Adoption is Complicated

07 Jul

Today on the FB posting of the Washington Post – Dear Carolyn.

“Dear Carolyn: Hi Carolyn, I am 45 and recently found the daughter whom I gave up for adoption when I was 16. My childhood was very traumatic and dysfunctional, therefore I knew that I couldn’t raise her properly or provide the best for her.

Since reconnecting we have established a great friendship and she fully understands and even appreciates that I gave her up for adoption. I am recently married and have a 2-year-old baby and step kids whom I adore. All have met her and are very supportive.

The problem is social media. I am very active and post often about my life and our family’s adventures. I would like to start including my bio-daughter (with her permission) in these posts. But before I do I feel that I should at least offer up an explanation or part of the story so people I am connected to understand. I am not seeking validation but I feel it would be awkward or strange to just pop up with a new family member who looks like me that no one has ever seen or heard of.

My husband and friends think otherwise. They say it’s no one’s business and that I don’t need to say a thing. But I think it would be weird not to, so I am torn.”


Since reconnecting we have established a great friendship and she fully understands and even appreciates that I gave her up for adoption.” (bolding mine.)

The fact that the first mother included this sentence is a red flag to me and leaves me wondering if the daughter knows her first mother has written to Carolyn at WAPO, instead of having a discussion with her, not only about being included in her first mother’s posts, but that she also wants to do a post about her story which would be their story, note she asked her husband and friends, but doesn’t mention how her daughter feels about having her personal story being put out on FB by her first mother.

Personally, I’d likely go silent then pull back, and and seeing as I find it hard to trust, that’d be gone too. Reunion is incredibly complex and a intricate dance at best, it’s also full of pitfalls just waiting to be stepped into that can at best, test the reunion, at worst, ruin it, forever.


Anyways, now onto the type of comments made specifically by AP’s…

Anne…main thing is what daughter, and also her parents who raised her, want.

Susan to Anne Yes! The couple who raised her are her parents and their wishes/feelings should be the primary focus, not the bio-mom.

Jade to Susan Nope. Adoptive Parents have the most power and control… at 29 years old this is a decision between an adoptee and a first mother. I’m also an adoptive mother.

Sionan to Anne no, the people who raised her should absolutely NOT be the “primary focus.” The adopted person should always, always be the primary focus. She should decide what she wants. She is not a commodity who belongs to her parents—adoptive, biological, or otherwise.

I’m an adoptive mom and my children are fully human and it is my job to respect them and their feelings and needs and to embrace the people that matter to them, not to constrain who they are allowed to love or associate with.

Cricket to Sionan all of this – plus she’s 29 years old. Fully adult!!!

Sionan to Cricket I know right.

Jade to Sionan yes! I’m also an AP and couldn’t agree more.

Julianne to Jade but the birthparents need to honor the other parents as well-hopefully the child

Julianne to Anne Thank you-as a parent through adoption we are almost always left out of the equation as though we don’t exist or never mattered at all in these stories-we are completely invisible-I hope this woman has met her birth daughters parents because they are her true parents…


Overall, I’m pleasantly surprised by the adoptive parents who stood up, who’d done whatever work they needed to do to see how complex adoption is, especially when it comes to reunion for the one adopted. Yes, there are still some who need to step out of their fear of the unknown, and work on accepting that we have two different sets of parents and that both are important.


Posted by on July 7, 2022 in Uncategorized


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6 responses to “Adoption is Complicated

  1. Robyn C

    July 7, 2022 at 6:15 pm

    I don’t think I really understand why someone would write to a columnist instead of having real conversations. I also know that these letters are edited for publication, so we don’t get the full picture, even if the writer did include it. The editor did leave in this line:
    “I would like to start including my bio-daughter (with her permission) …”

    So, either she has her daughter’s permission or intends to seek it out.


    • TAO

      July 7, 2022 at 6:52 pm

      I don’t either Robyn, worst case, I’d bounce it off a trusted friend before I’d write to an advice columnist. As to the next, that was weird, either she has her permission to include her in her FB posts, or as you stated, intends to seek it out.

      It seemed to me that she was throwing dirt on the wall to see what would stick and maybe she hasn’t asked her daughter about any of it and is testing the waters.

      I was pleased to see a sea change in responses from AP’s – I liked that.


      • beth62

        July 18, 2022 at 3:05 pm

        What stood out to me about this mother is, has she told her story? I would guess my answer to her would be, tell her own story of adoption. I know many adoptees want to hear it. Why and how it all happened is our biggest question.

        And then discuss with daughter how they would like to tell the daughters story Together. Maybe the daughter has or will tell her part of this story on her own page, that can be linked to.
        There are many parts, or chapters, to this story. There are parts where it is an individual story, and their are parts when these two are together in the same place same time. Everybody needs to tell their own individual parts, and attempt to put together those parts they spent with each other.

        My mother and I did not like either of our individual stories that much, even tho we both wanted to hear it all. Mostly we didn’t like what we had guessed the other was thinking or doing while we were seperated. Which made perfect sense really, no one would like it. It’s a pitfall area that needs awareness. We got past it, but only with much discussion until we understood what it all meant. Much of the stuff we both thought and did to survive and overcome it. It’s something that needs great discussion and understanding, or just don’t go there, it can easily go all wrong.


  2. dpen

    July 7, 2022 at 8:01 pm

    The comments from some of the apaps just shows how necessary therapy is before adopting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • TAO

      July 7, 2022 at 8:59 pm

      dpen – you don’t know how many times I think of you and wonder how you are.

      Yes, I think therapy is needed for many before they adopt.

      So happy to have you stop by. Cheers


  3. beth62

    July 18, 2022 at 2:34 pm

    I heard a discussion like this between two adoptive parents, I kept out of it, none knew my connection to adoption, I just observed. Then left quickly to go laugh elsewhere.
    One of the moms called it “chattel talk” and stated she did not use that kind of language around her adult children.
    I find it crazy, and quite sad, at how happy that discussion made me.
    Now that I think about it, I think warrior moms just make me happy, what ever they say 🙂



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