“Four months ago, my daughter, who’s only 16, had a pregnancy scare. Thankfully, it was just a false alarm, but the whole incident has left me depressed and feeling guilty. It brought back memories of when I was her age and had an unwanted pregnancy. Largely due to pressure from my parents, the baby was adopted, and I don’t think I have ever forgiven them or myself for that.
“I’ve kept this a secret from everyone – even my husband. He is wondering why I’ve been so depressed and weepy – he thinks it’s because I’m frightened by the coronavirus, but it’s not that. I suppose I ought to tell him the truth, but I don’t know where to begin.
“These past weeks, when I’ve not been working, has meant I’ve had time to really think about what happened more than I’ve ever done before. My son will be 24 by now and I would love to try and find him and tell him just how much I wanted to keep him. By the same token, I’m terrified that, one day, he’ll just turn up, unannounced, on my doorstep.
“If I do decide I’d like to find him, how do I go about doing so?”
“I’m sure many people have had the time and space to think about their past over these several months, in ways they haven’t done before. For some, this will have been a good thing, for others, the chance to reflect has meant a great deal of sadness.
“The fact you say you have been unable to forgive your parents must be terrible for you, and for them – they probably thought they were encouraging you to do what they thought was best. But, deciding to give up a baby for adoption will almost certainly have a life-long impact, as you have found. Even when you’ve spent a very short time with your child, you are unlikely to ever forget them.
“I am sure your husband, and probably your family too, are aware that something is bothering you and perhaps now is the time to tell them. If your husband loves you, I’m sure he will be able to accept that you went through this difficult experience, and feel you may have made mistake.
“You then really need to decide if you want your adopted son to be able to find you or not. If you do, you will need to tell your children. They may well be shocked at first, but that will, in part be because children often don’t consider their parents as having had a life when they weren’t in it. You will need to manage their expectations and make it clear to them that even if you indicate you are willing to be contacted, it may never happen.
“If you go to gov.uk/adoption-records you will find details of a form to be completed. With this form you will be able to add yourself to the Adoption Contact Register at the General Register Office. The form is designed to work two ways – either to say you don’t want to be contacted, or to give your contact details, should the adopted person want to find you. If your son decides he wants to find you, this is where he will start looking.
“It is extremely unlikely for someone who has been adopted to simply ‘turn up on the doorstep’ of their birth parent. It may be that this young man has been having thoughts about his past and may possibly be thinking about making contact, in which case he will probably have registered himself too. If that’s the case, he will be given your name and contact details and you may possibly hear from him or from an intermediary agency, helping him. This is something you could use, as well, should you choose to, and details are on the Government website.
“It’s certainly something I would encourage you to think about, because you will then be supported through what may be quite a traumatic process for you. I hope you get the support you need from your husband and family and that, if you do decide you want to have a reunion with your adopted son, it is a successful one.”
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