Why & How Adoptive Parents Must Face the Truth

Question: Adoption in my country is closed because children are usually found at the hospital or mosque.  But some were put in the orphanage because their parents either divorced or there’s some reason that  the parents can not or will not take care of their children. In the old days these kids stayed in the orphanage. But in recent years we’ve begun placing them through adoption.

So because there’s no contact, too often there is also no openness.

I know from listening to adoptees that when these children grow older, they will want to know what happened. They may want to know their parents or at least information about their parents. I hear adoptees say that not knowing their truth causes grief and tears.

But some moms in the adoption support group I started have a psychological block. As I’ve written before, some refuse to acknowledge the kid was adopted (this is possible to do here because the children look Arab, just like their adoptive parents). The dissonance in these mothers is so great that some stop coming to our adoption support group meetings. They are the ones who need our support most.

adoptive parents must face the truth

How can I win back an adoptive mother like this before her child is grown? I am sure then she will be the one crying.

— Zilla

WHY Adoptive Parents Must Face the Truth

As you already know, Zilla, an adoptive mother needs to address her own insecurities and grief — in short, to address her own fragility — in order to help her child gather all their parts and integrate their identity. Not to do so is tragic for all, because the relationship between parent and child cannot be enduringly strong if it’s based on lies,  either those of omission or commission.

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Her Letter Hurts! When a Birth Mom Rejects Her Daughter

Question: I was adopted back in the day and I finally tracked down my birth mother, now 85. My worst fears were realized when she rejected me a second time. I was so hopeful to finally hear from her, but her letter has put me in such pain.

Do you mind reading this and giving me your perspective? Everyone I have shared it with, my family and close friends, have their opinions but none of them have any experience with adoption. I would love to read comments from your readers as I am sure it would be therapeutic.

One more thing. I requested a picture of my mother when she was young and one now, plus medical and ancestry information. She sent me one recent picture with my half brother. I certainly would have appreciated answers to my specific health questions.

— Jill

adoptee rejected by birth mother

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I Know Something I’m Not Supposed to Know about My Child’s Birth Mom

Question: We brought our son home through domestic private adoption 14 months ago (he spent a month in agency foster care because of some time in NICU and a bunch of red tape delays).

We have openness with Ben’s birth mother, Tina — at least we did. I send pictures through an app so she can see them when and if she wants. She doesn’t directly inquire about him, though she’ll ask how we’re all doing. Months ago after a long period of not getting any response from  her, I looked on her social media, which was public, and discovered she was expecting a baby.

She’s never told me. We’ve texted a few times since, but she’s said nothing about being pregnant. Last week I discovered she’d just had her daughter. I have filed away the baby’s name in case my son wants to search for her some day. No one in Tina’s family knows about our son. (I have their names and some information as she was very forthright with it. Detectives tried but couldn’t find the birth father.)

From social media, it’s clear that her family is ecstatic about this current baby. I don’t believe Tina has any intention of telling us about her daughter, as then it would open the possibility of my son being discovered.

adoptive parent dilemma

What should I do now and in the future? I am afraid of making a misstep that ruins any possible relationship between us and our son’s birth mom. There is a very real possibility of her closing the adoption, which saddens me. Do I admit I know about the new baby, or continue as if I don’t know? I prefer honestly but it would also require I admit that I have seen this information online. I worry this would make her feel violated.

At what point do I tell my son that he has a bio sister? I would love more contact for my son’s sake, but I don’t want to ruin things in my desire for it.

— Kirsten

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Adoption as a Punchline

I had to decide in an instant what to do about an exchange I witnessed on a lunch break at school.

adoption as a joke

A parent at my school was performing volunteer duties. I watched as her son, one of my high school students,  passed by her near the main office.

“You’re adopted,” he said to her affectionately.

“No, YOU’re adopted.” she volleyed back. Obviously this was not the first time they have said these connection-building words to each other.

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Open adoption & adoptive parenting