Adopted Kids Not Feeling the Love
My daughter is sure that I hate her. How she gets this idea is beyond me. She’s 15-1/2 and all I can imagine is that anyone female reminds her of her birth mother. Now it’s the holidays and all of this happiness-and-togetherness is a recipe for her to crash-and-burn.
She flipped out once again, becoming mouthy and belligerent.
A couple of hours later, she felt semi-repentent and I decided to talk with her, wondering if reality therapy could make any type of impact.
“You know, I’m the reason we adopted you,” I leveled with her.
“No, you’re not. Papa wanted me,” she replied.
“Why would Papa lie?”
“Lie? He doesn’t lie, and I don’t lie. Neither one of us lie,” I assured her. “Do you remember how I came to visit you and your sister? I came. Papa didn’t come. He wanted to, but I was the one who came to spend time with you.
“All was going well,” I continued, “until my last day when you said you didn’t want to come. Your sister did, but you told me that unless your best friend could come to our family, you weren’t interested.
“So there I was: either leave you behind, or leave your friend behind. We already had two boys, and we were approved for two girls, not three. Our family had spent four years pursuing Petya’s orphanage friend, and we knew the uphill battle that this might be. We could not go through that again,” I said.
“I called Papa. It was a cold, foggy, freezing night, and I was all alone. He said that I should pray, and make a decision. Whatever I decided, he would go with that. So now I had the choice to leave you and your friend behind, or force you to come against your will. No matter what I would decide, you were sure to be angry, and probably still are.”
She was weeping now, strange for her. Some of her belligerence this evening was over her younger sister who had felt tearful remorse over their behavior, and had begun to cry.
“Why are you crying-?!” she had demanded of the younger one.
Her own heart was generally hard as a rock. But tonight, maybe there was a softening.
“The Russian social worker said that you were confused,” I told her. “All of us adults knew that you couldn’t understand choosing to stay with your best friend rather than your sister who wanted to come with us. The social worker assured me that they would discuss this with you, and help you to understand your choices. I had to trust that your heart would be open. It was entirely possible that since you had never known the love of a father or mother, that your friend was the best thing you had going. It was entirely possible that you might never love us, and only resent us for taking you away.
“But we loved you, I loved you, and I made the decision to go forward with the adoption. I don’t know what you’ve imagined, but I’m the reason that you’re here. It was me, and of course, your father was in total agreement. We both loved you then, even without totally knowing you, and we love you now,” I assured her. “You measure up, you fit in this family. I’m sorry if you want to hate me, and then you come to learn that I’m the one that’s really on your side, because we’re all on your side, but that’s how it really happened.”
I hugged her, and her sister, and then their goofy brother Pasha got in line. It was a cathartic encounter for her, yet exhausting for me to always be portrayed as the bad guy, particularly after my efforts to make the holidays special for all of the kids.
She was never happy unless it was all about her. And maybe it was all about her, because she was the one most in need. In her head she understood more than the others what had happened to her, but her heart was taking its time in catching up.
Happy and sweet the rest of the night, perhaps she was starting to feel the love, really feel it, for the first time in her life. If that were the case, it was worth the effort.
—————–Tags: adopted children feeling they don't fit in, adoptive families blog, adoptive parenting blog, antisocial adopted children, expressing love to children, family life and adoptees, how to love children who insist on hurting you, kids who can't feel love, moving beyond a hardened heart, older adopted children's issues, telling your kids you love them, when adoptees try to protect themselves from love, when kids can't give or receive love, when kids think their parents hate them