Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Raising An Adoptee Is A Very Hard Thing Indeed

I have been frequenting the boards of Yahoo 'Adoption' Questions (yeah - silly - I know!!) - and there was a question asked about the pros and cons of adoption - asking those that answer to carefully consider both sides and give at least one answer on each!

An adoptive parent wrote a very honest response to the question - and I have copied it here -

The pros and cons are constantly running through my head. I adopted 2 children who are now 8 & 9. They came to live with me and my husband (in foster care) when they were 23 months and 3 years old (brother & sister). At the time I thought that they were young enough that we could raise them as our own and they wouldn't remember much of their past. I was so wrong! The 9 year old had a strong bond with his mother when he was younger and now I have a hard time connecting with him at all. I have somewhat bonded with my adopted daughter who is now 8 but she makes references that if her mother was out of jail then she would want to live with her. It really hurts because she doesn't even know her mother and only knows what her brother remembers from being 3-4. They did have visitation for about a year with the birth mother and my adopted daughter would hide under the table and shy away from her mom at every visit. She wouldn't even let her hold her. I know her idea of a birth mother is 100% fantasy.

My husband works 2 jobs to support us and has built onto the house to make room for the kids. He has tried to do a lot of the work himself because we don't have the money to hire it all out. It has taken almost 4 years and we are almost done. Then the 9 yr old is constantly making reference that my husband doesn't spend enough time with him. We do more with them than my parent's ever did with me. The kid has never appreciated anything! We have gone away and taken them to an amusement park every summer for a vacation, they go to the fair every year, the movies, bowling, mini golf, batting cages, you name it...we do it! The more you give, the more he wants. I have since had a child of my own and the bond is so different. I never knew what that bond felt like. He just turned 4 and has started picking up the other one's negativity. I am constantly crying and asking my husband what he thinks our biological son would be like if he didn't have than influence. I wonder if I made the right choice to adopt.

A few years ago when we decided to adopt, I was all for adoption. I was in the mind set that I wanted to change the world and help children. It is hard to help children who don't think they need help. I have had some time to be in the situation and I still believe that adoption can be good, but there is a reason everyone wants an infant. I think that would have made a huge difference in the outcome of our family!

I think it is a very brave response - and one that should be looked at carefully by those thinking about adoption. Any adoption.

Adoption is NOT easy.

You're essentially dealing with a damaged child - no matter the age of the adoption.

This was my response to her writings -

Very open and honest answer - more stories like yours needs to be told - thank you for taking the time.

My thoughts - even an infant would still feel some disconnect - as the child has come from another mother - as you say - the link between mother and child is unique, strong and amazing.

Your adopted children probably have some deep wounds from their relinquishment. It hurts like HELL to be given away by your mother - even if it was in your best interests. (no matter what age the relinquishment occurred)
To an adoptee - young or old - knowing that you have been not wanted by your mother - really really hurts. (even if your mother 'did' want you - but for some reason couldn't keep you - everybody has a deep desire to be kept and loved by their own mother)

Children don't have the words to express this - that's why many adoptees act out as they grow and go through different stages.
Please refrain from the - they should be grateful for what we have given them. I don't mean that in a harsh way - that's just how your post came across to me - an adoptee - who is -and has always been told that I should be grateful for being adopted.

Think - it wasn't my idea to be raised by strangers - adults made those decisions for me. I had no say. I shouldn't be made to feel grateful for that - really.

Adoptees often need more reassurance that they are loved, that they are needed and that you are not going to leave them.
(all things which I had so many self doubts about growing up)
Yep - we adoptees are particularly HARD WORK!! (sorry)

Love your children for who they all are individually - and with everything you have got.

Also - my thoughts - don't sugar coat the real reasons behind their relinquishment to them - especially as they grow older.
It's their truth - they need the real facts. The truth can be painful for the adoptee - but how can they form proper opinions of the situation if they aren't given all the facts.

Yes - adoptees have many fantasies about what 'could be'.
That's part and parcel with not being allowed to live with the one you should have. (if life were all peaches and cream!!)

The most 'settled' adult adoptees that I know - have honest and open relationships with their adoptive parents - and their adoptive parents love them unconditionally and do not make them choose between the parents that they love. Because most adoptees I know love their parents - with all their heart - but they love BOTH sets - not just one. And they should be allowed to do so - no matter what an adoptive parents personal feelings are towards the adoptees biological parents.

Just my advice - take it or leave it.
I really wish you all the very best as you sail through the ups and downs of raising an adoptive child. It sure must be a hell of a lot of work.
Poss. xxx

I just wanted to put it out there.

(and yes - probably a lot more could be said - but I'm trying to change some minds - just one mind at a time!! Is it working on any???)

Side note - yes - I AM STILL ALIVE. I have been quite a neglectful blogger - I apologise - but I am out their in cyber space lending support where I can (often hanging out at the wonderful
AAAFC - if you're an adoptee - please come and join the party!) and banging my head against uneducated beings (uneducated in the 'real' side of adoption) at Yahoo Adoption Questions. I also keep updated on blogs through Bloglines - soooo I am here - I am listening - I'm never far away.

Reunion update - slow and steady. A little here and little there. Not as much as I'd like - but something - which is good. A is working on a letter. A long letter. Hopefully some good outcomes will come there.

A and I have spoken by phone again - and emailed here and there. He said this last phonecall that he really thinks that P (my mother) may never come around.

He's really just confirmed what my heart has not wanted to say.

Being adopted hurts sometimes.

It hurts really bad.


Blogger angel said...

Sweet Possum, I'm glad you've had more contact with A. I hope the letter gives you, finally, some of the information you've been waiting for. So sad that P has not made any steps forward. It breaks my heart for you.. :(
I feel that our mothers are already broken. We can't mend them. It sucks.

You wrote a great response to the yahoo. I wish I was as eloquent as you!

xx hugs bella

10/10/07, 10:22 pm  
Anonymous kimkim said...

What an amazing answer you wrote.

11/10/07, 7:48 am  
Blogger Possum said...

Ah - thanks Miss Angel and Miss KimKim.
I'm glad some people are still around that read here!!!
ICK - yes I have been a tad neglectful of my blog.
Your words mean a lot.
Thank you.
Poss. xxxxx

11/10/07, 8:36 pm  
Blogger juliaNY07 said...

Hi there Possum, You wrote an amazing response. I wonder how much the birth of a bio child has threatenend the eldest child. Can you imagine, I feel he is trying to protect himself by not letting his A parents too close. I hope that this person listens to what you have said and can put the children first. Love You Jxx

p.s. have you thought about becomming an adoption councellor?

15/10/07, 9:42 am  

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