Giving Up

Lara requested in her latest comment on the post Our Truths that I not “give up” on my daughter.

I prepared a response to Lara comment before I post I want to ask my readers.

What do you consider “giving up” in reunion?

Or if you have told me “do not give up” what do you mean by that?

It may seem obvious to you but I have learned there are different interpretations. Curious what yours is before I share mine. Do share. It could be interesting.

14 Thoughts.

  1. While you may stop your active pursuit of reunion, perhaps that thought in the back of your mind that it could someday happen should never go away. Don’t give up hope. You (and she) have a lifetime to go.

  2. Tough question. In my own reunion, my mother and I are at a standoff. She surely must think I’ve “given up” on her when I’m fact I’m just not able to take the level of rejection I inevitably experience when I put myself out there and try to connect. It’s like walking into the middle of oncoming traffic, it feels that dangerous. I can only take so much snide commentary and inadvertent rejection so I’ve pulled way back, and I’m sure she feels I’m unapproachable and has written me off as cold and distant. If she only knew! She could pick up a pen and write from the heart, tell me how she feels, express a desire to get to know me…but she only wants to talk about her kept son (who won’t acknowledge me) or my father (who I’m close with–no thanks to her–and who wants nothing to do with her as she is the woman who never told him he was a father…I get it…none of it’s fair)…everyone is suffering tremendous loss…but I’m the only one using words like “loss” and “sorrow” and “grief”…they’re all pretending they’re Fine, Just Fine, which I actually find insulting. I mean, really? Giving me up wasn’t so hard? Losing me was fine? That does not make me feel less rejected as an adult. I want her to show interest, just the smallest most remote amount of interest, in me and my life. But she is either not interested or just afraid of me. She has mentioned she is jealous of my life, because I’m doing all the things she should’ve been doing. I don’t get it. I would never say this to her but what I WANT to say is this: well if you didn’t do any of the things you wanted to, what was the point of giving me up? And because that question is on my tongue, I am keeping away from her. Not giving up. Keeping away. Sending Mother’s Day flowers that are met with a polite thank you but nothing more, no interaction.
    I am keeping away. I am protecting myself from her cool ambivalence. I need warmth. Warmth, interest, and respect. An expression of love wouldn’t be bad either. And maybe someday an acknowledgment of the damage adoption does. Someday, someday. See? I’m not giving up.

    • Thank you for sharing. I suspect many mothers (opposite side of reunion barbed wire fence) can relate to your position. I know I can.

  3. I think the only time to give up is when people are dead. If there’s life, there’s hope.

    Of course sometimes there is the flip side of everything Sarasue said happening. The legal phrase mutatis mutandi comes to my mind here meaning “changing [only] those things which need to be changed” The phrase carries the connotation that the reader should pay attention to differences between the current statement and a previous one, although they are analogous.

  4. “Giving up” seems so negative. I may be losing hope that my son will contact me but I will not close any doors. I try not to wallow in self pity – believe me, it’s a daily struggle. Oh, I have a life, but those insidious thoughts of what might have been are triggered by the seemingly most mundane events. I will continue to send infrequent messages through FB (so far I’ve not been blocked). I don’t know where he lives or works but “I’m still leaving the porch light on for him”. I feel that I didn’t fight hard enough for him all those years ago and I’m not giving up on him now.

    • I totally get your position and love the idea of “leaving the porch light on”. It is an approach I have also taken yet in other ways, I have given up. I will explain in a longer post.

  5. I apologize in advance because what I will say may not be palatable to some people. “Not giving up” means that although someone has given up on you, you are to hold onto hope that they will change their mind and love you. The expectation is that you will wait days, months and years with unrequited love in the hope that one day the other party will have an interest in you.

    As a birthmother is has been said that you should wait until your relinquished child is “older” or “has a child of their own” or their “adoptive parents have died” to hold onto hope that the severed relationship of mother and child may become restored.

    IMHO a relationship involves people who are interested in each other and want to develop bonds with each other. I would never hold onto the hope that someone who has rejected me will change their mind, which I understand may be a major factor in adopted people trusting their birthmothers or fathers. However, once the post-adoption reunion introductions have been met, there needs to be a decision to move forward in the relationship or to cease the relationship. You really can’t have a relationship unless both parties are committed and involved.

    • I think I understand what you’re getting at. However, an adoptee/birthmother/birthfather relationship is not “normal”. Just as a birthparent can be manipulated, coerced, and bullied into relinquishing their child, an adoptee can also experience the same treatment from their adoptive family circle as far as reunion goes. There are many unresolved issues at play here and the decision to continue or discontinue the relationship can change many times. After much consideration, I have decided to be the anchor in my relationship with my son should he ever decide to make contact. This is not the way I deal with other relationships in my life. I do not hold on to unrequited love and wait around for people to like me. I do move on. When a reunion occurs, the decision whether or not to continue can change many times – on both sides. Ah but I’m starting to ramble. Suz, you’re right there are some very interesting ideas being presented.

    • I find your comment very palatable and very honest. I agree. Curious if your position extends to all types of reunions? Meaning those like mine (where we have never met face to face or talked – just know where each other is) and those that have met and cooled? I wonder if there is a difference.

  6. Before responding, I looked up the definition of giving up: “to cease making an effort; resign oneself to failure.”

    To me, that means closing the door. Expecting nothing, to stop hoping for something more or different. As in, “I’m giving up on becoming a major league baseball player, or a neurosurgeon.” Of course, these are things I have never pursued, so the comparison is irrelevant. So how about, “I’m giving up on having any kind of meaningful relationship with my brother or sister.” Which is true in my case, but doesn’t mean it won’t happen, just that I am not spending a lot of time worrying about it anymore. If it happens, it happens, and I will be surprised.

    When I finished my book, I was disappointed that I didn’t get a publisher right away. I took breaks, but I never “gave up.” I kept trying, querying, and then it happened,

    A whole different thing than what you’re talking about, hoping for a relationship with your daughter. I was in control of keeping on. You are not. Then again, you are.

    Closing the door is the end. As in, that’s it, I’m done. I don’t think you want to do that. There is always hope that things can change. I’m a living example of things can change, that they do.

    When I cut off communication with my son, because of his abuse, I didn’t give up. I just hoped for more, that things would change. And they did.

    I don’t think you are capable, nor should you be, of giving up. I believe that you are just taking a break, waiting and still hoping, never closing a door.

    However, if adapting an attitude of giving up helps you move on, then so be it. Whatever works for you to live with the reality of what you have lost and how hard it is to get it back.

    Sending big love and peace to you, Suz. This is not an easy road.

    • Ha. Denise, you made me laugh. My post (yet to be published) begins with researching the definition of giving up. GMTA!

  7. “I find your comment very palatable and very honest. I agree. Curious if your position extends to all types of reunions? Meaning those like mine (where we have never met face to face or talked – just know where each other is) and those that have met and cooled? I wonder if there is a difference.”

    Suz I will expand on my answer. Reunions are by definition a meeting by people who have been separated. This does not have to be done face to face. A reunion relationship is a sharing of two (or more) people’s lives. For this to happen there needs to be interested parties on both sides who share information regarding each other and their lives, and a desire to keep sharing that information as time progresses. Ideally in this relationship it also encompasses sharing emotions, feelings and affection. After a reunion, there needs to be a decision if there is to be a reunion relationship. This requires one party to ask the other for a relationship. Sometimes people decide by not deciding, meaning they allow time go by without voicing any decision. To me this signifies indifference or rejection of a relationship when the other party has asked for a decision be it yes or no.

    To me a relationship is a living breathing thing between people. When one party does not share, or stops sharing the relationship has stalled and risks dying. It is at this point that intentions need to be defined. We can all understand either party needing space or needing time away. However when one party has experienced the withdrawal of the other from the relationship, and asks for more contact, but is met with silence or indifference the relationship dies. Usually it is at this point that we see posts from birthmothers or adopted people asking what to do, and the advice is frequently to “keep the door open.” This is not advice I would take as it leaves the interested party with hopes that their will be a relationship again, when in fact the other party has terminated the relationship.

    When I write all of this, I am aware that the adopted person may have to risk feelings of rejection by participating in a relationship that had been originally terminated by their birthmother. No matter how complex the situation was that led to adoption, or factors that were presented such a coercion or lies, there may always be that feeling of rejection. However, for a reunion relationship to live, there needs to be commitment from both parties even if there are trust issues on both sides.

    • AdoptionLies – Conceptually I completely agree with you. I believe the challenges for mothers like me is to implement such a model in our reunion. For me, closing the door does not mean it cannot be opened in the future, or that it is entirely closed. This is not done out of false hope but out of a respect for our child – should they change their mind. I think that is what some mean when they keep the door open. It means should the child change their mind, they will not be turned away. More to come on this as you have all walked right into my next post. : )

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