Blind prejudice

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There are accounts in adoption literature of spouses who have never accepted the reality of a previous sexual partner and the resultant child. For the person (mother or father) at the nexus of two families, the situation can be so awkward that for the sake of endurable day-to-day living, the dispersed family of origin has to be relegated, albeit unwillingly.

I know of an instance that illustrates this regrettable circumstance.

More than two decades after the birth and subsequent adoption of their son by another family, the mother and the father re-established contact. Collaboratively, they sought information about their son, including his whereabouts, with the intention of contacting him. Concurrently, they reached out to him via an intermediary. They provided mutual support during the difficult period when the information veto lodged by their son was in place.

The father was the first to establish contact with the son. He shared the results with the mother. More than a decade on, when the son agreed to meet the father, afterwards he passed on how he felt about the few hours he spent with their then 42-year-old son. The father believed that the mother had a right to know.

The mother has opted to be more circumspect in her relations with the son. Having notified him of her address, she will wait until he is ready to initiate contact, an approach that sits comfortably in her household.

This was the status quo until mid-2013 when, suddenly, the mother advised the father that her husband (to whom the father was always persona non grata) had banned further contact between the parents. No specific catalyst was mentioned. As the communication, always about their son, had been accommodated for two decades, the father finds myself asking 'why now?' He wonders about the mother's well-being.

He feels disenfranchised by the blockade. Further, the mother will not be able to tell the father about her reunion with their son, if and when it occurs.

It is a shame that some partners exercise intolerance instead of acceptance. In circumstances such as these, the endemic prejudice that accompanied forced adoptions has never abated.


In some relationships the partner of the mother or father whose child was earlier separated from them by adoption feels threatened by the past event and its continuing impact. The absence of understanding by the partner may affect all members of the family of origin.