Monday, January 21, 2013

Child Put Up For Adoption Becomes Subject Of Family Rift

Dear Tazi:

Thirty years ago, when I was just a teenager, I got pregnant by my degenerate boyfriend who dumped me as soon as he found out he was going to be a father. My mother wanted me to have an abortion, but I refused and chose instead to put the baby girl I birthed up for adoption.

During the years since I gave birth, I have graduated college; lived an adventurous life; and settled down into the life of a suburban wife. I have never wanted children myself, and my husband feels the same. He knows about my past, and accepts me as I am, as well as the decision that I made. I have no regrets about my decision to put the baby up for adoption, and the only time I ever think of her is on her birthday, to hope that she has had a wonderful, fulfilling life with people who have offered her more than I ever could, in terms of both financial stability and loving acceptance.

If everything is so peachy, what’s my problem? My mother. After years of my telling her that my husband and I have no plans to have children, it has finally gotten through to her. Now, she constantly wails over how I “selfishly gave away” her granddaughter without thought of what my “poor mother” might want. Tazi, my “poor mother” seems to have conveniently forgotten that what she wanted was for me to have an abortion!

My mother is now pressuring me to join a registry for parents who have put their children up for adoption, to see if “my” child is looking for me. I have no desire to do this, and have told my mother so, but she insists that she has rights to her grandchild. When I remind her that my brother has three children that she never sees, she claims it is because their mother doesn’t like her (this is another story altogether). Mom has called me a cold, unfeeling monster for not caring about my own child.

Tazi, I have never thought of the baby I gave up as “mine”, even as I carried her, knowing that she would not be mine to raise. My mother stood beside me every step of the process, since I was under-aged and she was legally required to be a part of the process. She could have stopped it at any time, but did not, insisting that an abortion would have been the better choice. I think that she gave up the right to access to her “grandchild” 30 years ago, and has no right to pressure me to open up the past. What do you think, Tazi?

Child-Free…Sort Of

Dear Child-Free…Sort Of

You speak from a place of maturity and experience, two things you probably did not have thirty years ago when you made these life-altering decisions. Your courage to go against your mother’s demands for an abortion is admirable, as is the strength it took to see the baby not as yours, but as yours to give to another. The fact that you think of the daughter you birthed on her birthday is also admirable, and reflects the fact that you are not a cold, unfeeling monster; you are just not the parental type.

Your mother’s demand for access to the child you placed for adoption is unnerving. I can understand a person’s desire to connect with long-lost loved ones, but she is refusing to connect with the grandchildren currently in her life. As you allude, there is more to that story, but your mother’s need to control you – back then and now – seems to be the real issue here.

You twice state that your mother would have preferred you have an abortion than to give birth, and you also comment that she stood by you during the entire adoption process. I see things as you do: that she gave up the right to her grandchild when you gave up your parental rights. However, none of us can predict the future. If your mother knew that you would have no other children, would she have pressured you so hard in the first place?

It sounds to me that your mother is living with regrets. Before deciding for or against registering with a parental registry, I suggest you have a long talk with your mother. Ask her what she hopes to gain from a reunion with her long-lost granddaughter. Does she have expectations of what this woman will be like? What if she does not meet with your mother’s expectations, what then? A person is not a puppy; you cannot decide you don’t like what you see and try to return them or find them a new owner. Once you have some clarity on what your mother seeks, you can decide from there your next course of action, remembering the possibility that the child you put up for adoption may not even know that she is adopted, and therefore might not be seeking you at all.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

1 comment:

  1. When this child became adopted 30 years ago, all rights were terminated, to include thos of the grandparents. As Tazi said, she may not know that she was adopted and find this out now may cause issues. However, on the flip-side, if she does know that she was adopted, she may want to know medical information that could effect her and any children she may have or is planning to have.