Many moms of adopted children can’t figure out what they’ve done wrong, what makes their children reject them, even though they have literally poured their very souls into their children. This anger may manifest in shouting matches, temper tantrums, refusing to let you hold her hand when walking through the parking lot, or refusing to go for a walk with you on Mother’s Day.
It’s downright hard for a mom not to take this rejection personally, but it is absolutely necessary that you don’t—both for the welfare of your child and your own sanity.
If you understand the core reason why your child is rejecting you, it will be easier for you to detach from an emotional response and help your child comprehend the source of her anger and deal effectively with it.
Anger is a scab over a wound, a secondary emotion. In other words, it happens in response to another occurrence, which is pain. No doubt, your child has the anger problem, which manifests in rejection toward you as a mom, but what is the great hurt? You haven’t hurt her! You’ve done everything humanly possible to demonstrate your great love for her.
In reality, the anger is misplaced. Your daughter is not angry at you; instead, she is furious at her birth mother for leaving her behind. No matter how loving the birth mother and the adoption plan, the absence of the birth mother translated to your child as pure abandonment. That is the deep hurt beneath the scab.
Because your child doesn’t understand this dynamic, she lashes out at you, with misplaced anger. The birth mother isn’t around, so you receive the brunt of her anger.
You may be at the end of your rope, feeling crushed beyond belief by her multiple rejections. Truth be known, your child may wonder what is wrong with her—what is the cause of this overblown anger toward you?
How to Help
Understanding adoptee loss is the key to helping yourself and your child overcome this common adoption hurdle. Many parents read Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew, make notes in the margins, and then give it to the teen to read. This has opened many conversations.
If you can help her understand the source of her anger, then she can begin to manage it through grieving her loss (professional help may be needed here) and going forward toward healthier relationships, with you and others.
© Copyright, Sherrie Eldridge 2007. All rights reserved.
Speaker and author, Sherrie Eldridge, an adoptee herself, is passionate about assuring those touched by adoption that they can grow because of the unique challenges adoptive family living presents. She is the author of the highly-acclaimed books Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew and Twenty Life-Transforming Choices Adoptees Need to Make and FOREVER FINGERPRINTS...An Amazing Discovery for Adopted Children (EMK Press). As President of Jewel Among Jewels Adoption Network, Inc., a non-profit adoption educational organization, she offers extensive online resources, including inspiration, encouragement, projects for parents and kids, newsletters, and free workbooks (www.adoptionjewels.org). For speaking, www.SherrieEldridge.com.