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Alison is not ready to have her photograph on the net so everyone will have to make do with just TJ's.
9 February 2002
Alison and TJ went out for a meal together tonight. When Alison arrived to pick up TJ she was so much more relaxed and calmer. Everything seems to be going great-guns for them both. They text each other regularly and speak on the phone about once a week now.
25 January 2002
At this stage I know Alison and TJ are meeting up and going for a meal. This was cancelled because in her neck of the woods everything is done at a slower pace and Alison did not have her car back in time. It is being rescheduled for next week.
18 January 2002
We have just come back from a lovely meal to celebrate our TJ's godfather's 60th birthday.
Early January 2002
Alison and TJ met for coffee and whilst walking in town TJ encountered schoolfriends and workfriends. He introduced Alison to them as "this is my natural mother". I am sure she felt well chuffed to be acknowledged in this way. I asked her how she felt and she said she thought it was lovely for him to tell people who she was.
26 December 2001
Alison came for a meal and met TJ's godparents. All seemed to be well but it is still early days and everyone appears to be on "best behaviour".
24 December 2001
Alison came to our house to drop TJ's presents off. These were the first ever presents from Alison to her natural son. They are so special to everyone concerned.
18 December 2001
TJ and Alison met for afternoon tea at Thornbury Castle.
8 December 2001
Alison came to our family home for a meal to meet us - her son's adoptive parents. Unusual many people would say but my feeling for 18 years is that Alison is entitled to know her son. Without her, maybe, we would not have experienced the joy of being parents. All seemed to go very well. There were a few tears all round and a lot of apprehension on all sides. It is still very early days for all of us and the person that matters most is Timothy and his feelings.
I find it difficult because I can relate to Alison and her needs not only because of me being a mother (albeit by adoption) but because I know and hear the hurt/pain that a (forgive me here because not everyone likes a particular title) natural mother/birth mother/first mother feels when talking about parting with their child. I feel I want to give Alison back the 18 years she has missed but I can see it is very hard for her to look at the photographs we have of her son at about nearly 7 weeks old - she looked at photographs up to about 3 years old and it was too much for her to bear. Hopefully, Alison, in the future, can look at the photos of her/and our son without crying but I doubt that will happen without a lot of tears.
I do not know if his foster mother had any photographs of TJ prior to him coming home with us.
I am finding it very difficult to put some things into words at this time. I will bring everything up to date soon.
7 December 2001
TJ met his mother, Alison, on 7 December. All well made plans did not work. We, his adoptive parents arranged that Alison and Tim would meet at a nice hotel for lunch. Alison was running late, TJ checked with the restaurant and notified them that 'his friend' was running late only to be told there was no booking for a meal in that name - Horror!!!! TJ quickly thought of an alternative and went there only to find that venue was closed, they then went to a country pub and was told it was closing very soon after they arrived. He then decided upon a little cafe in the village he was brought up in - not the perfect place but somewhere they could chat.
Fortunately the pair of them could laugh about it all and I think somehow that this helped break the ice.
Our family had heard from Alison's mother that she was pleased that TJ would be part of their family. On 7 December I telephoned Alison's mother to say we were two mothers thinking of our children at this special time.
27 October 2001
TJ has been out and bought Alison a birthday card in readiness for her birthday on 6 November. It obviously has been bought with care and consideration but no mention of "Mum" or anything on the card - maybe he will write the special words.
26 October 2001
Everything is ticking over nicely. All of us are chatting regularly about all and everything. Alison is unsure where she fits into the equation. I wish I could tell her exactly but I have no experiences to relate to of the relationship we are all in. For 18 years she has been his mum (and will always be) and called him Julian. Suddenly, her son's adoptive mother makes "the phone call" and says your son, Timothy, would like to know you. This must put a totally different perspective on how Alison feels.
"Julian" is Alison's son who was placed for adoption. Alison is and always will be his mum. Now we appear on the scene, her son is now called Timothy and he calls someone else 'mum'. Boy! Confusing all round I would think. I have so much respect for Alison and how she feels but cannot express to her or help her understand the current situation because I am also confused.
Fortunately Alison and I can chat away like anything. Nothing is hidden, I don't feel I have to think carefully about what I am saying, I think we both understand what each of us feels. I suppose we are lucky that we can chat - not every birthmum and adoptive mum has this opportunity.
To be totally honest here, and I do hope I don't upset anyone at all, from the feedback I have got it appears that an adoptee knows and relates to their mother - the person who gave them life - but the adoptee can find it difficult to call their mother 'mother'. I think it is not disrespectful to anyone at all but I am trying very hard to understand how TJ feels. He knows Alison is his mum and has done all his life but I think any adoptee, for whatever reason, could feel uncomfortable about "titles". I have said to TJ, if you want to call Alison mum or mother it is OK by me but he has not decided at this moment in time. My guess here (and it is only a guess) is that TJ may send cards; for example to "Mum, on Mothers day" but inside say to "Alison". It is a start and I hope one day he can say to Alison - "hiya Mum" - I think that would really make her happy. At the end of the day what TJ's adoptive parents (us) would like and want does not come into the equation, he is now an adult and it is his decision, with guidance, advice, support and help from us that he does what he feels comfortable with in his life. When I have expressed to TJ that it is his turn to ring Alison he has bottled it and asked if John or I would dial the number. I think it is the "titles/names" that are causing the problem for him. I think he doesn't know how to start the conversation. For example, Hi Alison (mum) it's Tim (Julian). Maybe that is how Alison is also feeling.
8 October 2001
I cannot explain how happy I am and thank everyone for the support that I have received. Not one person has said I have done it wrong!! It is very important and comforting to me to hear that. I have been told by a few natural mothers that they wished I was their child's adoptive mum. Timothy and his natural mother will be meeting in the next few weeks. She has said she is terrified about the meeting - not yet sure if she is terrified of meeting me and my husband or Timothy.I want to dismiss her fears about rejection - if I thought our son would do this we would never had made contact because we could never hurt anyone in this way. I try to speak to her often to reassure her about all the natural feelings she may have about how it is progressing. I thought that, I, being a person that reunites people nearly every day of the week would be so calm and collected. Wrong!!! My head is all over the place just like the people I reunite. My biggest difficulty is practising what I preach - first meeting on neutral ground and in private - one to one. I WANT TO BE THERE AND RECORD ON CAMERA THE FIRST HUG, THE TEARS, THE JOY!!! Not easy for me but we will be guided by the person that matters most, our boy.
To date Timothy and his natural mother speak on the telephone about 4 times a week. She always speaks to me and says she enjoys our chats. I want to relate to her every little detail of Timothy's life to date. She giggled so much when I read to her the entries in his baby book about his achievements and the various stages he went through. On Saturday she received a photograph album of his progress through the years plus a couple of videos where he had appeared in amateur dramatics.
I know when Alison received the first lot of photographs on 28 September it hurt her so much to look at them. She cried and cried for 2 days for the time she had missed with him. She had never held or seen the child she gave birth to and I cannot imagine in a million years how she would have felt that day - 8 September 1983.
Alison said to me that she felt she had 'permission' to acknowledge him as her son and took his photograph to work and tell them all about him and show him off with pride and joy - the only one photograph the social services deemed to give her even though we had sent letters and photographs for 3 years.
We have agreed to go forward as friends and celebrate the future together. I hope one day that all our families can meet and be united for Timothy and Alison's benefit. He is a young man to be so proud of and I want his birth family to be there in his life and feel the pride that my husband and myself feel.
To hear Alison and TJ chatting, laughing, giggling and finding out how much like each other they are is so heart warming for me. He may be our son but she is his mum and will always have that title - nothing can ever take that away from her - my title is adoptive mum even though I am his "mum". She gave us a very precious gift and no amount of words could ever express how thankful we are to her.
My biggest anxiety is the fact that the information about each party - the adoptive parents and the natural family - seems to be misleading. From what we have discovered talking to each other (Alison and I) there seems to be a slap-dash element to taking down the information that is so important if an adoptee or natural parent wants to carry out a search.
As a researcher helping adoptees find their natural families this appears to be the norm. Information is misleading, spelling of place names or even surnames not checked - even mother's date of birth can be incorrect. Misleading information as to the occupation of the adoptive parents - generally most files relate to the child being adopted to a professional couple - architect, doctor, solicitor, teacher and so on. Surely there must be train drivers, shop assistants, factory workers or even unemployed people out there that are adoptive parents!!!!!!
If any of you out there reading this feels they need the world to know the "Truth" about the misleading information they have been given I would love to hear from you. I personally have loads of files where I know the information is not correct but would love more instances - maybe we can make the authorities sit up and take notice. I would like to make up a dossier of all your stories to put in front of someone who may take notice. Believe me, I want to fight for all sides in this Triad - I feel so strongly. If anyone out there is willing to help do let me know.
2 October 2001
To bring everyone up to date. Everyone, Timothy, my husband, my family, my friends are absolutely delighted to find that Timothy's birth mother wanted to know him so desperately. Her whole family and friends are as delighted as ours. I rang her on 25 September to let her know, gently, that Timothy and we wanted her to be part of his life. Timothy was all prepared to make the call but was nervous and "bottled out". I spent about 10 minutes talking to her and telling her "Yes, this is real and is happening" then I passed the phone over to Timothy - next thing they were talking as though they had never been apart. Laughing, giggling, chatting - it was wonderful to hear. Me, TJ and his natural mother chatted on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.
Friday was a pretty hard day for TJ's natural mum because she received the first batch of photographs and it finally hit her with such an impact. All the years of heartache and the pain she felt was brought to the fore. I rang her on Saturday to give support and ask how she was and found it was a very tearful time because she had never held or seen her son and only had the one photograph that she had talked to daily over the past 18 years. I did tell her we wrote and sent photographs for 3 years - WHERE DID THEY GO TO!!!!!! I am sure they would have helped her in her grief after giving up her first and only child. We are hoping that the letters and photos can be tracked down - how come the authorities believe they can decide what is best for the child when we, the adoptive parents, are given all authority to act in his best interest by becoming "his parents". My best interest was to let his natural mother know he was well, thriving and most of all very loved.
It finally hit Timothy and became reality on Monday 1 October when he received a photograph, a letter, card and a poetry book from his natural mother. He said that he felt detached but involved until Monday when he received these. He was so taken aback by his reactions and admitted to feeling very shaky that he took the day off school and we just went out shopping, for lunch and talked. I suggested that TJ choose a special photo frame to put Alison's photograph in and it now takes pride of place on the windowsill in the living room.
Tonight, Alison spoke with my husband for the first time. She seems much calmer now and has got some of the tears and emotion out of her system. Timothy and her are talking of the first meeting which will be this month, hopefully. Timothy wants it to be somewhere special and is considering them meeting up at a Castle where they provide morning coffee, lunch or afternoon tea. He wants it to be a special occasion that they will always remember.
It was very special tonight because me and Alsion talked longer than we had done before. I want to tell her as much as possible but feel the need for some restraint because it will upset her so much. I had, over the past few days, related lots of things about him and I am sure she will forget some of what we have talked about but the updates and everything she wants to know will be answered with honesty. Tonight I read to her the memories we recorded from his baby book and she giggled and loved hearing about it all. Both of us know we are going to be great friends for life - how can we not be - we share a very special person. It is unbelievable to both Alison and Timothy, plus me and my husband, the similarities they have in common - sensitivity, caring, musical preference, literary interest, looks and even an extra tooth!!
I have a photograph album of his life to send to her and we asked tonight if she wanted it immediately or when they meet. She has said do please send it asap. It will be upsetting for her to look at I am sure but a happy upset if you can understand that. Us mums will stick together and we know we can phone each other at any time without feeling we are interfering or being overpowering. It is a great feeling to have and I am so happy for our son. I look to the future with happiness for all and with great respect and admiration for her.
I feel I have done the right thing for our son and I know that his natural mother is overwhelmed by the way we are dealing with it and feels so happy about the fact that she feels she will be part of his and our lives. She has always been a part of our lives and we welcome her to become more involved. I toast the future for all of us and wish everyone's dream could come true like ours.
God Bless to all who are searching and may all your dreams come true like ours have.
17 September 2001
I want to offer my very best to all that are searching for their natural families. I am an adoptive mother who has hidden nothing from the young man that he now is.
The story was told to him each and every day about his natural family (as much as we knew) and grew with him until he knew everything by the time he was 9. Age nine was very important because he had his sex education at school and was probably wondering why we had told him nothing about his natural father. We knew very little and I wasn't prepared to lie and give a false name and even at this tender age he could understand why we had said nothing previously. Alison gave us the most wonderful gift, her first child, and we love her for that. Alison had asked that his adoptive parents name him so we chose Timothy. Timothy became 18 on 8 September and on 14 September he went and read his file. He came out of the office with an armful of cards, both Christmas and birthday - all with caring and loving messages that his natural mother had written to him.
A letter expressing how she had felt when the Social Services had told her they thought they had lost his file was also enclosed, along with a book of poetry entitled "Thinking of You".
Timothy's 3rd September meeting had been cancelled and I think it was fate because his 18th birthday card from Alison came the day before the next meeting. The best part of all is that it has her address and phone number on the back. She has expressed a desire to be a part of his life and that is what she has always been and will continue to be. I have never known Timothy write a letter so fast. It hasn't been sent yet because he wants to choose the photographs himself he wants to give to her. The Social Services have written a letter to Alison to let her know he has received his file.
I help adoptees find their parents and it is taking a lot of strength and resolve to hold myself back from getting in touch with her. I want to talk to her, thank her, tell her all about the son we share, meet her, cry with her and hold her. It will all have to wait until Timothy has taken the first steps and he gives me the OK to do my bit for him and her.
I just look to the future and hope that everything turns out wonderfully for all concerned.
If anyone wants to get in touch with me to ask any questions do feel free to email me.