Why Adoptees Get Mad At Their Moms

angry adoptee

Many moms of adopted children can’t figure out what they’ve done wrong, what makes their children reject them, even though they have literally poured their very souls into their children. This anger may manifest in shouting matches, temper tantrums, refusing to let you hold her hand when walking through the parking lot, or refusing to go for a walk with you on Mother’s Day.
It’s downright hard for a mom not to take this rejection personally, but it is absolutely necessary that you don’t—both for the welfare of your child and your own sanity.
If you understand the core reason why your child is rejecting you, it will be easier for you to detach from an emotional response and help your child comprehend the source of her anger and deal effectively with it.
Misplaced Anger
Anger is a scab over a wound, a secondary emotion. In other words, it happens in response to another occurrence, which is pain. No doubt, your child has the anger problem, which manifests in rejection toward you as a mom, but what is the great hurt? You haven’t hurt her! You’ve done everything humanly possible to demonstrate your great love for her.
In reality, the anger is misplaced. Your daughter is not angry at you; instead, she is furious at her birth mother for leaving her behind. No matter how loving the birth mother and the adoption plan, the absence of the birth mother translated to your child as pure abandonment. That is the deep hurt beneath the scab.
Because your child doesn’t understand this dynamic, she lashes out at you, with misplaced anger. The birth mother isn’t around, so you receive the brunt of her anger.
You may be at the end of your rope, feeling crushed beyond belief by her multiple rejections. Truth be known, your child may wonder what is wrong with her—what is the cause of this overblown anger toward you?
How to Help
Understanding adoptee loss is the key to helping yourself and your child overcome this common adoption hurdle. Many parents read Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew, make notes in the margins, and then give it to the teen to read. This has opened many conversations.
If you can help her understand the source of her anger, then she can begin to manage it through grieving her loss (professional help may be needed here) and going forward toward healthier relationships, with you and others.

Christmas In the Orphanage

It was here that abused and abandoned kids found refuge and love.

It was here that abused and abandoned kids found refuge and love.

Dear Diary,
I didn’t know that the big red brick house was an orphanage. To me, it was Grandma’s house.
That meant lots of kids to play with–all races, ages, and backgrounds. I didn’t know why they were all at Grandma’s. They were just my buddies who I liked to be with.
At Christmas. Grandma cleared one bedroom and covered the floor with mattresses, converting it to a gym. It was perfect for practicing cart wheels and back bends. Carmen could bend her body like a pretzel!
After the grown-ups talked, we got to decorate the Christmas tree. Long needles reaching almost to the ceiling. All us kids gathered around the tree and hung the ornaments and silver icicles, nice and straight so they looked real.
When the tree was decorated, we’d gather around the l-o-n-g dining room table. Grandma, wearing her green calico bib-front apron, would serve meat, mashed potatoes, and carrots, always sprinkled with pepper.
How I loved being at Grandmas!

As an adult, looking back, those memories continue to remind me that even in the midst of brokenness and pain, there is hope. Grandma built hope into the kids there….kids who didn’t know what hope was. She considered each person was worthy and significant. Never, did she let any of them “age out.” She adopted them! One of them was named Alta, who I will tell you about soon.
When Grandma died, the obituary called her the “Mother of many.”
Take time to say “I love you” to those you love today!

Be Cautious About Adoptee Triggers

mixed feelings
We adoptees get overwhelmed in a sensory way this time of the year.
We can’t stand a lot of “overload.”
My mom used to say, “You get wild.”
I thought I was just having lots of fun.
They didn’t know what to do with me, especially when I punched my fist through the door of the refrigerator! Or, when I scratched “I love you” messages on their fine wood dresser.
What can you do for your adopted child?
-Keep track of the tirggers for overload (smell, sound, touch)
-Don’t insist we sit on Santa’s lap. After all, his beard is so scratchy
-Realize at family gatherings we feel different in a yucky kind of way
-Keep things orderly at home. Too many un-finished piles of anything overwhelm us
Realize that “triggers” are to help you and your child realize that its time to make a new choice about how to react. They are not to be used as excuses for bad behavior. “I am like this because I was adopted.”
Make sure you have a spirit of calm about you.
If we get to overload, please go with us to another room where we can calm down.
We’re taking notes.
If you remain calm amidst chaos, we learn that we can, too!