“Tell My Son” and wife adopted a baby born to a teenage niece. Now age 5 or 6, Jake has always known he was adopted. His parents showed him a photo of his birth mom, Tara, when he was old enough. They told him he could get more information about his birth parents any time he wanted.
At some early point the wife was advised to “never give Jake more information than he wants.”
Due to geographic distance, Jake and Tara have seen each other only a handful of times, and the parents report that Jake has never connected with her picture. Tara is a little awkward during visits, and the letter writer says “she avoids us when she’s visiting.”
With an upcoming annual visit, Tara would now like to begin to cultivate a more authentic relationship with her son. Her big ask of Jake’s parents is that they give Jake the truth about her.
Question: Some kids in my adoption community have history, sometimes unhappy, harsh, and/or abusive history before they joined their families. The kids sometimes talk about their history with their adoptive mothers who attend a support group I host.
Is that enough? Or is it better that these children work with a therapist? If these children talk at a young age and their mothers comfort them, will their teen year be better? Or will they still have tough teenage years?
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.