Monday, May 15, 2006

Parents Behaving Badly #3

So many dingleberries, so little blogspace.

This past weekend, Genevieve Rachel Nielsen of Arizona was told by authorities that her entire life was based on a lie.

Her father picked her up for an overnight visit in Michigan in 1976, when she was 21 months old and absconded with her, raising her to believe that her mother had died in a car accident.

Oakland County never closed the case of the missing girl. Earlier this year, they teamed up with the U.S. Marshall's office and followed a tip that the kidnapping father was serving time in prison under an assumed name.

Nielsen and her mother, Laura Gooder have received each other's contact information, but as yet there are no reports on a reunion.

As a parent, I just can't imagine the level of spite that goes into crimes like these.

Obviously, there have been incidences where one parent snatches the kid because there are legitimate abuse concerns that have been mired down in red-tape and there are safety issues. I'm certainly not condoning it, and it doesn't seem to be the case in this instance.

I've been divorced, and I've been mighty pissed-off at my ex as well. There were times when I sort of wished that he would just disappear from the face of the planet (no painful tortuous demise, mind you--just a poof! and he's gone), because I was just tired of dealing with all of his crap.

But as Judge Judy is so fond of saying, "You picked him."

Why yes. Yes I did.

So even if I wanted to be spiteful and ignore the fact that he has rights, if I want to be a good mom I have to remember that our sons have rights too.

They have the right to have their dad be a part of their lives. And as adults, it's up to us to make it work. Not steal away their heritage and rob them of relationships with people who love them.

As a reunited adoptee, I've lived with "not knowing" for many years. Some adoptees don't care to know about that part of their lives. Some do.

But at least my adoptive parents never lied to me. They gave me all the information they had received upon my adoption, and it was never a secret.

There is an entire subset of adoptees who are called Late Discovery Adoptees (LDAs). These are people who were never told that they were adopted, and many found out after a parent's funeral. BB Church is one of those adoptees and writes about the damage these types of lies can cause in his blog.

I just don't understand how any person can lay claim to being a good parent when the entire foundation of their relationship with their child is based on a lie.

Whatever their intentions, in my opinion, it's just a bad, bad thing to do. No excuse is good enough.


34quinn said...

miss litzi:
My feelings are...Any relationship based on a lie was never a relationship to begin with.

attila the mom:

As an adoptee who has searched and found I have a new unerstanding of the "Nature vs. Nurture" debate.

I am thrilled that you're adopted parents chose to be honest and open with you from the begining. In doing so they taught you so much.
And in that they showed you the unconditional love and security needed (by so many adoptees) to know you could search out and HAVE a relationship with both your "mom's" .
how cool is that !!???
I am thrilled for you!!!
I love to hear good things like that.

Big Pissy said...

The thing that surprises me most about this story is that they haven't attempted to contact each other.... :(

Nice to hear a story such as yours that ended up with everyone happy!

Wraiths said...

I meet a lot of these adoptees and a common thread to most of them seems to be that they always had a feeling that they were different and didn't know why. Then finding out they were adopted was both a relief in that it explained the feelings and a shock because it felt like they lived a lie.
The sad thing is that some parents did it because they were told it waw the best thing for the child and now they don't know how to fix the lie. Then again, some just didn't have the security in themselves to do tell the truth.

Haleigh Anne said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. My parents never grew up enough to understand that to be good parents they needed to get along for us - the kids. We are all adults now and getting close to having kids of our own. I worry how "sharing" the grandkids is going to be. If it is anything like my teenage & young adult years, I won't survive unless I move to a tropical island and sip margaritas all day.

Lainey said...

What a sad story.

That guy needs to stay in prison for a long, long time!

Attila The Mom said...

Quinn--thanks for the good wishes!

BP--maybe they just need some time to assimilate the information. What a thing for that daughter to discover! I think it would take me weeks!

Wraiths--I totally get what you're saying. What kind of freaks me out now is seeing posts from potential adoptive parents who think "not telling" is still a good idea. :-(

Haleigh Anne--oh yuck, I know exactly what you mean! Witness protection anyone?

Lainey--I wish they would have printed what he's currently in prison for. I'm so damn nosy that way!

Mr. Fabulous said...

People are...unbelievable.

I'm glad that yours is a happier story.

Kathy said...

Attila, all I can really say is how very sad. I know this mom has had to deal with life without her daughter, and not knowing. That was no doubt very painful. I still feel sorrier for the daughter, who had to grieve her mom at such a young age, and grow up without her, obviously with a less than desirable father. Then, find out that she was alive, and missed out on 30 years.

Big Pissy: I was thinking the same thing... except that they probably both need some time to adjust to just knowing that the other one exists.

I have always known I was adopted. But, thanks to some busybody social wrecker, my parents told me my bmom had died. So... when bmom called me when I was 30, it took me a few days to get used to the idea that she really was alive. Of course it is amazingly good news. But, it is a surprise, and does take getting used to.

Jeremy Barker said...

I couldn't imagine not knowing that you were adopted. My wife is adopted and has always known, but her bmom has refused all but basic and extremely limited contact. I guess some people don't want to go back.

petunia said...

Well, times are different today. In the sixties the Catholic church (and social workers and doctors) thought it was best NOT to tell adopted children they were adopted. It wasn't living a lie really - they were doing it so the children would not grow up "warped" and feeling "unwanted". I don't blame my parents at all, in fact, i'm sort of glad i didn't know - I would have questioned and asked if they were treating me nicer because I was adopted or were they treating the biological children better, etc.
I know my parents did not tell me because they wanted me as their if, ands or buts.
Actually, i now know they were in the category where they told me once and we never talked about it again....problem was - i didn't remember. They have mentioned it more now that I am adopting.

Mia said...

Honesty is always the best policy. We can come up with all sorts of excuses as to why we withhold truth but the bottom line is the truth always comes out. Better to be honest and deal than lie and risk far greater damage.
I hope your Mother's Day was wonderful Atilla!!!! Thinking of you.

shirley said...

Eeek! People are forgetting that they shouldn't become parents to suit their own selfish purposes. At least you're not one of those. Sometimes I worry the jerks are breeding faster. :(

Anonymous said...

Did it ever occur to you not to believe everything you read in the newspaper???