What My Adoptive Mom Could Have Done Differently Or Better

I often give my opinion of open adoption and the resulting question from hopeful adoptive parents or adoptive parents is: What could your Amom have done to be better or make your adoption better for you?

I really wish that people would take time to read, not only my blog, but as many adoptee blogs as possible, but often, people just want their question answered as quickly as possible. This sometimes makes me angry because I often interpret it as: “look, I don’t have time, interest etc. to read over your blog, so can you just break it down for me and give me some hard and fast answers so I can move forward with my plans.”

Instead of getting angry, I’ve decided to give an answer here, so that I will have a place I can direct people since my answer is lengthy. Here are the things I can think of off the top of my head that my Amom could have done better/differently. There are many more, but this is a good start for my answer to the question. What my adoptive mom could have differently or better

What could your adoptive mom have done differently or better?

  1. BEFORE adopting, my Amom really should have thought through whether or not she was capable of being an adoptive parent.
  2. To answer question one, she should have sought counseling for herself.
  3. She should have resolved at least SOME of HER childhood issues BEFORE adopting.
  4. She should have questioned whether she was truly a patient person.
  5. She should have questioned whether she was a person who sought to understand others.
  6. She should have questioned whether she was capable of loving another woman’s baby as much and equally as her own biological child.
  7. She should have considered HOW her childhood issues would play into her role and expectations of herself as a mother and especially as an adoptive mother.
  8. She should have truly, TRULY examined how manipulative she was and could be. (This has a direct impact on what ethics, or lack thereof, one will display in what she is willing to do and accept in a largely unethical industry that trades infants/children for money.)
  9. In a follow up to #8, she should have asked herself if helping an infant’s mom, could have helped the mom keep the baby. Adoptees often want the answer to that particular question when they grow up.
  10. She should NOT have viewed adoption as CHARITY.
  11. She should have done everything she could to understand the loss and grief that an infant will go through in losing his/her entire family, yes, even in open adoption. She should have done this BEFORE making the decision to adopt.
  12. She should have considered whether she was racist and/or carried prejudices toward other races and especially that of the infant she was adopting.
  13. She should have considered if adopting was an act of convenience that would later become inconvenient (and costly).
  14. Once she got me, here are few things she could have done better or differently, starting with – she should NOT have hit me.
  15. She shouldn’t have teased me about my race.
  16. She shouldn’t have presented one face in front of others and kept a face of anger reserved for me behind closed doors (here is where #3 would have come in handy.)
  17. She shouldn’t have used me as a prop.
  18. She shouldn’t have grown tired of me as a got older.
  19. She should have shown understanding when I had abandonment issues and understood that it will happen at different ages and during different situations throughout my life. (Here is #4, #5 and #11 would have come in handy.)
  20. She should have been prepared for MY anger.
  21. She should have been prepared for MY acting out.
  22. She should have known that adopting a child IS different than having a child and will require more patience and understanding.
  23. She should have sought professional help for me when I was very young and started displaying behaviors she didn’t know how to handle.
  24. She should have been willing to be part of the process in accepting professional help for me, for herself and for us together as well as part of the family.
  25. She should not have spoken to others about my issues in front of me or in any public manner whatsoever.
  26. She should have shown respect towards my biological family and not have viewed them as “less than” her.
  27. She should not have viewed open adoption as an opportunity to teach me a lesson in how I escaped a bullet in living with my biological family.
  28. She should not have viewed open adoption as an opportunity to teach me a lesson in appreciating what she was providing materialistically.
  29. She should have respected my opinions and not tried to set rules on how I felt.
  30. She should have acknowledged my feelings rather than trying to talk me into seeing things in a more positive manner.
  31. She should have allowed me to show anger.
  32. She should have allowed ME to determine the amount of contact I had with my biological family as I got older.
  33. She should not have recruited my biological mom to back her up in disagreements with me.
  34. She should have understood that the time period after visits was excruciating and that it took weeks or even months to adjust.
  35. She should have understood that I held two very different roles within two very different families and that I took this on at a very young age (4).
  36. As an extra “wish,” I wish she could have understood that I faced every single issue that closed adoption adoptees face, including all of the same reunion issues, except I was 4, 6, 8 years old. (The obvious exception being that I didn’t have to search for my biological family)
  37. She should have understood that at a very young age – 4, 6, 8 years old – I was navigating horrendous complexities in relationships such as trying to be a sister to someone who was incredibly jealous and competitive with me over the fact that I had “things” while I was incredibly jealous and competitive over the fact that she had my original mom. She, ever saddened and angry that she hadn’t also been adopted out and me, ever saddened and angry that I had been adopted out.
  38. She should have known that I felt adopted out of one family and adopted into another and that through open adoption, I was always reminded of that fact at a very young age and that because of this, never felt as I truly belonged in either family.
  39. She should not have introduced me as her “adopted daughter” throughout my entire life.
  40. She should have considered how her extended family would treat me and whether they could accept an outsider as their own. This includes examining whether uncles would display unwanted physical attraction, whether her mother (my supposed grandmother) would never make eye contact with me, whether the invitations to family events would stop once I was older and whether her family would only be accepting of me in her presence.
  41. And maybe just because I’m feeling a little selfish today, maybe it would have been nice if she had went the extra mile to understand that adoption completely changes a person’s identity. She could have acknowledged and became part of the movement to open records (or possibly not change a person’s identity to begin with). She could have understood that I never agreed to have my identity erased. I wasn’t able to sign off on a document that said my authentic ancestry, race and name were no longer who I was AND that I wouldn’t even be able to access that information (YES, EVEN IN OPEN ADOPTION). Maybe she could have talked about the fact that MY birth certificate was a complete lie and maybe, just maybe, she could talk about it while not crying and feeling sorry for herself!

So these are just a few things I’ve jotted down in a few minutes. These are the things that I can think of from my own point of view in my own situation. I really hope that other adoptees may comment with a few of their own, but every hopeful adoptive parent should realize that no adoptee owes you these answers. The answers are out there. It’s YOUR responsibility to search out these answers – for yourself and for any child you may adopt.

6 thoughts on “What My Adoptive Mom Could Have Done Differently Or Better

  1. Roxanne

    We adopted a 16 year old. Met her when she was 14. We just had the biggest fight, I did nearly everything you stated. It was just over how we felt more like a hotel, with her waiting to check out, more then giving us a chance. But I was very cruel. She said nothing and stood there. The more she stood there the more I tried to be even meaner. Finally I sent her to her room. I walked by and she was staring into space. I realized I did this, like the others before me and I wanted to be different and I wasn’t. I went into her room, explained I couldn’t take back how horrible I was. I tried and explained that I did care and I am sorry and that I was so afraid of losing her that I was pushing her away anyway. She said she couldnt go in like this anymore…more crying. We concluded we are more alike then different and we do love one another but for some reason or another are afraid to let each other in. Me, cause she will go to her biological famikh anyway and her as she’s afraid. The good news…we start therapy next week. It took going down that road to now trying together to go up the road. B

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  3. Marylee

    My adoptive mother could have allowed me to speak about my adoption.She said that i could ask her anything,but when I did i saw her change, and I knew that she was lying.

    There are so many things that she could have done to help me. She could have not sent my to various relatives for the summers.

    But what i really wanted and needed,she could never, ever do. She could never be my mother.I never even wanted her to be my mother. I doubt she wanted me to be her child,she wanted her own. Everyone does.

    1. Kat Post author

      Marylee, did we have the same adoptive mother? Ha! Seriously though, when you said your adoptive mom said that you could ask anything, then you could see her change if you did, that’s exactly how mine was too. She’d say “You can talk to me / ask me ANYthing.” But then if I did, I could see her body language change. She’d stiffin up, lack eye contact, tear up (for herself obviously), get a higher pitched voice etc. But I’m sure if you were to ask her to this day, she’d say she has no idea what I’m talking about because she SAID that I could talk to her about anything. Yeah, she said that but even as a small child, I knew the truth of the the matter.

    2. Cathy

      This is pathetic and tragic. I think many times the wrong people adopt…and dammit, let’s face it…sometimes the wron g people GIVE BIRTH. Why is it that I happen to know the adoptees who are happy…who are the antithesis of what we read here? I asked my friend, an adoptee, why so many people condemn adoption. She says that these are people who believe these are people who are convinced that THEIR reality is the ONLY reality. Maybe the difference with the happy adoptees is innate personality and wise adoptive parents. They like who they are. Life was not perfect; one adoptee friend’s mom died of alchoholism..deeply mourned by my friend. This did not, however, engender in her a desire to find her “real” mother. Her Mom is her Mom, and her Mom died. Her Dad and she were like two peas in a pod, personality wise. She loves and misses him too, as he died of a heart attack at 70. Another friend adopted also as a baby is always very open about her adoption, adored her family, and lovingly remenisces about the only Mom she knew, who died 3 years ago at 93. I could go on, but I won’t. I can see the pain of yhe afoptees here is deep and real…but I have jeard almost idrntical FEELINGS of alienation, emptiness, “something missing,” coming from many who were raised by their birth families….myself included. My psrents were wise and loving, wpnderful people and, in my adulthood, two of my best friends. And I still experienced many of the above feelings, especially as a teenager.

      1. Kat Post author

        Cathy, What is truly pathetic and tragic is your comment. This is an excellent example of comments that are meant to be demeaning, diminishing and downright hateful. If you were to communicate difficulties you were experiencing in life – the death of a spouse, depression, a serious health issue or any number of things – how would you like it if I were to say, “Cathy, you seem to be in pain, but I know plenty of people who have experienced these things and they are perfectly happy!” Well guess what? I wouldn’t say that because it’s a load of bullshit and you know it. Don’t you ever step foot in this space with those types of comments. This is the one and only time I will extend you the courtesy of publishing your condescending, obnoxious comment.


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