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Author Topic: Dealing with guilt...  (Read 5053 times)

whenpigscanfly

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Dealing with guilt...
« on: June 04, 2008, 07:23:25 AM »

The posts about honesty made me think about the inevitable guilt that is associated with adoption, inevitable for us in any event.  I didn't see anything about this issue in our review of the adoption literature when we started this process and so was a bit taken aback when it hit me, shortly after talking to the birthmom of our baby. 

The feelings of guilt come from at least two sources that I can put my finger on - the facts of our personal and financial situation as compared to that of the birthmom, which allows us to parent when the birthmom can not and the fact that we will get to experience first hand the many events that the birthmom will only see pictures.  I understand why I have had these feelings at various points but was quite taken aback when I first had them.

So back to honesty... imagine how amplified the feelings of guilt might be if you misrepresented yourself to the birthmom in your portfolio - example, would she have chosen us if she had known?  what will the child think if/when they find out?

Another good reason to be careful with your portfolio.
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Windthrow

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Re: Dealing with guilt...
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2008, 07:35:35 AM »

Well said.

This sort of feeling is one of the reasons I am such a proponent of Open adoptions combined with matches that are truly two way matches. As hard as it is as a waiting parent I think it is important to think of not just being picked but also doing some of the picking yourself. I know the practical realities of private adoption makes this very very hard to do, but it is still important to consider.

I have done some writing on this issue and will post it on the blog in the next few days I think and probably post it in the forum as well.
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beenthereonce

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Re: Dealing with guilt...
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2008, 01:10:58 PM »

Yes, the guilt is something that caught me completely off guard in parenting our DD.  I've found that I'm always second guessing our parenting and wondering if we are doing the right thing (we don't have cultural events or an adoption community available to us etc.).  I also wonder a lot about DD's family and what they would think of us/ her/our parenting etc.  I was fairly confident going into parenting (spent 15 yrs in primary teaching with a lot of courses) but having a little being that you're totally in love with and want to do the very best for sure plays havok with this confidence.  I do not enjoy our DD birthday...I find it really hard as there are no 'memories' for me of this day and yet I know a world away a mother/father have these memories and no DD to raise.  I am forever grateful that we have our DD in our lives and yet realize it is at a loss for someone else.  Although this guilt is not necessarily a comfortable feeling (it's not over whelming) my hope is that it will make DH and I more understanding and 'better' parents.
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The kids who need the most love will ask for it in the most unloving ways.

whenpigscanfly

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Re: Dealing with guilt...
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2008, 01:34:41 AM »

Beenthereonce - that is a lovely post. Thanks for your thoughts and insights.  It always is comforting to know one is not alone.
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ashkum

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Re: Dealing with guilt...
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2008, 11:52:57 AM »

Beenthereonce - that is a lovely post. Thanks for your thoughts and insights.  It always is comforting to know one is not alone.

Agreed...wonderfully said, beenthereonce. 

If I may put on my adoptee hat here...I experienced guilt for the first time when I met my birthmother about 12yrs ago.  I was born in the closed adoption / 'specially chosen' era.  When I began searching for b-mom I received a synopsis of SW reports about b-mom during the time she was living in the home for unwed mothers.  I learned about b-moms difficult childhood, sexual abuse by an uncle, etc... When I finally found her a few years later I found a woman who was insecure, awkward, and terribly shamed.  She still refers to herself as a 'bad girl'.  That I had grown up to become a normal (ok, relatively!), stable, good person did little to comfort her about her life choices.  I get that.  In many ways the baby she relinguished is not me, or not the me that I have become.  Make sense?    My cousin, who is a b-mom herself, talks about this in relation to being reunited with her son.  She said she had to let go of, mourn even,  the idea of the baby she gave up and learn to deal with the reality of a fully formed person who was essentially a stranger to her at first.   For me, the idea of a birthmother was quite different from the reality of my birthmother.

Anyhow...knowing b-moms history, knowing her...it was the first time I felt quilty because I realized that I was somehow tangible evidence of a particular time in b-mom's life - a time that scarred her and defined a self-image that she cannot let go of.  I have never felt that it was my fault that I was relinquished -never had the feeling that there was something inherently wrong with me that caused me to become adopted.  But I did feel guilty that my conception caused this person such pain in her life.  I am glad I was born but I was sorry that it had to come at the expense of someone else's wellbeing.  We have a good relationship and I don't really feel that guilt anymore, and I hope that my presence in her life has helped b-mom deal with her issues because she has learned that few people care (in a judgemental way) about her past anymore and the idea of the reunited adopted daughter has become normalized.

hmm...now that I have written this I wonder if it could help explain some of the complexities of b-moms in open adoptions too...
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4_mama

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Re: Dealing with guilt...
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2008, 10:31:01 PM »

Quote:
hmm...now that I have written this I wonder if it could help explain some of the complexities of b-moms in open adoptions too...
===================================

Surely. Our smallest ds was born just before bmom turned 15. Ds is 7 now. Bmom is visually uncomfortable if ds mentions to anyone her youth. She feels the sting of judgement - even assumed - being open is not typically easy.

Older 3 were placed by CAS - my feelings of guilt were no less. The bparents were missing soooo much and (sadly) were not able to own any of their loss. Knowing this only increased my feeling of guilt/grief. eg. I cried rocking baby to sleep as I knew bmom was missing exp - but didnt know enough to care. It just seems sadder to me...

L
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