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My dd turned 9 years old on December 12th. I have always been very supportive and open when ever she had a question about her birth mom and or her adoption story. She was brought into my life through the miracle of infant open domestic adoption.
So today, she told me I was creepy because I was being silly with her. Then she made mention that I am just the mom raising her. I am not her birth mom...and the dreaded "You are not my real mom."
I always feared that the day would come when she would say this to me. I thought I would know how to react. But it just hit me like a ton of bricks.
I told her that yes, I am her REAL mom, even though she also has a birth mom. I told her that my love for her is real, and that I have loved her from the moment I held her in my arms, etc.
I think she felt a little guilty because she apologized, and said she didn't say anything about her birth mom. Or that she didn't remember. I just gave her a hug, a kiss on the cheek and she rode off on her bike to the neighbor's house.
How would you all have handled this? Do I further the conversation with her?
Thank you!!
9...starting to be more independent, hard age between being a little kid and a tween, has a lot of thoughts and doesn't know exactly how to articulate them - I think it's all part of the process. And not just with adoption issues either. Add the hormonal stages..whew.;)
Talk to her when she's in a good mood. Let her know that if she's having some thoughts and feelings about you or her bmom, she can talk about them. That if she doesn't want to talk to you about them, then suggest she could talk to her dad, grandma or any other trusted adult. Assure her that it's ok to feel whatever she's feeling (mad, sad, etc.) and you are there for her.
One thing I would ask her is if anyone has said anything of this nature to her. The whole "you are just the mom raising me" could be another kid saying it to her about you or a t.v. show, other media etc. It might not be (hence my suggestion above to talk to her about it), but it very well might be something as simple as this. I've had several "heart to heart" talks with my kids only to find it really wasn't a big deal and just a heat of the moment issue. Then it's a joke of "Mom...seriously?? lol.
In any case, I'm sorry it hurt and hope things are better today. Nice to see you again.:)
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Thank you for posting this, because my just-turned-8 year-old is starting some of this same stuff. We have a completely open adoption- visits, etc. He's brought it up twice now. Once, in front of my husband's friends, during a party, in his loudest and clearest voice, "You two are not my real, real parents." (I responded with an eye roll. Seriously, kid?) Then second, in his Christmas gift to us that he made in school. We opened it Christmas morning, and the card read, "Mom and Dad, You are a nice couple for me." (Doesn't it read like we've had him 3 weeks, not since birth?!?) Obviously the first thing at the party was an attention seeking deal. But now, with the card, I think I will follow the good advice above and bring it up later in the car or something.
Glad to know that I'm not the only mama with a school age kid beginning to question things more!
Natalie
This is tough to hear, no doubt.
We've had DD say this to us maybe five or six times now. But it's always in the context of her not getting her way. So I usually say, "sorry, but A and B [her bps] wouldn't allow you to do that either." Or my DH (who is adopted) will say something like, "So you think Nana is not my real mom?" And she will say, "well...no...of course she is..."
I think it's a bow in an arrow that can be used in frustration. In this case though it sounds more like she was feeling you out and I think it's a good idea to bring it up again at some point maybe with open ended questions. I am finding that DD (8.5) is in more of a phase where being like everyone else is more important than it used to be (she wants to wear the same clothes, watch the same shows, etc.). And also she definitely has heard at school the terms "real parents" to refer to her birth parents etc. so it's not coming out of the blue.
Good luck!!
My DD's are both under three so I'm glad I've got time to let this sink in to my head. I need time to have a proper response. I'm prepared for this to be said but I want to make sure I have the right presence to address it, I think you handled it just fine. I agree with the others perhaps some follow up questions at a time when she's in a good place. I think I'll start looking for adoption therapists now! LOL. I think we'll all need one.
Ouch. It does hurt, doesn't it? I try and laugh a bit, then I push my index finger into my cheek a couple of times and say "and I'm so lifelike". Makes my son smirk and look down (which is what he does when he's trying hard not to laugh and lose his control over the situation).
But still, I know it hurts.
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Thank you all for your responses. I just received a text from my daughter's birth mom the other day. It started off simple enough "Hello, how are you, etc." Then she asked me if there is anything Sarah was asking about. So I told her that there have been a few times that she asked me about her birth mom, and why she wasn't being raised by her, etc.
I wasn't expecting the barrage of texts from her telling me that she didn't want to do it, But she HAD too, and she feels so horrible, guilty and how much she loves her...etc, etc, etc. I was kind of at a loss for words. I assured her that Sarah was a happy little girl and that I would let he know how loved she is. It ended up on a strange note. She wouldn't respond back to me.
Sometimes adoption in general is just...hard...
It does hurt to hear it. I told mine that us "fake" mothers couldn't buy anything. We then had a talk about the use of the word "real".
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mom2justynsarah - I know my DD's first mom is having a guilt / emotional time right now in regards to the adoption. I can tell when she's having a sensitive time. She posts on FB about adoption and other things that give me clues. We're in a pretty open adoption but I'm sure there are times when she just "needs" to make sure our shared child is aware. I'm sorry your conversation ended oddly. Keep plugging away and your right adoption is just plain and simple hard.
Wow, it's sooooo good to hear that I'm not alone with my 8 yr old ripping my heart out and stomping on it. So much so that I truly sometimes wish I had never told him he was adopted. Ok, that's just the selfish part of me talking, but he has such a strong personality and knows how to push my buttons. As in, "I can't decide which mom to love, I'll decide in the morning..." and the famous, 'You're not my real mom, I don't have a real mom'.
Breaks my heart for him that he's so confused.
Beth
beth9927
Wow, it's sooooo good to hear that I'm not alone with my 8 yr old ripping my heart out and stomping on it. So much so that I truly sometimes wish I had never told him he was adopted. Ok, that's just the selfish part of me talking, but he has such a strong personality and knows how to push my buttons. As in, "I can't decide which mom to love, I'll decide in the morning..." and the famous, 'You're not my real mom, I don't have a real mom'.
Breaks my heart for him that he's so confused.
Beth
Who says he's confused? As others have pointed out, he is probably trying to push your buttons and it sounds like it is working.
I can only offer my view from one adoptee's perspective but when I used it.....and boy did I use that phrase once or twice, it was most definitely to push buttons, mostly as a teenager. People with only biological kids get the "I hate you, You're the worst parents EVER!! I wish I was adopted" LOLOL! The "You're not my real Mom" is just adopted kids version. I think ours just has the added benefit of cutting a little deeper.
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Due to infertility my husband and I couldn't conceive... after years of trying fertility treatments, prayers and working through that trauma and feeling like a failure, we finally followed the gynea's advice and opted for adoption. But there was hiccups as well. (I had a daugther out of wedlock before I met my husband, and having a "shortage" of babies for adoption in South Africa, was told that we did not qualify to adopt a baby.) Finally through the foster system we adopted two boys, siblings at age 5 and 2 1/2. This changed my life forever...
From the beginning my eldest son projected the anger and resentment that he felt towards his Birth Mom on me and would shut me out emotionally and turn away from me. His younger brother bonded easily with me (due to his small age) and has an extroverted loving nature, hugging and kissing and telling me how much he loves me. I would pour out my love, and my eldest son would reject it, while the youngest would receive it. Then after some family and individual counseling last year it changed for a while and I felt loved and (partially) accepted by my eldest son. From time to time I would struggle with the youngest one who picked up some of his older brother's attitude, but generally only felt resentment when I dissiplined him or didn't let him have his way with something.
Lately I've been at the receiving end of rejection and rebellion from my eldest son again. He compares himself with his friends and nothing I do or say is right. His friends told him I have no right to deny him whatever their parents allow them (sleepovers; violent pc games; whatching certain movies, etc.) as I am not his "real" mom and he doesn't need to listen to me or do as I say. He doesn't really say the words out loud, but his very attitude and the way he disrespects me screams it in bold capital letters.
People tells me not to take it personally, it's darn hard not to take it personally when it's in your face 24/7. It's hard to keep pouring out your love to a child who just don't want you... and it HURTS. The pain cuts to the very core of your being, ripping your heart, your dreams and your hopes to shreds.
I just wanted to be a MOM, but feels like I'll never be mom-enough...
Last update on October 26, 2:15 pm by Christa Goosen.
With any luck your son will grow up and learn to appreciate what you have and are doing for him.. My sister and I (not natural siblings) were both adopted, she used that weapon on mom to push buttons when she couldn't get her way and it obviously stung. Mom refused to be baited and stayed firm with her discipline, they actually became quite close once sis matured and had her own family.
Mom and I were visiting one evening, sis was having a go around with her 13 year old step son. After we left I asked "Did any of that sound familiar?" "Yes it sure as hell did (she didn't normally swear). I feel for her, I know what she is going through but I just sat back and smiled. She is FINALLY getting a taste of her own medicine." I laughed so hard I almost drove off the road.