Do I Love My Kids Enough To Let Them Go?

I always loved watching those shows where people reconnect with their birth families. It’s so amazing to see it when families are back together. But, then I adopted kids. I don’t know if I could be like those moms on tv. I don’t know if I could give my blessing. Well, I don’t know if I could give my blessing and mean it.

As amazing as adoption is and as glad I am that we went this route, you give up a lot when you adopt. You give up the ability to take it for granted that they are your kids. You give up being normal. You give up knowing that your kids love you as mom and dad completely. When you adopt transracially, you give up the ability to blend in.

When you adopt, you live with society’s notions and stereotypes. Do you love them “like your own?” Are they “real kids?” What about their “real mom?”

It goes without saying (but I will, anyway!) that to me, it’s worth it. I just want to make sure that I put that out there.

In general, people don’t ask about us anymore. I assume it’s because it’s so obvious that we are mother and son/daughter (or father and son/daughter). Or maybe it’s because it’s becoming more common or people are getting more tactful. Who knows?

But, once in awhile, like the other day, someone will ask. And it will get me thinking again.

It’s never tentative like it should be. (Honestly, I don’t mind answering a polite question.) It’s almost always abrupt.

This time, on the way out of the grocery store – “Are they foster kids?”

I answered like I always do when questions like this are asked, I said – “No, they’re mine. All mine.” and then I squeezed Lizzie and Antwan’s hands a little tighter and felt proud of the fact that they are in fact mine.

Neither Antwan or Lizzie seemed bothered by the question and I was left hoping that my carefully worded response had the desired effect on them. That it made them feel wanted.

It’s not the end of the world and it’s still worth it, but it is reality.

But, what would feel like the end of my world would be the day that one of my kids wanted to find the birth family. It would be understandable but it would suck. Just suck. After years of trying to have kids and then become parents to these kids, to be reminded that they are not all mine would be really hard for me.

Of course, there’s an extra layer to our story. At the last update, the biological mother was not any more “together” than she was before. (And, that’s all I will say on that topic.) And, at the last update, William and Kaleb had nothing but contempt for her. Lizzie and Antwan don’t have an opinion at all. Or don’t seem to, anyway. So, I’m thinking that this is not a scenario that I will be dealing with any time soon.

But, what do you do? What do you do when the kids that are yours, all yours, don’t want to be? How do you make peace with that? How do you deal with working so hard for them to exist in your life and then find yourself demoted?

There’s no ending to this post because there’s no clear answer to the question. I would want to be a noble person and handle it well, but I don’t think I would. But, I guess I would handle it one way or the other because I would have to. I signed up for this mom gig. And, I’m supposed to love my kids unconditionally. There are no rules about how they are supposed to feel.

Actually, that wasn’t a bad ending.

If anyone has any experience with this from either perspective, I’d love to hear!

10 thoughts on “Do I Love My Kids Enough To Let Them Go?

  1. If they decide to 'find' their birth parents, you will cope. Because that is what we moms do. We cope. We hope for the best for our kids, but know that we will be there if it doesn't turn out to be the best. Sigh..I've lived it. Luckily my daughter, once she got out of the awful teen years, didn't want to go live with her birth parents. But she did want to 'find' them. And she did. And it wasn't pretty. And I had to listen and support her. One of my fears was that the birth parents would claim grandparent status. And I'm here to report that I am DEFINITELY the grandmother! My daughter would never even let her birth parents touch her son. I hope you can not let the fear get to you. It is difficult being a adoptive parent. But just being a parent is difficult. (I have 3 homegrown kids and 1 adopted from foster care.)You are doing a great job. Hang in there.

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  2. My oldest son was adopted at 16 years old. He moved in with me when he was 14. That’s a lot of years growing up in a different environment. One of our earliest fights was when I asked my son to call me mom. He refused. He would only call his biological mother “mom.” To this day he calls me by my first name, which I find disrespectful but I’ve come to accept. He also doesn’t offer refer to me as his mom, often times he will still call me his foster mom or adoptive mom. I always need a qualifier that his bio mom does not. For the most part, he views himself as his mother’s protector and caretaker, while he holds what feels like contempt for me. It infuriates me, but when he is angry with me he goes to his bio mom and tells her all about it. Last week his mom spent the night at our house because she was fighting with people in the home she had been living in. She spent the entire time complaining and acting passive-aggressive and I was never so happy to see a person leave my house. In all that you wrote, I felt it. Every last word resonated with me. For me, I don’t have the worry of my children finding their birth families because we have involvement with them. But, the fear of my children choosing their birth family over me is real. In addition to the son I referenced above, who is now 18, I have two younger children. My daughter was 3 ½ when she came to live with me and she has memories of her mother and a desire to be with her mother. My youngest son was a baby I brought home from the hospital (much like your Lizzie) and he is a momma’s boy. Of these two, my daughter is more likely to return to her biological family. She wants to live with her older sister, who was adopted by their maternal grandmother. We bumped into their mother a few times this past year and she seems to be much healthier, but it is still complicated. I don’t really have any words of wisdom because most of the time I don’t feel like I have a handle on it at all. Mostly, I just remind myself of the reality; my children are only half mine. Hugs to you, I know none of this is easy.

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  3. Wow, that is a lot to deal with, emotionallly! I would have been heartbroken if one of my kids wouldn’t call me mom so props to you for finding a way to accept it. It is iunfair, though. 😦 Thank you for sharing all of this and good luck with everything! Hugs right back to you!

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  4. Perhaps I can offer a different perspective. The perspective of a child who was adopted. Every situation is unique in its own sense. In my case, I am (I guess what you would call) partially adopted. After a nasty divorce, it was just me and my mother for a long time. I was five-years-old. It was us for nearly a decade. But then she met a man and fell in love. They got married when I was sixteen. He adopted me (as he jokes, “just in time to get you a car and send you to college”). I had zero contact with the biological sperm donor (which is what I refer to him as). My mother died unexpectedly last year (I’m 33 now), leaving just me and my dad (he is, for all intents and purposes, and always will be my dad).

    I could not have survived the death of my mother without him. I have never once felt the urge to be in contact with the other side of my family. In fact, it’s a conversation that I had with my mother shortly before she passed away. She had the same thoughts, wondering would I ever want to see him again. She even asked me if he was on his deathbed if I would go, and I simply told her that I wouldn’t. Because to me, I don’t know him. I don’t want to know him. He didn’t raise me. He didn’t love me. He is a perfect stranger. Someone I wouldn’t recognize in passing.

    As kids, we know who our real parents are. Any person can have a child, but it takes a special person to be a mother/father. I can tell you, emphatically, that when kids grow up…they don’t remember the ones who weren’t there. They remember the ones who were. They remember who loved them, read to them, tucked them in, kissed their boo-boos. They remember who held them when they cried. They remember the ones who gave them memories that will last a lifetime. They remember the love.

    As a child who had a chosen family, I can tell you with absolute certainty regardless of what happens…your children will always see you and your husband as their mom and dad.

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      1. Of course. It felt like something my mom was nudging me from beyond to talk about. She was a teacher and thrived on making kids (and their families) just feel better in general. I know it doesn’t fix everything, but sometimes just knowing there are people out there who care and can empathize does help. So I hope I helped. For what it’s worth, I’ve seen your family around at Cons a few times and every thought I ever had was, “what an adorable family”. I think I have a picture of you all in Doctor Who attire somewhere.

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  5. My oldest is 21 he was adopted from fostercare at age 18 days he had no memories of the biological family. He was curious and he met the grandma first. He didn’t know it was his grandmother long story but after I explained.. I said like a smart ass like “did you get all the feels for her since she is” blood”. He laughed and said no you mean like the movies I didn’t even know who she was. He met bio mom a few years after this and the same thing. She made a comment about how he was grown and his mom must of did a great job. Loud and proud he did say yes she did a great job. We don’t always see eye to eye but he is mine no doubt about it.

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