or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Adoptive and Foster Parenting › How do I give a name to a birth mom that a foster child does not know as their mom?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

How do I give a name to a birth mom that a foster child does not know as their mom? - Page 2

post #21 of 72


Just be clear, I was responding to Smithie's use of the word, not your comments smile.gif
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by heatherdeg View Post

Well, Smithie inserted a lot of language that would never come out of my mouth--"real mother" being some of it.

 

But I agree with you: what our children have endured doesn't change the reality that there is a birthparent and those birthparents are part of who that child is--forever.

 

post #22 of 72


Am I reading this correctly Smithie, that the trauma of losing the foster parents is why visitation is important?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post

 

I agree with everything you say about visitation for babies in care who might be RUed. The sight, smell, voice experience of the biological parents is very important, to minimize the trauma of losing the foster parents. It's not a perfect approach, but it helps.

 

 



 

post #23 of 72

Sigh. I see that my viewpoint is unpopular, but since I sincerely believe that I'm right and that foster children are best served by foster parents who have at least considered all perspectives, I'll plow on.

 

Pumpkingirl, an infant who is placed in foster care at birth or at a very young age forms a parental bond with his/her foster parents. An infant who is RUed after a year or two in care suffers a terrible trauma. They are taken from their family and given to virtual (sometimes total!) strangers. When RU is a possibility, the more visitation the better. The more sense memory you can create, the less the child will suffer. But children always suffer when they are taken away fom their primary caregivers and given to other people. 

 

Jane's preschoolers believe that they have a very important and permanent and positive bond with the women who gave birth to them, even though one of them has no memory of her at all and the other has terrible memories. No surprise - Jane is their parent, they are four, Jane's beliefs are their beliefs. Nothing wrong with that - everybody's preschoolers are mirrors of parental ideology. 

 

I've fostered older children for six months (not a nanosecond), and one of the things that makes me so adamant about identifying the newborn- birthmother bond as adult construct is my experience with the preschooler-mother bond. My foster sons had mothers. One of them had a perfectly capable mother who was IMO a victim of a racist system, and he was RUed. The other one is being raised by relatives, and I believe that he will always think of his Mom as Mom, even though she's unlikely to be able to parent him ever again. I had a real, wonderful, satisfying caregiver relationship with those kids without ever jockeying for position with ther mothers. They came to me with their mother software pre-installed.

 

Infants don't come to us with much besides breathing pre-installed. The OP has a foster child who has taken the evidence available to him and identified his mother - and it's not the woman who gave birth to him. If this child is taken from the OP, tht will be awful for him. The best thing the OP can do for her foster son is to give him every chance to bond with his birth mom ON HIS TERMS - which apparently don't include the contemporary adult notion that whoever pushes you out into the world absolutely HAS to be your "real" mother, somebody you must love forever, somebody who sits in the front seat of your psyche for the rest of your days. 

 

OP, I realize that this thread has become contentious, but it would be great if you were able to give us a bit more context on this situation. Have you fostered this child since birth? Why does he not think of his biomom as Mom? 

post #24 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post

Sigh. I see that my viewpoint is unpopular, but since I sincerely believe that I'm right and that foster children are best served by foster parents who have at least considered all perspectives, I'll plow on.

 

 

I cannot even touch the rest of your post.  This particular line is ironic given that you have never, not ever, in the few years I've been on here with you, consider all perspectives.  You have your beliefs and it doesn't matter what anyone says--you're right.

 

And sorry, but your placement (if I recall, it wasn't even 2 months) compared the the years and multiple placements that other people in this forum have ARE, relatively, a nanosecond.

 

So to hear you *sigh* with annoyance because the rest of us--longer term and more experienced foster parents, adoptive parents, adoptees and on occasion, a social worker--cannot grasp the complexities of your theories because we're obviously just inferior or undereducated on the topic or whatever it is you presume the reason to be, is laughable.

 

I also find it ironic that most of the threads you're involved in in this forum become contentious.  Wonder why that is...?

post #25 of 72

 

I cannot even touch the rest of your post.

 

Apparently you can't even read it. I've had two older-child placements - one about four months, one about two months. If you don't know that, then it's because you're not paying attention to my posts. Which is your right, of course, but perhaps you should have the grace not to comment negatively on my credibility when you're ignorant of my personal history and don't care to remedy your ignorance by reading my posts. 

 

I don't need you to see things my way. But neither am I willing to let confused foster moms who post here get nothing but your viewpoint, because I don't agree with your viewpoint. 

post #26 of 72

I actually DID read your post.  You said 6mo.  Great.  It IS still a world less experience than the collective board--who you are in constant opposition with.

post #27 of 72

All that any of us can do is tell our own truth. I'm not trying to shut you down. But neither do I accept the premise that the minority viewpoint is the wrong viewpoint in any given situation. 

 

I know that you have fostered older kids, but if you've ever known anyone who has fostered an infant for an extended period and had the infant removed (for RU, for kinship, for an adoptive home, whatever), then you know perfectly well that most fostered infants bond intensely to their foster parents, and experience pain and trauma if the bond is broken. It does not HELP this OP to encourage her to take the currently-popular adult viewpoint and superimpose it on her child's actual understanding of his own identity. He grew in another woman's body, that's true, he needs to know that. He might at some point leave his home and go to live with his birth mother or another blood relative. THAT'S true, and he foe sure as heck needs to know THAT, even if the knowledge gives him nightmares. But he doesn't need a hefty dose of "I'm not your real mommy" on top of those inescapable stressors. 

 

I think you probably realize that, since you have also advised the OP to "go with his answer" when it comes to naming the adults in his life. 

post #28 of 72

Smithie, can you point out anywhere on this thread where ANYONE has referred to a birth parent has the "real" parent?

post #29 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post

I know that you have fostered older kids, but if you've ever known anyone who has fostered an infant for an extended period and had the infant removed (for RU, for kinship, for an adoptive home, whatever),

 

Which, btw, I HAVE... ME!!  So I'm actually speaking from EXPERIENCE in addition to investigating beyond my own thoughts and experiences.  Try it sometime.

 

then you know perfectly well that most fostered infants bond intensely to their foster parents, and experience pain and trauma if the bond is broken.

 

Except that mine didn't experience obvious pain and trauma.  Hmmm... maybe because I did the things I'm advising the OP to do...?  Of course when there's a change, it's traumatic; but it can be minimized.  I did the things that minimized it.  And I'm sharing that--from not only my experience but from the experience of MANY other people sharing their personal experiences with me--which led me to doing what I did.  You should try that, too.

 

It does not HELP this OP to encourage her to take the currently-popular adult viewpoint and superimpose it on her child's actual understanding of his own identity. He grew in another woman's body, that's true, he needs to know that. He might at some point leave his home and go to live with his birth mother or another blood relative. THAT'S true, and he foe sure as heck needs to know THAT, even if the knowledge gives him nightmares. But he doesn't need a hefty dose of "I'm not your real mommy" on top of those inescapable stressors. 


And again, with the "I'm not your real mommy".  You are the only person taking that position and sentiment.  So far, in this whole thread, you are the only person that has made any kind of reference to taking that mindset or saying something like that.  But then, historically you have had a great deal of trouble handling the idea that someone else might share the respect and title of "mother" when you adopt a child so this is not shocking.

 

post #30 of 72

It sounds like the words are what are confusing the child at this point, not the relationships. The child in the original post has two mothers.

post #31 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post

 

I cannot even touch the rest of your post.

 

Apparently you can't even read it. I've had two older-child placements - one about four months, one about two months.



The second time you had the first child, how long was that from placement until he left? Because you accuse heather of not reading your posts, but i read all of them and from what i can gather you had J for 8 days, then you went on vacation so he had to go to another home for over a month. Then you had him again from the beginning of August until about the beginning of September? And then you had "Zeke" from the end of October until the very beginning of December? Math isnt my strongest subject, but it sounds like you have had two foster children, both of whom you had about a month?

 

Normally i wouldnt split hairs like that, but since you took issue with my "fostering for a nanosecond" phrase i think you should at least be honest about the timeline.

post #32 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post
 

Jane's preschoolers believe that they have a very important and permanent and positive bond with the women who gave birth to them, even though one of them has no memory of her at all and the other has terrible memories. No surprise - Jane is their parent, they are four, Jane's beliefs are their beliefs. Nothing wrong with that - everybody's preschoolers are mirrors of parental ideology. 

 


I can see how this might be true in your household. Obviously you are not someone who considers that others' views might be valid. So i suppose its logical to you that one would  foist their beliefs on their children. I have YEARS under my belt of radically unschooling my oldest child, so i'm quite adept at presenting many sides of an issue, sharing what i believe, but encouraging my child to make up his own mind even if his opinion differs from my own. (for example on most social issues i would often say "some people believe" and "other people believe" and "i believe" and then "what do you believe?". He has been an atheist from quite a young age, although i am not.)

 

I havent been talking to K (the one who never met his bmom) for very long about adoption. Maybe in the past six months or so. His story focuses mostly on "the day you joined our family" which has nothing to do with his bmom. (he came from another foster home, and before that the hospital.) But all i've told him about her is "Some babies grow in their mommy's belly and that is the family they grow up in. But you grew in another mommys belly. She gave birth to you, but she couldnt take care of you. So the agency needed to find you a safe home that could take care of you forever!" and then i tell the "day you joined our family" story (we got the call, i was sooo excited, i wanted a baby for so long! your brother and i drove to the store and got a carseat for a baby and drove sooo far to the agency. I walked through the door and there was someone holding this most beautiful baby with a head full of dark hair. That baby was YOU! i was soo happy! ....." (its alot longer, involves meeting extended family that day, etc) ALL i've ever told him about his bmom is that she is black, she gave birth to him, but she couldnt keep him. Later i added in that he has older sibs. I can count on one hand probably the times we've talked about this so far! (ok MAYBE two hands. and almost always just as a bedtime story as we are falling asleep.)

 

So you can imagine how SHOCKED i was that he asked "hey is there a picture of my other mommy on here??" when i was on FB. Like...totally taken aback. I *never* thought he'd refer to her as "mommy" (even if i sometimes called her his "first mommy" or something as a way to put who she was in some kind of context she could understand...i mean, they hardly understand pg and birth.) I dont really think TOO much about this woman, she didnt want to RU, she fell out of sight, and my son feels pretty much 100 percent "my baby" and has from the beginning. But the LOOK on his face when he asked this question (and his continued questions, about his bdad, "that girlfriend in my other house" (what he has decided to call his birthsister...LOL) show that its not just curiosity. Its deeper than that. I can hardly even put it into words. I know my child, i know how he is, and this is different. This is new.

 

Or...maybe i'm just delusional or i'm lying. ROTFLMAO.gif

 

(btw, i dont think my other adopted son has "terrible memories" of his bmom, though i cant be sure. He was nine months last he lived with her as far as i know. I think his negative associations have more to do with the chaos he associates with her....moving to his dad, moving FROM his dads to my home, having to go to the agency (not a fun place) , new people, changes, etc. I think the idea of her reminds him of the loss of his father (whom he was firmly bonded to and seems to really really miss.)

 

It would be SO MUCH easier for me to pretend i am the only mother, that the woman who birthed my children was just a vessel and not a mother at all, and that my denial of her would ensure my children would love only me and that she wouldnt matter at all. in fact, it would be so nice to just not tell them they are adopted, and i could just avoid all these pesky questions about bfamily. Why dont adoption parents DO that anyway?! oh wait....they DID, in recent history, and it didnt work out so well for many adoptees. shrug.gif

 

post #33 of 72


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by queenjane View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post
 

 

It would be SO MUCH easier for me to pretend i am the only mother, that the woman who birthed my children was just a vessel and not a mother at all, and that my denial of her would ensure my children would love only me and that she wouldnt matter at all. in fact, it would be so nice to just not tell them they are adopted, and i could just avoid all these pesky questions about bfamily. Why dont adoption parents DO that anyway?! oh wait....they DID, in recent history, and it didnt work out so well for many adoptees. shrug.gif

 



It would be so much easier - for you- and I think thats the point you are trying to make here. It would not be beneficial for your son-  or any other adoptee for that matter. My mom at my age I am now 31- she is 63 is just now accepting that these other people matter to me- GOOD FOR YOUR FOR KNOWING IT MATTERS NOW!!!!  Some it matters more, some less, but it does matter and this is what you are saying and I applaud you for it!

I am trying to not butt in on this thread but this made my heart smile- the honesty behind it is real and i appreciate honesty very much.

If we deny our true feelings we can't work thru them- being an adoptee I tried for a long time to pretend that my feelings about my birthfamily did not matter to make things easier for all involved( ie my adoptive mom) they did matter- and shoving them down as to not rock the boat did me no favors.

Our kids sense our true feelings.... body launguage is strong... it's better to work thru this- in an honest way.

 

I want to hug your little boy so much. And you.  It can't be easy.  I "share" my mothering role with my ex's new wife- it's not the same at all as adoption but I know my kids pick up on my feelings about her- and I HAVE to work thru it.  I can say- it's ok how great for my kids to get extra love- and still cringe at the thought of her tucking them in- or I can work to get to a place where it does not bother me that my kids love another woman who mothers them sometimes.  I can make it the rhetoric or I can get to the meat of it and work on my own insecurity and fears.

 

I am not there yet- and you all don't have to be either- but to be honest about it- and not just know what you are supposed to say- but really try to say it and feel it are two different things.

 

 

 

post #34 of 72

Since we are taking in many perspectives here, mine is very different from Jane's.  I often grit my teeth to get through talking about my daughter's birthmother.  My belief is that our life would be easier if we did not have a relationship with dd's birthmother.  My daughter is bonded to her birthmother in a way I have no words for, though she left her care at four months.  She definately believes she has a "very important and permanent and positive" bond with L.  And nurture that bond because I am following my child's lead.  But it sounds like you are saying that you feel that such a lead is impossible.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post

Jane's preschoolers believe that they have a very important and permanent and positive bond with the women who gave birth to them, even though one of them has no memory of her at all and the other has terrible memories. No surprise - Jane is their parent, they are four, Jane's beliefs are their beliefs. Nothing wrong with that - everybody's preschoolers are mirrors of parental ideology. 

 

 

post #35 of 72

But it sounds like you are saying that you feel that such a lead is impossible.

 

With kids, nothing is impossible. But if we're talking about what's likely - you are in a kinship adoption situation, everybody in your whole damn family has their oar in on the issue of who's the mom and what the boundaries are, and no matter how low-key you personally have tried to be about it, the (periodic lack of) birthmom contact is a Great Big Deal to many of the people in your daughter's life. Obviously, she is going to pick up on that. If your circumstances were different, and your adoption had gone more like Jane's adoption, your child would probably react more like Jane's children. Children learn what they live with. Although sometimes they turn out atheist - I've actually got one of those myself. ;-)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Let's get back to the OP's orginal question:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our 21 month old foster child has been with us for almost a year and calls me mama and mommie.  He does not like being told his birth mom is mama and gets upset when we say mama gave you this toy or any time we call her mama.  I think he needs a name to open up to her.  Anyone been through this?  What can we name her that he won't get upset about but give a name to her face? 

 

Is such a lead impossible? Should this foster label the woman who gave birth to her foster with a mom-name, despite the repeated and vigorous resistance of the child? Or should she follow his lead,  and find a noncontroversial name to put to the face? I suspect we all agree on the answer to that one, even if we don't agree on anything else. 

 

post #36 of 72

The mom has the right to the mom name. And the foster parent has the responsibility to help the child gradually understand the relationship between him and his mother. I want to know what she's been calling the mother all along. I'm fine with adding a first name to the Mommy or Mama but to totally disregard who she is, is wrong. The toddler is confused. He's not making a political stand.

post #37 of 72

And queenjane's name isn't Jane. Her username maybe queenjane but her name is Katherine. I'd probably use one of those.

post #38 of 72

 

The mom has the right to the mom name.

I am more circumstance-dependent than you on this issue (if the case plan was termination and there was no visitation, as with one of Katherine’s adoptions (and thanks for the name tip), I wouldn’t treat a foster-adopt baby any differently than a privately adopted baby in terms of how/when I talked about the adoption). But in THESE circumstances, yes, I think I agree. The OP doesn’t specify, but if I personally were fostering a baby who had had visitation from birth-21 months, I would call the biomom “Mom” and myself something else. That would be best for the child IMO.  

 

And the foster parent has the responsibility to help the child gradually understand the relationship between him and his mother.

Again, I agree. What that relationship is or possibly will be, we can’t know. We aren’t privy to the details of the case. But if RU is in the offing, the OP has work to do to help her foster son imagine his birth mom in the Mom role.

 

 I want to know what she's been calling the mother all along.

Possibly nothing. Verbal communication is a fairly new event between the OP and her foster son.

 

I'm fine with adding a first name to the Mommy or Mama but to totally disregard who she is, is wrong.

I think that any course other than letting the child label the adults in his life is usually the wrong call.

 

The toddler is confused. He's not making a political stand.

Of course he isn’t. But if his foster mother overrides his objections and puts his special name for her onto another woman that he barely knows, SHE would be making a political stand. 

post #39 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post

But it sounds like you are saying that you feel that such a lead is impossible.

 

With kids, nothing is impossible. But if we're talking about what's likely - you are in a kinship adoption situation, everybody in your whole damn family has their oar in on the issue of who's the mom and what the boundaries are, and no matter how low-key you personally have tried to be about it, the (periodic lack of) birthmom contact is a Great Big Deal to many of the people in your daughter's life. Obviously, she is going to pick up on that. If your circumstances were different, and your adoption had gone more like Jane's adoption, your child would probably react more like Jane's children. Children learn what they live with. Although sometimes they turn out atheist - I've actually got one of those myself. ;-)

 


I'm a little confused. So, you're saying that my son has a positive view of his birthmother because I have a positive view of his birthmother. And you're saying that pumpkingirl's dd has a positive view of her birthmother because, even though PG's own view is rather negative, others in the family believe the birthmother is "the mom" so the adopted daughter is picking up on that and THATs why she has a positive view? It almost sounds like you dont think a child will develop a positive view of their birthmom (or think of her as "a mother) without SOMEONE immersing the child in that viewpoint.

 

If thats the case, then how do you explain all the adoptees who led the "search" movement? The open records movement? When social workers, experts, society and their own adoptive families were telling them "that woman gave birth to you but she's not your mother, the adoptive mother is your REAL mother!" (if they were acknowledging the birthmother or the adoption at all, which often didnt even happen!) many adopted adults still felt their whole lives that "something was missing" and sought out birthfamily. (Not ALL adoptees of course.) How do you explain that?

post #40 of 72


And just to be clear, my family does not believe that my daughter's birthmother is the "real" mom or have a positive view of her that they communicate to my daughter.  For the most part, they have respected my boundries around the issue.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by queenjane View Post

I'm a little confused. So, you're saying that my son has a positive view of his birthmother because I have a positive view of his birthmother. And you're saying that pumpkingirl's dd has a positive view of her birthmother because, even though PG's own view is rather negative, others in the family believe the birthmother is "the mom" so the adopted daughter is picking up on that and THATs why she has a positive view? It almost sounds like you dont think a child will develop a positive view of their birthmom (or think of her as "a mother) without SOMEONE immersing the child in that viewpoint.

 

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Adoptive and Foster Parenting
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Mom › Parenting › Adoptive and Foster Parenting › How do I give a name to a birth mom that a foster child does not know as their mom?