Dear Lois: A recent letter from a father who had an out-of-wedlock daughter who does not want to see him caused me to write this letter. I am an adult reunited adoptee who was denied the name and whereabouts of her birth father and his family members. I understand the daughter who may feel that her birth dad deserted her. That dad needs to be patient with her feelings, yet find a way to show the daughter that he really didn't desert her. He should try to see her before it's too late. I know she will be deeply hurt if her birth dad passes on before they make amends.
I wish with all my heart that my birth dad had taken the initiative to search for me. I have GREAT adoptive parents and family who supported me in my birth search. My adoptive mom has even discussed someday hoping to meet my birth mom in person. If anyone should have any possible information about me, I hope they will contact you so you can pass the information on to me.- Jennifer L. Eddy
(still hoping to find birth dad
and in contact with birth mom
since September 1997)
Dear Jennifer: If I receive any information about your birth father, I will contact you. I do have your e-mail address. Good luck.
Dear Lois: I am 56, and my husband is 63. We know that raising a teenager today is nothing compared to when we raised our own. We had our granddaughter (given up by her mother) from the time she was 8 months old until she was 5. At that time the mother took us to court and got custody back. Fine, except the mother was living with two men and was pregnant. The child was with her mother until the age of 10, when the mother called and asked that we take the child back.
Now neither parent has anything to do with the child, and we have a very confused teenager on our hands. Hormones in a teenager are difficult enough without a past like this child's. It has been a hard road for us, but now we can see a light at the end of the tunnel. So, to all grandparents who seek custody, I just have one piece of advice: Hang in there. I know how tough it can get.
- Been There
Dear Been: There are grandparent support groups throughout the United States, and sometimes the burden is eased by sharing with others in similar circumstances. A recent letter from Linda Sapp-Cox, head of the HUGS (Helping Understand Grandparents/Seniors) in Nevada requested names of other Southwest support groups, so we checked. These are some we found:
- SAN JOSE: Bonnie Zischke, Positive Grandparenting: 408-942-1775
- BAKERSFIELD: Grandparents Group, Erma Page, 513 McKelvey Ave., Bakersfield, CA 93308
- MODESTO: John & Peg Saylor, 3204 Wilmer Circle, Modesto, CA 95350; 209-527-4794; (http://www.grandsrus.com/support/ca.htm)
Dear Lois: In 1946 my mother went away to have a baby (me), gave the baby up for adoption and didn't tell the father until it was over. They married the next month and proceeded to have a life together, creating six more children. In 1993 I found my birth parents and siblings. The reunion were grand, and we all click amazingly well, except for Mother, who continues to wallow in a self-pity routine trying to fix the past. One more time she is missing the joys at her doorstep. Life goes on.
If opportunity knocks twice, let it in, and don't question everything. I say this to birth parents: If your adopted child has had a good life, be happy that he or she has evolved into a healthy adult able to embrace you, no matter what you think you did years ago.
Chances are that the child had a very good life (more often than not) and more and better opportunities than would have been possible if you had kept the child. So be happy for the opportunity you provided. Your child is.
Dear Linda: Your words should give a lift to every birth mother who has had to give up a child for (in your words) whatever reason. Thank you for a reasoned, heartfelt letter.
Dear Lois: In answer to the woman who wrote because she never knew what to answer when people asked why she'd never married, I think my mother's suggestion was a classic. She said the best answer is, "The reason I'm not married is that the men I would have were already taken, and the men I can have I don't want."
- Emmy Kaye
Dear Emmy: As usual, Mom comes up with the best answer.