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The journey so far being an adoptive mom

07 Dec

This post is by Tiffany one of my friends I met on an adoption forum years ago.  She’s fierce about what’s right, what’s wrong, she’s also an adoptive mom.  A while ago, I asked her to write a post that might help others understand the complexity and challenges of adoption.  She said she’d tell her story and see if that helped.  This is a long-read so grab a beverage before digging in.  This is a must read.  Thank you my friend.

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Growing up, I decided that when I was big, I was going to adopt a child. I knew so many families with adopted children, and something about it seemed to connect with me. I now see the naiveté in my thinking. I was naïve. But I’m also committed to be truthful about my journey as an adoptive mom, and the truth is that is what drew me to adoption as an adult.

I look back now and see my very good intentions but realize how very much I didn’t understand. Granted, this was all in the days before the internet where you could find so many people sharing their thoughts. I did know many adopted kids, and they never talked to me about being upset about being adopted. Now, I realize that perhaps that is because they didn’t want to talk about it, didn’t view me as a safe confident for whatever reason, or maybe hadn’t even fully processed their own feelings.

My husband and I started seriously pursuing adoption shortly after our daughter, who is our biological child, turned two. We felt she was at a great age for a sibling, and since I had always wanted to adopt, we decided to try. After much research and attending several information sessions, I picked an adoption agency that I felt was ethical.

A short time later, we attended the day long, state mandated training session put on by the agency I had selected. We came out doubting our decision and questioning if this was right for us. We were disturbed by the attitudes of the other potential adoptive parents (PAPs) and the comments they made about expecting mothers.

One PAP talked about how they had been offered a match with a mother who was in a drug rehab facility, and she spoke so derogatorily of the mother. They refused that match because they did not want a child born to a drug addict (she did not use such nice phrasing). Another PAP talked about how they were matched already, and her conversations revealed that she clearly had an inappropriately close relationship with the expectant mother. I was deeply disturbed, and this was even before I connected with birth mom groups and realized the level of coercion present in the industry. There were two first mothers who spoke, and it was hard for me to see that they were currently at good places in their lives but had given up their babies because they lacked support. They both stated in the Q&A session that had they to do it over, they would not.  We were the only couple in the room who did not have infertility issues, and that was incredibly uncomfortable. I have never felt more like adoption was about purchasing a made-to-order baby grown by an incubator than I did that day.

On the drive home, we decided to put a pause on the adoption path, and I was going to start exploring if foster adoption was a possible option for us. However, before I could do that, a close friend met an expectant mother who was looking to place her child for adoption but had not contacted an agency. My friend mentioned us and asked if she wanted an introduction.

I have to get hazy in the telling here because I am fiercely protective of both my daughter’s and her parents’ stories because I believe they are not mine to tell. I will say that my daughter’s parents were in a position where they did not feel they could keep their baby. Hardly a day goes by when I don’t think back to the night we met them and wonder if I could have done something and kept my daughter’s family together. I can honestly say that I don’t know what I could have done differently, but I still revisit it again and again and wonder. My nature is to fix things, to help people, to make it all better. It’s hard for me to let it go when I can’t.

Two days after meeting her parents, we went home with our daughter. I have never experienced anything more emotionally traumatizing than my daughter’s separation from her parents. As I write about it now, I am choking up and tears are falling. If anyone tries to tell you that a baby doesn’t experience loss when adoption occurs, please tell them that’s bullshit, with my compliments. If anyone tries to tell you that birth mothers don’t care about their babies, the same goes.

My daughter cried and fussed all that first night, and there were other times, especially after the first few visits with her parents, when I could absolutely tell she was grieving and upset. I hadn’t yet read The Primal Wound, and no one had ever mentioned anything like that to me. But I had been a very attached mother type with my first child: co-sleeping, extended breastfeeding, positive punishment methods (ie, no spanking or time outs)… all that good, old crunchy stuff. I felt the mother-child bond was incredibly important. So, I was the same with my younger child, and I could tell it was very hard for her to lose the familiar voice, sound, and smell of her mother and have only the arms of a stranger. That immediate bond my biological daughter and I had was missing because my younger daughter was not born to me. I loved her instantly, and I felt the intenseness on my side, but I was still a stranger to her. I barely put her down those first weeks because I wanted to constantly comfort her. It broke my heart to listen to her mournful cries, and it pains me even now to realize this little person I loved more than my life suffered in that way. She was scared and worried and felt abandoned, and I hurt so much for her.

Adoption can really suck sometimes.

My daughter has asked me often “If they loved me, why did they give me up?” You know the people who say “She gave you up because she loved you so much and wanted you to have a good life?” That’s crap. People don’t willingly give up someone they love. I won’t teach my daughter that love means abandonment. My daughter’s parents loved her immensely and didn’t want to say goodbye. I actually heard my daughter’s mom’s heart breaking when she handed her baby to me. The pain in the room that night was visceral; it hung around us like a heavy fog.

My response to my daughter when she asks that question has always been something along the lines of this, depending on her age: “Your mom and dad loved you so very much. It hurt them so much to let you go. They love you still. They gave you to us because life isn’t always fair, and bad things happen to good people. People can find themselves in situations where they have no control and no good options, and that’s where your mom and dad found themselves. It’s ok to be sad or angry about this, and it doesn’t mean you and I don’t love each other or that you don’t love sissy or daddy. You can love us and miss your other parents, too. Or you can feel like you don’t love me. That’s ok, too. I love you so much, and whatever you feel is ok, and it will never change how I feel about you.”

Fairytales tell us that love is enough- that it conquers all. But in real life, it isn’t. Mamas in war torn countries want to protect their children from bullets and bombs, but they can’t. That isn’t their fault. Mamas in poor, third world countries want to feed their kids, but they can’t. That isn’t their fault. I have privilege born of a better set of circumstances, and it doesn’t make me a worthier or better mama than anyone else. My love is not stronger or more powerful than these other mamas. I am not better than my daughter’s other mama. I’m just lucky.

The question of adoption keeps coming up though. It isn’t a one-time answer and done. I just heard last night, out of the blue, my daughter’s voice say sadly that she wished she lived with her other parents. I hugged her for a minute, told her I heard her and understood, then she ran back to playing and the issue was dropped. For now.

This past weekend, the framed picture of her parents that usually sits on her desk made an appearance at the tea party she set up for fun. My older daughter and I watched and waited for our pretend tea to be served while she performed a little ritual with the picture and some Dia de los Muertos figurines. I wondered if she was simply making the connection between her heritage, the figurines, which she had just gotten, and the picture of her parents, or if there was a deeper emotion attached. But I didn’t press, and she didn’t say anything more. She served me my pretend tea and offered a plastic cupcake, and the picture sat between Piglet and my daughter for the rest of the party.

Emotions can run so deep that sometimes, and they come out in ways where words are not enough.

We parents want to fix things for our kids. We want the pretty two minute speech they show in those sitcoms when a child is faced with a difficult situation, and the music plays, and the parents says all the right things, and the kid is all like “You’re so right. I’m all better now.” And everything works out so perfectly.

Real life is much messier than that. There are no easy answers when my daughter tears up and sobs that she misses her mom and dad. All I can do is offer her my arms and say that I understand she feels sad, and that’s ok, and I’m sorry that life isn’t fair. There are no easy answers as to why visits with her parents don’t happen more often, or why she can’t go live with them, or why she has to be adopted when she wishes she wasn’t and wishes that she had grown in my tummy like big sissy, or when she angrily tells me I’m not her real mom because she doesn’t like that I’m asking her to pick up her dirty clothes.

I have wracked my brain trying to think of the pat little speech that will end with her smiling and saying she feels all better now. It doesn’t exist.

All I can do is tell her every time that her feelings are ok, and I love her.

Selfless love is a requirement to be a good mom. I make so many mistakes, and I don’t claim I have even a fraction of the answers. I just told my husband last night that I feel like I do it wrong with both my girls 50% of the time! I was so at a loss of what to do over something going on with my older daughter and how to guide her through it. All I can do each time is hold onto that selfless love that puts their feelings into perspective and holds their hearts above mine. There is no room for self-pity or jealousy or insecurity when you are a mom- whether biological or adoptive. You are raising a tiny human being, and the enormity of that job is too big to leave space for feelings that will derail even your best of intentions. I try to handle my daughter’s adoption with humbleness and openness, realizing that she never asked for this burden, and it is certainly a heavy one.

The night I brought my daughter home, all my former naiveté around adoption, whatever was left, went away. It was sobering to hold this tiny, precious baby in my arms and feel her sadness and confusion and know that her mother was also missing her desperately at that exact moment. I remember crying. When I had come home with my older daughter, there was so much joy. And certainly, I had joy for this new little life, but I also had sorrow for her loss and her parents’ loss.

I think that so far, that has been the most important part of my journey as an adoptive mom: to realize there is depth of loss from the moment of separation that would remain an asterisk for the entirety of my daughter’s life story. It will never go away or be forgotten, and we will have to help her deal with the emotions that come from being separated from your family of birth.

Some APs may think that means I am wallowing in adoption and not accepting my daughter as my own, or that I am making too much of the biological connection and not enough of the actual parenting that I do. I have been told that more than once. But I think that is a reflection of how challenging it can be for us to sit with another’s pain and be patient enough not to want to push it away or move on to something else.

None of us can define another person’s life experience or how she will view events in her life through the lens of her own emotions. I am careful not to put emotions onto my daughter and that includes even my sadness around her adoption. I think that can be just as damaging as ignoring any potential negative feelings. Instead, I try to remain neutral and allow her feelings to develop, and then I am there to support her. She can go for weeks without mentioning anything about adoption, and then we will have days in a row where she is upset and sad, or moments when she just wants to factually talk about it and seems to have no real emotion tied to the line of questioning.

This world will never be perfect. I am so incredibly grateful that we were there when my daughter’s parents were looking for a family. She fills a place in my heart that I didn’t know was empty, and only she could fill it. But my joy comes at her loss, and her parents’ loss, and I am always aware of that price and the fact that someone I love more than my life is paying part of that cost. I am no longer a naïve child who thinks adoption is just so beautiful, but in recognizing that, I can at least set myself on the path to being the mother my daughter needs me to be, and the mother her parents trusted I would be to her.

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52 Comments

Posted by on December 7, 2017 in Adoption, adoptive parents

 

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52 responses to “The journey so far being an adoptive mom

  1. Laksh

    December 7, 2017 at 8:02 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. Resonates so much with how I feel.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Tiffany

      December 7, 2017 at 10:11 pm

      Thank you so much, Laksh. (Author of post)

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • Laksh

        December 7, 2017 at 10:20 pm

        Tiffany, do you have a blog or do you write anywhere periodically? If so, would you share the link. I would love to follow you.

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        • Tiffany

          December 7, 2017 at 10:23 pm

          I used to blog a while ago about parenting, but I decided that it was too revealing for my kids (they didn’t get a choice in me sharing their stories so publicly) and stopped. I would love to write more though! I miss it.

          Liked by 2 people

           
          • Laksh

            December 7, 2017 at 10:28 pm

            I hear you. I am facing the same dilemma now but I have already put out so much of our story out there that even this regret feels faux. If there is a way to be connected to your words, I would love to be.

            Like

             
  2. Ewa

    December 7, 2017 at 9:20 pm

    A year ago this would resonate with me much stronger – but this year I’ve heard/watched on TV far too many stories of kids being literally tortured (some of them to death) by their bio parents. I don’t want to sound stupid or patronizing (sorry, but English is not my first language) but I think they’d rather live with the primal wound than with disabilities caused by their oh-so- emotionally attached bio parents who’s never give up on them.. The poor kids should have been removed from their families asap and live a long (more or less) happy life in their adoptive/foster homes. Adoption is still the lesser evil.

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    • TAO

      December 7, 2017 at 9:26 pm

      Ewa – I’m going to approve your comment, but I’d urge you to spend time educating yourself on domestic infant adoption and the fact that sometimes parents feel they don’t have the resources to parent the child coming and look for an alternative. In other words, they aren’t the stereotype you are portraying, rather they are facing challenges they can’t over-come.

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    • Tiffany

      December 7, 2017 at 10:10 pm

      Hi Ewa, I am the author of this post.

      All children deserve to be in safe homes.

      My daughter’s parents made the choice at birth to place her for adoption, but had they not, they would have been excellent active parents for their daughter. They are good and decent people, and should our (I use that including them in the “our”) daughter grow up to be like her parents in every way, I will be proud and happy.

      I would counter your point with fact that adoptive children are not immune to parental violence. I’ll give you a few names that have shown up in the news recently: Matthew Scully-Hicks, Jacob Sullivan and Sarah Packer, Jorge and Carmen Barahona, and the ones who have received the most national focus, Wesley and Sini Mathews. These are all adoptive parents who killed their adopted child, and these are just recent ones that have been in the news lately or are going to court now. There are so many more, as well as many cases of abuse at the hands of adoptive parents.

      Adoption is not the “lesser evil” in all cases, clearly, and you can’t make some grand overall statement that children are better off adopted. Maybe. But maybe not.

      In my daughter’s case, if asked this question, I would say no, she is not better off. It’s different. That’s all. We are not better people than her other parents, and I fully believe they would have been good active parents to her. (Sometimes, that knowledge brings an extra layer of sorrow, but it is still true.)

      Liked by 2 people

       
  3. Luanne

    December 7, 2017 at 9:46 pm

    Beautiful post, and I could relate to a lot of it. Of course, the story of an AP who gets there, at least in part, through infertility is a bit different.

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    • TAO

      December 7, 2017 at 9:50 pm

      I’m sure the journey then has different challenges.

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • Luanne

        December 7, 2017 at 9:50 pm

        For parent and for child, too, I would imagine.

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        • Tiffany

          December 7, 2017 at 10:14 pm

          Hi Luanne, I’m the author of the post. I can’t pretend I know what it’s like to experience infertility, even though I have people close to me who have experienced it. I am curious as to what you would consider different about what I shared in relation to someone who has experienced infertility. I’d appreciate it if you were willing to share, but I understand if you would rather not.

          Liked by 1 person

           
          • Luanne

            December 7, 2017 at 10:38 pm

            There are layers of differences, and that the search to adopt begins with a profound sense of loss for many infertile couples can’t be denied. How does that affect children later on when they realize their APs were infertile? Lots of differences. My own situation as an AP was sort of a combination of both. I started out naively as you did thinking it would be so wonderful to give a home to a child in need. then had health problems and difficulties with fertility as well (though not infertility per se). Everybody comes to this from a different perspective. I think APs who come to adoption from infertility could sometimes use some really good therapy before they adopt. To just push down and ignore the grief seems dangerous to me–and not good for the children being adopted.

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        • Tiffany

          December 8, 2017 at 4:49 pm

          Luanne, thank you for sharing. Your comment about receiving counseling prior to adoption is something I have always thought as well, and I actually offended a friend when I suggested it to her when she asked me about adoption. I tried to frame it in a very compassionate way, but she was immediately affronted by the idea that her loss (infertility is a loss, too) could impact her parenting of a child who was adopted. I think we all bring baggage into parenting- I have had to work through a lot of my own in order to be a good mom. You seem to be open and honest about that extra layer of complexity, and I think that’s always the key for adoptive parents: for us to be authentic about how complex this situation is and be aware of our different perspectives, as you say.

          Liked by 1 person

           
          • Luanne

            December 8, 2017 at 5:44 pm

            Well put, Tiffany. I think your friend’s response is actually pretty typical (the defensiveness), and that is one of the things that APs shouldn’t take into their relationship with their kids.

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  4. TAO

    December 7, 2017 at 10:15 pm

    Thanks Tiffany – wasn’t sure if you wanted to be anonymous or Tiffany.

    Like

     
    • Tiffany

      December 7, 2017 at 10:34 pm

      No problem. 🙂

      Thank you so much for asking me to write it and share it in your space. I’m truly honored. You have taught me so much through the years with your thoughtful words and willingness to share your journey, and I thank you so much for that.

      Like

       
  5. Paige Adams Strickland

    December 8, 2017 at 12:09 am

    Tiffany, This is such a thoughtful and compassionate piece. Thank you!

    Like

     
    • Tiffany

      December 8, 2017 at 4:54 pm

      Thank you, Paige. I bookmarked your blog so I could read more later. I liked what you said in your current post – “I personally believe you can feel both grateful and joyful for the life you got with adoptive parents and still have compassion, grief, anger, etc for what you did not get to experience and for whom you did not get to meet.” I try to teach my daughter conflicting emotions can sit next to one another, just like you said. I think that’s really hard for our human brains to wrap around- that we can have such dichotomous emotions that coexist regarding the same event.

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  6. Pj

    December 8, 2017 at 1:17 am

    Thanks, Tiffany. As an adoptee (Baby Scoop Era), I sobbed ( I do that a lot !)
    Sometimes I think we all just have to agree…adoption is so complicated !

    Like

     
    • Tiffany

      December 8, 2017 at 4:56 pm

      Sending you a hug, Pj. I cried writing it, too. The complications can bring up so much feeling, and adoptees really are expected to deal with these challenging feelings on a daily basis, and it can be so emotional.

      Like

       
  7. 收养的人

    December 8, 2017 at 2:24 pm

    Tiffany, I am an adult adoptee. Thank you for sharing your feelings and keeping the story of your daughter and her first family private. I am so humbled when I read words like yours and can honestly think “Yes! This adoptive parent gets it – all the nuances, complexities, and forever mixed and unresolved feelings about adoption.” My mother always said that she knew one of her greatest joys came from someone else’s greatest pain. I think that understanding everyone in the process is human and recognizing their emotions, too, is key. The word lucky is loaded in the adoption community, but I think that your daughter is lucky that she has a mother who will be open with her about adoption, validate her feelings no matter what they may be, and is willing to leave behind that naïveté to see adoption for all of the positive and negative components involved. If you’d like to read a piece written by my mom on her perspective of adoption, I’ve included the link to my blog.
    https://redthreadbroken.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/why-i-an-adoptive-parent-am-not-pro-adoption/

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  8. 收养的人

    December 8, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    Reblogged this on Red Thread Broken and commented:
    This is a must-read post for all adoptive and prospective adoptive parents and is perhaps one of the most beautiful and honest responses I have seen lately. I urge you to read this adoptive mother’s words with an open mind and heart as she shares openly her complicated feelings on adoption and how her family came together. I commend parents like this one who are willing to learn, grow, and question in order to better understand and better parent their adopted children.

    Like

     
    • Tiffany

      December 8, 2017 at 5:05 pm

      Thank you so much for sharing. This is all very humbling for me because I truly believe in the sanctity of the adoptee space, so I deeply appreciate being given this opportunity to share my perspective.

      I loved your mother’s piece so much- she and I could be good friends! I have read your blog before, and I have read that post, but it was good to read it again. It’s such a great piece and really resonated with me.

      What I really liked, though, was your followup to it. My initial hesitancy with TAO was that this is an adoptee space, and I am a visitor who is allowed here to learn from those who know far better than I what adoption is like. I wasn’t sure I had anything to contribute to the conversation. But I know that adoptive parents have the privilege of being the loudest and most respected voices in adoption, and even though it is not right, it is reality. It is my responsibility (just like with racial discussions) to use my privilege to elevate the adoptee and first parent’s to a higher visibility, and that sometimes means being quiet myself and just sharing your words, which I do. But sometimes, it means sharing my perspective and reminding society that adoptive parents do feel adoption is complicated and messy and very hard for the adoptee to experience. My hope is that I am helping pave a path for my daughter, so that when she is an adult and she shares her view, whatever that may be, it is acknowledged and supported, not shut down or demeaned.

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • TAO

        December 8, 2017 at 6:56 pm

        Tiffany – I’ve always wanted to help others be aware of the nuances – that requires all voices to take part. Right now I’m feeling very thankful for the responses, the amount of people sharing this post. Making it better for the current and future generations is the goal – and all voices play a role. Cheers

        Like

         
  9. Lori Lavender Luz

    December 8, 2017 at 6:53 pm

    “There is no room for self-pity or jealousy or insecurity when you are a mom.” Wise words.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Tiffany

      December 11, 2017 at 11:55 pm

      It can be challenging to live sometimes, I know, but I think it’s something parents really need to focus on living out in our parenting. Especially when we are adoptive parents, and as Luanne shared, maybe have some challenges and difficult emotions coming into the adoption journey with us.

      Like

       
  10. Sheryl

    December 9, 2017 at 12:05 am

    Thank you for sharing this.

    Like

     
    • Tiffany

      December 11, 2017 at 11:52 pm

      Thank you, Sheryl. 🙂

      Like

       
  11. Nara

    December 9, 2017 at 2:14 am

    I wish all adoptive parents were like this. (Adoptee – transracial/ transnational.) Thanks TAO and thanks Tiffany. APs could learn a lot from your voice.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • Tiffany

      December 11, 2017 at 11:52 pm

      I don’t claim to be perfect- I feel like I always have to preface that because I worry my tone might sound self-righteous. But I really hope that APs and PAPs will hear more and more that it’s important to listen to adoptee voices and to tread thoughtfully and compassionately through our parenting journey.

      Like

       
  12. cb

    December 12, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    Great post, Tiffany.

    Like

     
    • Tiffany

      December 16, 2017 at 12:39 am

      Thanks, cb, so much.

      Like

       
  13. Heather

    December 16, 2017 at 12:39 am

    Thank you Tiffany. Your sharing means a lot to me.

    Like

     
    • Tiffany

      December 19, 2017 at 7:18 pm

      Thank you so much, Heather.

      Like

       
  14. Denise

    December 18, 2017 at 8:24 pm

    “My response to my daughter when she asks that question has always been something along the lines of this, depending on her age: “Your mom and dad loved you so very much. It hurt them so much to let you go. They love you still. They gave you to us because life isn’t always fair, and bad things happen to good people. People can find themselves in situations where they have no control and no good options, and that’s where your mom and dad found themselves…”

    There is a far simpler response that is as true as it is easy for a child to understand: Your parents gave you to us because they could not take care of you. But we can.

    That is the bottom line of adoption. Children are born to parents who, for diverse reasons, cannot care for the children they bore. Children require enormous emotional, physical, and financial investment. They need clothes, food, shelter, care, and love. Birth parents and adoptive parents are both capable of giving the last of these, but adoptive parents step in because they are capable of providing all the rest while the birth parents are not.

    As an adoptive mother, I find this site to be an excellent example of an adoptee who had enormous difficulty emotionally bonding with her adoptive parents, and wants to demonize adoption as the source of all her pain and woes. But the true source is a failure to form a genuine and generous emotional attachment.

    How do I know this? Because I have seen in it up close an personal. One of my daughters came to us at the age of five after having lived in an alcoholic, physically abusive family. The other came to us at the age of four after having lived in an orphanage. They are in their twenties now. The former had and continues to have significant problems with emotional attachment. Despite the vicious blog post on this site demonizing Tina Traster, what she describes is exactly how our daughter behaved. Her distrust of attachment led her to push away all the love offered to her. It broke our hearts to watch as she isolated herself in a vain attempt to make herself feel safe and in control. We encouraged her to talk to us about her first family, and to reconnect with them. But she chooses to keep both families at a distance, behind a wall of suspicion and contempt. We encouraged her to accept psychological counseling, but she insisted and continues to insist that she is “fine” and the problem is with the rest of the world.

    In contrast, our younger daughter came to us with arms and heart wide open. She accepted us, trusted us, and willingly formed an emotional attachment. As a result, she also had little difficulty trusting and accepting other people–friends, teachers, boyfriends, employers, and her fiancé. She is thriving, building a life of purpose and emotional connection. Emotional attachment to loving parents is the cornerstone for building a happy life. Without it, life is an uphill battle.

    Trying to get a person with an attachment disorder to recognize that they have one is a lot like trying to get an addict to recognize that they have a drug or drinking problem. From their perspective, they are “fine” and the problem is that the world is a mean, menacing, dangerous place that doesn’t understand them. You’re not fine if the people who love you are thoroughly traumatized by your behavior. And as they say in AA, it is not your fault but it is your responsibility to change.

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    • Heather

      December 18, 2017 at 10:06 pm

      Are you sure you’re commenting on the correct blog? Where do you see TAO “wants to demonize adoption as the source of all her pain and woes”? Where did you get the impression she did not bond with her adoptive parents? Have you read any other posts besides this one?

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • TAO

        December 18, 2017 at 11:04 pm

        Heather, I doubt Denise will respond, she just need to vent and any adoptee would suffice. I looked up to see what I said when it comes to this sentence in her comment: “Despite the vicious blog post on this site demonizing Tina Traster, what she describes is exactly how our daughter behaved.”

        “Adoptive parents writing books about the problems of the child they adopted. The most recent one, “Saving Julia Twice”, that has also had articles promoting the book in any magazine (or newspaper) willing to publish them, breaks my heart and makes steam come out of my ears just thinking about it, let alone writing about it. Red Thread Broken has a good breakdown of what she thinks of it here.”

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        • Heather

          December 19, 2017 at 12:53 am

          TAO … You are likely correct.

          I had to read Denise’s comments a few times since she really confused me. “Demonizing” anyone or any subject just isn’t your style.

          Liked by 1 person

           
    • Tiffany

      December 19, 2017 at 7:35 pm

      Denise, I don’t think you could have read any of TAO’s other posts if think she didn’t attach with her parents and that is the source of her “issues.” TAO’s positive posts about her adoptive parents, especially her love for her father, are numerous. I rolled my eyes pretty hard at your reply, I must admit, because it was just so very typical AP: TAO is not grateful enough, she’s not a good adoptee, and there must be something seriously wrong with her because she has negative things to say about adoption.

      Attachment is a multi layered and complex issue, and I don’t disagree that it factors into the life of every single human being (adopted or not). I specifically brought up that I view attachment as a critical component when raising babies, and I described the issues my daughter had attaching with me, even at birth, because I was a stranger. So clearly I view it as important. Did you seek therapy for your daughter when she came to you? It’s not her fault that she struggles with emotional attachment, and I can’t help but wonder if you react to her struggles with the same antagonism and judgement with which you acted towards TAO.

      As for you thinking I should instead give my daughter a simple answer… eh. No. Not all children are satisfied with simple answers (neither of mine are, that’s for sure), and the truth IS that it is more complicated than what you said. It just is, and I won’t pretend to her that it is not. As I stated, the answer has varied depending on her age. When she asked when she was 3, of course it was a much more simple answer. She is older now and wants more than what you said, and she deserves it.

      Why do I have to give her a simple answer, anyway? What was actually wrong with what I said?

      Our therapist (an adoptee herself who specializes in counseling adopted children) has told me that I am doing the right thing, and that my daughter questioning, showing emotions, and talking about her adoption even at her young age is a sign that we are doing the right thing. So I feel pretty confident in what we are doing, and I think I’ll pass on your advice.

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • TAO

        December 19, 2017 at 9:29 pm

        Thanks Tiffany

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  15. Cindy

    December 19, 2017 at 12:14 am

    Denise said, “But the true source is a failure to form a genuine and generous emotional attachment.”

    Say what? Blaming and shaming the adoptee, a child, for not attaching “properly”. Wow. Just wow. That sounds like someone who does not understand differences in individual human beings or circumstances or how some kids have had their ability to trust totally shattered. This sounds like someone who does not see children as individual human beings with their own feelings, wants, needs, and who have the right to “bond” with strangers or biological family **** or not****.

    We cannot force, expect, command or demand a child or any another human being to “form genuine and generous (generous, in this instance, really rubs me the wrong way) attachments”.

    It’s like the one daughter did what was expected of her and the other…well, it’s *her* fault for not having “arms and heart wide open”! smh.

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    • Heather

      December 19, 2017 at 12:51 am

      Well stated Cindy. Expectations were met with one child but not the other so it MUST be the child’s responsibility for “failing”.

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      • Cindy

        December 20, 2017 at 9:20 pm

        Perhaps the, “little children are supposed to be the, perfect, obedient little drones” thinking? Somebody hasn’t explained to some parents that children aren’t –that–. (~_~)

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    • Tiffany

      December 19, 2017 at 7:41 pm

      Cindy, you hit the nail on the head. I grieve for a five year old girl, coming from an abusive home, who was blamed for not being more open to love from strangers. I’m saddened that parents don’t realize what they are getting into, and if they are not prepared for loving a child through all the rejection and turmoil, they shouldn’t do it. Denise’s love sounds very conditional on what she defined as an acceptable emotional response, and that’s hard for me to hear. It is just like I said- “There is no room for self-pity or jealousy or insecurity when you are a mom.” Unconditional love, even when it is not returned (and perhaps, most importantly then), is a requirement.

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      • Cindy

        December 20, 2017 at 9:26 pm

        I too grieve for the child that endures such. More education is certainly needed. More classwork perhaps? Or better still, utilizing the adults who have walked that walk to teach and inform new parents whether foster, or step, or adoptive, or extended family of the difficulties and (oh no!) feelings of a child coming from that kind of experience. Oh, communication is key. Letting the child speak and share is so important.

        Liked by 1 person

         
  16. Dannie

    January 4, 2018 at 9:11 pm

    I’m just now able to catch up on my favorite blogs due to holidays and personal stuff going on, but man what a great post. This was one of the reasons I never really wanted to go into domestic infant adoption, due to the fact that I always thought kids belong with their parents. But even though my daughter needed a home and I went through foster care and adoption, the wounds run deep. She is very very thoughtful and many things sadden me (e.g. not having a picture…and while I have a lot of information, biological family fell off grid) Adoption is complicated and I also have a younger child that is biologically mine so man I can see the differences in parenting that I juggle with. Adding a husband and another child after adoption was an adjustment since it was just us 2 at the beginning as well. My hope is that like you, I can be the parent my daughter needs and be a safe place to just be. Thank you for your words.

    Liked by 1 person

     
    • TAO

      January 4, 2018 at 9:27 pm

      🙂

      Like

       
    • Tiffany

      January 5, 2018 at 8:44 pm

      Hi Dannie, thanks for your words. Yeah, it is a difference parenting a biological child and an adopted child…. the love is there all the same, but you have to be so thoughtful about the differences each child is going to experience. One thing that jumps out for me is how my older daughter will ask me about when I was pregnant with her or someone will comments on our similarities or her similarities with other family members (she and her cousin look eerily alike- almost twins). We don’t have that with my younger daughter. Only strangers mention that she looks like me because of course friends and family know the situation. She is very quiet when these kinds of topics come up, and I’m always internally wondering what she is thinking. It’s very challenging, for sure, and it’s hard to know what the right thing is to do, but all we can do is just be there for them and let them know whatever they feel is ok.

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      • Dannie

        January 8, 2018 at 8:18 pm

        Oh boy don’t I know that one. My son has my family genes very strongly. Even TAO has seen my comparison pictures between him and an older cousin at the same age and him and my dad and twin aspect is quite remarkable. My daughter does not have that and she talks to me, but because her personality is also more reserved, she listens and observes and doesn’t miss a thing, so I too wonder what she must be thinking about that. I love that my daughter and I have a few things we truly bond and get closer with (both lego fanatics, both enjoy reading etc.) and I just hope it stays even in teenage years (she’s 8) so we can be friends and talk when she needs to. While she loves my husband a lot it’s very obvious she prefers me to anyone in the family at this moment even when upset.

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