I came across this post (and this post just sat in the draft folder for a year), “You’re Not My Real Mother” on Motherlode while reading something else and I just had to read it. It is seemingly about the comment that adoptive mothers don’t want to hear one day but presumably will and what should be said in response and what should not. I say seemingly because it really wasn’t about that, it was more about the author’s perspective on how she deals with a daughter that has (had?) reactive attachment disorder and the effect on her parenting. And at the precise moment her tween daughter spat out that comment, she replied, “Oh, yeah, well then who is?” Ouch. I’ll tell you what was enlightening – the comments and shitstorm that followed that article. Usually comments are just so vitriolic that I can’t bear to read past 3 or 4, but these ones were really interesting, thought provoking and eloquent. Frankly, I would have loved to see a panel discussion from those commenters.
First of all, I was really surprised that the author hadn’t figured out how to handle the situation she said she knew was coming one day. She certainly isn’t uninformed. Okay, well, no one is perfect and we all say things we regret to our kids, but how that moment played out was solely about her hurt feelings and not about her daughter’s feelings. In fact her daughter had to comfort her. From the day I brought my son home, I have pondered and researched how I should explain adoption to him, how to tell him the story of his life before us. From the moment he recognized that he was not the same colour as his daddy, the explanations began. I have already imagined various reactions to the moment he blurts out hurtful things in anger. I have wondered how he will feel about his adoption as he grows older, how it will affect him, how he will feel and what I can do to help him discover who he truly is. I don’t have all the answers of course, and I can’t certainly tell him how to feel.
Over the course of this last year, there were many developments with my son’s birth mother but I did not publish them. They were things that were highly personal and had nothing to do with me, though would definitely impact him later in life.
I think writers should write about their lives, the good, bad and the ugly, but when it comes to adopted children, I’m not so sure parents should trot some of the more personal out there? What do you think?