You Didn’t Birth Me!

You Didn't Birth Me - Anchor Of Promise

“I will find a way to leave. You are not my mom and dad!” she said. Listening and not responding, we let her continue. “You didn’t birth me. You don’t know how I feel. If you did, you would let me go.”

My heart broke for her that day. All I did was correct her in something she did. That is what all parents do. They correct their children and teens for many different reasons, all for the good. But this wasn’t a normal situation, and for many who have adopted or cared for foster children, they understand this.

Sitting around a table of other women at a conference last year, a parent was sharing how she had to buckle down on her daughter and really let her have it for something she did wrong. I was thinking to myself as she was talking that I could never respond to my child in the same manner. But before I even finished my thought, the woman across from her stated my exact words and she began to tell her own story.

As she explained, her daughter was adopted and came with many complex issues. The smallest discipline or correction sent images and thoughts in this little girl’s mind that she was unworthy, unloved, and rejected. In her daughter’s mind, she was not perfect enough for this parent. This mother would literally have to sit the child in her lap, look intently in her eyes with her arms wrapped around her child and speak ever so softly.

The first words out of this mom’s mouth were, “I love you.” Furthermore, she would give her praise and then slowly correct her in a way to challenge this young girl. Challenge her to have a positive attitude and obedience to what was being requested of her. They would stay this way until the mother was sure that the daughter understood that this disciplined love had changed the behavior. Following this was to remind her about the importance of an apology and to show forgiveness. In the end, this daughter would be hugged and sent on her way.

Abandonment and rejection issues run strong with children and teens that are adopted or who have been in the foster care system. Not all adopted or foster children have a negative impact from their new placement. But there are many whose sense of loss is extreme and pervades every part of their life.

Some of the emotions and behaviors from adopted/foster care children and teens.

• Abandonment
• Rejection
• Perfectionism
• Low self-esteem
• Low self-worth
• Anger
• Sexual permissiveness
• Rebellion
• Depression
• Grief or deep sadness
• Running away

With some teens who struggle with their placement, they can be severe. Jaycee (not her real name), was a teen girl who despised her adoptive mother. So much so, every woman she met she attached herself to. Her search for a new mother became an addiction and stalking type situation. Jaycee would make every effort to be a part of a new woman’s life, someone she hoped to call as her new mom. She would share the deepest details of her life in hopes to receive attention and love. If the relationship with this woman did not work out, she would find another. Jaycee was determined to find anyone except her adoptive mother that she hated. Her hatred of her adopted mother was so strong, she tried to poison her. Thankfully the adoptive parent was beginning to pick up on what was going on and sought help for her teen.

Several years later, Jaycee did get to meet part of her birth family. It went well, but in the end, Jaycee realized that her true family was in her home. These parents did everything possible for her healing. They prayed, incorporated counseling and found new ways to help Jaycee figure out her broken life.

Although it has been a tough and long road, there is still more to go. However, they are on the right track. Unconditional love can truly provide healing to a wounded soul. It may take a very long time, but everyone, especially the teen, must want restoration.

Because of the large amount of complex issues that are involved in adoption and even foster care, I will be focusing a little more on this area within my blog in the coming weeks. Along with this focus, I will take a look into the world of a teen’s sibling who must deal with the ongoing crisis of their brother or sister in the home.

If there is an issue that you would like me to discuss on this blog, please feel free to comment or email me.

Matthew 18:5, “Whoever receives a child in My name, receives Me.”

4 thoughts on “You Didn’t Birth Me!

  1. I have a step daughter whom I’ve raised (along with her dad) since she was 4. We’ve had many, many struggles with her- cutting, screaming matches, running away, crisis center, counseling, etc. I have a younger bio son, too. If someone would have told me how different parenting versus step parenting was going to be, I probably wouldn’t have signed up for it. With my bio son, I can discipline and we are still both fine. With my step daughter, it’s like walking a tight rope every day, every second. Every situation is a dance between disciplining and crumbling into accusations of not loving her enough or the same as I love her brother. There have been times I have secretly wept over my inability to forge a close relationship with her. I’m the only mom she’s got, and I’ve learned the hard way just what an impact it has been for her to have never had a bond with her bio mom. It’s heart wrenching, but everyday I keep trying. She needs constant reassuring, constant positive reinforcement. Something my bio son doesn’t need or get, but he has something far better (a real mom) and I have to remember that. It takes a special woman to be a a mom through the pain of a child who never got the luxury of having a bio mom. I’ve never been quite sure I was up for the challenge, but I’m glad I gave it my best.

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    • I would first like to say, I feel your pain, frustration and hurt. To reach out in every way and yet still feel this loss with your daughter regarding a relationship can be very devastating. No matter how hard you try, she cannot accept your love until she resolves the loss with her own birth mother. By accepting you as her mom, she feels that she would be hurting and rejecting her birth mom even if her birth mom rejects her now. She is in hopes that somehow, some way that relationship can be restored. The pain is just too deep for her to recognize that you have been the mom that she needed and still needs today that loved her with an unconditional love. She is going through an emotional battle within herself that is angry with her birth mom but wants her validation and acceptance. Then she has you that does show love but she is fearful of accepting it because that would mean she is turning her back on her birth mother. She also feels that you got what you wanted which was your own birth son. Why would you need her is her thoughts. The only thing that can heal her completely is praying for her. I am not sure of your faith but that is the one thing that has changed my own daughter’s life. Just by praying and calling out to the Lord for His help. It sounds like you did everything else that was required and you should be proud of that because honestly, so many other moms would give up without even doing all the things you have done. Again, I would encourage you to visit a local church and ask for prayer for your family. I have seen many teens whose lives have changed around because of prayer. Let me know her name and I will add her to my prayer list. Thank you for sharing from your heart.

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  2. Your comments are so totally true. My own bio daughter we disciplined as any other parent would but when we adopted we unfortunately didn’t realise that discipline would bring about feelings of shame and rejection. i consider myself to be an intelligent caring Mum but I was uninformed. Years too late I met a lady who was a counselor for adopted children. She only said one sentence but it was enough. She said ‘adopted children see every criticism and telling off, no matter how small, as total rejection’ . I understood then. A light dawned. My adopted daughter is through the worst of her problems but it took a lot of love and dedication– and God’s Grace to bring about her healing. We too prayed for her healing and tried hard to reach her with many words and actions which showed her our unconditional love for her. I thank God that He first showed us His unconditional love so that we could show it to her. She felt guilty loving me, as she felt she was betraying her ‘real’ mum. She also felt guilty about secretly hating her real Mum which in turn led to self loathing and false guilt and shame. These are the roots of most adopted children’s problems – false guilt, shame,rejection. Thank God we have a Heavenly Father who is able and willing to help each one of them.

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    • You are right about the emotional toll that happens on those who are adoptees and fostered. The issues can be extremely complex and many people don’t understand. While there are many that have had no issues and life a wonderful life, that is not true for everyone. If we don’t head it off while they are young, it will determine how the rest of their life plays out which would tremendously alter how they view their life. I completely understand where you are coming from having gone down this road and the various paths it led me and my girls.

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