Letter Writer: My 10-year old son Sam was adopted through foster care due to abuse which caused bodily harm. He is struggling with rejection and I’m struggling to help him.
He spent 7 years in foster care, 4 ½ of those years in my home. We finalized things almost a year ago. There had been visitations all along with his bio dad. At termination we decided for open adoption, meaning dad can see him at our house anytime as long as he calls ahead.
That lasted for 3 months, when dad stopped calling. We (his therapist and I) tried to not let Sam contact dad but he got so desperate that he tried running to dad’s house. That wasn’t a safe situation so now he is able to call dad when he feels the need.
But dad is not returning phone calls or heartfelt voice messages. Sam is struggling so bad to understand the rejection. He’s angry, he’s depressed, he’s sad, he’s confused and his heart is broken. His dad has had 4 additional children with his new wife (who I think is much of the problem) since Sam was removed from his home. Sam worries about his siblings who he has gotten to know through visitation.
Question: We adopted our daughter 8 years ago. We have an open relationship with her birth mom, Jane, and visit a couple of times a year. Birth dad is out of the picture.
Jane got married a couple of years ago to a great guy, and their life is very settled. Joe loves kids, including our daughter, and we knew it was only a matter of time before they wanted to start a family.
Jane just told us she is pregnant, due in the fall. We are meeting up with her next month for a semi annual visit. We are all so excited!
Our daughter has, in the past, desperately wanted a sibling, and we’ve talked about that in the hypothetical. About how she would have a relationship with any other children her birth mom may have much like she has with her cousins who live across the country — they love each other dearly, they just don’t get to see each other as often as we’d like.
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.
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.
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.
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.