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How do I tell my sons that they have a sister that I gave away........

Posted by on Feb. 1, 2013 at 12:23 PM
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I promise one day soon I will tell my whole story but for now I need a bit of advice.

My boys were 11 and 8 when I gave birth to their baby sister.  Neither of them even knew I was pregnant.  I was only in the hospital 36 hours so they hardly missed me.  They have seen pictures of her around my room and in my cell phone but I lied as to who she really is.

I want to tell them SOOOOOO bad so I dont have to hide her anymore.  But I am afraid that they will hate me for giving her up because I hate myself for it.  

I thought about only telling my oldest because he is more mature but I don't want to put the burden of hiding it from his brother.

Any thoughts, ideas, and/or words of wisdom would be greatly appreciated

by on Feb. 1, 2013 at 12:23 PM
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Replies (1-10):
Cedartrees4
by Silver Member on Feb. 1, 2013 at 1:24 PM

How old are your sons now?

CaileighsMom608
by Member on Feb. 1, 2013 at 1:27 PM

They will be 16 and 13 in November

onethentwins
by Gold Member on Feb. 1, 2013 at 3:15 PM

I remember how nervous I was when I told my twins about their brother. They were 12. You just have to take a deep breath and go for it. Like ripping off a band aid.

Ms.KitKat
by Bronze Member on Feb. 1, 2013 at 3:17 PM
1 mom liked this

 I think at their ages, they are ready to hear it. But first, are YOU ready to tell it? Before you share your story which has many "adult" issues they might not even be able to fully grasp- I would say, work on you first. You can not continue to hate yourself.

My guess is, some here will say you feel hate towards yourself because you were coeced or forced to place your child. My perspective (which is v-e-r-y different from all that are here) even if you had no choice sadly not one of us can turn back the hands of time. But to keep hating yourself? You just can not do it. It is not fair to you, your boys or your daughter. 

I understand I may make you angry with some of my words- how could "I" possibly know how you feel?- and I apologize for that. Where I am coming from however is from a good place. 

Please try and forgive yourself. You are worth it. Why judge yourself more harshly than you would judge another.  

Cedartrees4
by Silver Member on Feb. 1, 2013 at 6:06 PM

I didn't tell any of my youngest children about their older brother UNTIL i knew our reunion was secure and he would not be walking away from it (from us, from his siblings). There was NO way I wanted to hurt them.   And I see siblings of adoptees all the time who suffer trauma from the loss. And there is ALWAYS the question of "Why isn't Mommy giving me away too if she had to give away my brother/sister?"   Especially for younger children, finding out that they had a sibling lost to adoption, especially if they're told it was their parents "decision" means that Mommy and Daddy could decide to give them away to strangers at any point too.  Children don't need this type of insecurity.  :(   They need to believe that the mother-child bond is forever. They need to know that Mommy won't stop loving them.

So, I know that this advice won't be popular, but it's my own opinion based on experience.  Children need a feeling of security in a family.   Disclosing the surrender of a sibling takes that away from them. I suggest telling them on a "need to know" basis.   And yes, they could hold anger against you, and feel deep loss and pain - they likely will anyway no matter when you tell them.    First though, see if the adoption can be opened first so that when they find out about their sister, they can visit her. Visits may help mitigate the pain for them.

Ms.KitKat
by Bronze Member on Feb. 1, 2013 at 9:07 PM

 Cedar- I really see where you are coming from. and it is such a very difficult and personal choice- to tell or not to tell. My sil's mother placed a son for adoption. She told no one for years and years. Finally, she told my sil and sil's sis about their older borther. They were angry at their mom for keeping this from them for so long. They were NOT angry about the secret or the brother or the placement- all the things their mom thought her girls would be upset about.. They were angry because the sisters felt they had lost so much time in trying to locate and connect with their brother. They were angry that they were not told sooner. They were already all grown with families of their own. Fortunately, they were able to locate their lost brother and had a reunion. He was welcomed with open arms and they were all so grateful that they got the chance to know each other while they are still young-ish. He lives across the country from my sil and her sis but I know when we gather as a family, and when he is able, he makes the trip back 'home" again.

Quoting Cedartrees4:

I didn't tell any of my youngest children about their older brother UNTIL i knew our reunion was secure and he would not be walking away from it (from us, from his siblings). There was NO way I wanted to hurt them.   And I see siblings of adoptees all the time who suffer trauma from the loss. And there is ALWAYS the question of "Why isn't Mommy giving me away too if she had to give away my brother/sister?"   Especially for younger children, finding out that they had a sibling lost to adoption, especially if they're told it was their parents "decision" means that Mommy and Daddy could decide to give them away to strangers at any point too.  Children don't need this type of insecurity.  :(   They need to believe that the mother-child bond is forever. They need to know that Mommy won't stop loving them.

So, I know that this advice won't be popular, but it's my own opinion based on experience.  Children need a feeling of security in a family.   Disclosing the surrender of a sibling takes that away from them. I suggest telling them on a "need to know" basis.   And yes, they could hold anger against you, and feel deep loss and pain - they likely will anyway no matter when you tell them.    First though, see if the adoption can be opened first so that when they find out about their sister, they can visit her. Visits may help mitigate the pain for them.

 

vampporcupine
by Silver Member on Feb. 1, 2013 at 11:30 PM
OP, this is a decision only you can make. You know your two sons and we do not. I would not recommend telling one and not the other. Teaching to keep secrets is not healthy. You say that neither of your boys knew you were pregnant at their ages?
I both agree and disagree with Cedar. I wish my two raised daughters had known about their sister before they had conscious thought. I told them at ages 14 & 15 and there were very angry about the secret. I felt i had to fess up as i had been in email reunion for 2 years and my daughter felt ready to meet. We set a date and to me, I thought it meant she was going to be "around". We never did meet. I am unsure if this is why my raised daughters have such a hate for her or not. They have never spoken with her so I have no other explanation for their intense hatred.
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Cedartrees4
by Silver Member on Feb. 2, 2013 at 1:40 AM

That is something I would be angry at as well, missing out on those years apart which could have been reunited if the brother could have been sought and found before that.   :(    Open adoptions are very hard on sibilngs though ... I see it in the posts from "WsBirthmom" about her daughter, the pain her older daughter feels about the loss of her baby brother. :(   Other moms too.  I wish that mothers are told by agencies about the effect that this has on siblings. What does your own agency counsel expectant parents about it, about the effect on kept children?  Have you read "The Wall" by Terri Enborge?  It is about open adoption and its effect on families, on the other children especially, when they are not allowed to see their lost sibling.  :( 

Quoting Ms.KitKat:

....  They were angry because the sisters felt they had lost so much time in trying to locate and connect with their brother. They were angry that they were not told sooner. They were already all grown with families of their own. Fortunately, they were able to locate their lost brother and had a reunion. He was welcomed with open arms and they were all so grateful that they got the chance to know each other while they are still young-ish. He lives across the country from my sil and her sis but I know when we gather as a family, and when he is able, he makes the trip back 'home" again.

Ms.KitKat
by Bronze Member on Feb. 2, 2013 at 11:07 AM

 A majority of the women I work with do not have other children they are parenting. Those few who do, their adoption s are less open- just letters and pictures-not contact and they keep their secret. We counsel them on the effects of keeping their secret.  And when they are ready to tell, we let them know we are here for them. Rarely does a mother come back asking us for help in the telling of her story.

I have not read that book but I will check it out.

 

Quoting Cedartrees4:

That is something I would be angry at as well, missing out on those years apart which could have been reunited if the brother could have been sought and found before that.   :(    Open adoptions are very hard on sibilngs though ... I see it in the posts from "WsBirthmom" about her daughter, the pain her older daughter feels about the loss of her baby brother. :(   Other moms too.  I wish that mothers are told by agencies about the effect that this has on siblings. What does your own agency counsel expectant parents about it, about the effect on kept children?  Have you read "The Wall" by Terri Enborge?  It is about open adoption and its effect on families, on the other children especially, when they are not allowed to see their lost sibling.  :( 

Quoting Ms.KitKat:

....  They were angry because the sisters felt they had lost so much time in trying to locate and connect with their brother. They were angry that they were not told sooner. They were already all grown with families of their own. Fortunately, they were able to locate their lost brother and had a reunion. He was welcomed with open arms and they were all so grateful that they got the chance to know each other while they are still young-ish. He lives across the country from my sil and her sis but I know when we gather as a family, and when he is able, he makes the trip back 'home" again.

 

Cedartrees4
by Silver Member on Feb. 2, 2013 at 2:30 PM

"The Wall" is actually just an article, not a book, and the author was harassed and threatened with a lawsuit by the AP's unless she took it down, and they slammed the adoption shut, so for a few years it was not posted on the 'net..  It's back up again though:. If you join the "Open Adoption Truths" group at http://www.cafemom.com/group/53986 you can read it at http://www.cafemom.com/group/53986/forums/read/13203656/Article_The_Wall_Open_Adoption_by_T_Enbourge

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