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OK to let adopted tween move in with recovered mother?


A friends adopted tween is asking to move in with her mother now that she’s no longer “too young for a baby” and now that she’s “finished with school”.  All the reasons my friend gave in response to why she was adopted have resolved.  The young girl is now a married young woman with a good job and a middle class home not far from my friend, she is also raising the sister of the tween.  She wants to move home with her sister mother and step father and visit my friend - the opposite of the situation she’s currently in living with my friend and visiting the sister and mother.

If the reason for the adoption was only because of her youth and needing to finish school and stabilize before raising kids what do you say to the kid when the reason is over?  My friend is considering cutting off contact completely with the mother and sister because it is simply too stressful for the girl. She acts out for a week after visits and is becoming difficult as if she wants to be kicked out.  I think if she cuts off contact the girl will just run away to her mother which would get her mother in trouble unless my friend gives her permission…it’s a tough call.  Is she even allowed to let the girl go back to live with her mom and sister?  Breaking my friend’s heart not to be called Mom anymore.

Replies

I told her to get a lawyer.  The agency has been no help.

Posted by girlengineer on May 17, 2019 at 3:17am

This is why some people argue that many adoptions are about meeting the emotional needs of adopters rather than providing a home for a child who needs one.
The adoptive mother isn’t considering cutting off contact completely because it’s stressful for the child, she is considering it because she is resentful that the child wants to be with her natural family and doesn’t want to call her “mom.” It’s not about the child at all.
I’ll say it again—keeping a child from contact with people they care about—whether it be their biological family, former foster parents or whomever—isn’t going to make them love the adoptive parents more, or necessarily at all.
People who need to be the exclusive object of devotion should adopt dogs, not humans.

Posted by NoraT on May 17, 2019 at 12:49pm

Hi girlengineer,

You say all the reasons your friend gave her child for her adoption have resolved. Are there more reasons that have not been shared? If so it’s time.

Either way, families are not some transient things. (Unless set up that way initially.)  By that I mean that BOTH her birth mom and her mom will be there for life. Has she been told this?

I would definitely not cut off contact with her birth mom unless there is some serious reason to do so, in which case your friend would not have been letting her child go on visits with her birth mom.

I also definitely would not just break up the family and send her daughter off.

Can your friend enlist the support of the birth mom to tell her child that your friend is her family, though both of them will be there for her for life?

While their thoughts are to be listened to and respected, tweens (and teens) are not necessarily always the best judges of what they need to thrive in life. If they were, they would not need parents, they’d just raise themselves.

There are many reasons why a child might act the way her daughter is - and it’s up to her mom to try and think beyond the hurt to know what is at the root.

Many if not all, kids go thru a stage where they think some other family than their own would be a whole lot better. Unless they live in an abusive or dysfunctional family, It’s a fantasy.

I can think of times too numerous to count, when my own daughter (adopted in her teens) has furiously insisted on some choice that would be horrible for her. Snarling, and cursing in rage that I am a terrible mom, she hates my guts, and vowing when she is old enough to go away, never to return. I’ve learned to insist on the action that I know to be in her best interests, quite often the opposite of what she is demanding. In spite of how often this has happened it is still surprising how peaceful,happy, and thankful she always is in the days, or months after when she sees the result.

Being a mom is not the same as being your child’s best friend. It requires the courage to listen carefully to your child, then use your wisdom to do what is in your child’s best interests regardless of how hard or unpopular it may be.

Posted by Happy Camper on May 17, 2019 at 2:38pm

Thank you both I’ll share your insights with her.  I think she just wants to hold her family together and convey that she IS home.

Posted by girlengineer on May 21, 2019 at 5:25am

Reporting back the mother of my friends daughter did as my friend asked and you suggested explained that both of them would be there for her permanently but that she had to live with my friend because that was the agreement when she was born and she can’t go back on her word now.

My friend’s daughter accepted it initially but has been pressuring my friend that letting her go “home” is not like breaking a promise if my friend agrees to it.  Ug so hard.  I don’t think it was on my friend’s radar that the mother would ever grow up and be able to take care of her child or other children.  So now she looks like the wicked witch when she just wants to finish raising the child she adopted in peace and without interference and competition.

Posted by girlengineer on Jun 09, 2019 at 7:39pm

The “don’t go back on agreement” argument was lame—the daughter is right. Sort of like the argument she was making that contact was too stressful for “the girl.” She should stop trying to come up with rationalizations and just say you can’t go because I said so, and I adopted you so I get to say what goes, and I want to keep you for myself without any interference or competition from a woman I figured was too useless to ever grow up and become competent.”

Because the girl has figured it out anyway. And your friend shouldn’t be surprised if the kid books about two minutes after she turns 18.

Posted by NoraT on Jun 10, 2019 at 11:57am

Well Nora,...I didn’t mean that she should be told it’s because an agreement was made, but because they are her family. You know parents who adopt face different challenges than those with bio kids. Still they are parents, equally as invested in parenting the child they adopted as if it was a bio child.You don’t think of “giving the child back” if there are problems and you don’t also think of sending them off with someone else permanently as a tween just because the child wants it.

So again, your friend should trust her perception about why her daughter is wanting to leave home, and also why acting out after a visit? All around though it’s a very difficult situation.

Oh and Nora my own daughter who numerous times insisted she was as you say going to book in about two minutes when she turned 18 and never look back, instead did just the opposite…objected strenuously to my teaching her to take a bus instead of driving her everyplace, insisted she did not want me signing off on her bank account, and was definitely not going to move far to school.I hope they work it out.

Posted by Happy Camper on Aug 03, 2019 at 6:01am

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