How to Respond?

The direct use of force is such a poor solution to any problem, it is generally employed only by small children and large nations. – Dave Friedman

A friend of mine is getting harassing nasty messages from her child's adoptive mother. My friend's response approach to date has been to either a) not answer or b) answer kindly and attempt to defuse, redirect, not engage with the angry adoptive mother.

Adoptive mother is upset that her adult adopted son has been found and is having an adult relationship with his first mother. To date, my friend has not told her son how his adoptive mother is mistreating her.

Should she? 

I wonder if she should copy her son on her responses to his adoptive mother so he can see how a) she is behaving and b) so he can see how his adoptive mother is treating his first mother (which may inadvertently cause the first mother to pull back or change her relationship with her son and he wont even know it).

My belief, perhaps erroneous, is that she should respond as kindly as possible and cc her son. He is an adult. However, this is not my situation, never has been my situation and I speak from my own position only. I don't like triangles and I always advocate honesty and direct confrontations. But again, thats me.

I wonder what others think. Select a poll option or leave a comment.

21 Thoughts.

  1. This is hitting my buttons, because my adoptive family & first family were invited and involved in my reunion from the beginning ~ and I regret it. I feel like they did most of the “talking” around me instead of to me. I was in my early 20’s. It took precious “firsts” away from me and my first family that you can NEVER get back. I’d say the mother needs to cc the adoptee and either ignore the adoptive mother, or answer as nicely as possible. Either way, the poor adoptee is stuck in the freaking middle.

  2. If it were me. I would want my amom to be ignored if she was sending nasty emails. I know that isn’t easy when someone makes a personal attack. However, I would want to know that my Nmom was getting nasty emails which is of course delicate based on the amount of time in reunion, the adoptee, the loyalty stuff etc.
    I think this for a few reasons. A) my amom would get tired of sending emails to no response and eventually stop B) I think it would allow the true colors to show through as to who is the bigger person C)eventually it would draw me closer to my Nmom.
    The amom is out of line, let her run her own course and hit the brick wall alone.
    I might send one email with something like ” I cannot continue responding to emails that are rude, nasty or abusive. I will no longer be responding to you.” I might do this so she knows I’m getting the emails and that I am not going to continue to respond.
    and last Aparents have NO PLACE in an adult adoptee’s reunion with their first family, its not their business. they need to butt the heck out!

  3. I would say to respond kindly ONCE, but if the adoptive mom persists in writing nasty emails,politely let her know you will not be responding again and ignore her from then on.
    DO NOT CC the adoptee, or at this point even tell him about the problem, as that puts him in the middle of it. This is between the two moms, not one more problem for the adoptee to have to solve, take sides on, or deal with. If the adoptive mom is giving the birthmom a hard time about the reunion, you can bet she is putting the screws to the adoptee as well. Let him see for himself what a jerk she is, without the birthmom saying a word against her.
    Remember that as a mother your first loyalty is to your child, and your relationship with that child should be first priority. The relationship with the adoptive mother is a separate matter to be dealt with separately.
    A new reunion is a fragile thing. Let the adoptive mom be the bad guy, and take the higher path of not saying anything to the adoptee at this point.

  4. A ‘kind’ response to let the amom know she had been heard the first time. The second one I’d tell her I am not equipped to deal with her concerns and that further emails would be identified as spam. I would also inform her that ‘our’ son knows about our communication.
    I would tell the son how I handled it, because the secrets and deceit of adoption are corrupting. I wouldn’t cc the emails because that puts the son in the middle, which he doesn’t deserve at all. Adoptees have enough grief without that!
    Reunions benefit from focus and clarity.
    The son needs space to deal with two moms, not the moms problems.

  5. I agree that the adoptee should know, has a right to know. I wouldn’t cc unless they asked me to.

  6. As a n-mom in the same position, I can only offer what I ended up doing myself. Months of passive agressive nasty behaviour from a-mom was sending me over the edge. Especially when she tried to act like none of it had ever happened on more than one occasion. I chose not to share with my son what was going on. I sent her an e-mail that began with the words…”This is the last correspondence I ever intend to have with you.” Then, I just let fly. Said all the things I wanted to respond to all the e-mails before but didn’t because I was being kind and the bigger person. No more, i am done with her and her nonsense, and as noted above, the reunion between us is not about her in any way shape or form!! And I told her that verbatim as well. Should she choose to share that e-mail with my son, I will live with it, I did not say anything that was not true. She may have wanted to believe these last 19 years that she saved my son from me and his dad, but now she must deal with the reality that that is not the case. And I am pretty sure that this is what causes her nasty behaviour. We all must believe that what feels right deep in our soul is what is right, and let me say, I truly feel free to move forward with my son for the first time since I sent that e-mail.
    Be Well,

  7. I agree 100% w/Mermaid. Take the high road.
    I would keep copies of everything – just in case.

  8. I have spent a lot of time @ your site! ur situation reminds me much of me and my first mother. I’ve also got my adoptive family intertwined in the mix. I feel like I am a professional juggler – hanging on enough for the world to see how good I am, but inside, I’m ready to drop my balls and pass out due to extreme fatigue, inexperience and lack of survival in this game. Wow!!! I am glad I found you.

  9. My first reaction to this is that at least the adoptive mother’s actions are out in the open and can be dealt with or not as the first mom sees fit.
    I strongly suspect this is exactly what is happening in my relationship with my son but have no way to prove it without making accusations.
    The aparents were hostile to me from the beginning – telling my son that I made my choice and that I was old enough to know what I was doing. He asked them many times to share pictures with me and they were never forthcoming.
    I have tried to take the high road and I sometimes feel I have high-roaded myself right out of a relationship with my son.
    With as much objectivity as I can muster- What would I do in this situation? I agree with whoever said that it is probably being done to the “kid” as well. I think I would respond nicely once or even twice without cc’ing and then if it continued I think I would discuss it with the child. And I would keep copies of everything because I would bet money they will try and deny it.
    A pox on aparents who behave like this.
    Maybe I should do a survey like this on my own situation because I am damned if I know what to do.

  10. I will always fall back on “don’t feed the crazy.” I voted for ignoring her. But as I think about it, I might just continue to ignore her and have a polite discussion about it with the son. But I’m no sure about that just yet. I’ll mull it over.

  11. I believe honesty, done in the most kind way, is always best.
    I, of course, don’t know full details, but my attempt would be twofold:
    1. How to deal with AMom? Whatever my gut says – if she’s being irrationally threatening or crazy, just plain ignore. If she’s just being mean, respond as kindly as possible, requesting no further communication unless adult behaviour can be used.
    2. The son? I would sit down, face to face, and discuss with him what is going on. I would tell him that the other mother is not treating me respectively and those feelings may make me pull back from him – not because I can be intimidated from having a relationship with him, but because it makes me doubt myself or fear something. I would express that it is not my desire. I wouldn’t copy him on the private exchanges, unless he specifically asks me to. I would simply state the situation is going on, making me uncomfortable, but that I wish to continue with him as we have. He deserves to know and it doens’t need to be belabored with extravagant details.
    like I said, that’s my reaction, but of course, do not know the whole situation.

  12. it is so sad that the adoptive mom feels so threatened by the first mom. however, i think that bringing the adoptee into the middle of it would only serve to create more chaos.
    if it were me . . . i would not give in to the temptation to respond in kind. i would ignore the messages from the adoptive mom, or respond with kindness and understanding. knowing that the adoptive mom is fearful and lashing out in her fears.
    it would make me very sad to know that my daughter had been raised by a person who would behave this way. but i could not respond in the same manner. neither could i mention it to my daughter for fear of driving a wedge between us. i have no desire to alienate my daughter in any way. i would not want to be perceived as being “just like her” (the adoptive mom).
    NOTHING can hurt more than living without your son/daughter. we natural moms have survived that for years on end. the adoptive mom is afraid she may be put in the same position. let’s face it, that is terrifying.
    i do not have any kind of relationship with my daughter’s adoptive mom. we have met and managed to attend our granddaughter’s birthday party. i can be civil and even friendly for my daughter’s sake. isn’t that what moms do? sacrifice for their children?
    my job, as a mom, is to build a relationship with my daughter. i do not need her adoptive parents’ approval for that. her relationship with her adoptive parents is just that . . . hers. she is an adult and is capable of making her own decisions.
    it is sooo very sad that there is so much fear in adoption. natural parents fear a disruption in reunion. adoptive parents fear the adoptee will abandon them. adoptees fear rejection by all their parents. geez! what a fu@@ed up situation! and the world thinks . . . “it’s all good” . . . what a devil in disguise.

  13. Absolutely no cc’ing. I think cc’ing someone as way to get them up to speed on your “point” or “point of view” is one of the tackiest things you can do (both to the person you cc, and to the person you’re writing to).
    IF the mom absolutely needs to talk with her son about this, she should do just that–talk. Not just cc him out of the blue. That would make me feel terrible, if I were him.
    And I also don’t think she should say anything. Now… if it gets to a point where it infringes on mom and son’s relationship… say son invites n-mom to a gathering where amom will be present, and n-mom feels she really can’t go through with it, then… yes, kindly and gently explain–being very careful to not make the son feel he must pick sides–exhibiting grace and understanding.
    JMO. Obviously I’ve never been in reunion. I just know how I feel when someone cc’s me on a nasty communication between themselves and someone else…. and how I feel when someone writes to me and cc’s their response to someone else. It feels like crap.
    Tacky IMO.

  14. MHO. No cc’ing. No putting the son in the middle. (Although keeping copies “just in case” is a good suggestion) I’m also against responding to the amom, i.e. engaging with her in absurd back and forth. I vote IGNORE. And the best way to do that would be to block emails from the amom, so they are never received or seen.

  15. I agree with those that have said NOT to cc the son and also to respond nicely to the amom but let her know that her future e-mails will be ignored/blocked…

  16. I would write one email telling the Amom that the reunion between me and my son is between me and my son and I do not wish to have any communication with her directly. If my son chooses it, she can be present at one of our face-to-face meetings, but only if he chooses it. I would tell her that if she has issues with the reunion, perhaps she should seek out a therapist who could assist her through. Not as an insult, but as a serious gesture of helping. Truly, the fear of the Amom must be tremendous. I would then not communicate any more with the Amom. The communication only engages her more.
    I would inform my son that there had been correspondence without revealing specifics and that I have chosen to not correspond with his Amom as the conversations did not seem to be taking a positive direction. If he wanted to know more, I would direct him to ask his Amom.
    I’m an adoptee, and my Amom catches me in the middle of things like this between my siblings and I. I have found the most effective way to respond is to disengage. It takes all the steam out of her tirade.
    I hope your friend finds a solution that works!

  17. I would tell her that I feel so sorry for my son. Being raised by such a RUDE and INSECURE person. But those are the types who need to steal other peoples babies to make themselves feel better. Then I would tell her that blood is thicker than any falsely procured adoption document and that it is her turn the suffer!!! I would SAY the stuff I have always wanted to say but could not. Here’s my chance to RIP her a new one. I would tell her that she should feel insecure because He is NOT REALLY her son. The gig is up and the game is over usurper!!! No time for being nice for this MAD MAD MOMMA! Not going to get any polite BS from me. NO WAY. I don’t have to be rude about it but I will state my case to the neroutic insane baby napper.

  18. i am currently in this situation. unfortunately, my daughter is still a few months from her 18th birthday. she wants to have a relationship with me but the a-mom is going absolutely berserk. she has been blowing up my cell phone and when i answer just screams at me to the point i have to hold the phone from my head. i’ve tried to speak kindly to her…tried to be compassionate about her insecurities but ultimately i have to hang up because she doesn’t listen. i don’t want to cause my daughter more pain by involving her in her a-mom’s very immature behavior (she’s already learned her a-mom has lied to her all her life and even told horrendous lies about me–that i’m a prostitute and drug addict! yikes!) so i’m right back to feeling incredibly helpless. i wrote the a-mom a letter today (on my blogsite) with several articles, etc. hoping to help her cope and have more compassion for me and her daughter. after reading these comments i think if that doesn’t work, she’s on her own. as much as i want to protect my daughter from more pain i’m also trying to heal their relationship but i’ve done all i can do…this woman is so adamant about being “HER MOTHER” that i feel it is up to her to behave as such. its really quite bewildering. please see my blog…i could use all the support and advice i can get 8-/

  19. I could have voted but was concerned that my vote wouldn’t convey what I want it to.
    My suggestion would be for your friend to respond to her son’s a-mom without copying him. I’m concerned that he will feel caught in the middle, and that that could ultimately affect his relationship with his first mother.
    At the same time I would suggest that your friend try to engage the a-mom in more direct discussion. The a-mom clearly has some skewed ideas about her son’s right to know his family that will make that hard, but I think it’s worth a shot. And if she succeeds, her son will be the primary beneficiary of the improved relationship between his first and adoptive mothers.

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