Being a parent of two older adopted boys, a frustration for me when my boys were in school was hearing that they were getting ridiculed about it. It made them feel “less than perfect.” So we came up with a plan, through role-playing, that stopped the person in his tracks. One phrase my son learned to say was, “It could be any of you who ended up adopted. It just happened to be me.” It’s a great idea. It empowered him, and hopefully they will carry that with them into the future if ridicule ever rears its ugly head again.
When I watch a show like The Locator, it certainly hits home with me as to what the birthmothers go through as well, and the pain that stays with them forever. We cannot push that aside when talking to our children. It is a reality, and I feel they need us to validate it. I believe this may help their healing process, and it shows them that “invisible being” (aka their birth mom) is accepted in our home. Yet on the other hand, I wonder if by putting the birthparents on a so-called “pedestal,” it makes kids feel as if they were bad children and the reason their family broke apart.
Also, I wonder every now and then if that makes us, the adoptive parents, the bad guys, and “less than perfect” since we discipline and have to set boundaries knowing our kids may hate us for it. At times I wonder if my adopted sons perceive me as a failure. I stay home and I don’t contribute financially to the household the way they may feel I should. By being home, though, I held the family together in ways that wouldn’t have happened if I was working outside the home. We understand this as love and the chance for them to grow up with the knowledge of right and wrong, but do they grasp it that way?
Should we apologize because we have rules and I am here day in and day out to reinforce them? I know I’ve said to them that there are “either rules or no rules” in a household; that there is no in between.
Do we do everything right all the time? I know there are times I become frustrated with the fact I need to jump back in the car at 11 p.m. to pick my boys up somewhere. Or I grow frustrated when they want me to be at their beck and call for something, yet day after day they ignore my pleas for a clean room — or simply no garbage spilling out of their garbage pails!
But in spite of all this, I am starting to feel that we are the heroes in their lives, as was pointed out to me recently. We are always here; we pick up the pieces and guide them day after day. We pull them through thick and thin. We don’t leave even when we feel less than perfect in our day to day struggles to be worthy parents.
Sometimes I feel extremely angry at what happened to my boys in their past life. I’m also angry that while we’ve been here trying to pick up the pieces (and doubting ourselves every once in a while), their other family has no knowledge of what they did when they gave these boys to an orphanage that mistreated them.
So why do we feel less than perfect? We are trying our best to be loving, supportive parents. Let’s give ourselves a break and pat ourselves on the back instead.