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  • What are your expectations as an adoptee

    I am really having to ratchet back my expectations. First, the joy as an adoptee of finding real blood relatives for the first time in my life.
    Then, I realize that for people who were not adopted, and who have lived all their lives knowing who their relatives are do not necessarily get excited to learn they have a new "cousin".
    They usually already have cousins they do not know, or who they have not spoken to in years.
    Their real interest in genealogy is to locate the most distant ancestor they can, not to locate living relations.
    So I really have to wonder, what should I expect from this? What if I never learn more than there are some people out there who are my cousins? I suppose I can go to family reunions hang out with them maybe form some manner of friendship, but it is like I am just going to be a shadowy figure on the fringe of the "family" if you can really call a loose collection of cousins a family, just like I am a shadowy figure on the fringe of my adoptive family.
    And what does it mean to my own children? Maybe they will tolerate their father's interests, and one day when they are much older they will dig out the family tree I have worked so hard to unbury, some sad thing with dotted lines to show suspected relationships, relations marked by genetic distance instead of familiar terms such as uncle, grandfather, cousin, etc. But it seems almost cruel to tell my children they have another family, to take away the "blood" relations they have always known, without offering them a new set of recognizable relatives. On the other hand, my kids have always been the lesser grandkids, I can't imagine they have not noticed the difference in treatment, so maybe it will be a relief to know the reason for the difference in treatment.
    I am just wondering what other adoptess expect from this process, if they are unable to identify their exact location in their birth family?

  • #2
    Good post.
    Are you sure that you match a surname? I don't consider a 60/67 any kind of a match.
    Have you taken your birthdate to the adoption sites?
    I would also look for a bithdate off by a few days.
    I watch the adoption sites because we had a couple of family members that were adopted. I'm the only person in the family that knows about it. They sent me the records and named me the admin. I will help if they contact me, but I'm not doing any searching for them. Some people wern't told and I won't stick my nose into their family. When I'm gone, the records will also be gone.

    Comment


    • #3
      Other reasons for finding relatives

      Like you, I have recently located (been located by) biological family. My contact did not come through DNA, but rather by the persistance of my biological half sisters. They had information on me that they were able to use to locate me. I on the other hand had no means of breaking through the adoption brick wall.

      I am now using DNA to attempt to locate my paternal family, so far with no luck. Oddly enough, my DNA search (Family Finder) has provided confirmation of my maternal family. A 3rd cousin was found with multiple connections to my maternal family tree back to the late 1700's. The MRCA appears to be a male born in 1774.

      But my most important benefit of locating biological family is to establish a medical history for myself, my daughter and my grandaughter. I have learned that there is no significant medical problems in the women on my maternal side, but if my daughter has a son, then there are serious inherited heart conditions. Probably due to my biological father's genetic contribution, I have lived longer (at 60 years) than most all males on my mother's side.

      An interesting side of my locating my maternal side involves my daughter. She has had visions and sightings of what might be ghosts. Andmy grandaughter has had conversations with both my wife's mother and my mother, both of whom died years before our granddaughter was born. Now I find that my maternal grandmother was well know for her visions and coee ground readings. It seems to be inherited?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by darroll View Post
        Good post.
        Are you sure that you match a surname? I don't consider a 60/67 any kind of a match.
        Have you taken your birthdate to the adoption sites?
        I would also look for a bithdate off by a few days.
        I watch the adoption sites because we had a couple of family members that were adopted. I'm the only person in the family that knows about it. They sent me the records and named me the admin. I will help if they contact me, but I'm not doing any searching for them. Some people wern't told and I won't stick my nose into their family. When I'm gone, the records will also be gone.
        I have two 33/33 matches and two 65/67 matches. Yes I have been on adoption sites, I was born in one state and adopted in another, I found my father's name somehow, and it is the most common name in the universe AND he was adopted also, so I guess this wasn't meant to be easy. The problem with adoption isn't our lack of searching, and it isn't a dearth of people "sticking their nose in our business" (helping out as I would call it) it is a perverse legal system that treats us like chattel.
        Last edited by Kit-189387; 16th October 2010, 11:25 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by JPHutchins View Post
          Like you, I have recently located (been located by) biological family. My contact did not come through DNA, but rather by the persistance of my biological half sisters. They had information on me that they were able to use to locate me. I on the other hand had no means of breaking through the adoption brick wall.

          I am now using DNA to attempt to locate my paternal family, so far with no luck. Oddly enough, my DNA search (Family Finder) has provided confirmation of my maternal family. A 3rd cousin was found with multiple connections to my maternal family tree back to the late 1700's. The MRCA appears to be a male born in 1774.

          But my most important benefit of locating biological family is to establish a medical history for myself, my daughter and my grandaughter. I have learned that there is no significant medical problems in the women on my maternal side, but if my daughter has a son, then there are serious inherited heart conditions. Probably due to my biological father's genetic contribution, I have lived longer (at 60 years) than most all males on my mother's side.

          An interesting side of my locating my maternal side involves my daughter. She has had visions and sightings of what might be ghosts. Andmy grandaughter has had conversations with both my wife's mother and my mother, both of whom died years before our granddaughter was born. Now I find that my maternal grandmother was well know for her visions and coee ground readings. It seems to be inherited?
          I wish there was someone on the other side searching for me. I know I have at least two half-brothers and one full brother, but I think it will be up to me to find them.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Kit-189387 View Post
            I am really having to ratchet back my expectations. First, the joy as an adoptee of finding real blood relatives for the first time in my life.
            Then, I realize that for people who were not adopted, and who have lived all their lives knowing who their relatives are do not necessarily get excited to learn they have a new "cousin".
            They usually already have cousins they do not know, or who they have not spoken to in years.
            Their real interest in genealogy is to locate the most distant ancestor they can, not to locate living relations.
            So I really have to wonder, what should I expect from this? What if I never learn more than there are some people out there who are my cousins? I suppose I can go to family reunions hang out with them maybe form some manner of friendship, but it is like I am just going to be a shadowy figure on the fringe of the "family" if you can really call a loose collection of cousins a family, just like I am a shadowy figure on the fringe of my adoptive family.
            And what does it mean to my own children? Maybe they will tolerate their father's interests, and one day when they are much older they will dig out the family tree I have worked so hard to unbury, some sad thing with dotted lines to show suspected relationships, relations marked by genetic distance instead of familiar terms such as uncle, grandfather, cousin, etc. But it seems almost cruel to tell my children they have another family, to take away the "blood" relations they have always known, without offering them a new set of recognizable relatives. On the other hand, my kids have always been the lesser grandkids, I can't imagine they have not noticed the difference in treatment, so maybe it will be a relief to know the reason for the difference in treatment.
            I am just wondering what other adoptess expect from this process, if they are unable to identify their exact location in their birth family?
            My expectations are simple, let modern science help me find out more about "me". And I already have, so I am not disappointed.

            Even 4th and 5th cousin matches are more than I ever knew about my birth family before. And some of these matches have become very interested in my search and are interested in helping me figure out how we are related.

            I am a firm believer that as more people get tested with FF, a closer "cousin" match will pop up. So I guess my main expectation is that someday I will match with someone close enough to allow me to determine who my more recent ancestors are.

            Judy

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by nolnacsj View Post
              My expectations are simple, let modern science help me find out more about "me". And I already have, so I am not disappointed.
              Same here. I started DNA testing a few years ago and was able to confirm, to my satisfaction, that my first mom was indeed Russian-Jewish. I had even been able to narrow it down to Belarus with possible ancestral origins in Lithuania. I was thrilled when my first mom's husband referred to her as a Litvak (Lithuanian Jew). I finally found her in 2009 and immediately joined forces with a first cousin who is the family genealogist. So on my mom's side, this is now a straight genealogical search (still using DNA). We have limited information on HER mother's side and nothing of use on her father's side.

              I know my father's name and a few things about him. This has led me to identify a particular person (25 years deceased) whose family tree (back to the 1700s on BOTH sides) is online. I have gotten a few matches that are "in the right place" (North Carolina) but have yet to pinpoint the MCRA. Unlike most adoptees, I CAN share an extensive family tree with my matches, so I'm hoping that's enough incentive for people to help me.

              I certainly understand what other people are going through. I've been there.

              Gaye
              I'll address the issue of "not wanting to interfere with an adoptee's life" in the next post.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by darroll View Post
                I will help if they contact me, but I'm not doing any searching for them. Some people weren't told and I won't stick my nose into their family. When I'm gone, the records will also be gone.
                JMHO

                I'm one of those adoptees who wasn't told. I have also met quite a few others who were not told. I've also met some who found out when they were contacted by members of their birth family.

                Of the people *I* know (including myself), the universal anger is not about being told, it's about NOT being told sooner. My initial reaction was to think about all my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins and scream "YOU...ALL...KNEW!!!"

                I've said it before. If the adoptee is NOT told, at the very least they are endangering their health and the health of their children because the family medical history they are giving to doctors is TOTALLY BOGUS.

                A dear friend of mine found out at age 42. For all his life, he wondered what was "wrong" with him. All of the other grandchildren's births were recorded in the family bible, but not his. All of the other grandchildren got a hand-made quilt from grandma, but not him. At least one relative referred to him (in front of him!) as "the living abortion".

                Many adoptees don't search because:
                Their adoptive parents actively discourage it. Some search in secret or wait until their adoptive parents are deceased.

                Public opinion is against searching -
                "You don't know what you'll find. You'll be opening Pandora's box."
                "You'll be hurting your real parents, the ones who raised you."
                "Your birth mother didn't want you. Why do you care about her?"
                "What if your birth mother doesn't want to be found? She probably has a husband and kids who know nothing about you. It will ruin her life if you find her."

                They don't know how to search or believe it not to be worth the enormous effort with no guarantee.

                I firmly believe that ALL adoptees should be told, period. I also believe that just because you have no evidence of someone searching doesn't mean they are not searching, and doesn't mean that they do not (or would not) want to be found.

                Gaye
                LDA (Late Discovery Adoptee)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Kit-189387 View Post

                  I am just wondering what other adoptess expect from this process, if they are unable to identify their exact location in their birth family?
                  First off....congratulations. My experience is that it can take years to integrate all the pieces and the emotional impact of reunion. For various reasons my experience of adoption and reunion has impacted upon my teenage son and I think he finds some aspects rather difficult to deal with. My search took approx 30 years. My maternal Grandmother was Lithuanian Jewish and my maternal Grandfather was Greek Orthodox - for this reason they couldn't marry and a whole set of circumstances were set into motion. My birth Mother was brought up without her Father, and doesn't know about her 3 paternal half siblings. I was adopted, my younger sister was adopted and we didn't meet until 1998. I met my birth Mother in 1982 but she didn't tell me she was Jewish (don't think she even knew). We are not currently in contact and my son has never met her. Our family are terribly fragmented. I'm the only one who knows the full story and has met everyone - from my Aunt and cousins in Cyprus to my Jewish cousins in the UK. I don't have a name for my birth Father but I'm hoping that one day I'll pick up some paternal rellies through FF (and 23andMe when I can afford it).
                  One's ancestry and heritage are things that most people take for granted. As an adoptee who has had a long difficult journey to piece my family jigsaw journey together, I can honestly say it has helped me to understand why I was adopted in the first place, and why I have certain inclinations and traits. We are born with an ancestral heritage and finding out what that is can be hugely liberating. My birth mother was as much a victim of social circumstance as I was - but I wouldn't have known that if I hadn't have dug much deeper into my family tree. I can recommend an interesting book that's worth looking at on Amazon. `The Ancestor Syndrome' by AA Schutzenberger. The book's central thesis is that many family trees hold secrets and until these secrets are uncovered, understood and integrated they affect generation after generation.
                  .....'nuff said. Good luck with YOUR birth family journey.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by GayeSherman View Post
                    JMHO

                    I'm one of those adoptees who wasn't told. I have also met quite a few others who were not told. I've also met some who found out when they were contacted by members of their birth family.

                    Of the people *I* know (including myself), the universal anger is not about being told, it's about NOT being told sooner. My initial reaction was to think about all my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins and scream "YOU...ALL...KNEW!!!"

                    I've said it before. If the adoptee is NOT told, at the very least they are endangering their health and the health of their children because the family medical history they are giving to doctors is TOTALLY BOGUS.

                    A dear friend of mine found out at age 42. For all his life, he wondered what was "wrong" with him. All of the other grandchildren's births were recorded in the family bible, but not his. All of the other grandchildren got a hand-made quilt from grandma, but not him. At least one relative referred to him (in front of him!) as "the living abortion".

                    Many adoptees don't search because:
                    Their adoptive parents actively discourage it. Some search in secret or wait until their adoptive parents are deceased.

                    Public opinion is against searching -
                    "You don't know what you'll find. You'll be opening Pandora's box."
                    "You'll be hurting your real parents, the ones who raised you."
                    "Your birth mother didn't want you. Why do you care about her?"
                    "What if your birth mother doesn't want to be found? She probably has a husband and kids who know nothing about you. It will ruin her life if you find her."

                    They don't know how to search or believe it not to be worth the enormous effort with no guarantee.

                    I firmly believe that ALL adoptees should be told, period. I also believe that just because you have no evidence of someone searching doesn't mean they are not searching, and doesn't mean that they do not (or would not) want to be found.

                    Gaye
                    LDA (Late Discovery Adoptee)
                    Gaye, I agree with you 100%. I have known I was adopted since I was old enough to understand.

                    Many adoptees and birth family do not even know how to search. I just learned about all the search resources that are available out there a few years ago! I had never heard of www.theregistry.com, or www.nyadoptees.com, or www.registry.adoption.com (for registering only, ignore pay search ads), or "Search Angels" who help others for free, or G's Adoption Registry, or the AD, or the state registry in my birth state of NY which just gave me information about my birth that I never knew about!

                    All ADULT adoptees have a right to know about their heritage and medical history, and make their own decisions. The lies of long ago have no place anymore in today's society. We are adults and can handle the truth and to keep perpetuating the lies and secrecy is wrong. Most birth mothers want to know what happened to the children they relinquished. There is a common FALSE belief that they were promised secrecy. This is far from the truth as you find out when doing research on adoptions that took place in the 1940's, 1950's and 1960's. For those who have not heard of this book, read "The Girls Who Went Away" by Anne Fessler. What an eye opener and I am adopted! For example, many birth mothers were told that it was illegal for them to search, they would go to jail if they ever tried to find the child they relinquished, and so they don't know that it is OK to search for their adult birth child.

                    New York State informed me 2 years ago at age 52 that I have a older sibling out there somewhere. I was raised as an only child. Learning that I have a older brother or sister was like being given the most wonderful gift, and then not being able to open it.

                    At least 8 states in the USA now allow adult adoptees to request and receive a copy of their original birth certificates containing the names of there birth parents. Where this has happened, the world has not come to an end. Thousands of adoptees have received their original birth certificates, and only a very tiny number of birth mothers have requested "no contact". That should speak volumes.

                    Judy
                    mtDNA J1c2b
                    Adoptee Born in 1956, Binghamton, NY

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have posted this before on FTDNA.
                      I got a e-mail from a guy that asked me why our family DNA matches him. (his family does not match him)
                      I reconized his surname as one of our adopted relatives. I asked if he was adopted and he said no.
                      He acted irrated by this whole thing. He later said he would look into it at a later time. (kind of snippy)
                      I'm not the one that should of told him. Like I said earlier, I do not want to tip over anyones family. He didn't seem to bright or he would of figured it out.
                      Our Y-Dna is a perfect match in all tests.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        correction

                        I'm Sorry..
                        It was MTDNA that matched him at 100%.
                        I donated the DNA, not a female.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by darroll View Post
                          I'm Sorry..
                          It was MTDNA that matched him at 100%.
                          I donated the DNA, not a female.
                          It's only natural someone gets a little snippy when they find out that their ancestry is not what they thought it was.
                          For some reason you are the custodian of these people's past, I hope you will be understanding of their situation and give them the information that belongs to them.
                          Just imagine if you are a doctor and you tell someone they have incurable cancer, of course that person is going to be unhappy and may lash out at you as the bearer of bad news.
                          But sometimes when fate leaves us the custodian of unpleasant facts, we are obligated to make sure even unwilling recipients receive the information they need, even if it doesn't make them happy and puts us in an uncomfortable situation.
                          It is incredibly arrogant to say the person is not too bright for not figuring it out for themselves. A patient with incurable cancer will insist to the end that they are okay, even as they feel their body failing. There are just some things people do not want to believe. Likewise there are many doctors who take perverse pleasure in the power their knowledge gives them.
                          Last edited by Kit-189387; 17th October 2010, 04:05 PM.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by darroll View Post
                            I asked if he was adopted and he said no.
                            Sometimes that is all you can do. If he refuses to even consider the possibility, that is HIS issue. You planted the seed.

                            I think I remember the story. He was ranting on about how DNA testing companies just take your money and give you some random results, etc. etc.

                            I had a similar situation with a birthmother searching. Everything she said pointed to a particular young man in Pennsylvania as her son. The adoption was done through her ob/gyn and he had told her over the years that he saw her son often and even gave her his adoptive first name and middle initial. There was only ONE person who had the same DOB and same first name on DOBSearch. The middle initial also matched. His surname was the same as the doctor's! I was excited to give her the news that I had found him. She said something about how she knew about this person, had contacted him and he said that while he had been adopted, she couldn't be his birthmother. So she was taking donations to hire a professional searcher (the people who found my mom for me). Nothing anyone said would convince her that he WAS her son and that, unfortunately, he had rejected her.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I was always aware of being adopted but I was pressured not to search for my birth family in lots of little ways. I think you have the right to know. Long ago adoptions were done within family groups mostly if secret and so you at least had some similar heritage and some genetic health history. But for the last century or two many babies are adopted don't have a clue about medical or cultural tendencies. I never fit in with my adopted family. I didn't share their religious or political views at all. Our morals were very different in some cases. I felt no loss when I lost contact with them all after my father died. I think it's because I already felt lost in space and time...

                              Anyway, I have high expectations and am going to continue to nag at the problem till it falls apart.

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