Let’s Talk Collateral Damage : Extended Family

Thank you to those that have been messaging me privately with your collateral damage stories.

Today’s discussion topic relates to extended family members and your relationship with them.  You can still submit your thoughts on previous topics – Siblings and Spouses/Significant Others. Comment on those posts or email me at bluestokking at gmail dot com

Extended Family

Some thoughts and questions for consideration:

Pre Surrender Counseling – Did you receive any pre surrender counseling that involved how to talk to your siblings or extended family about your experience? Did they tell you to keep it to yourself?

Your Siblings – How was your relationship with your own siblings post surrender? Did you discuss your child, their niece or nephew, that had been removed from the family? Or did you pretend nothing had happened?

Your Parents – How was your relationship with your parents both post surrender and pre/post reunion? If in reunion, how did your parents handle your child being brought back into the family? Do you feel you have an authentic relationship with your parents? Do you discuss your child or is your experience the family secret?

Parented Children Adopting – Have your parented children, aware of your experience, chosen adoption for themselves as a family building option? How did you handle that? How is your relatinship with your adopted grandchild?

3 thoughts on “Let’s Talk Collateral Damage : Extended Family

  1. Instead of emailing you, I’ll just post here. Nothing I say is secret, and I want to help in any way I can, since I bowed out of the panel.

    As you know, I did not receive any pre-relinquishment counseling. That wasn’t done back in the day, and I doubt it’s done even now. I’ll say again that providing that might make mothers reconsider, and hell no, agencies and social workers want to make mothers feel okay about giving up their children. So I doubt that will ever happen.

    My parent insisted that my “condition” be kept secret. My younger sister and brother weren’t told. I was instructed to write to them as if I were away at college. I was instructed not to tell any friends who didn’t know (only my local friends knew, and they were much chagrined about that) and my parents had me send any letters I wanted to write them to their home, which would be mailed from their postmark.

    My mother told me that it had to be secret. That no decent man would marry me if they knew. So, no, what happened was not discussed after I got home.

    My siblings didn’t know until I reunited with my son, 25 years after his birth. I told them and my parents were mortified. My father begged me not to tell his family or my mother’s, said it would “kill” my mother if they knew. But I went ahead, and she didn’t die as a result.

    My parents refused to talk about it, after my relinquishment. My mother tortured me with hints about not telling anyone, that a decent man would never marry me if he knew, that people would shun me if they found out. She wouldn’t let me see a doctor for post-partum check-up, saying she was afraid that it would get out and my father’s career would be ruined if anyone found out. Pretty paranoid, huh?

    When my son and I found each other, my parents were totally freaked out, that the secret was out of the bag. Even after I refused to keep it secret, they tried to ignore it. Refused contact with my son, until I forced it on them, when he came to my niece’s wedding two years later.

    They made small attempts to accept him into the family. But at that time, my son was still very troubled and unstable, which made it hard for them to pursue any further relationship. They have none at this point. My son regrets that, but knows that it’s his to repair with renewed contact. I doubt that he will.

    My dad has a bit of a relationship with granddaughter Naomi. But not with grandson Gabe, who has been in trouble a lot in the last few years. My parents don’t deal well with anything other than the norm.

    My parents never had a discussion about what happened, and nothing authentic conversation about that. UNTIL, and just a little bit, my father read my book, Second-Chance Mother, and he came over especially to hug me, and admit that they had hurt me. Not an apology, but an acknowledgement.

  2. Just want to say that secrecy was the mode. I was instructed to talk to no one about it, and I obeyed, much to my detriment. As for your presentation about mitigations, THAT would be key. That families and all involved parties be told and allowed to talk about it. That would have helped so many mothers through the experience. Not completely, but it would have made a difference.

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