Sibling Separation

One of the impacts of adoption can be a separation of siblings.  The struggles of a mother to keep and raise her child are temporary in nature – though it may not seem that way at the time.

I believe my dad’s mom did her best to keep him but in the end, The Salvation Army’s approach did not support her intention.  She gave birth to my dad in one of their homes for unwed mothers having discovered herself pregnant due to an affair with a married man much older than her.  Therefore, she did not even seek his assistance but in her very self-sufficient way dealt with her circumstances alone.

After a period of time bonding with her son, she was released with him with the expectation that she would be able to live with a cousin geographically nearby.  I think she found little patience there.  She applied for a job with The Salvation Army and was accepted and transferred, still with my dad in tow, from San Diego California to El Paso Texas.

By the time he was 8 months old, my dad was legally the ward of The Salvation Army.  My granny went there for a child to raise (after my dad was adopted, she went there for another child to be his brother).  I don’t know what it cost her but maybe less than some of the other options.

My dad never seemed much interested in his original family.  He was actually adopted twice when my granny had to throw the abusive alcoholic she had been married to out for the well being of her sons and then met and married a different man.  My dad was devoted to them and supported them genuinely as they aged.

Unknown to my dad at the time he died, a half-sister was living 90 miles away that could have told him a lot about his mother, his other older sister and a brother.  I find it sad but that was the reality.

2 thoughts on “Sibling Separation

  1. Before we were married my husband had a child that was adopted with out his permission or knowledge. We later met that child who is now grown late 20s I can’t help but wonder had life been better for him had we been able or allowed to raise him. We have other children that are his younger biological siblings. We would of welcomed him with loving arms had we know the truth and that he existed. Now the times that we have gotten to spend with him are uncomfortable not as pleasant as we had hoped. Our family is warm welcoming and Loving. We are not judgmental people. It just appears that he wasn’t raised in a welcoming warm environment. We have no idea how to help him feel more at home so to speak when he is visiting. We hug have honest and open conversations we don’t hide or push aside our true feelings. Nor do we hide our past and our mistakes in life. At times our relationship with him seams so fragile that we have no idea how to move forward. Part of me is angry. I hope it isn’t to late. I would of loved having another child in our home. DNA tests came way to late. I wish we had known.


    1. Thank you for this comment. It is complicated to be an adoptee. I have many examples of how hard it is to reconcile the conflicting feelings within my family. Families do vary in the warmth they exhibit. My husband’s family is less demonstrative. Feelings of needing to be grateful and not betray the adoptive parents can be strong. I’ve seen it in action and it causes a kind of withhold of emotion. Though not an adoptee myself, I am trying to create relationships with genetic relatives that I have no life history with and who’s culture and values may differ from mine. There is no way to make up for a past that we wish had been different or recover years of normal family interactions at holidays, etc that we have lost.

      I would suggest being gentle and patient and keep your expectations low. There is a strong fear of subsequent abandonment or rejection and so a cautiousness. There is a fragile sense of self-worth, of being less deserving, of never being good enough. Also, get and read The Primal Wound by Nancy Newton Verrier. It will help you understand much. HUGS

      PS It’s okay to be angry when you know you were robbed and that damage has been done. Know this, rediscovering his genetic relatives matters very much and then comes the grief and sorrow. It is a process and takes time. Often adoptees had fantasies in childhood about their original parents that also need to be reconciled with the reality when it is encountered.


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