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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ask An Adoptee: Married First Parents

I have often wondered how adoptees feel about learning that their first parents have married after giving them up? Would you be comfortable elaborating more on that?

My adoption file was very confusing for me.  I assumed that nobody ever knew who my father was because my adoptive parents never said anything about him.  Yet there he was on my non-identifying information.  And his family didn't know about me.  So I assumed I was the product of a one night stand (Turns out my mother hid her pregnancy, he was in basic training for the army reserves so wasn't around, and while she saw his family all the time, nobody ever realized she was pregnant with me).

When I went searching, I looked for my first mother.  I had her first name and birthday (as well as his first name and birthday).  I sent away for a report that would tell me all the people with that name and birthday born in the state.  I figured a bunch of names would come back.  There were only two.  And they also listed family members.  And one of them had the same first name as my first father.  And the free online birthday database confirmed it was him.  She was married to my first father, or at least had been at one time.

I remember staring at the computer screen wondering if I was reading that right.  Then I did some more Google searching using the names I had found.  And I found my youngest sister's birth announcement.  They were defiantly married, and had two more children.

I personally was thrilled.  I was so excited.  I was scared that I was the product of two people who didn't love each other.  They were married, had two other children, and his Facebook profile picture was one of the two of them.  So they must have been happy.  And that made me happy.  It's surprising to me now because I would have assumed I'd be angry.  But to be angry never crossed my mind.  It never entered into the picture.  I was just happy.

Them being married however makes things a lot more complicated.  They don't agree on how to handle me.  One would prefer not to deal with me while the other wants very much for me to be included in the family.  It makes things harder because it did hurt my relationship with my first mother when I got in touch with my first father.  I made her deal with their differences.

It would have been easier if they were totally separate and I could deal with them separately.  If my first father wasn't stuck in the middle.  If my relationship with him didn't have her hanging there as a ghost.  I've read that parents who are married are more likely to reject their children when they come knocking.  It doesn't surprise me.  They have found a way to make it work (they just don't talk about me or deal with me together) but it's not easy.  He lives an active lie each and every day.  I can't even imagine what he goes through on a regular basis.

But as hard as it is, I still am happy that they ended up together.  I like that at the end of the day, they have each other.  And that I share the same parents with my sisters.  I like that my sisters grew up in the family unit I would have grown up in.  It's a nice thing to think about.  I could be angry about it, but I'm not.  It is what it is.  It's in the past, and I can't change it and insert myself in the picture.  I can just hope that in the future, I'll be able to fit in somewhere.   


  1. My parents were married when I was born, and got their marriage annulled after. They married when they learned mom was pregnant. I saw movies of their wedding reception in my father's parents large house. My parents were planning to live an apartment attached to their house with me. Then they suddenly changed their minds. I don't know why. They made arrangements for my adoption, and drove me miles away to the agency as soon as i was released from the hospital. They took turns holding me as they completed the paperwork necessary, then left me there. They returned two weeks later to sign the final paperwork. They lived together as man and wife for some time, I'm not sure how long, and then my mother left, I think. No one will tell me what happened. My parents told their families that I died at birth. There was no memorial service. They were 19 and 22. they had been seeing each other for about 4 years.

  2. Struggling Fulcrum11/14/2011 2:39 AM

    OH My Freaking Gosh -

    I LOVE YOUR BLOG !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I have been reading you for a while now and as such have learned much about my own situation through you. I am a bdad married to the bmom of our adopted out daughter. When I was reading the above - it was as if I was reading my own story. I have met our daughter and my wife struggles with meeting and going forward where I (although desire a slow pace at first) am dying to go forward. Thank you for letting me know that you were glad they are together. I am unsure as to my daughter's position but am hopeful that she wants to continue at least our relationship. Thank you for realizing the trap that your dad and myself are in. We are dedicated to our wives but have a deep desire to relate/bond/help our adopted out daughters heal. Your perspective/wisdom/insights are helping me cope and go forward with my daughter. Never ever ever stop posting

  3. Jenn - Once again, your courage and grace is simply amazing to witness. I hope your first mom comes around soon.

  4. My parents where married too. I am glad you wrote this and other's are coming forward. I thought it was rare, and certainly adds to the confusion. My parents where high school sweet hearts, married and had a daughter, my full blooded older sister. She would come in and out of the family, and he felt he could not provide for her and gave my sister to his aunts to raise. Soon after they got a divorce. I conceived shortly after there divorce. Then they never saw each other again. Until.... this year when I invited them both to dinner. First time seeing each other in 38 years. Now they are dating again. It is so confusing.

  5. Thank you for answering my question. It always intrigues me just how different we all are. I think I would have been devastated if my parents married after giving me up. As in you could have kept me, I could have been raised in my own family. However, that was not going to happen in my case. My father had his one and only chance to marry my mother when she was pregnant with me.

    I admire you strength.

  6. I think this is something that a lot of people don't like to talk about this problem. Married people aren't supposed to give up their children in our society. And if they weren't married and then got married later down the line, it goes to show that adoption is permanent whereas some of the reasons for giving up a child are temporary. At least that's my view on it.

    Struggling Fulcrum, thanks for the ego boost! I'm glad you're figuring out how to work things out with your daughter!

  7. Your story, told in detail, is too damn sad. Of course I've read your comments at A Letter to (Birth) Mothers Who Reject Reunion and here of course.

    It takes great courage of heart to be happy that despite everything they are together. I admire you and sincerely hope that your mother eventually can open her own heart and see what a beautiful daughter she has. I simply can't figure out these women.


  8. Jenn, you have such a warm heart... having been in much less soul-wrenching situations I have become bitter. You have an amazing spirit, I I sincerely wish you all the best. All of your parents have a wonderful daughter.

  9. Jenn, thanks for sharing your response. I follow your blog, so am familiar with your story. As I am a first mom married to my daughter's father I find your story interesting to follow. Though I cannot really understand where your mother is coming from. I have always wanted to find my daughter...and did find her 5 years ago. That said, I think she has found our being married to be confusing.

    I think that those of us who did marry after losing our children to adoption share some unique reunion experiences. Our children do not only have to figure out their feelings for us, their mothers, and how we fit into their lives. They also have to figure out how to fit into an intact family. I am sure there is jealousy, hurt feelings, feelings of being outsiders to our family (no matter how much we attempt to include them.) I know my daughter has experienced the feeling of being an outsider. She has not shared much about jealousy, but I can sense it is there. I see these things pretty clearly now, but strangely these things did not really occur to me prior to reunion. I somehow had the rose-colored spectacles notion that my daughter would feel really loved when she learned we stayed together. She would know she wasn't a "mistake". She would know she was wanted. What I didn't realize was that these were all important things for ME. For my daughter it was just confusing. She had never had the fantasy that we married and stayed together. I now know adoptees tend to fantasize more about their mothers as they are growing up, often not really thinking about their fathers or possible siblings.

    Jenn, I think your attitude and acceptance of both of your original parents is admirable. I hope your relationship with your father continues to go well...and I hope your mother will find her way to you. I know she loves you. It just takes time to make sense of everything. Best wishes.


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