Giving up a child for adoption can trigger a great deal of guilt.
Emotionally, this has destroyed both of us, but thankfully, I began going to counseling early on, and it has helped. Robert, however, focused on work and is ignoring his feelings. He has few friends and confided in only one (who was also his boss), who then began bullying Robert.
Robert feels very isolated and was hospitalized for severe depression and put on suicide watch. He is on medication and waitlisted for counseling. Robert has never been much of a talker, and I fear he will lie or stop going and miss out on the help he needs. Since leaving the hospital, he has been getting progressively worse: Screaming, breaking items in our home, crying randomly and cutting out what few friends he has left. He refuses to speak to his family.
I've tried talking to him, tried finding ways to release his feelings, cried with him and tried giving him his space. I wrote a letter to his health care provider so he will know what's going on. I want to be supportive of Robert, but I don't know what to do.
I'm also frightened that focusing on Robert's mental health and living in this environment is hindering my health, as well. I don't want to give up on him. What can I do? -- THE OTHER HALF
DEAR OTHER: Having to give up a child is heartbreaking, even when done in the child's best interests. Your husband desperately needs bereavement counseling. He also may blame himself for not doing enough to keep his family together, and the guilt could be overwhelming his willingness to seek help. In addition, he may resent your "recovery,'' which makes it difficult for him to heed your suggestions. You both could benefit from checking the information and online discussion forums offered through Concerned United Birthparents (cubirthparents.org), Adoption.org and Adoption.com.
DEAR ANNIE: "Thought I Was Part of a Large Family'' should be aware that as we grow older, attitudes among siblings can change. My brother and I had a rivalry through college, but as we grew to understand each other (and convinced Dad to stop comparing us), we began to get along much better.
"Thought'' should go to the family reunion and see whether she can get to know her distant siblings and nieces and nephews better. There is a real possibility that she could build a good relationship with at least one of them. -- K.