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Adoption Blog: My Paperwork Pregnancies

“Your Birth Mother Was Short!” “Your Birth Brother Is Stupid!”



Siblings bicker. Siblings pick on each other. Siblings love to irritate one another. Siblings tease each other about their birthparents and adoption stories?
 
Apparently in my household, they do.
 
I've been very open with each of my three children about his or her adoption story. I have shared details about what I did while waiting to adopt, my reaction when learning about their births, what happened in the hospital, the conversations we had with their birthmothers, our travel adventures on our way home, and many other personal details. Few of these conversations occur one-on-one behind closed doors. Usually they take place around the dinner table, in the minivan, while we are playing Wii, or when we are getting ready for bed -- times when the whole family is present. I like that my children know each other's stories, in addition to their own.
 
So it surprised me when, one afternoon, my eldest son ran up to me and said through tears, "Mom! She is teasing me about my birth mother being short!" Stunned, all I could say as I followed him into the living room was, "Who? What?" As soon as my daughter saw me she shouted, "Well, he teased me about being two days old when you got me, and you saw him be born!" Before I could say anything, my son yelled back at her, "Yeah? Well, your birth brother is stupid!" His sister rebutted, "So is your birth sister!"
 
Quickly, I sent my kids to their respective rooms and took in some deep, cleansing breaths. In general, my kids all get along well, but that 10 percent of the time when they are at each other's throats, they are ruthless. For these occasions, I've tried multiple parenting techniques learned from books, my friends, the Supernanny show, and online communities. However, none of them addressed what to do when my children insult each other's birth families, nor have any of the adoptive parenting books I’ve read.
 
We don't know much about my children's birth families beyond what we learned at their births. Although my husband and I desire open relationships, and send letters and pictures to all three of the birth families, we have heard little to none back from them over the years. I know this weighs on my children's hearts, so I'm sure that's why they chose this topic to harass each other about.
 
I called to my son and daughter and asked them to sit on either side of me on our living room couch. I put my arms around them and began calmly talking to them. I told them how much I loved them and that I knew they loved each other, too. "When people love each other, they don't tease each other about personal things, such as their adoption stories," I said. I reminded them that I told them about their birth families because it's part of their history. It's part of our family history.
 
When my daughter made fun of my son's birth mother's height, she was insulting a member of our family. When my son teased his sister about her birth brother, he was insulting our family. Hearing them fight like this hurt my feelings, too, as I love everyone in our family, I explained.
 
My kids nodded their heads and muttered, "Sorry, Mom." Then they asked if they could go outside to play together on the trampoline. Before they ran off, I said, "One more thing. If you guys ever want to talk about birth families, let's do it together. Deal?"
 
"Deal, Mom. Can we go play now?"
 
As I watched my kids bounce around, laughing with each other outside, I realized that I had no clue if I’d handled that situation correctly. Before my son came crying to me, I’d also had no clue that their argument was one that may arise in adoptive families. One thing I did know is that life is full of clueless moments and muddling your way through it is part of motherhood. Considering my kids were now happy and not yelling at each other, I felt safe in assuming I made it through this unexpected adoption parenting moment pretty well.


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5 Comments

That was an amazing story!! My son is an only child right now, but we plan on adopting again in about a year!!! You handled that beautifully and only hope I would of came up with the same idea and now thanks to you I will have a guideline when this happens in our family!!!

By Rmr1977 on Friday, July 19, 2013 at 2:16 pm.

I think you handled this beautifully and intelligently while making a very good point and defusing a sensitive situation and conversation.

By gingerbaby11 on Tuesday, August 27, 2013 at 1:31 pm.

Interesting story…...very nicely you handle everything…i read other related article also…felt that reading new article update me with new situation that can be faced by anyone…...and get an idea how to tackle those problems…...very good content

By Judith Bell on Monday, November 25, 2013 at 5:35 am.

You handled this amazingly well!

Rami Amaro
Amaro Law Office

By Rami Amaro on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 at 3:11 am.

wow, super mom really.

By Adopt Speaks on Thursday, August 27, 2015 at 12:49 pm.

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Meet the Author

Danielle Pennel

Danielle Pennel

Missouri

I have recently adopted or am adopting from...
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Newborn

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