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Adoption as a First Choice

She's not my real daughter?????

I’m the proud first time mother to a beautiful newborn baby girl I adopted through foster care.  It has always been my intentions to adopt a child in addition to bearing children.  I’ve been ridiculed and deeply hurt by some of the remarks or comments I’ve heard.  I’ve made comments about her and refer to her as my daughter and someone said “Oh, you mean that baby you adopted” or say things like she’s not my real daughter.  These are not unintentional comments and anyone whose said anything in this regard I have cut them off entirely.  I don’t want to expose her to anything or anyone full of nonsense.  Has anyone else experienced this? How’d you handle it? Did you have to ‘cut off’ some people because of this type of issue?? If she’s going through this now I can’t imagine what evil she’ll face as she gets older. I’m even contemplating never telling her she’s adopted because I’m afraid she’ll have to deal with this scrutiny. I don’t know how something I felt so beautiful about is making me feel so hurt.


No, I haven’t had to go through this, really. I have two adopted children, both at birth, through private domestic open adoption. I’ve gotten a couple of “are you his/her *real* mom?” from children, and there are always people who will make a truly thoughtless comment, but overall, we don’t have any naysayers in our life.

I’m very sorry you have to go through this. There are books for people who are related to adoptive families. Perhaps you should purchase them for some of the more clueless? One book is “Adoption Is a Family Affair.”

That said, I hope you’re just being hyperbolic about not telling your DD that she’s adopted. Honestly, that’s probably the worst thing you could do.

Definitely look around for support groups in your area. If you adopted from foster care, there’s likely a group through your county. Or maybe your SW can put you in touch with other families. Online support groups, such as this one, are good, but real people can be better.

Posted by rredhead on Jul 17, 2013 at 8:47am

Just do a search for it on this site. There are lots of families dealing with the same. I know it hurts, but most people you encounter like that are simply careless. Others, even in your own family may not have it in their hearts to grow their own families in the manner you are. To some of these, you may be a reminder of what they are not inside. As always, with feelings of inadequacy, people feel the need to bully & belittle. Don’t back down, but be clear on your expectations if that person wants to be a part o your life. This is something best worked out during these months when your child is young.
Cruelty and carelessness will occur later in her life, but everyone will take their cues from you and your reactions. The “I feel so sorry you are so confused and rediculous” glare is one I have perfected (wait for silence to occur), but so is the look of compassion that follows with a clear explanation of reality I plan to use: “We all grow our families as we see fit. Incredibly, some are blessed with choice in the matter. I was blessed with this precious child. You should be so blessed. Would you like to hold her?”
Formula: Gentle reminder of how rude the person is being-mild snub-reminder of blessing- “& that’s all I’ll hear about it” blow while looking them directly in the eye-forcing them to be outright rude in front of others while inviting them to begin accepting your child/choice.

Never let them see you sweat. Completely cutting them off is a sign that they cod possibly make you feel bad and an opening for other members of the family to believe that they can take sides, instead of making a stand that the subject is closed and they need to back down.
Lol. There are reasonably polite ways to throw down the gauntlet.

Best of luck!

Posted by Myri&AJ; on Jul 17, 2013 at 9:30am

PS: it wouldn’t hurt to keep someone with such a damaged mind set in your prayers. He/she is obviously struggling with something they cannot name. My mother in law was adopted and her experience was so radically different from my father in law’s that she adamantly opposes our decision.

Posted by Myri&AJ; on Jul 17, 2013 at 12:11pm

First of all, you must tell your child that she is adopted.  No ifs or buts about that.  She can then control her own story when she is older.  Yes, we do have to put up with the same questions you get.  On top of that, we also get the same questions that our bmothers are likely to get - so hey we get double the questions.  Thus it is best if you can handle the questions calmly and without taking it too personally as that will help your child to know how to handle it in the future.

First of all, I will say tat I actually find the QUESTIONS much easier than the STATEMENTS (which I’ll explain further).

In regards to the QUESTIONS.  Any people will ask questions using the word “real”, eg “are you in touch with her *real* mum”.  Now, often when *real* is used in a question, it is often just a terminology thing.  Thus the best way to answer is to quietly get the point over by just replying using the terminology you wish them to use in the reply, eg as above:
“are you in touch with her *real* mum”.
“Yes, we will be have an open adoption with her biological/birth family” (or whatever terminology you plan on using). 

In this situation, there is no need to say “I’M her real mum” because really in this particular scenario, the person asking the question isn’t necessarily disputing that.

However, as I said above, STATEMENTS are worse.  For example, you say that someone said to you “She isn’t your real daughter”.  No-one has a right to tell you that.  That relationship is between you and your daughter and not for someone else to decide for you.  As an adoptee, I’ve been told by others how I am supposed to refer to the people in my life.  However, as far as I’m concerned, I have the right to call anyone in my life what I wish.

Posted by catherinenz on Jul 17, 2013 at 5:03pm

I have had a few instances of this, but not as bad as those you have mentioned.  I have let some people go out of my life because of their attitudes towards our adoption.  Its ok to do that.  Although if its close family, I would try and educate them a bit more first.  Be as blunt with them as they have been with you, but tell how much it hurts you and is negative for your child to hear things like that.  They will probably weed themselves out that way.  I know attitudes toward adoption have changed a lot in the past few decades, so give them a chance to change.  But if they don’t take it, leave them behind.  You and your child do not need the negativity. Live is hard enough.

Posted by emilybth on Jul 17, 2013 at 6:09pm

I think my family’s only real negative comment as an adult was when my parents were overseas staying with my dad’s sisters and my parents talking about something and one aunt saying in reply “well they don’t count because they are adopted”.  My parents moved out to a hotel.  That aunt is a bit of a fruitcake so we all just shrugged it off - she has said enough nutty things about other things.  If another relative had said it, it might have made thing more uncomfortable - with this aunt, one just has to shrug it off.

Posted by catherinenz on Jul 17, 2013 at 6:32pm

First, let me say congratulations and how sorry I am that you have had these negative experiences.  I think adoption is a wonderful way to make a family!  I agree with catherinenz that the person’s intent should be considered when responding.  My family was overwhelmingly supportive of our plans to adopt, and they adore our children.  But I did have two relatives use the phrase “children of your own”.  It was clear that neither was trying to be rude or insulting, but it is rude and insulting.  When someone is rude or hurtful, even unintentionally, you should let them know.  In both instances when I corrected the person, the response was “you know what I mean”, to which I answered “yes, but if you are trying to differentiate between biological and adoptive, then those are the words to use.”  I will not allow anyone to refer to my children in a way that implies they are “less than”, but I do think it is important to model civil behavior for my kids.  Because many people know we are an adoptive family, I get a lot of questions.  You do not have to answer any questions about your family, that is your right, but many people are ignorant about adoption, and that is why they ask. 

Best of luck to you and your daughter.  You should practice telling her the story of how she was born and then came to be your daughter.  That really helped me, and now my oldest loves his birth story, and how we met him right after he was born.

Posted by jszmom on Jul 20, 2013 at 9:33am

Please do NOT hide her adoption from her. It is part of her story, and she deserves to know it.

When I was a kid, I remember overhearing my mom talking about a friend of hers who had just found out when her mother passed away that she had been adopted. She was an adult and suddenly realized there was a whole part of her life that had been hidden from her and it devastated her. Now, we’re talking about 50-60+ years ago when she was born and when adoption was much more ‘hush hush’ but that didn’t make her feel any less like her entire life was a lie.

A friend of mine was adopted as a newborn through foster care (his bio-parents were in high school) and when I told him that my husband and I planned to adopt, the FIRST piece of advice that he gave me was to make sure we acknowledged and celebrated that our kid(s) came to us through adoption. His parents did, and when he became an adult they gave him their blessing to seek out his biological family. He found them, and now has a wonderful relationship with them as well where he could see where he came from (his parents are short but his biological half brother is tall, like he is, for example. His mom gave him the love of music, but his bio-mom gave him the singing talent, etc) Obviously this isn’t a possibility for all children adopted through foster care, but for him it worked well.

Posted by toinfinityandbiond on Dec 05, 2013 at 3:10am

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