Abandonment is a common, often unconscious, trauma issue in adoptees. However, there are many variations. When parents divorce and when one or both of the original parents of a child re-marry, it is not uncommon that the parental relationship of either the mother or the father suffers. More often it is the father, in my case in the mid-1970s, I was the absentee parent though I never thought of myself as having abandoned my precious daughter, she may have had experiences of that because at times I was not accessible to contact due to the partner I was living with.
Today’s story isn’t my own but another one where the abandonment behavior was even more extreme and where the original mother is considering adoption because her daughter wants a sibling (and many times after my divorce, my daughter did express to me the same desire for a sibling). In her case, her dad remarried a woman with a daughter from another marriage and then they had a daughter together. A yours, mine and ours family. Quite a bit later in time, I conceived and gave birth to two sons with my current, second husband. Here’s that story from a woman who has joined my adoption community.
I’m a 38 year old married woman with 2 children. 20 year old female stepdaughter and 14 year old bio daughter who is not my husbands. I had a hysterectomy 4 years ago and was devastated. My hubby and I don’t have any children together. I was invited to join this group because we have seriously been considering adopting. I wanted to learn as much as possible before starting the path.
Here’s my realization and questions. My 14 year old is amazing. Her bio dad and I had a great relationship until he met his now wife. Once she came into the picture his relationship with his daughter started to change. He saw her less and less, skipped visits, ignored me, etc.. then one day when she was 9 he served me papers and wanted to sever his custody. I was shocked. I didn’t understand. His daughter loves him. We never had any issues, I didn’t even ask him to ever pay a dime in child support. I have only just wanted them to have a relationship. There was no talking to him or his wife. They made up their minds. I refused to sign off.
They wanted my hubby to adopt my daughter and even though my hubby would do it in a heartbeat I refused. I wanted my daughter to be able to go to him one day and have the right to know why he gave her up. So I have full legal and physical custody and he has waived all visitation. I told my beautiful 9 year old girl that her daddy just needs a break from being a dad. That he has a lot of work and I’m sure he will see her soon. Yes I lied. I was hoping he’d come to his senses. So far he hasn’t.
During this time I have really tried to foster a relationship between his parents and my daughter. Also his sister and her kids. I WANT my daughter to have a relationship with her family. They really don’t know why he did this other than to say that his wife doesn’t want kids, did not like that her husband and I were on friendly terms (I am happily married, just wanted a good relationship with my ex for the sake of my daughter), and gave him an ultimatum… his daughter or her. He chose wrong.
Over the years the relationship with his parents has gotten strained. I have to be the one to reach out to them. They always mail birthday and Christmas gifts but don’t ever ask to see her. I offer to drive her to their house and pick her up, really everything to keep peace and give her a good relationship with them. She’s 14 now and hasn’t seen her dad since she was 9. She does know the truth behind his abandonment now.
We have been through YEARS of therapy. A suicide attempt, partial hospitalization, etc… she has a lot of issues in regards to this. We work on it every day and let her know how much we love her and that she is not worthless. She just doesn’t know/understand why her dad would do this to her.
Anyway, that’s my back story. So here is my other situation. I want to adopt. I want to be able to give a loving home to a child who may not have one currently. I’m not delusional in thinking that adopting is this sunshine and rainbows situation where there wouldn’t be trauma and issues. Seeing how my daughter has suffered with abandonment I have some insight.
Yes, I know it would be different because my daughter still has one bio parent where an adopted child possibly wouldn’t. I’m also completely open to having an open adoption where the child would have a relationship with their parents. I’m not going to lie to you all and say there isn’t a selfish component here. Yes, I DO want a child. I have grieved over the loss of being able to have any more children biologically. I just feel that we have a lot of love and support to offer.
I am going to leave it here for today and not go into her questions or the responses because this is long enough.