How would you go about telling your child that their birth mother could not parent because she had serious mental illness? That is probably something best saved for later adulthood?
Asked by Anonymous at 10:11 AM on Jan. 7, 2009 in Adoption
Answer by hippiecrit at 3:47 PM on Jan. 7, 2009
Answer by Anonymous at 10:14 AM on Jan. 7, 2009
Answer by GrnEyedGrandma at 10:24 AM on Jan. 7, 2009
Answer by Anonymous at 10:35 AM on Jan. 7, 2009
Answer by PortAngeles1969 at 12:51 PM on Jan. 7, 2009
I personally did not save that for adulthood for some of the children I worked with. I did not say that they were crazy. It was advised, by their psychiatrist, that they know the truth. But put in an age appropriate way. Simply put: Your mother loves you very much but has an illness that does not allow her to make the best possible parenting decisions. Period. Answer questions gently and again - always at the appropriate age/developmental level. But don't confuse the issue of mental illness making someone unfit to parent. Many parents living with a mental illness are successful parents. I'm not sure when I will tell my son his mother is living with an illness. That isn't why she placed him for adoption. One had nothing to do with the other in that sense. Sure, her illness affects the choices she has made over all. cont...
Answer by frogdawg at 1:17 PM on Jan. 7, 2009
Answer by Anonymous at 1:18 PM on Jan. 7, 2009
cont.. but my son needs to know, for sure, that he also has a family history of addiction. I have always encouraged parents I work with to share that information early. Again, it doesn't make a parent, biological or otherwise, a bad parent for struggling with addiction issues. What it means is that a child who has a family history of addiction is more likely to have substance abuse issues should they experiment like many of their friends. So the caution they have the right to know is: in our family we have addictions and substance abuse issues. Educate them. Be sensitive without being judgemental towards that person living with the issue. That person may even be you. Who knows. But a child deserves to know. There is absolutely nothing shameful about medical/health information. The stigma we attach to mental illness and substance abuse as a society is shameful. Not the person living with it. Its no picnic.
Answer by frogdawg at 1:22 PM on Jan. 7, 2009
I have a similar situation with my son's other mother. I am very cautious and have learned, the hard way, that not everyone needs to know. He deserves to hear from us and from her. She may not be in a place, maybe ever, to realistically address these issues. I am sad for that. But resources, racism, culture, ect...all play a part in why she may not be able to do that. It is complicated. For now all he needs to know is he has another mother who gave birth to him and he has brothers and sisters as well. Not to mention a whole other family. They love him. That is what he needs to know. I will play it by ear. I feel confident in my ability as a social worker, therapist, and mother to address it when it is HIS time. Which is different for everyone.
Answer by frogdawg at 1:25 PM on Jan. 7, 2009
Answer by katandtysmom at 1:45 PM on Jan. 7, 2009