"She's not your REAL mom" - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 01-28-2007, 08:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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That is what a child said to my dd. Her mom had talked to her about adoption I suppose. But sheesh!! My dd is 5 yrs old, knows about adoption, but she has special needs so I kind of think it is over her head right now. This hit home with her though. We have never used the word "real" in discussing adoption.

I found out when my dd told ME "you are not my real mom". I said excuse me, then who is? (I was taken by surprise!!) I said why did you say that? She said her friend said it.

Please tell me this is an isolated event? Do children really say these things? I wanted to be open about dd's adoption and not hide it but I am saddened to think children are going to be mean to her about it. Dd was very upset as was I.
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#2 of 8 Old 01-28-2007, 12:33 PM
 
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I have two adopted children, and I'm sorry to tell you that if our case is any indicator, it isn't an isolated incident. My kids have heard this many times. Sometimes, it isn't meant to be cruel. The child who says it just doesn't know anything about adoption and is trying to figure things out. But sometimes, they are trying to be cruel. Kids can be very, very mean.

Personally, I find the best way to deal with it is to have talked to my children a fair amount about adoption, what it means, what birthmothers are and what mothers are. Then, when they get the mean comments, they will tell the kids right off that they are ignorant and that of course, I'm "real." What else would I be? Imaginary?

So sorry you are dealing with this.
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#3 of 8 Old 01-28-2007, 01:28 PM
 
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I am sorry you already are dealing with this issue. She's still very young. The way people explain things to children and the way children hear things can sometimes lead to hurt feelings. I don't know but I am sure her friend didn't mean to hurt her feelings. Adoption is a difficult concept for some adults to grasp not to mention a small child. Having dialogue with your daughter and using the terminology you choose will help. Trust me, your dd knows you are 'really' her mommy. You two know what's up and you both may find yourselves educating others.

I heard this term when I was a kid and I remember feeling angry and confused. Of course my mom was 'real'. What else could she be? She really loved me, she really took care of me, she was 'really' there. I felt like if she wasn't my 'real' mom then I wasn't 'real' either nor did I have a 'real' family. With a lot of love my parents helped me through that. It did make me a bit more 'thick skinned' and I didn't take things quite so personally. It also helped that we lived within walking distance and associated with 4 other adoptive families. There was tons of support and understanding. As a pp said, children can be mean. That is a fact and they can find things to pick on.(anything) I am sure the day will come when all of us adoptive parents will have to deal with similar issues. All we can do is be 'real' with our children. 'Really open and 'really' honest and try to 'really' help them sort through it all.

Just for the record life moms, first moms , birth mom (what ever term one chooses to use) are 'real' too. We are all moms. Adoption is 'real' and it is not 'unnatural'. Adoption (IMO) is love and what could be more 'real' or 'natural' than that?

C
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#4 of 8 Old 01-28-2007, 05:48 PM
 
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Quote:

Please tell me this is an isolated event? Do children really say these things? I wanted to be open about dd's adoption and not hide it but I am saddened to think children are going to be mean to her about it. Dd was very upset as was I.
I can deal quite well with thoughtless comments from children - after all, to a point they're designed to be a bit thoughtless - a gentle correction or a reminder of how words can hurt is usually enough.

But the comments from adults - well, there's no excuse. When I was pregnant with my second child, self described well meaning people would say things to me (in front of my older son) like: "Won't it be nice for you to have a child who's REALLY yours." Or: "There's nothing like being the REAL mother." :

I have a short fuse with stupidity even on exceptionally good days, so you can imagine with the hormonal changes pregnancy brings that there are people who are lucky to be alive

When forced to deal with comments about "REAL" , I would reply, "What the f*** is Rickey? Imaginary?"

It shut idiots up really quick.

Dorothy
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#5 of 8 Old 01-28-2007, 07:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Since then, we have had many discussions. I did ask dd to touch my arm, I said is my arm pretend? Do I feel real to you? She said that she would tell her friend to touch my arm and see that I am real too. It actually brought up a picture in my head of a plastic Barbie --real vs what? There are no fake mommies. Nor fake families.

We also talked about what mommies do--take care of their child, cook, wash their clothes, hold them, keep the child safe.

I think the child was being cruel. She tends to have jealous moments with my dd and can say some mean things. I think this was one of those times.
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#6 of 8 Old 01-28-2007, 08:14 PM
 
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This has not happened to my kids. However, I expect that it will some day. I already have a response planned for when someone says it to my kids or they say it to me:

If someone says it to my kids: "I do the same things for my kids that your mom does for you. I am their real mom. I am not their birthmother, but I am their real mom."

If my kids say it to me: "I am the mom you live with, I am the mom who makes your food, washes your clothes, reads you books, and drives you to the library. I am the mom you have, and I'm as real as it's going to get."

Namaste!
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#7 of 8 Old 01-28-2007, 10:33 PM
 
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When I was six or seven, I remember telling my best friend (an only child) that she didn't have a "real" family because she had no brothers or sisters and this comment made her cry. I didn't mean to be cruel-- I think kids can be very black and white and they are trying to figure out categories. So a kid might have in their head the definition "a mom is someone who grows their child in their tummy" or whatever and don't see how an exception fits into the rule. I'd consider looking at this as an opportunity to expand their world, they probably don't mean to be cruel, but they need to know what adoption is, why you are a "real" mom, why your child is most beloved, and why it might be hurtful to insinuate that she doesn't have a "real" mother.
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#8 of 8 Old 01-29-2007, 09:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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That is one reason that I feel this was intentional cruelty. She did NOT say it in front of me. It was said to my daughter alone. So I had no chance to talk to her about it. I did speak to her mother and told her it was hurtful especially to a small child--that when speaking of adoption, we never use the word "real". As you say, I am real as it is going to get. I did wonder if her mother had used the term "real mother" vs "adoptive mother" when explaining adoption to her. But her mother said she didn't.
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