I'm going to speak like I know what I'm talking about. I'm going to give demands and say things HAVE to be done.
Please know that I'm flying by the seat of my pants almost 100% of the time.
But this...this I feel pretty strongly about. I feel this way based off the, albeit limited, conversations I've had with adult adoptees. I feel this way based of off writings done by adult adoptees. And I feel this way based off the reaction my son has when I do it.
As an adoptive parent you HAVE to give your adopted kids PERMISSION to not like you.
Mother's Day pretty much sucks. The media gives it entirely too much hype. So even if I told my kids we weren't going to celebrate the godforsaken holiday, they would still be bombarded with messages that they are supposed to.
And that's rough for kids in foster care or ones that have been adopted.
Sometimes it manifests with negative behaviors from our kids.
I'm not going to speak about the negative behaviors going on in my house. My kids are older so know that they are older "nasty" behaviors that parents don't like. But it's not my place to embarrass my kids by putting all their life out on the internet forever. So I'll be vague.
I got an opportunity to practice some therapeutic parenting yesterday.
Out of the blue, I grabbed my adopted kid and took him for a drive. I showed him irrefutable proof of some things that had happened. I gave him an opportunity to tell me what's been bugging him in his life. I gave him an opportunity to fess up for the wrongdoings and to get whatever he needed off his chest.
He was embarrassed. He was angry. He did not want to talk.
He's also 13. This is pretty normal.
As we drove, I did some talking. He did some talking. And there was a lot of quiet.
Then, I told him I was pretty sure what had been behind some of the recent negative behaviors. I used my words to give him permission to be mad at me because of Mother's Day.
He doesn't have to be grateful. He doesn't have to appreciate me. It's totally OK for him to be angry on Mother's Day and to hate the whole thing. I told him that out loud.
He has spent his life trying to understand why his mother chose not to parent him. Why did she give him up? Why didn't she want him?
Yes. I call her his mother. Not his birth mother. Not his biological mother. I just call her his mother. Because she is. She carried him for nine months and then she made a decision I'm never going to understand. But that doesn't make her any less his mother.
And it is NOT my place to say that my presence makes it all better.
He didn't want to hurt my feelings though. He never does.
So it's 100% my job to tell him it's OK to have those feelings.
What I told him yesterday was basically that the behaviors are NOT OK. But if he's got words he wants to use, I have to suck it up and hear them. I have to validate them. I have to tell him there's nothing wrong with him for feeling that way. It has to be OK for him to be mad at me for adopting him. It just has to.
Because out of the adoptive triad - HE is the only person that had NO SAY in the matter.
My kiddo cried some. I begged and pleaded with him to just let it out. I offered up counseling services. I offered up everything I could think of. He doesn't want to talk to anyone but me about this stuff. So, once again, this drive was all I could do to help him. We talked about him wanting to meet his mom. I told him, again, that I was never given much information about her and his dad. They wanted a closed adoption. (At least that's what I was told. And I will forever regret being too inexperienced and naive to ask for an open one.) I told him that I "found" her on Facebook years ago and I look at her public posts. (I show them to him sometimes as well.) I haven't "friended" her because I wouldn't do that without his blessing. I offered to friend her. I talked with him about how I could send her a private message that she may or may not accept. I told him that he could start a Facebook account and message her. But that's about all I could do. I don't have an address for him to write to or a phone number for him to call.
And that was that. He didn't want to talk any more. He made no decisions about trying to contact his mom. He told me he was going to make repairs for the things he had done wrong. He went inside and it was like nothing had happened the rest of the day.
I can only imagine how hard this is for him. And it doesn't really get easier. It is different. His feelings will change. But I don't expect him to ever love the fact that he was adopted. He can love me. He can love our family. But it has to be OK for him to hate being adopted.