Tough Love

May 15, 2009 at 8:16 am 3 comments

left_in_tears“Hi. I adopted a teenager from foster care last year, though she lived with me for several years. Over the past year, she has become more defiant and manipulative. She began sneaking out most nights and became verbally and physically aggressive toward me. I was trying to get her placed in treatment, and she came at me, telling me she’d take me out. I pushed her back and called the police. They wanted to arrest her, but I said no because she needed mental help. She ran away before I could get her some help and has been gone for several months. They just found her and it turns out that her boyfriend is much older than she (in his 20’s) and she is pregnant by him. She’s made up so many stories about me–and while I live in a small area and everyone knows me, they still have to look into her stories. I don’t want her back. She’s threatened to kill me on several occasions and her boyfriend has threatened me. She’s in a gang. I’ve told the police and they’re looking into it and trying to get a protective order against the boyfriend. The judge did keep her in jail. And the state is trying to find her a residential placement. But I just don’t want to have anything to do with her, and yet I’m required because I’m her legal mom. She’s very scary and very charming and manipulative. I just have nothing more in me to keep at this with her. I’m a single, working mom and trying to balance that and the court hearings and the phone calls from everyone from child-protection to the guardian ad litem to the jail to the police to the CASA worker to the mental health people is so exhausting. I just don’t know what to do anymore and how to handle all of this all by myself. It’s so hard. And I’m so devastated. I adopted because I thought it was the right thing to do. But all it’s done is bring so much pain and fear into my life. How do I survive the next few years? And what if they try to release her to me–what then?”

 This was a post that I read on this morning by a mother of a teenage daughter she adopted from foster care. It struck a nerve within me, particularly since I have been thinking a lot on the topic of unconditional love lately.

 Particularly triggering for me was when the woman says “I don’t want her back”. How sad is that? For whatever reason your parents abandon you in foster care, then you are adopted by someone else who is supposed to love you unconditionally and she says she doesn’t want you back? That’s one of my biggest fears. I don’t want to ever hear my adoptive mom utter those words about me, although I am sure at times she grew frustratingly close to them.

 I tried to post a reply to this, but couldn’t. I registered solely for the purpose of replying to this post and for some odd reason the site would not let me post a reply.

 As an adoptee who has been there and done some of the most embarrassing, most manipulative, most horrible acts including stealing, lying, cheating, promiscuity, forging my adoptive mom’s signature, fighting, threatening, and other acts of defiance, I have come to understand what it is that drives us to do these things…..HURT. And fear.

 Hurt and fear are two of the most toxic emotions. They will bleed into parts of our lives we would otherwise keep separate. My anger at circumstance and my natural mom for relinquishing me were directed towards my adoptive mom. I had no reason to be angry with her in particular, but she was the one who most represented the center of my world. She was the stand in for the one the woman who had hurt me most. My anger caused me to do a lot of things I would have not otherwise done and would not consider in the realm of my possiblities now that I have come to terms with the anger.

 I never deliberately did things to be bad. Rather, I was always desperate to be good. No matter how hard I tried, goodness eluded me. The worse I behaved, the more lost I felt.

 My adoptive mom never gave up on me like the woman in the above post has given up on her daughter. Yes she made some mistakes, but she did not turn me out, did not give me back, did not abandon me. I can’t imagine the devastation in being abandoned twice. I don’t know if I could survive that. And if I did survive I would only be a shell of a person left with no emotion at all.

 To the woman who wrote the above post, I wish you could see how hurt your daughter is. Hurt and anger perpetuate her destructive actions. She needs you. We test our mothers, especially our adoptive moms. We push you to see if you will leave too. The pain and fear you feel right now are the feelings your daughter has undoubtedly felt her entire life. She will continue to feel those emotions no matter how hard she tries to be good.

Please love her. Please don’t give up on her. Don’t abandon her.


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Five Things I’d Want my Adoptive Mom to Know, but Will Probably Never Say to Her Face I Have No Story

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Jane  |  May 26, 2009 at 5:32 am

    My mum never abandoned me either or turned her back on me and I did some pretty outrageously bad acting out shit too..

  • 2. kateiskate  |  June 3, 2009 at 10:19 am

    Exactly. Can you imagine how devastating it would be for that girl to lose two moms?

  • 3. osolomama  |  June 9, 2009 at 6:45 am

    I was sort of amazed how this woman could not appreciate the bigger picture here–it was sort of like, I thought this would be a neat thing to do but ya know, it’s not working out for me. Too bad, honey. Way too late for that. Someone needs to counsel her to step up to the plate and be a mom. This is indeed devastating for her daughter.


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