I Wish My Adoptive Mom Wouldn't Blab About My Adoption Without Asking Me

The Unexpected Variables of Adoptive Parenting

Mothering an adopted child may be the greatest life challenge you’ll ever face, or should I say the greatest dance you’ll ever dance? Your child may be a newborn, a toddler, a teen, or an adult. No matter your child’s age or stage, you’re convinced that homecoming day will be epic. You’ve already determined what your first dance step will be–love. Fierce love, like that of a mama bear protecting her cubs.Now, envision the dynamics of your child’s adoption as a large wooden dance floor, waxed and buffed to perfection. Some adoption dynamics you’ll know prior to homecoming day, and others you’ll learn later when you comprehend that adoption is a lifelong journey, filled with twists and turns.

Retha, my Mom through adoption, knew many dynamics prior to my homecoming. It would be a closed, private adoption, facilitated by her mother-in-law, Leah, who was the matron of the county Children’s Home, (aka) orphanage. It was here that bruised and broken children, teens, and adults found respite during life’s storms. It would be here also, that I would be prepared for my life’s work with those touched by adoption. Every night, Leah served up a hearty dinner around her huge dining room table and how I loved the unspoken camaraderie with the children who’d also lost family.

Leah knew that Retha and son Mike would be outstanding parents. Retha was a beautiful woman, with dark shiny hair and a winsome smile. Every area of her life–whether studying to become the valedictorian of her college’s class or teaching elementary school children- she exuded rare self-confidence. When she and Mike fell in love, they dreamed of having children well into their forties. Unfortunately, infertility won. And, because they lived during the age of romanticism, even Leah didn’t recognize the resulting secret sorrows they’d carry and the profound need to grieve before adopting.

On August 4, 1945, after delivery, my First Mother, Elizabeth, was whisked off without knowledge of my gender or seeing my face. I believe she did this to save her marriage because her husband, away in the War, wasn’t her baby’s father. I was placed in an incubator for ten days, with little human touch, and was named “Baby X.” I cried long and hard for human touch, but no one came. I gave up and went within. As a result, I refused to eat and nurses listed my condition as “failure-to-thrive.” Retha was a trooper, though, especially when she learned of my suffering. Even though I was extremely small and would need ten days in an incubator before homecoming, she pressed on like any good mom does when her kids are hurting. When Leah came to get me from the hospital, she paid the bill in full–$55.97. Then, she drove the tree-lined street to Retha and Mike’s modest bungalow, where they waited with great anticipation. When Leah carried all five pounds of me into my parent’s modest bungalow, they came running, for this was the day that their dreams would come true. When Leah handed me to Mike, his hands shook, like he was holding a delicate piece of fine china and then he said, “She’s so tiny. I can hold her in the palm of one hand.” Mike recounted this memory until his dying day and whenever he told it, a sense of belonging took root in my adoptee heart.

When Mike handed me to Retha, I arched my tiny back and screamed bloody murder. Whenever a baby arches like this, it means she’s in extreme pain. This was my “cry print” to Retha. Just like a fingerprint notarizes a unique identity, cry prints communicate personal needs. My cry print was, “I lost my mama. Where is she? I’m going to die without her.”

Who can even imagine how Retha felt? Perhaps, like a bucket of ice water had been thrown on her? She must have shaken in shock, like we all do when something unfathomable happens. It would be easy for her to read rejection into my screams. “Maybe my baby doesn’t like me, or maybe I’m not suited to be this baby’s Mom. If I were, Sherrie would have snuggled into my welcoming arms immediately.” Perhaps, Retha could have put me back into my grandmother’s arms and spoken comforting words, like, “I know you miss your First Mother. I am sad about that, too. But, I’m here for you now and I’ll never, ever, leave you. I will love you forever.”


Flowers Can Bloom Amidst Pricks of Adoptee Rejection

Adoptees Can Grow Amidst Birth Family Rejection

Rejection.  Just the sound of the word sends chills up my spine! 

Rejection is the dark side of the search and reunion process. The agonizing side. The side that is rarely, if ever, gets talked about, the side media never covers. 

It is also part of our adoptee “rite of passage” into a healthier, more fulfilling life. So, don’t despair, my friends, if you are experiencing this right now. You will get through it.

How many of us are rejected? Statistics, like most aspects of adoption, are sadly non-existent, but many claim that only a minority of adoptees are rejected by a birth relative at reunion. During the years I have been researching and talking with other adoptees, however, I have found rejection to be rampant and common. 

Why do birth relatives reject some of us? Does our physical appearance remind our birth mothers of our fathers, whom they have no positive feelings for? Does seeing us trigger issues in them that they have never dealt with? Are they emotionally and mentally unbalanced? Or are they just downright mean? 

What does it mean to be rejected and how does it feel? Webster’s gives us a good start on understanding its basic message. “Refusing to have, take, or act upon. To refuse to accept a person. To rebuff. To throw away or discard as useless or unsatisfactory. To cast out or eject. Something rejected as an imperfect article.”1 

Ron Nydam, Ph.D., gives a vivid illustration from a client’s encounter with his birth mother. She told her son: “If you want answers, see a psychiatrist; if you want a companion, get a dog.”2 

I will never forget when I was reeling from my birth mother’s rejection. While attending my first American Adoption Congress, a man at one of the book tables asked me to tell him my story. I got to the part where I was going to say, “All I wanted was for her to say the words ‘I love you,’” and I lost it. He looked me straight in the eyes and said, “It really hurts, doesn’t it?” I knew by the tone of his voice that this wasn’t some platitude—it came from his heart. This dear man took me into the lobby of the hotel and told me how he had experienced the same rejection from his birth mother years ago. Still, after all that time, he wept. 

Karen says that her birth mother rejected her “right out of the gate.” She didn’t even give Karen the dignity of getting to know her first before making up her mind. Karen was her dirty secret and she couldn’t stand the thought of others knowing. She told her that her mother (Karen’s grandmother) would also reject her. 

As Karen reflects on the rejection, she says, “She didn’t just reject me—she wanted nothing to do with my son, her own grandson! When I found her, my son wasn’t even one year old, a beautiful baby. How could she reject him? The only time I met her she reviewed pictures I had brought of him with detachment and terse comments.” 

When birth siblings learn that a parent conceived an unknown child, their reaction may be to reject us as well. 

Laurie’s birth half-sister found it difficult to speak with her since she was told that Laurie was her half-sister. Laurie, like Karen, was her birth mother’s secret. Laurie has tried to make contact, but her birth mother wants nothing to do with her. She is hoping that one day she will speak to her, or that at least she will eventually develop a relationship with her half-sister. 

Richard Curtis says, “Even though I have not been overtly rejected by birth relatives, I have the feeling that I’m being ignored or at least overlooked by family members who just don’t know what to do with me. Both of my birth parents were deceased when I finally conducted my search and so my ‘reunions’ have been with siblings and cousins. That being the case, after the initial shock and curiosity of discovering a secret birth relative, most members of both families have relegated me to receiving a card at Christmas or an occasional e-mail. At first I tried to take the initiative and keep in contact, especially with my siblings; but I’ve gotten little response.” 

Okay, that’s enough. We know the realities of rejection. Let’s not stay there unless we are currently experiencing it. Then, fellow adoptee hurt words are validating. But for the rest of us, let’s move on, okay?

If we’ve received hostile responses from birth relatives, how do we usually react? 

WE ISOLATE OURSELVES. 

Isolation and rejection partner to silence us. We are frozen in fear and don’t want another soul to know our experience. We feel we have been branded for life. 

We do need isolation from the rejecting birth relatives, but not from fellow adoptees who have had similar experiences. In their company we can find a good kind of isolation, where we experience protection, comfort, strength, validation, and healing. 

As I personally became aware of this fear of being forgotten and shared it with the adoptees in my support group, eyes welled with tears and you could have heard a pin drop. I thought about it a lot in the days to come. Aren’t we as rejected adoptees a little like prisoners of war? Aren’t we missing in action in many ways? 

While studying the subject of being forgotten, I saw a poster-sized reproduction of a U.S. commemorative stamp. Two words grabbed my attention—NEVER FORGOTTEN. The poster depicted an army dog tag on a chain, inscribed with the words, “MIA and POW—NEVER FORGOTTEN.” 

My sweet husband purchased a gold ID bracelet with a chain like a dog tag. On one side I had the jeweler inscribe “Baby X.” On the other side were the words “Never forgotten.” 

THE MESSAGE BEHIND THEIR WORDS

Again, here is it so helpful for us to take a deep breath and think about the psychological dynamic of projection. All the rejecting person can see is themselves. So, when they are saying rotten things about us, what are they really doing? They’re telling us how they feel about themselves. How freeing this is!

Let’s take some examples:

  • “I can tell you are in therapy.” (I need to be in therapy.)
  • “I knew I couldn’t trust you.” (I can’t trust myself.)
  • “You are a secret in the family.” (I have a secret I’ve kept from my family.)
  • “You remind me of your rapist birth father.” (I can’t get my rapist out of my mind.)
  • “You aren’t important to me.” (I am not important.)
  • “You are disposable.” (I am disposable.)

OUR RITE OF PASSAGE INTO A BALANCED, HEALTHY LIFE

Of all the things I’ve learned lately about our adoptee journey, the concept of the adoptee’s rite of passage is the most exciting. Listen to this story and then we’ll draw parallels to our own experiences. 

I am reminded of a story about a young American Indian man who was about to go through “the rite of passage into manhood.” Prior to this event, he was prepared to defend himself in every way. On the day of the rite, he was blindfolded and led, gun in hand, into a dark forest and left alone overnight. The blindfold remained all night. 

During the night, whenever the wind blew a leaf or an animal scurried through the underbrush, he was sure it was a wild animal seeking to devour him. He was terrified. When morning dawned he removed his blindfold and saw a path leading off to his right. He thought he saw someone at the end of the path. As he contemplated the figure, he realized that it was his father, aimed and ready to shoot anything or anyone that would hurt his son.13 

LIES AND TRUTH ABOUT REJECTION

There is always an end to the dark night of our experience. Many of us might have believed that we’ll always be in the darkness and shame of rejection. Like our anger issues, we may easily believe:

  • “There must be something wrong with me or he/she wouldn’t reject me. This is shame.”

 I bet you anything, my friend, after you’ve done all your searching and reunion “work,” that you’ll find it’s not about you. It’s about the dysfunction of the person who rejected you. 

  • “Something I did or said, ‘made’ him/her/them reject me.’
      We don’t have that kind of power! No one does. We all make choices. The rejecting person’s choice was totally his/hers.
  • “I’ll never get over this hurt.”

There’s our black and white thinking. We will always have memories of the hurt, but the shame, the stinging shame, will fade in time. I promise you. Like the Indian teen, there will come a day when the sun rises and you realize you were never alone…that’s why we need one another. Those fellow-adoptee friendships are vital!

ONE THING NEEDFUL

I believe as a fellow adoptee friend to you that I can speak frankly, more so than anyone else. Okay, here we go!

We Need to Get Over Ourselves

Yes, we need to quit throwing pity parties, focusing on past hurts, licking our wounds and accept a “new template” for our future life.

Rejection does NOT define us, friends.

We are amazing people. We have survived pre-adoption trauma that’s unbelievable. We are survivors…now we need to step into that role with confidence.

Think back to the Cherokee teen. Of course, there are many sounds, movements around him, darkness and all kinds of scary stuff. But, he trusted in his inner strength, already built into him through his training by his dad, that he would come through night…strong!

That’s you, friend.

Stand strong. Stand tall. You are amazing.

OUR CHOICE

We can reject our rejection and not let it define us.

HOW TO BEGIN

  • Journal, journal, journal. Journaling provides a place for you to pour out your innermost thoughts and feelings.
  • Describe your “adoptee rite of passage.” Where are you in the process? Draw a timeline.
  • Check out this online group: all-adoptees@yahoogroups.com. We are there for you and there is no reason for isolation.
  • Get a momento, like my ID bracelet, to remind you of the day you rejected the rejection(s).

The biggest “take away” for this chapter is—don’t do it alone! If you don’t know fellow-adoptee friends, contact me. I know adoptees from all over the world that support one another through this “rite of passage.”

(This is chapter 18 from 20 LIFE-TRANSFORMING CHOICES ADOPTEES MUST MAKE, Copyright)


“I Can Now Take Rejection In Stride” Online Adoptee Bible Study

The Story of Moses 

Exodus 15 

An incredible victory had just occurred! The sea had parted, the Israelites had gone through on dry land and Pharaoh’s army had been hurled into the sea. What celebrating must have occurred in the camp!

Miriam could hardly contain herself. She picked up her tambourine and joyously began leading the women in song and dance. The crowd went wild! 

You would think such victory would be accompanied by a continuous and overwhelming gratefulness to God for his guidance through Moses, but that wasn’t the case. There was gratefulness, but only for a few days.

Gratefulness transformed into grumbling when Moses led them into the Desert of Shur where there was no good drinking water. “For three days they traveled in the desert without finding water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter” (v. 22-24). 

As a seasoned leader, Moses knew that blessing always follows battle. Thus, he prayed, threw a piece of wood into the bitter waters as God commanded and then watched, as the water became miraculously sweet. 

The Lord told the people that the bitter water episode was a test. A test in which they failed to trust and obey him. “If you will begin listening carefully to my voice and do what is right in my sight, I won’t bring any of the Egyptian plagues on you, for I am the Lord who heals you” (v. 26). 

Following close on the heels of the miraculous provision of sweet water was a second test—this time in another desert, the Desert of Sin.

What an appropriate name, for the people committed the same sin—they grumbled against Moses. “If only we could die. Why are you leading us in such a round-about way to the Promised Land? Egypt was better. At least we had all the food we wanted. But here we are literally starving to death,” they probably said. 

Moses rebuked the people, saying that their grumbling was not against him, but against the Lord. 

What a giant step in growth for this adoptee! He didn’t take the rejection personally! What boldness and what a contrast to the Moses who once had said, “I don’t have anything to say.” Moses had changed from a people pleaser into a God pleaser. 

Meanwhile, the gracious God, instead of giving the grumblers what they deserved, gave instead another miracle. It happened one morning when they came out of their tents and noticed a dewy-like substance on the ground. Moses explained that it was manna—bread from heaven, which was to be gathered each day according to each person’s need. “I will see whether they follow my instructions to gather only enough for one day,” God may have said. “This will be their test.” 

The people failed the test again. They didn’t obey God’s command to only gather manna for six days and keep the Sabbath day holy. 

In spite of God’s goodness in the years that followed, the people continued grumbling, even going so far as to question whether the Lord was really among them. In the midst of the grumbling, their enemies, the Amalekites, attacked. Moses backed off from active leadership at this juncture and gave his “son in the faith,” Joshua, an opportunity to grow. Joshua would take the troops into battle while Moses prayed for them. 

Thus, with the staff of God in hand, Moses ascended the hill to pray. As long as he held up his staff, the Israelites won. However, as the battle raged on, Moses grew weary and asked Aaron and Hur to hold up his hands. This was another triumph for Moses! He threw off his former I-can-handle-anything exterior and asked for help from others. 

When the battle was won, Moses built an altar and called it “The Lord is my Banner.” 

  1. What inner struggles do you think Moses experienced when the people grumbled and rejected his leadership? 

  1. Why didn’t the rejection disturb him?

How Moses Saw God 

Moses perceived God as Jehovah-nissi; “The Lord Is My Banner.” A banner was a standard of victory carried at the head of a military band to indicate the line of march, or rallying point. God was the rallying point for Moses and the troops. Exodus 17:15 records his words: “The Lord is my banner…For hands were lifted up to the throne of the Lord. The Lord will be at war against the Amalekites from generation to generation.”

How You See God

Please refer to the list of Names for Jesus in Scripture in Appendix B and list three to five names for God that stand out to you. It will be encouraging to look back when finished with the workbook and see how your perception has grown!

You can record your words here:


How Other Adoptees Feel 

See if you identify with any of these statements, check the ones with which you most agree:

  • I am tired of trying to please people. 
  • I sometimes feel like I can’t throw off my “I-can-handle-anything” exterior and ask for help from others. 
  • I need to learn to ask for and receive help from others. 
  • When I go to the Lord in prayer, my battles don’t seem so bad. 
  • Lately I am surprised by my resilience when others reject me. 
  • I don’t “read” rejection into every situation like I used to. 

A Banner Like None Other 

–Sherrie Eldridge 

“He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love” (Song of Solomon 2: 4). 

Suppose for a moment that you are a university coed on your way to a Saturday afternoon football game with your sweetheart. (This might be difficult for male readers, but do the best you can)!   

Autumn leaves paint a glorious palette of color around the path toward the stadium and the sound of the gathering crowd fills the air. The smell of fresh caramel corn wafts through the air and vendors sell mums with pipe-cleaner letters. 

As you enter the stadium, your sweetheart takes your hand and leads you to your seats for a great afternoon of entertainment. 

“Life doesn’t get much better than this,” you say to yourself. 

As the marching band lines up for the pre-game show, small planes with advertising banners buzz overhead. One particular banner catches your attention immediately, for it spells out a familiar word—your first name! 

After your name are three simple words: I LOVE YOU! 

“Somebody really wanted to get their message across,” you figure. When you glance at your sweetheart to see if he saw the same plane, you notice a twinkle in his eyes and a smile on his face. 

“Do you know something about that banner that I don’t know?” you ask. 

When the band conductor signals the crowd to stand for the fight song, everyone rises, except the two of you. As the crowd sings, your sweetheart pulls you close and pulls out a small gift box. 

“Go ahead! Open it up,” he says. 

Your eyes well with tears and your heart thumps. Inside the gift box is another box, hinged and covered with silk. Again, he invites you to open it up. As you do, you discover a golden engagement ring, which he removes from the box and places on your finger. 

“Honey, will you marry me?” he says. “I want to spend the rest of my life with you.” 

What a story! “That only happens in fairy tales,” you may be muttering under your breath. 

Let me share how that fairy tale comes alive day after day in the lives of those who love and follow Jesus. 

How like the sweetheart is Jesus, the Lover of our souls, who courts us daily. How like the couple on the stadium bench, oblivious to everyone around them are you and I as we enjoy intimacy with Jesus in the midst of this crazy world. How like the sweetheart who went to extraordinary lengths to demonstrate his love by having his message of love unfurling behind a plane, did the heavenly Father in sending his only Son to die for us at Calvary. How like the words of proposal spoken to the coed are the words of Jesus…“I want to spend eternity with you.” 

The analogies are endless. But perhaps in the midst of our hectic days, we should take a look at his banner flying over us. And as we do, we will delight in its message once again: (Put your name here)…I LOVE YOU! 

Learning about Adoption 

Perhaps one of the greatest battles for an adoptee is giving up people pleasing and not taking rejection personally.

Ronald Nydam, Ph.D., in an article entitled “Doing Rejection” appearing in Jewel Among Jewels Adoption News said, “The task of all adoptees is to finally relinquish their relinquishment; that is, to really accept the decision of the birth parents to carry out their plan for adoption. If the original relinquishment is not relinquished, the adoptee may chronically hang on to the primal connection in such a way that she is never free to be fully adult. Doing rejection successfully means opening the door to a full life as an adult who can do self-acceptance and intimacy in spite of a birth parent’s negative opinion.” 

Putting my Feelings and Needs into Words 

  1. Are you driven to please others? If so, what are some of the ways you have tried to win the love and acceptance of others? 

  1. What is the most painful opposition or rejection you have experienced?

  1. When you are faced with rejection, what are your options and needs?

  1. Have you “relinquished your relinquishment?” How? When? 

A Drawing for My Birth Mother

Draw a picture of yourself atop a mountain, plunging a banner of victory into the ground. Why not make this the day that you relinquish your relinquishment and see the Lord as your banner? 

Draw a picture of yourself and your birth mother after you relinquish your relinquishment. 

  1. “He has taken me to the banquet hall, and his banner over me is love” (Song of Solomon 2: 4). Meditate on this verse and then ask yourself: 

• What would the banquet hall look like? 

• What would Jesus look like? (Just think…he is the one who will meet ALL your needs). 

• What would he say to you? 

• What would you say to him? 

• What color is the banner? 

• What does the banner say? (What words does he use to convey his personal love?) 

  1. Read Isaiah 54:17. If you think about rejection as a weapon that is formed by Satan to destroy you, what does God promise and what does that mean to you? 

  1. Joseph of the Bible was rejected by his brothers and sold into slavery in Egypt. Joseph walked so closely with God that he found favor in the eyes of the Pharaoh and was put in a high position of authority. When a famine came in the land where his rejecting brothers lived, they came to him, asking for food. Joseph’s response in Genesis 50: 20 says a lot about how he viewed rejection. What did he say to his brothers? How can you apply this to your life?

  1. What is the “take away” for you from this chapter? 

Thoughts, Insights, Goals and Prayers 


Rejection can roll off you like water off a duck’s back! Like Joseph, you will be able to trust in the fact that any rejection life can throw at you will always be turned for your good if you belong to God.

The need for approval from people will be replaced with a deep desire to have an intimate relationship with God. We are then able to come full circle with our adoption experience and learn to see it through God’s eyes. We begin to see that indeed, we were adopted for a purpose. This will be our topic for the last chapter. 

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What Adoptive Moms Can Do When Their Kids Throw Pie In theIr Face

How Adoptive Moms Can Reverse Their Child’s Misplaced Anger

I’m going to ask you to do something in regard to your adopted child’s anger that will likely seem crazy, but hang tight…it will make sense after you read the prescription for helping your child process misplaced anger and find healing from pre-adoption loss. 

First, think  about your reaction to your child’s outbursts, rages, and rejections. Do these scare you? Do you wonder if you’re doing something wrong as a mom? Do you feel helpless and hopeless about how to deal with it? 

You’re not alone.

 Let’s take a close look at the world of adoption literature for the last few decades and give accolades to Nancy Verrier for her best-seller, THE PRIMAL WOUND. If your adopted child is a teen or adult, he/she may carry the dog-eared book around for quick reference. Why? It’s a validation of not being crazy and proof that actual words can be wrapped around the deeper-than-death loss.

Ms. Verrier’s proposition states that if adoptees are validated concerning their loss, they will heal. That discovery came 20 years ago, yet the majority of adoptees who’ve read it are still stuck and unaware that healing from un-grieved adoption loss is a possibility.

Ms. Verrier took the adoption community a long way in the journey toward adoptee healing by teaching us the value of validation. She validated the wound, but there’s another validation that must follow on the heels of wound validation–the validation of adoptee anger. 

Did you just gasp? Did you wonder if you misread what I just stated about validating your child’s anger? Did you look inside and question if you’d ever have the energy to withstand that additional pressure?

Those reactions are understandable. You may perceive I’m asking you to have an unexpected cream pie thrown in your face in addition to being rejected. No way.

Understand What Your Validation Says To Your Child

First, I’m asking you to understand what validation of your child’s anger means to him. For starters, it means this to many adoptees:

  • You’ve heard my cry.
  • You won’t leave me in my pain.
  • You are for me.
  • You’ve been traumatized…I am so sorry you had to experience that.
  • You won’t abandon me in a crisis.

Let me add here that your child is likely confused about his/her anger, for it seemingly can’t be controlled. It explodes without invitation, like a bomb.

Your child may think that “they are their anger.” They may conclude, “I’m just an angry person.” Or, they may wonder if it’s a character defect passed down from unknown biological generations, or even a spiritual generational curse.

Validate “Flung” Anger

What I’m asking you to do is validate your child’s anger even when it’s flung directly at you. In order to accomplish this, you must be self-regulated, and a gifted adoption-competent therapist can help you develop that skill.

Back to your child’s healing…for healing to occur from Nancy Verrier’s famous primal wound, a scab must form, which gradually becomes like a crusty umbrella protecting the wound.  

Let’s agree that the scab for the primal wound is anger–a God-given emotion to protect and warn us that something needs attention. Does this concept not clarify the next step after validation of the wound?

When your child is healing, the scab will itch, but don’t let it get pulled off. In other words, your child may want to short-circuit your healthy validation of anger by throwing more rejection or  or slipping into relapse.  If this happens, don’t give up.

Another function of the scab is to create such an atmosphere for new growth. The scabby umbrella makes new skin feel safe and nurtured. This occurs where the wound once was. 

As you incorporate your knowledge of the healing process, you’ll also need to provide regulating statements for your child. By regulating, I mean that you’ll validate the flung anger but then help your child bridge emotionally from the past hurt to his present-day reality. It’s basically teaching “that was then, but this is now.” 

Again, sessions with an adoption competent therapist will help tremendously. Check out Bryan Post from The POST INSTITUTE. postinstitute.com/tag/bryanpost.  

Here is a list of Adoption Competent Therapists from the Center for Adoption Education and Support. I think the world of them. https://adoptionsupport.org/member-types/adoption-competent-professionals/

Keep in mind as you help your child regulate his/her emotions that usually the core emotion is fear. The majority of adoptees look at life through a lens of fear. Fear of abandonment. Fear of rejection. Fear of being invisible. Fear of being thrown away.

Now, I’d like you to buckle your seatbelts and read some anger statements that my research proved true of many adoptees. 

  • Hell, yes I’m angry. I have a right to be.
  • It’s not my fault.
  • My first mom kicked me to the side of the road and went on with life.
  • You are a loser.

Next, let’s turn the angry accusations into validation and regulation.

Turn Angry Accusations into Validating and Regulating Statements

The old axiom that “practice makes perfect” applies here. I’ve concocted these examples to help you practice your validations and regulating statements: 


  1. I HAVE A RIGHT TO BE ANGRY.

Yes, you certainly do have a right to be angry. You have experienced the greatest loss anyone ever could–the loss of your first parents in the parenting role. This all happened before I ever saw you and I want you to know that I understand and am here for you whenever you want to be angry about it.

    2. IT’S NOT MY FAULT.

Of course, losing your first parents in the parenting role is not your fault. You had    absolutely no “say” in the decision. You were an innocent child and your voice couldn’t even be heard. No wonder you’re angry about that. Remember though, that my voice for you will now will always be for the best possible outcome. 

Moms, be sure to not tell your child that he/she was placed for adoption because the first mother loved her. Remember that your child, no matter how fancy the adoption ceremony and no matter the age of your child, sees the disappearance of the first mom as rejection, pure and simple. 

To equate the first mother’s decision with love confuses your child about the possibility of even knowing what love is or how to receive it from others, including you.

3. MY FIRST MOM KICKED ME TO THE SIDE OF THE ROAD AND WENT ON WITH LIFE.

I can’t imagine what that felt like for you. Do you actually see her kicking you to the roadside? Where is the road? What does it look like? And, how did you respond when you were kicked to the side? Did you scream? Did you curl up in a ball? I just can’t fathom what you felt then. Right now, though, there is no road or anyone that will kick you to the side of the road. In fact, I’m at the side of your road now and I’m you’re number one cheerleader. I will never, ever abandon you.

4. YOU ARE A LOSER.

I know that is what you’re seeing. You see me as the mom you didn’t want, for all your body wanted was to be close to the mom you lost. I can’t imagine how mixed up inside you must be that I’m now your mom. I want to assure you that as your mom, I am willing for you to think I’m a loser if that will help you let go of that confusion and anger. Know that I will always love you no matter what you call me.

Moms, please know that when your child calls you a loser, he/she is really saying, “I am a loser.” That hatred is basically toward self.

Put On Your Yellow Rain Slicker

The last topic here is a tool for your own self-regulation. It was shared with me on my FB page–What Parents Can Do When Adopted Kids Reject Their Love.

When your child flings rejecting, hateful, and angry statements at you, imagine putting on a yellow rain slicker–your yellow rain slicker.

When the hurtful remarks come like pelting rain, they will have no power to hurt you. They will roll off you, like raindrops.

And so, looking back over the decades of adoption literature, thank you, Ms. Verrier for validation of the adoptee wound, but moms and adopted kids are moving on now–toward creating new growth beneath the scab of anger.

We now know that the secret ingredient for reversing misplaced anger is validation of “flung anger.”

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