To be honest, this is more of a plea, from a Mom who has seen way too much heartache as a result of the “sins of the father.”
Please, please, please… for the love of all that is holy, from one parent to another… PLEASE educate your children on foster care and adoption. Even if you don’t know anyone who is adopted or has adopted or fostered, your children will most likely come in contact with children who have been either in the foster care system or adopted through one of many possible avenues. And when they do, it would be best for all involved if they have an honest and unbiased and untainted understanding of what foster care and adoption are. This includes understanding that a mother who chooses to give up her child for adoption does so out of love for her child, and that when biological parents have their parental rights terminated by a court, it is a drastic measure taken only when the court has determined it is absolutely the best thing for the child’s well-being.
Here’s one example why.
Imagine you have an adopted child, who spent their formative years being tossed around between multiple turbulent home situations while consistently having promises made that were never followed through. You adopted this child after eight or ten years of them being in this situation, and they struggle with resentment over all the decisions that were made for them – by birth parents, by case workers, by a faceless judge in the ever-elusive “COURT.” This child of yours is also given to passive-aggressive behavior and is a master at manipulation in order to make people feel sorry for them. One day your child is talking with a peer and spills out a sob story that is light on generic facts and heavy on fabricated ideas spun from emotion and wishful thinking.
This friend says to your child, “It’s so not fair that the judge told you you can’t see your birth mother. I mean, she gave birth to you. You should be allowed to see her whenever you want.”
Setting aside the fact that much of this response is based on being told a lie (judges DO NOT speak to children about whether they can or cannot see their birth parents; the judge speaks to the birth parents about what it means from a legal standpoint to have their rights terminated), remember that your child’s friend knows nothing of the horrors that occurred in continuing sequence over so many years, or how many other options were attempted by the court to avoid severing these parental rights. Your child’s friend doesn’t know or understand what it’s like to have parents who continually chose drugs over their child, who were given opportunity after opportunity but did not take advantage of them.[***] Your child’s friend has no idea what your child has been through or what your family has been through; they have no idea that there are actually things a parent can do to their child that trump the right to be able to see their biological child whenever they want. In short, your child’s friend made that statement out of ignorance.
And you can make allowances for that.
However, if you have been working incredibly hard to help your child deal with their emotions and face their past through objective eyes, then statements like that are incredibly discouraging. They set your child back by reinforcing the very thoughts – the negative and inaccurate thoughts – you have been trying to help them overcome.
And now don’t you wish your child’s friends’ parents had known what a difference they could make by talking with their children about the realities of foster care and adoption?
If you lack the knowledge to be able to educate your child on foster care and adoption, please contact me! I love to share information and resources and help spread awareness on foster care adoption!
[***] We won’t discuss here the factual correctness of whether someone “chooses drugs over their child” or not. This statement defines how the child sees the situation, and the child’s feelings are of course not up for debate.