Real Kids Say

“You’re a bad mommy; I hate you!”

“I want to know what my birth mom looks like...”

“I’m in charge.”

“My birth mom ditched me.”

“Would it hurt your feelings if I said you weren’t my real mom?”

“Pick me, don’t touch me!!”

The Marshall Family

This afternoon my eight-year-old daughter, Lizzy, said three things that just broke my heart: "Would it hurt your feelings if I said you weren't my real mom?" "Sometimes Ithink you stole me from (my birthmother)" and "Sometimes I think you might have killed her." My husband and I have a great relationship with Lizzy, and we haven't been secretive or closed about any aspect of her adoption. From an early age we’ve shared her entire adoption story; she’s seen pictures of her birth mom and the emails we’ve received from her.

In the last few years, we haven't been able to get birth mom to respond to any of our attempts at contact and my daughter fears she is dead...and that I killed her. This incident seems like it came out of left field. I have assured her that those things are not true, but how can I have my daughter thinking these things? I'm tempted to make a greater effort to contact her birth mom, but I don't think dragging her into the middle ofthis will solve anything.

The Dunn Family

First time parents, Tom and Cami, adopted their three-year-old son, Luis, from Guatemala at the age of eighteen months. Luis was placed with a foster mom, Angelica, when he was two days old. Angelica was a loving, but overwhelmed caregiver as she was taking care of a teenager, a toddler, and two infants.

After one of their visits to Guatemala, Tom and Cami left with an unsettled feeling asthey noticed a flat spot on Luis’ head from lying down for prolonged periods of time, and they saw Angelica prop the bottles to feed the babies instead of holding them. Quietly, Cami says, “We knew Angelica loved the children, but she had too many kids, too many babies for a single parent. Carmen, the teenager, helped but she was at school all day, and then went to a job after school.”

Cami shares her concerns, “Luis won’t accept ‘no’ from us, and time outs don’t work. If I get upset he says, ‘Mom, your hair looks nice. I like you very much.’ It makes me wonder if he’s manipulating me.”

Tom adds, “Another thing we’ve worried about is when he doesn’t get his way, he runs into his room, hides and screams, ‘Don’t touch me!’ Then, he’ll yell for one of us and as soon as we get to his room, he’ll yell, ‘Get out! Leave me alone!‘ We just don’t know what to do to help him.” Cami adds, “All my friends tell me it’s normal and I just need to relax and let him be a kid... but I’m not so sure.”