#11 – “Your mother loved you enough —“

April 2, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Posted in Adoptive parenting do's | Leave a comment
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This issue is rather a strange one and I certainly hope that now all adoptive parents know about it, but I’ll mention it just in case.

For years some adoptive parents said to their children, “Your mother loved
you enough to give you up so you could have a good life.”

Now, years later, these children are all grown up and telling us that this statement was very disturbing to them because the logical question coming from a young child is, “When are you going to love me enough to give me to someone else?”  To a mature mind, of course, this is preposterous, but when we analyze this question, we can well understand the simple logic of a child.  This makes sense to a young mind.

We need to be careful about what we say.  What is logical to a mature mind does not necessarily make sense to an immature mind.  Often, children take
our words literally and miss the message behind the words.  And, unfortunately, we often don’t realize this.  I’ve heard many an adult adoptee say they were dreading the day when they would ‘be loved enough to be given away’.  As they grew up, of course they realized this was not what the process was, but in the mean time they felt scared and insecure.   They equated loving with giving away, a terrifying place for a child to be.

Our words and our actions need to be consciously positive and inclusive in front of our children.  The ‘forever’ factor that you are now a family and will always be a family needs to be said out loud.  This can be awkward for some adoptive parents, but our children need to hear this – and more than once!

We learn a lot from adult adoptees and this one is a biggie – many of them grew up thinking their adoptive family was just a temporary stop on their road of life.  No one told them it was going to be forever. Adoptive parents knew it was forever and just assumed their child knew as well.   How simple a mistake to make, but it caused a lot of heartache in some children trying to grow up confident and secure. Adopted children need to hear the words, “We will love you forever, and we will always be a family, no matter what!”

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