Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wished Their Adoptive Parents Knew

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by MidwestMom, Dec 27, 2008.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    by Sherrie Eldridge

    This book was recommended to me by a post-adoption specialist and I read it with a little dubiousness. When I sat down to discuss it with my twelve year old daughter, asking her what she thought of the various points, she agreed with everything in the book, even that adoption is a "Special Need" and that adopted kids are far more afraid of abandonment (and the other issues addressed in the book). She confided in me, since we are frank about adoption, that she thinks about her birthmother and being adopted every day even though she loves us and thinks we are "great." I was shocked. Silly me, but I didn't realize how much adoption affects a child. Next I called my grown daughter who got into drugs, and she also agreed with the book, but also said that she sees things differently with the passing of time. She wants to find her birthmother, but isn't ready yet. She has the information to find her in Korea (it's not that hard anymore). She agreed that she always had a huge fear of abandonment and that she felt that she was given away because she was in some way defective. (Younger daughter said the same thing, and cried when I asked her). The insight and advice in this book are invaluable. I have always been very open about the adoptions with my kids, and we talk about it a lot--there are no secrets--and I don't get into a hissy fit if the child slips up and says "my mom" about her birthmother. My kids really do have two mothers (that is also in the book...lol).
    At any rate, it helped me see the world through the eyes of my children. it is a very informative and encouraging book. I got it at the library, but I may buy it on Amazon because I want to refer to it whenever I'm not sure what is going on with my youngest. We are so incredibly close (me and BOTH daughters). It hurts me that they have this extra issue to deal with, but now I feel more empowered to help them in a productive way. My youngest has the advantage of knowing what both of her birthparents look like.
    Anyway, just thought I'd share with anyone who may be interested. Told me more than I'd ever have guessed. (I also asked a 50 year old friend of mine who was adopted if all these issues were valid, and she gave the book ten thumbs up and said she wished her adoptive mom had known all this.)
    Why am I always so wordy? :sick: Have a good night ;)
     
  2. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    Thanks for head's up. I will definitely have to read this book.

    My daughter never talks about her adoption. She'll talk about the ceremony of when her adoption was finalized and watch the video of it over and over, but she'll never talk about her biomom and that part of her family.

    I've always been open and willing to let her. As I told her a long time ago, "It really is okay to love your bio family as much as you love me. Your heart is big enough to love us all." So, it really has been her choice to not talk about it but I wish she would. Who knows, maybe this book will be a start.
     
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    A lot of adopted kids hide it inside and are afraid it will hurt their adoptive parents to talk about it or to express anger about being abandoned. I was shocked at how much was inside my two kids and I already knew about my adopted friend. Parents who get caught up in linguistics when their kids are trying hard to express themselves, such as jumping all over them if they say "I miss my mom" and jump in and say "*I* am your real mom, that's your birthmom"---that turns the kids inward a nd makes them afriad to talk. When they are emotional, they aren't being easy child. if we can love five kids, can they not love two moms for different reasons? This book has really helped my youngest. I hope you enjoy it. I very much did.
     
  4. meowbunny

    meowbunny New Member

    I never had an issue with her biomom being called her mom ... now, if you said "real mom," I would flip a lid. But mine never talks about her or her grandmother or any member at all. She will happily listen if I talk about them but she won't say a word. She has asked a few questions on occasion but as soon as the question is answered, she'll go on to something else. Her therapist said she was pretty much that way with him, too. She really does live in the present. The past is something that already happened so not worth the worry. sigh

    But I will read the book and I will hope it opens a door to discussing things with her. I would like to know how she is feeling about things.
     
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Well, my daughter was like that too and I learned that she didn't talk because she was afraid to talk about it. She didn't want to hurt us or to maybe be rejected by us so she kept everything inside. Once I opened the door, I couldn't shut her up. And "real mom" did slip out and I didn't have a cow. She was very emotional and I knew she meant birthmother. I have an advantage that my closest friend was adopted and she is very perceptive and tells me really good stuff. She says she wished, more than anything, that her parents would have talked about adoption and helped her search and that her adoptive mother would have hugged her birthmother when they met (it didn't happen, and she can't tell her adoptive mom when she sees her birthmom). She says that keeping this part of her life from her adoptive mom has put a gap between them. She said she would have felt so close to her adoptive mom if only she had shared this very hard experience with her. She still loves her. She loves both moms and both families. It is hard to be adopted. I didn't realize how hard until I did some researching and learning. I'm a better mom to my daughters and my adopted son (autistic son) because of it. My oldest adopted son needed these discussions too and he didn't get them. At least, he didn't get the kind of free, easy, open discussions we have with the girls. He would shut up quickly so I assumed he wasn't all that itnerested. Boy, was I wrong there! That may or may not have contributed to him flying the coop--he had come at age six and that makes a big difference. I don't believe he ever really bonded to us. He did find his birthfamily. I am curious how it went, but he won't talk to us. Oh, well. The other kids are the lights of my life!!! :)
    I think the book is amazzzzing (my daughter's new word) lol.
     
  6. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I read the book awhile ago. I think I need to revisit it and talk with easy child about it maybe. Not difficult child, the understanding for him just isn't there yet.
     
  7. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Hmm, looks interesting. I think my difficult child isn't aware of all of his feeling, but every now and then we can hit one of the questions. He's not a talker when it comes to that. Mostly yes and no answers.
    Your insights and experiences are invaluable, MWM. Thank you for sharing!
     
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I was shocked that my Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) son ever thought about his adoption. He seems to live in the moment. Then once in a while he'll say something that really opens my eyes.
    He told me about a school assignment. He had to write about something that made him sad, but that he resolved. He said, "I wrote that I was sad I was adopted, but that I decided it was all right and you guys love me." I was floored. When I told my daughter, she was too. "I didn't know L. thought about stuff like that!"
    I have since started sharing more about his birthfamily with him. There is more inside the turning wheels than I sometimes think, probably because Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) kids tend to be so quiet and introspective. There's a lot going on in my son's head. He just never shares much.
     
  9. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Hmmm very interesting. This is what I have been saying for years. I often said most adopted kids have adoption issues they deal with through the years, they have a big hole in their hearts that just cannot be filled. I would be naive to think my difficult child didn't think of her birthfamily all the time or that she wasn't afraid of abandonment.

    Now I wish someone would tell us how to change that feeling of pending abandonment because my difficult child's actions will result in her having to live on her own when she is legal age because we simply cannot take the abuse any longer. And so she will belive she was correct in her fear and see it as abandonment instead of as consequences of her own actions.

    Nancy
     
  10. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Nancy, yes you did. And they do. But they all deal with it differently. In the end, they have to travel their own path. Hopefully, it's productive. A lot of kids search to feel complete. I encourage that because I know that if I was adopted, I would go nuts until I found out who I looked like, why I was the way I was, and why I was given up. My son from Hong Kong has already found his birthmother and birthsisters. He is the child who came at six who, no matter how hard we tried, never bonded to us and we don't see him anymore. I hope he found completeness with his search. I hope all my adopted kids search and find.
    The book is a wonderful read.
     
  11. Nomad

    Nomad Guest

    I have taken a look at this book and it looks really good.
    I have always felt that almost all, if not all, adopted kids have issues with being adopted.
    In a certain way, I see it as being "special needs."
    I do wish that more folks in the mental health professions would understand the full range of emotions here.

    In my area, there is a "club" of sorts for famiies with adopted kids in them. I found out about it when my difficult child was much older...18. I asked if we could still attend and they discouraged it. They said it was for young families. I do wish I had known about it earlier. I suspect such a comraderie MIGHT be helpful.

    From what I understand, they had montly speakers for the adults and periodic picncics and parties for the entire family.
     
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    It talks in the book about adoption making a child "special needs." I asked my 12 year old about that, because I wasn't sure, and she nodded firmly. I said, "Really?" She nodded again, hard. The book also had really good advice about how to raise and handle adoption issues, including being very open about adoption and not being afraid to say, "You have your birthmother's eyes." I tell my daughter how much she looks like her birthmother a lot and it makes her smile and feel connected. She loves us--I know that--she put both of us down as her heroes in her MySpace, but this need to k now her birthmother is not related to how she feels about us. My oldest daughter has a stronger feeling of self right now than the younger one--she's been through so much--but she needs to see the face of her birthmother one day and she needs to meet her...in order to feel complete. Again, it has NOTHING to do with her relationship with me and her father. She loves us, we adore her in every way. It's just something these kids need to know, as human beings, to feel complete.
    I think all adoptees think a lot about it, even if they keep it inside. No matter how much they love us, and they DO love us, they need to know why they were given away and only one person can tell them that. And they also want to know where they got their pretty eyes and their musical ability ;)
     
  13. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I'll throw this out there as a different perspective- hopefully it will help someone understand without having any hurt feelings. My dad died when I was very young- then I had a step-father. difficult child 's father never acknowledged him, much less met him or took any interest in him- yet I know if I had married, difficult child could have appreciated a male parent in his life. I thought about having difficult child adopted, but never could get past the fear of difficult child going to bed a single night worried about whether or not his bio-mom loved him. I have no adopted relatives in my family. So for what it is worth , here is my opinion:

    1) A child who does not grow up with their bio- parent (either parent or both) is going to have feelings of self-doubt, unworthiness, guilt, feelings of inadequacy, and a whole host of other negative feelings and doubts about themselves and questions that are trying to fulfill those worries. There is no way that a child can "pretend" to not have them- not that any adoptive parent ever really expects that, but the "message" being sent that the adoptive parent will be broken hearted if the kid acts a certain way serves the same purpose.

    2) Speaking as a person who grew up losing one bio-parent then adapting to a very loving and competent step-parent- and knowing that difficult child has had major issues over his father choosing not to be in his life- but also knowing that if I'd married someone who was a good father to difficult child, that difficult child could have accepted him and loved him and seen him as a father-
    Appreciating the parent that we have to raise us is not a reflection on how bad it hurts or doesn't hurt that our bio-parent is not there. It does hurt- it will always be a part of the person. But referring to someone as "Mom" or not has nothing to do with it. That is semantics- which are different for a kid than for an adult. The kid knows who is there for them and who is parenting them. The kid is trying to deal with their own identity issues, feelings of self-worth, etc. If the "non-bio-parent" acknowledges this without jealousy or ownership or expectations, it will help the child to work thru these things in a healthy way. The child will not turn away from the parent who is helping if the parent's actions aren't a reaction to their own feelings of being emotionally threatened. The child will love the parent who is there helping them thru this more, not less.

    3) I wanted with everything in me for my son to have 2 parents- I considered putting him up for adoption for that reason. But, I would have wanted him to know that it was because I wanted him to have advantages that I couldn't give him. I would never have wanted to think that he would grow up believing that it was just because I didn't want him- or I gave him away- like he's a piece of property that once another takes "possession" than the child is supposed to forget the other parent. All bio-moms don't do drugs, or drink, or pass on any more horrible genes than anyone else.

    If adoptive parents are even remotely insinuating that to these kids, it is no wonder that they won't open up and talk about their questions about who they are geneticly. That is really no different than if I sat here and belittled my son's father to him, even though I am his bio-mom.

    That's just my 2 cents- and it isn't directed to MWM- from everything I have seen-MWM is doing everything in her power to make sure her kids grow up with a healthy understanding of who they are.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2008
  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I agree with you! But I think most adoptive parents these days are sensitive and want to do what is right for their kids. I know that when they are sad about being adopted that it has NOTHING to do with us and that they love us. Its the sadness of the rejection.
    If I can love more than one kid, they can love more than one mom. I tell that to my kiddies all the time. The genetics--what makes them THEM--is their other mom. I"m the one who is parenting these wonderful gifts (yay, it didn't seem like oldest daughter was so wonderful when she was doing drugs...lol), but she is a great person. That means the birthparents passed along some wonderful genes to make some awesome kids. And you know what? My Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) son's birthmother was a drug addict, but my son is such a GREAT kid with such a BIG heart that I'll bet his birthmother and birthfather were good people in bad circumstances--very poor, maybe someone had untreated Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), who knows? I feel warm and fuzzy about the birthmothers of these wonderful human beings. And I love them because they are a part of my children.
     
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