Is it really that hard to accept that your child has another family?

03 Aug


Dear people who adopt, want to adopt,

Your child’s “birthmom’s” mom is your child’s grandma, not “birthmom’s” mom (well, she is that too). I get that you may desperately want to be your child’s only family, but that isn’t how it works when you adopt (and you know me well enough to know my answer is if you can’t accept that and haven’t adopted yet, then don’t adopt).

(There’s a link at the bottom that spurred this post)

Yes, legally, your child is no longer a part of her family of birth, that’s what the law was designed to do, sever the legal familial relationship, and legally attach the familial relationship to your family line. In reality, we still have our full family lineages intact that no adoption order signed by a judge can ever truly sever.

So, here’s what you need to accept: If the child has a “birthmom” then the child has a grandmother, grandfather, maybe aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, and they have a line that goes back in time to a time that had no beginning and no end. The same applies to the child’s father and his line.

You also get to choose whether to: a) pretend there is no “birth family” on either side except a single solitary figure called “birthmom”, raise your child and avoid any messy feelings your child may have in the future, living with big feelings, grief, questions, all on their own to protect you, the adult, from having to deal; or b) you can find a way to push though your insecurities and what you thought your family would be, and be there to walk alongside your child and wholly accept all that your child is, and that includes her having a family she was born into, whether she ever meets them, or not, they exist and we have to process all that means.

If you chose a) above instead of b) – no worries, your child will know based on said and unsaid messages you send her that you can’t handle any feelings she has about being adopted, and her other family, and will make sure you never know. It’s your choice on which relationship you have with your chid, a) the one easiest for you and your frailties, or b) what your child needs – a mom.

What spurred this post can be found here, and I seldom link, but I think she didn’t take the time to do any research on all that adoption is and hopefully learns to be better.

PS – you can never have too many grandma’s in your life, I had three I grew up with – more love for me.




Posted by on August 3, 2018 in Adoption, adoptive parents


Tags: , , , , ,

13 responses to “Is it really that hard to accept that your child has another family?

  1. Hannah

    August 3, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    There’s always one! As an adoptee I think this post is STUPID. Not always birth family are nice!!!


    • Heather

      August 3, 2018 at 8:17 pm

      Hannah, no where does TAO say in this post that “always birth family are nice”.

      She is pointing out the obvious that many AP want to ignore. That their adopted child has another family with many members going back forever and no legal process will ever change that reality. You might want to read her post again.

      Liked by 1 person

    • L4R

      August 4, 2018 at 12:48 pm

      You’re right, Hannah. Some b-parents are not nice and may even overstep. But, that is true of a-parents as well.

      The OP in the linked message board focused on the grandmother’s behavior, and I guess we’re to assume it was pushy. (And, maybe she was, yet the perspective mom didn’t acknowledge her own intrusive, territorial behavior at the hospital following the birth.)

      This perspective a-mom was llowed to participate in her perspective child’s birth. That was a kindness offered to her. However, as she was not yet legally the parent, she should not have been in charge of deciding how long was too long for any of the baby’s a-family to hold the baby.

      I understand that she wanted to begin bonding with her baby, but the child was not yet hers. The b-family needed time to grieve, and maybe it wasn’t the best idea to have to the perspective a-family at the birth. One family is grieving, and the other is joyous. It must be hard to coexist in that space, and there will be time for the a-family, but the birth is not that time.

      Rather than look at the other side as the enemy, both sides need to figure out what they need and what they are willing to deal with. An open adoption can mean many things to different families. The key is going to be setting up expectations. These should be set up before the adoption is finalized. Both families need to be honest about what they want to see happen.

      Liked by 1 person

      • TAO

        August 4, 2018 at 12:52 pm

        Great comment L4R


      • cb

        August 5, 2018 at 1:35 am

        Agree totally, L4R


  2. Brent Snavely

    August 3, 2018 at 3:24 pm

    There is a difference between parenting / fathering / mothering and being a parent / father / mother.


    • TAO

      August 3, 2018 at 3:30 pm

      Yes there is Brent – complete difference.


  3. maryleesdream

    August 4, 2018 at 2:04 am

    One of the most painful things for me as an adopted person, was my adoptive mother’s attitude towords my original family.
    I was taught I should never even think about them. I wish so much I had gotten to meet my grandparents. They were all alive for all of my childhood. Some of my great grandparents were around too.
    My adoptive mother was very insecure. There was no real reason I could not ever know my family. They were not dangerous people. There must have been a way for me to be loved and cared for, and to also know my family. The old, closed system seems so cruel.
    I wish my adoptive mother had been open to talking about my other family. She screamed at me when I was very little, and asked about my other mother. She screamed that she was my only mother. I clammed up after that. She said I could ask questions, but I knew that was a lie.
    It drove a big wedge between us. I could never get over it.

    I think, if they loved us, they should try and love our families too. Maybe even try and help us find them, before it’s too late.

    Liked by 5 people

    • TAO

      August 4, 2018 at 3:13 am

      I’m so sorry Marylee – I had the opposite, and the difference was they knew who they were, who they were to us, so no insecurity. World of difference, again, I’m so sorry.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. cb

    August 5, 2018 at 1:34 am

    I’ve never had any living grandparents (either adoptive or biological) so to me, the more the merrier.

    I am now in reunion with extended family, eg uncles/aunts/cousins and my mum is happy for me because when we moved to Australia from NZ in 1972, our family ended up sort of as an “island” because all our relatives were in NZ. Even then because mum and dad were the youngest in their families, my youngest cousins were 15 years older than I was. We children did go and stay with our aunts (adad’s sisters) and that was really the only time we saw relatives.
    My bfamily are close although they are very much their own families as well – i.e. they are not on top of each other but they know each other’s doors are open for each other. Also, my uncles&bmom grew up in a tiny town where their convict ancestor and his brother (related to both through each grandparent) had settled 150 years ago and everyone knew everyone.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. cb

    August 5, 2018 at 1:34 am

    When I see this, ” The AP said the triad was them, the birth mother, child, and how to ensure the open adoption relationship was limited only to the birth mother”, it makes me feel that the AP is not thinking of the bmother as a person but rather as “her role in bringing the child into the family”, i.e. as a service provider rather than human being.

    Liked by 2 people

    • TAO

      August 5, 2018 at 3:48 am

      It just seemed so wrong – hope she grows over time (but not too much time)…


    • Heather

      August 5, 2018 at 5:00 am

      The commenters on the linked post (& the OP of the linked post herself) don’t seem to have much concern for how the baby (who will not always be a baby) will feel about any of this.

      It would be nice if this was less about AM’s insecurities and possessiveness and more about “how can we make the situation the best for the baby and his health & wellbeing?”

      Liked by 2 people


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