I lost my son to adoption in 1962 and we didn't reconnect until he was 45

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I lost my first child to adoption in 1962 in England when I was 17. As a minor, I was dealt with by the Childrens' Department and threatened with court action if I did not consent to giving up my child to parents who were sanctioned by marriage. I was swept along in a daze, my own wishes were not considered and I felt abandonned by my boyfriend and both sets of parents. Sworn to secrecy, I was sent first to an aunt, then to a mother and baby home to have my baby miles away from family and friends. It was a very isolating experience. There were many losses-my boyfriend, my parents' respect, my friends, my schooling and my youth.

Shamed and blamed by both families I lost my self-respect and there was no opportunity to grieve. Yet it was a special time as the home required each mother to look after her child during the early weeks. I attended to my son's every need until he was 2 months old. This meant that those early memories belong to me and are mine alone whenever I wish to reflect on them. I was the mother who experienced his first smiles, and it was amazing when we finally reconnected 45 years later to be able to still recognise the essence of my baby in the man he had become.

How cruel that there was nobody but me to welcome him into the world, no presents for him from admiring relatives, and certainly no love and flowers for his Mum. With no counselling, no recognition of the grief of being separated from my baby, nobody to sooth the pain, I was expected to just get on with my life and forever maintain the secret.

I feel so fortunate to have enjoyed several years now of building a relationship with my son. It took 6 years to find him because the system in England did not permit identifying information and mediated contact had to be made by agency personnel. Then it took 9 more years before he would consent to having contact with me. Some have not been so fortunate so I would like my story of 45 years of separation and the long wait for contact to give others hope.

 

He is now enjoying getting to know his other families, and acknowledges me as his "first mother". What more could I wish for? To be able to release the deep pain of all the lost years would help but I try to live in the moment and appreciate what I have.

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