One Thing Birth Parents Must Never Say

Dear friends,

I cringe whenever I hear a birth parent say to an adopted or foster child, “The visit with you is just not enough. I want to have you forever.”

Oh, oh.

Beware birth parents.

Even though you mean it for good, if feels like a punch in the gut to us.

Adoptee and foster kid translation?

YOU ARE NOT ENOUGH.

What we really need to hear from birth parents is sorrow for hurting us. This kind of comment will melt our hearts and teardown defenses and strongholds.

Make your words drip with reality and repentance:

  • i sm so sorry I left you (Or, that dcs had to remove you from my care, or that I abused drugs and alcohol while I was carrying you.)
  • I am so sorry I hurt you like this.
  • You may wonder why you were taken away.
  • it had nothing bad to do with you…it was about me.
  • You were always more than enough…before you were ever born.
  • Please don’t feel sorry for me because I messed up my life with drugs, alcohol.That is my responsibility.
  • I don’t expect you to love me.
  • You don’t owe me a thing.
  • If  we do spend time together sometime, that will be great. If we can’t, that’s OK too.
  • Just know I love you as best as I am able.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this particular topic.

 

Sometimes Adoptees and Especially Foster Kids Feel Like A Burden

This is an image of a woman hiding under the covers. She has deep adoption fears and this post shows how to deal with them.

I took all my stuff to the downstairs bedroom, shut the door, and crawled into bed, pulling the covers over my head.

It felt safer there.

Perhaps, there, I could escape the message that pounded in my head relentlessly:

“You are a bother.”

It was the time of my second clinical depression and I felt like I was being a burden to my husband, who would have done anything for me.

I slept downstairs by myself, believing I was doing my husband a favor by removing myself from his presence.

I really believed it to be true.

After all, how many men have to put up with wives that are clinically depresssed? Wives that are psychiatric patients? Wives that stare all day out the bedroom window, accomplishing little to nothing.

I must be a burden to him and to my adult children.

It is a deep-seated false belief within my brain. It is like the 465 Highway that runs through Indianapolis. Always active.

It is at times like this that I hate being adopted.

This tendency has shown up in my relationships with our adult children–4 of them. Two married daughters.

Whenever we are invited to their home for dinner or whatever. I always prompt Bob that it is time to go. Before anyone else. Really early.

Why?

I am a burden, a bother.

When our youngest daughter picked up on this behavior years ago, she called me on it. Now, that is love.

“Mom, you always want to rush away.”

Deep within my psyche, the message is carved….”You are a burden.”

When did this start?

Was it when I was a newly adopted baby and my parents didn’t have any parenting skills whatsoever? Was it when I stole neighbor’s clothes and my mother felt compelled to apologize for me? Or, could it have been when I fell at her feet, unmarried and pregnant, at age 20?

All those things are burdens.

But, am I a burden?

Is the baby who didn’t have a real name except Baby X a burden? Is the fact that she was whisked away from her drugged mother a burden? Is that why she had to be drugged?

I still, at age 72, carry this burden.

I’m getting better at not shaming myself, but it is a daily, monthly, yearly battle.

I have to look up.

To God almighty, I am not burden.  He chose to give me life abundantly. He was the first one to ever think about me…and He loves me incredibly.

Looking up, for me, is always the answer.

The messages carved deeply in my brain begin to fade as I remember who I am to my Creator, Redeemer, and Savior.

What Parents, Husbands, and Adult Children Can Do

  1. Tell the Truth….”You leave really early all the time.”
  2. Affirm Your Disappointment: “I love to be with you and I feel like I got cut short.”
  3. Challenge Us: “Please stay….we miss you when you leave so early.”
  4. Husbands: “I love you so much, even when you are hurting. Let me hold you in bed until you go to sleep. Please don’t sleep downstairs.”
  5. Parents of kids and teens: “I love every part of you….even when some of those parts are hurting. Will you let me in and let me hug you?”

What It Feels Like to Be A 12+ Year-Old Adoptee or Foster Kid

This is another wonderful article from JEWELS NEWS, written by Samantha Jones,  Fall 1997 Issue.

Hello, my name is Samantha and I am 12 1/2 years old. I’m Afro-American. I’m adopted. I’ve been with my adopted family for about eight years now.

Being adopted to me means being with the permanent family. Sometimes I wonder what my birth family is like. To me, the law which says you have to be 21 to see your birth parents or family is unfair! That law can have a very strong effect on people.

(Note: Indiana will have open records–July of this year. Samantha is from Indianapolis).

For one, your parents might be descended. Second you might not get to find your family or your family’s history.

Also your family might not want to see you.

I also worry when people asked me if I’m adopted.I know whatTo say and all, but it scares me a little. Not because I’m scared to say yes but scared of what they might do or say.

Example: If I say yes they might make fun of me or they might not be my friend or they might talk about me.

Inside, I know if they are a good person they won’t make fun of me or they won’t talk about me.

Being with my adopted family makes me feel good inside and outside.

It also makes me feel lucky that I have a family that loves me.

My family is just like any other family. We laugh, we talk, we have a few problems, we have fun times and sad times, we get mad at each other, but we all still love each other, no matter what my mom loves his family more than anything or anybody she knows. My family makes me have this wonderful,  sensational feeling whenever I’m around them.

Is there a family better than this? Well, I don’t for a true fact think there is but my own fact is no! You can’t find a better family or place to stay here at my house with my adopted family.

 

Your Adopted or Foster Child’s Memories May Surprise You

Frozen green peas in a pyrex dish adorned the shelf of the fridge.

A common sight from my childhood.

Immediately, my heart went to my mom, who used to make “peas on toast” for me. It was her specialty and I don’t know of anyone else who loves them as I do.

When I thought of her, there wasn’t the adolescent anger, the shouting matches at lunch hour during high school, or my constant criticism of her.

There was warmth inside at the thought of her, of Retha, of the one who fell to the floor with me at age 20 when my buckling knees crashed to the floor after announcing my pregnancy.

Did I even realize what lavish love was being shown?

Nope…not with peas on toast or hugging during buckling knee times.

It’s funny what memories we carry, isn’t it? I’ll remember something different from the same experience than you do.

If you could ask my mom, Retha, today what one of her daughter’s favorite memories was, she wouldn’t say, “Peas on toast.”

We all know the basic fact that we adoptees struggle with misplaced anger. We are mad as hell at our birth mothers for sending us away. But, who gets the whiplash anger?

Our moms.

Our moms who would go to the moon and back for us.Our moms who rub warm castor oil on our aching chests during asthma attacks and who sit up into the wee hours waiting for us to return from dates. Our moms who constantly turn the other cheek, who continue on as wounded warriors storming heaven’s gates on our behalf. Our moms who are content to not even see any love from us this side of heaven…as long as we thrive.

Hats off to you, moms.

You are absolutely amazing.

You may think you’re having no positive effects on us belligerent kiddos, but I assure you…you are.

In between the anger and rebellion are pockets of warm love that you can’t see. Really…they are there. And, there probably not formed in any way that you can possibly imagine.

But, they’re there.

Who knows how many years it will take for your adopted or foster child to discover them or for you to see them, but you all will.

For me, it’s too late.

My mom has been gone for over 30 years.

How I wish I could love her well now.

Your foster or adopted kiddo probably won’t remember your loving acts, but they will remember the thoughtful things you did for them…like making peas on toast.

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.   Helen Keller