They Told Me I Would Have Other Children

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

Yesterday, the Professor came into my bedroom where I was dressing Princess P. for church.  He climbed up on the bed and put his little nose up to hers and declared, “Mom, this is the most beautiful sister ever!”  She squealed with delight, he stroked her chubby cheeks, kissed her downy head and then skipped merrily down the hall, leaving me breathless.

The Professor loves his sister. I know he loves his older brother, but he gets all mushy and soft over Princess P. How on earth am I ever going to tell him about you? Captain Knuckle was told as a matter of necessity when he was five.  He has handled it much like he has the other hard things in his life – with great maturity and resiliency.

But the Professor…I don’t know how to tell him he has another sister that doesn’t live with us. I don’t know how I could answer the questions and sadness that will certainly shade his luscious brown eyes.

They told me I would have other children….they just didn’t warn me of soul-deep sorrow that would gnaw on my bones. They told me I would have other children….they just didn’t tell me how to explain to them that I gave away their older sister to strangers.  They told me I would have other children….they just didn’t tell me how to answer the question, “If you gave her away, will you give me away too? I don’t want  live with anyone but you Mommy.”

With much love –


13 thoughts on “They Told Me I Would Have Other Children

  1. M,

    Oh wow! You are so right in everything you said and I never thought of that before. They did tell us we would move on and have more children but you are right, they never told us about the fear and the pain that comes once you do have more children and have to explain to them about their brother or sister we gave away.

    For me, it was my youngest, and only daughter, who it hit the hardest. She struggled with the understanding of why it was she had another brother who she couldn’t see, who didn’t live with us and yet was a part of our family.

    And for her, from the moment of reunion, and though she tries to deny it, he has been on a pedestal for her.

    I think this is something every women considering adoption should know about.

    • Cassi –

      I wonder if it will affect my youngest the most as well…only time can tell. I try so hard to not borrow sorrow from the years ahead, but I look at her and often find myself wondering what it is going to feel like to be her…knowing that I gave her only sister away. I know I had a very close relationship with my sister and I have denied that for her.

      Gotta get more kleenex. I don’t know why I am such a wreck tonight!


  2. Thank you for this post. I was talking on the phone last night to one of my best F Mom friends, and we were discussing exactly what you have written about.

    I am so happy my Mother was able to have more children after me. So many Mothers who have lost a child to adoption do not- yet another “secret of adoption”.

    I know my raised sister is dealing with these emotions right now. It would have been much easier on her had she known about me my entire life….well, that’s according to my brothers, lol.

    • Linda – There are so many things I wish I had known/been told before I made that wretched decision to relinquish my daughter, this being one of the many. Had I known the truth, this “loving option” would have never been an option. Had I known the wreckage it would leave behind in her life and mine, I would have told my Bishop and my mother to go jump off the proverbial cliff and get lost. I was told over and over again, “It’s never to late to do the right thing…”

      Well, guess what. This is one of those times it is too late to do the right thing. The right thing would have been for me to sum up whatever shred of self-worth hadn’t been stomped out of me by my sexually abusive father and scream at everyone around me that I do enough, I have enough, I AM ENOUGH to parent my own daughter. I didn’t though…I was like a lamb being led to slaughter. My only defense is that I thought I was doing what was best for her. Other than that, I stand defenseless in the face of reality.

      But like I said, it’s too late to do the right thing now. Now all I can do is try to figure out what the right thing is for right now….

  3. I chose not to tell my boys about their sister because I didn’t want to hurt them. It was only after my divorce that my ex husband choose to talk about her to my son because he thought she knew. Yea. right, he just wanted to hurt me. It’s been a very long hard road to get comfortable talking about her with my sons. I, too, was worried about the questions and the sorrows they might feel. I had to tell my youngest because I was afraid he would overhear it and that wasn’t fair to him. So, far, none my sons have actually said, something along the line that they are afraid that I will give them away. It took my oldest a couple years before he would even ask questions. My youngest though, I am thinking that since he learned younger and in a better setting has been able to ask me questions and has expressed his sadness that I don’t have my daughter with me and why can’t we just go see her. It’s sad but I am happy that my children know. Living a double life has been hard. I don’t have to do it at home anymore. It does help that we are in contact but so far I still don’t know where we all stand with her.

    • Cristy – I chose not to tell my oldest, my ex-husband decided to do it for me. He and his new wife had started to process to adopt a baby (since I wouldn’t terminate my parental rights to my son!!!) and they told him some pretty rotten things about me. So that was kind of a forced revelation. With the Professor, I haven’t known how to do it or when an appropriate time is. I did ask him the other day if he knew what it adoption was and he said, “Oh, yeah. Like when we adopted Calvin from the shelter.” (Calvin is/was our doggie). I sighed and steered the conversation elsewhere. Maybe he isn’t ready yet.

      I am glad that you have some contact with her – our daughters are still so young…at least that is what I keep telling myself. Perhaps they will be more open to having contact when they grow up and start a family of their own?


  4. Oh I know this feeling.
    My raised sons know they have another brother. They are angry, and do not understand why he won’t come and meet us, or have anything to do with us.
    To my raised sons, I am the best mom in the world and they can’t understand another brother not wanting to know them and me, MOM.

    Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t like secrets, but had I known that my sons pull away, and failure to not want to meet them, I may have chosen to tell my raised sons differently. I still would have told them, but in the beginning I had hope. Now I’m very doubtful. My sons want to know their brother, they are very interested in him, but it’s not reciprocal.

    I also very keenly worry about my kids thinking of me that bit you said about, “will she give me away too??…”

    (Being an adoptee myself, when I met my nsister and we had a relationship, she told me that after finding out our mother had given me up, she worried she could also be given up. So I know, people do think these kinds of things.)

    I’m aware that I have a fear of my kids thinking that, each time we have an disagreement, in which I scold, or say, don’t do that. The idea that maybe they worry I might give them up too, it’s never far from my mind.

    • Oh my. My oldest son is asking these kinds of questions now himself. “Why doesn’t she want to meet me? Is she angry with me? Do you think she will be nice to me if we ever meet? Do you think she will like me? Why doesn’t she want to meet me?” I don’t know how to answer him other than to tell him we each have our own path to walk in this life, and right now this is the one she chooses.


  5. My theory on why the “experts” never mentioned the difficulty of telling other children: they expected us to forget and never talk about it again, so it was a non-issue to them (especially for those from the closed era).

    I would be interested in how they counsel mothers in open adoptions to handle this. Or do they have the same hope, that eventually mom will disappear and it will be a non-issue?

    BTW, my son told me that it was easier to meet me once he found out I had no other children…for some reason the prospect of bio-sibs spooked him and he was relieved to learn he doesn’t have any (from me that is; don’t know if his father ever had other children).

    • I have wondered the same thing…what do they tell the women who are looking into open adoption about how this will profoundly alter the relationship they have with future children. My bet is they don’t talk about it much at all…


  6. I know that sometimes when my parents would tell other people “This is our daughter from a long time ago.”

    But other times it wasn’t exactly an opportune moment to inform strangers that I was biologically related (or no need to), so they’d just say I was from Canada and visiting.

    Makes me wonder what they say if someone asks them how many children they have…

    • Makes me wonder what they say if someone asks them how many children they have…

      I hope they don’t fumble and stumble to find the words like I do. Sunday at church, I was in the mother’s lounge nursing Princess P. when another mother said, “Oh she’s so adorable. Do you have other girls or is she your only one?” I looked away from her, down at the corner and said, “I have two boys.” So I didn’t entirely lie about my daughter, but I didn’t tell her about her either. After all these years, I still lack the courage to just let it all hang out…especially at church where I know I will be instantly judged as many LDS folks are so wont to do. And needless to say, when I do disclose my first mother status that fleeting look of judgement is then followed up with the party-line, “Oh you were so brave, I know I could never do that!” or the “It was for the best, after all. God had a plan for both you and her.” or “What a blessing for her family!” No one in the LDS world wants to speak of a first mother’s grief, especially all of these years later and especially not in the mother’s lounge.

      More than the harsh judgment or the lack of courage, there are just times I simply cannot face this river of grief. My husband knows, family knows, my friends know…I just haven’t felt the need to tell the random acquaintances at church. I wrote a blog post back in January about this very thing:

      Just like your family’s situation, sometimes it simply isn’t an opportune moment…


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