To other adopted difficult child parents(bit long)

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by lovelyboy, Jan 15, 2012.

  1. lovelyboy

    lovelyboy Member

    Both my sons were adopted at birth.....
    The other day I was busy in the study and overheard my sons conversation at the front door.
    The one girl friend outside asked him why his brother doesn't look like him....they are both from the same race but one has dark hair and the other little one is very blond with blue eyes....So my son announced it's because they are adopted....people around us doesn't know this, because I believe it is their truth to tell, to whom they prefer....Both my kids know they were adopted and what the circumstances were.....So the girl keeps on....asking if he ever met his " real " parents, he answers, no....would he like to meet them...he says yes maybe some day....Then they keep on asking...later I interfered and just said, we are also his real parents....so my son just said...when they asked more questions..." what ever"....I felt so bad afterwords because I knew I should have kept my month shut....I don't know if I did they right thing afterwards but I spoke to my son and tried to explain that he doesn't have to share this info with every one, or if he doesn't feel comfortable.....I also told him that some people don't understand adoption and might say things that can hurt his feelings...Obviously he said...like what....so I said like telling you your real parents threw you away ( I worry that I might have put thoughts in his head now....but wanted him to practice appropriate responses).....he said he will tell them it's not true...that they gave him up for adoption because they didn't have enough money....

    My question to other parents, especially with a kid on the autism spectrum.....how and what do you teach your child regarding sharing adoption info, because he doesn't really have the insight about what and where is appropriate and I worry that he might not be able to handle all the questions?

    I told him if they ever ask him things he doesn't want to answer he can only say he doesn't know or it's private.....

    I asked him why he wanted to share this and he said because he wants to tell his friends.....I got the impression he feels proud of it ( I am so great full for that).....but he doesn't yet understand how cruel and insensitive people can be!

    Oh and we came up with an idea to talk about his bioparents as birth mother and birth father.....

    His teacher doesn't know that he has been adopted....after this I wondered if we might have to tell her for if some similar thing happens at school...or do we just hang in there and wait it out...? She still needs to get to know him and understands all his special needs.....don't know if more labels are needed now?
     
  2. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Just sending hugs. For us it has always been so out there as our children are a different race than both my husband and myself (both husband and I are different races as well). I remember one time in 4th or 5th grade when easy child/difficult child told her class in the beginning of the year (during a getting to know you activity) that her dad was Hispanic, her mom was white and she was black and that's just the way it was:).

    Both of my kids have always referred to us as there real parents (except when difficult child is really angry) and their birth parents as their birth parents.
     
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Hi.

    I have never ever told my children, either typical or my spectrum son, not to share their adoption story or their feelings. In our case, it is obvious my children are adopted...one is Asian, two are partly black. However, they also hear "so you never met your REAL parents?" If we are being honesty, "real" means biological to the kids, and even though my children are VERY close to us, they think about their biological parents. I don't believe in making adoption or ANY feelings about it a family secret. To tell the kids not to talk about it, in my opinion makes them feel ashamed of being adopted. It is a part of their identity and in my opinion we have to put our personal feelings aside and let them say what they want to say about it. I believe that secrets are toxic. If you are not open to hearing anything your kids have to say, and to letting them tell people anything they want to tell, then they will clam up around you and you will never know their thoughts. That will not stop them for searching for their birthparents. In fact, in my opinion it may make them feel more alienated and more intent on searching as adults (I have always told my kids to search and that I would help).

    We do raise our kids, but we did not give birth to them. There is a natural curiousity tha can become desperate and contribute to behavioral issues about "who do I look like?" "why did Mom get rid of me?" Our generic stories do not make them feel better. Saying we love them does not help the feeling that they are misfits or rejected. Now not all adopted kids process this the same way, but in my opinion we have to let them process it the way they need to.

    My daughter Jumper, who is fifteen and a half, and has seen pictures of her birthmother and birthfather (his incareration picture...haha), once told me "Adoption should be considered a special need. It's different." Now Jumper is a typical teen who is very bonded to us. But she does talk to her friends about her adoption and her feelings. In fact she wrote a touching essay on "My Adoption." It started out "Adoption is always bad. It is a terrible thing." And it ended up "If I saw my birthparents now I would thank them for giving me a chance to have such an awesome life. I would not want to be anywhere other than where I am right now." She also wrote a tribute to me as her mother, explaining that we are very close and that I watched her birth.

    The complexities of adoption affect each child differently. My son, who is on the spectrum, has told me he used to think about it and it made him sad. But now he's ok with it. We did not tell him that his birthmother was a drug addict until he was older. Little pieces as he could understand the story. He accepts it now. We try to put her in a good light and say she was "sick." I'm sure he gets asked questions. He just answers "I'm adopted." "No, I never met my mother." Yes, he sometimes calls HER mother. As adoptive parents we have to accept that our kids will always feel they have two mothers.

    Our adopted kids have to learn to parry the stupid "adoption" comments. Actually none of my kids have had people say anything bad about their adoptions. But if they did, they have to learn how to deal with it because it is a part of their history. I don't think that adoption is seen as a big dirty secret like it once was.

    On the up side, all three of my adopted kids have told me that, even if they meet their birthparents, WE are their parents, and they say it with scorn that we should even wonder about that.

    I'm a very honest, open person. I personally believe this is the best way to be with adopted kids, giving them information as they can process it. I also think we should not act like adoption is some big secret. So my own personal opinion is that you should not have said anything to him nor stopped the conversation. It could make him think, "Adoption is shameful, something not to share."

    Anyway, there's my worthless .02 :) But it has worked well in our house.
     
  4. lovelyboy

    lovelyboy Member

    I agree with what you have said! We don't treat it as any secret....we share pictures about them...I show him their accomplishments on the Internet....I talk about them and tell them how proud they can be of themselves.....
    Yes....I realize that I made a mistake....that is why I came to ask advice....yes I have things I still need to find answers for in myself, mostly fears of my sons getting hurt...and yes I am just human and will make mistakes...I am just brave enough to share it with you!
    I think what I am trying to ask....how do we teach our Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids what and when is appropriate?
    I do think it's not something you go around anouncing to every one.....just like we don't announce our personal stuff to every one, otherwise non of us would have been using usernames on the forum!
    I know of a mom at school that thought it's a great idea to share her adoption story to all who wanted to listen at school, also enjoying the personal attention.....this backfired big time on her!
     
  5. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I don't have any experience with autism but we adopted our difficult child at birth and were very open about it from the beginning. Everyone knew we adopted, family, friends, neighbors, church people. I didn't make an announcement but people who knew us knew I wasn't pregnant and there was no reason to hide it. Since we were very open with it with difficult child it was also important that we be open with everyone sothat she didn't feel that it was a secret or something she had to hide.

    I knew that this openness could present some problems through the years and it did when she was being her difficult child self and used it to try to make people feel sorry for her. She wwas full of drama at times and liked to tell people we were mean and she wanted to find her birthmother.

    We made sure we used all the adoption terms that the adoption experts suggest. Always used birthmother and birthfather, and never said she was "given up for adoption" but rather that her birthmother made an adoption and that her birthmother could not take care of a baby at that point in her life and loved her very much to make this plan.

    Yes sometimes kids can be cruel but honestly I never saw that in regards to my difficult child's adoption. Also there are many other families that come together through adoption and you will find that true as the years go on. In my difficult child's elementary class of 100 kids alone there were over 10 kids that I knew were adopted. That's a lot. I'm sure in her high school class there were many more, and we live in a small community.

    I always felt it was importnt for difficult child's teachers to know she was adopted just in case something came up about it.

    Nancy
     
  6. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Lovelyboy, I agree, it is a different question to say how do we teach our Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids about personal boundaries and not make it seem like keeping secrets or needing to be shameful. I think Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids can tend to not talk about anything even under appropriate times or to be open books and have no sense of privacy.

    I would talk about that inside feeling, help to teach about if something feels uncomfortable or not. How to pay attention to those little feelings. (kind of like the "thought bubble" ideas of not needing to share every thought that comes into your bubble with everyone outside of your bubble). Do you do personal social stories? Maybe that can help them learn words that they can choose from. Make it clear they have every right to say their story but that it is not needed or required just because someone asks.

    I got a little pang in my tummy last year when Q said I was not his real mother. Funny thing is it was really those around him, his friends and two adopted adults who said, OH DUDE, this IS your real mom. She is the one who takes care of you every day and THAT is what a mom is. You do have a special birth mom but she is not your REAL mom. Personally, I think as MWM says... real to them just means birth. I think REAL means something to us. As they grow they kind of can get those more subtle differences. Funny thing is as much as Q knows his story (and these days looking different doesn't mean adoption but many assume this... my sister's two bio kids both look different from her and eachother as one has a dad who is African American and one has a dad whose family came from Japan and has had generations in Hawaii. One Black kid and one Asian kid and both her bio kids. LOL. She gets more adoption questions than I do with my one Hisp/AA kid!) Anyway, funny thing is that he still forgets he did not grow in my tummy and will ask me questions about when I was pregnant with him at times. Sometimes he catches himself but I think he really does not consistently think about not coming from me and my not knowing him forever. (until he is mad as someone else mentioned, lol)
     
  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Man, I did not mean to sound harsh. I am a clinical thinker and sometimes I think my posts lack the heart of others. That is NOT because I don't feel even extreme pain for the person I am answering...I am just better at writing in a more clinical, cold way...so I apologize if I made you feel bad.

    Of course you meant the best. Of course you care what others think of your son or if he may get hurt. With Sonic, we told him things slowly, as he was old enough and communicative enough to understand. We did not tell him his birthmother used drugs until he was a teenager, but we hinted at it, always saying that she was "sick" and unable to take care of any child, not just him, but ANY child. We gave him slowly fed information that he now understands. It is harder with a spectrum child, of course it is. I'm so sorry if I sounded like a biotch.

    I need to soften up my responses. It's hard though when you think in a literal way. I respect and care about you very much. We have such similar children and situations. I have to apologize for my tone. Dang me!!! :/
     
  8. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    MWM... that's probably true for MANY of us around here... including me... you are NOT alone!

    I really appreciate logical, "clinical" answers, most of the time. Unless it just happens to be an emotional issue. But I've come to understand that others may or may not pick up on that - the way I word things, may not make that obvious, and the way others read into it is based on where they happen to be at, at that particular moment. I know that with my head. And I STILL get caught. Both ways.

    So, don't be too hard on yourself.
     
  9. lovelyboy

    lovelyboy Member

    Thanx MwM! Your words mean alot.....! I do think maybe I am a bit sensitive about this! I am always just so worried that I will cause more damage.....!!!!! My son is very sensitive and take things very bad! We have many adoption stories in our family from husband mom side and mine....so its alot of mixed things thrown in together!
    Buddy...I think you word it maybe better than I could....I like the feeling bubble idea....I havent done any sacial scripts...thought the ST could help me with this.....its still new to me! Must say I was always so nicely focused on the idea of helping him with adoption stuff, but then we ALSO got this Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) thing thrown at us and I totally lost direction....and now its like both is catching up, plus preteen hormones kicking in!!!!!
    But you know....as an adoptive parent I have all this fears ,but actually its my moms pain and fears that she planted in my head about her own experiences as an adopted kid, since I was very young. But surprisingly enough my son handles it so different as what I expected....he is seemingly proud of it and it makes him feel special to know we prayed and waited 10 years for him!!!! LOL on the up side...his Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) causes him to not catch on to the suttle sarcasms or hints or remarks some people might have towards the adoption thing....for him its more a factual thing.....Nice to also have a positive side to being on the spectrum!!!!:)
     
  10. buddy

    buddy New Member

    YOu really hit the nail on the head. Yes they have Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and we have to work with that... but the are FIRST people, our children. With feelings and worries and hopes and thoughts like any kid. So, all the typical stuff like hormones really do play a part too. I agree, there are some advantages to them not being hurt or so sensitive to some things.... but then I guess at other times their misinterpretations and over reactions make up for it! You are doing fine. A loving and caring and personable woman.
     
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