When I read an email from a birth mother who had recently married the man that she considered to be the love of her life, my heart broke. The general feel of the email was that her new husband had finally come clean that he hated her birth daughter, her birth daughter’s adoptive parents, their two other children and the whole concept of open adoption. Talk about a bombshell. Here’s a snip-it from her email.
I am not quite sure why he waited to tell me until three months after we got married. I don’t know how to handle it or what to say to him now. My daughter, her parents and her siblings are a big part of my life. I chose their family for many reasons, one of which was that they lived so close by. And now he doesn’t want me to see them or interact with them or even send letters. I don’t understand.
e email would so anger and depress readers that I can’t include it all. Suffice it to say that she is, three months into her marriage, considering leaving her husband. My heart breaks for all of them… even the grumpy husband with whom I could really have a few choice words.
So, what to do? Other than smack him with a wake up stick?
Obviously, this couple needs to hightail it to marriage counseling. Yesterday. In fact, in a follow up exchange, I learned that the Pastor that married these two did not require premarital counseling. I wonder how much of this could have been addressed prior to the ceremony and what heartbreak it could have avoided had it not been a surprising, big blow-up kind of discussion. But, as you can’t go back and redo things, that’s neither here nor there. (Just mentioning it for future readers who will happen upon this post!)
Now that things have been said and the damage has been done, the only option left is counseling. I don’t think that the hurt can be erased or that words can be unsaid but having a safe place to discuss how those words hurt, why the husband is feeling as he does and the pain both are feeling will be the only way to move forward. Right now the birth mother -slash- wife is feeling personally attacked. As any mother knows, if you insult the child, you insult the mother. (And Mama Bear tendencies may come out! Warning!) In essence, her husband has insulted a huge piece of how she identifies herself. Wounds need to be healed and they won’t be without some counseling.
Can this be overcome? Perhaps.
Does this husband have a history with adoption? Is someone in his family adopted and therefore he believes that it should work one way and one way only? Since he has stated that he specifically doesn’t like the daughter, is it because the daughter (and other siblings) act in a way that he wouldn’t “permit” if he was a parent? (Which makes me giggle because all children act out.) Why doesn’t he like the adoptive parents? Is he simply insecure in his role and therefore left feeling judged? I don’t know the answers. These questions are rhetorical but all possibilities.
I do know that this couple can make it through this horrible change in their relationship if they both commit to making it work. He will, of course, have to understand that, like any mother, a birth mother comes as a package deal. She will have to listen to his fears and reassure him that the adoptive family and all they bring to the table do not take precedence over him. Together, they should be able to make this work.
I hope so.
If you have endured something like this in a relationship, especially a marriage, could you please leave some bits of advice for this birth mother. I know she’s still reading as we’ve been continuing to email over the past week.