Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Catching A Grenade You Threw Can Be Messy
This entry was written by Kevin Hofmann and originally published on his blog My Mind on Paper. It is re-posted with permission.
Sitting across from an adoptive mom in a local support group, I could see the distaste she had for the birth mother of her child. The birth mother had abused drugs and was an unfit mother which led to the county removing the child from the birth mother’s home. The child was adopted by this woman whose feelings were seeping from her every pore.
As I sat in this meeting, the only adoptee, I felt it was important that I say something.
“Do you talk about your daughter’s birth mother with her?” I asked.
“Oh, yes all the time.” She said.
“Do you tell her how you feel about her birth mother?” I cautiously asked.
“No, I never tell her exactly how I feel.” She confidently replied.
“Sometimes you can say a whole lot with out saying a word.” I replied with equal confidence.
There was no way the adoptee didn’t know how her mother felt about her birth mother. It showed in the mother’s face just when she said the birth mother’s name. It oozed out of her in a way that made her feelings known instantly.
My comment was meant to make her think and required no response and she understood that and said nothing in response.
In my head there were several supporting arguments that I never voiced.
My initial concern was, as an adoptee, no matter how bad or horrible my birth mother may have been, she is still my birth mother; to not honor that simple truth was disturbing.
I felt as if the adoptee’s feelings were being sacrificed and ignored because the mother felt justified.
My secondary concern was about the future.
I would never argue that abusing drugs is justified and to be enraged about it was understandable. Did the mother deserve to have her child taken away? There are arguments that support both sides, and at this time and place I am willing to concede the removal was best for the child. The child is where they should be.
Over the years, I am certain the adoptee will learn that her birth mother was a drug abusing, unfit mother at the time she was removed from the home.
The assumption that this is a permanent condition concerns me. What if this permanent condition was temporary and after several years the adoptee meets this unfit mother, who is now clean and sober. That mother wasn’t frozen in time, maturity has thawed this snap shot in the past and she is no longer the unfit mother she once was. How does the adoptee square what she sees with what she has been told?
People can and do change. Now the picture she sees isn’t the picture that has been painted over the years and the adoptee feels betrayed, lied to, and manipulated.
Honoring birth parents is imperative. Honor them in what you say, and how you respond because they are part of the adoptee. Dishonoring them could come back to you like a grenade thrown against hurricane-force winds.