on' with my mother or sister, so no contact from them. He had chip on HIS shoulder about his paternity and says my mother is "generous with the truth" ie a liar. Nice to hear??

Anyhow, we talk on Ph & email over the next few yrs. We have similar interests and jobs (my sister has too but different to him ie female things like ballet). He plans trip with his wife for 3wks here. So we met and he met my "tween at the time" son. He didn't tell my mom & sister he was coming & slammed them all the time. I had always had an open mind about everything, never made any judgement on her cos didn't really know her circumstances. He never passed on my details to them, although he did tell them of meeting when he got back.

So mixed feelings from that. First, never thought about having siblings. Also his "chip"! Surely that should be me, if anyone. He wrote several books about his childhood, which I started to read but couldn't. Too upsetting...should have been my childhood.

Anyhow, we did discuss it all when he was here but I think it went over his head. I just let any bad feelings go (I am a people-pleaser). We kept in contact, afterall I have been left with no family (except my son) here now, so it was ok. Better than not, and he was a good person. We got on ok. He was coming over for longer this Sept.

This Christmas I got an email that he had passed away peacefully in the night 2 days after Boxing day. What a shock. Now devastated. Feel as if I've lost him plus any links to my sister & mum. Sent me into a spiral downhill, though I had a rotten trot with several other major life problems over just 7days & that was the final straw.

pto

So now do I think..easy come easy go...or what??? Didn't really need it. I was ok before, didn't think of it much. At the same time, I do appreciate knowing him and learning more of my story. Perhaps if my mom & sister had been involved I'd feel better. Or maybe I wouldn't like them either?? I don't really know what I feel anymore.

I don't know if it is better to let sleeping dogs lie, or not. I do know that you can never imagine what circumstances may unfold. It could end up being the best thing you've done, or something that doesn't pan out. Either way, I guess you will know.

Ultimately I guess I don't regret it. Distance made it hard for me. Things would be so different if we lived in even the same hemisphere. I don't even have a passport and am not naturalised, so not easy to get one either.

I think white rose gave good advice about how you feel when you talk to your birth mother. Really, you have already "met" them. I would advise not to dwell on it. If you find that you are, then perhaps arrange to meet. At least you'll know then. It could be great, and your kids could benefit. My son did, sadly too briefly. ​​

Best wishes for whatever you decide. I'm happy to 'chat' if you ever need to. I'd like to know how it pans out for you.

Maybe I'll contact my brothers wife, she has details, so not totally lost, but I just haven't been able to do it yet.

Lee xo

Hello Kayd

Just dropping in to say hello and ask if the replies have been helpful. We would love to hear from you again.

Mary

Kayd1973
Community Member

HI everyone,

Thank you so much for your thoughts.

To answer a few questions - my birth mothers mum (my maternal grandmother) died 18 months before my BM fell pregnant with me. Her dad (my granddad) had been in Vietnam War and was suffering from PTSD. When he found out my BM was pregnant he wanted to harm him. Luckily his son (my uncle) stopped him.

My birth mother has told me that she managed to track my father down when I was 18 and asked him for contact details and he said he hadn't seen me since I was 3 months old - funny I spent 2 months at his home when I was 17! Then I found out that 4 years ago a mutual friend of my fathers and my grandfather (BMs dad) died and they were both at the funeral. My grandfather asked at the time about me and my father again said he had had nothing to do with me or my family since I was 3 months old!

My biggest fear with meeting my BM is her children. She had two more children late in life - they are actually the same age (one 5 days apart and the other three months apart) as my middle two children. They now know about me and are not happy and want nothing to do with me. They actually told my BM that all I wanted was my share of there inheritance! Rejection is something I am terrified of. I have asked her not to contact me for a month so I can do some counselling and try and sort my head out. I only tracked her down due to health reasons and it has now become bigger than I anticipated.

I have spoken to my grandfather on the phone and he freely answered all questions I asked. He admitted that he has lived with guilt for the last 43 years but at the time he was completely out of his depth and thought my father and his wife would raise me well. He also said that back then pedophilia was not talked about but if it happened today my father would be charged with rape and jailed.

There has been so many lies in my life and rejection I fear that this could tip me over the edge. A box that I should file away and forget about! (The pile of those boxes is getting very high!)

Sorry for rabbiting on - it has helped listening to what others have said.

Thanks again!
K