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Keeping it Bottled up

We adopted DD as an infant. She is 7 now. It's an open adoption and we have visits with the BFamily a few times a year (although due to recent events, no longer BMom). The subject of adoption is not taboo in our house and we talk with DD about it usually right before we have a visit...well, talk TO her about it until she finally tells us to stop after the first few sentences because she just does not want to talk about it.

She has never really wanted to talk about it. When asked why, she has always said she doesn't know. Before the past couple of visits, she has started to say that she doesn't want anyone to know what is in her head and wants to keep what she is thinking private. We've asked if she thinks she will hurt one of us by saying what is on her mind and she says no. We always tell her that she can tell us anything about what she is feeling or thinking and we will not be mad or upset and will love her no matter what and that if she doesn't want to talk to us, she can always talk to someone else (BFamily, grandparents, counselor, etc.). She still does not want to talk about it.

Is this something we should be concerned about? Or are we over-reacting to this? I'm just not sure that this is a subject that she really should be keeping things bottled up inside (especially since BMom's arrests)...but I'm not sure what to do about it.


Asked by AllAboutKeeley at 11:42 PM on Feb. 15, 2013 in Adoption

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This question is closed.
Answers (14)
  • She's 7. She doesn't need you to keep reminding her that she's adopted and frankly everytime you do she probably feels like you don't care about her as much. Just STOP. At this point she probably knows who is coming and the whole dynamic of the relationship. If she wants to tlak about her being adopted she'll bring it up otherwise it is best to let sleeping dogs lie.

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 11:50 PM on Feb. 15, 2013

  • Does she seem distressed in any way about the visits? Does she ever bring up adoption any other time? If not, then maybe it just isn't a big deal to her. But if she seems unhappy right before or after a visit, maybe you should seek the adice of a children's counselor or a play therapist. If nothing is wrong, the counseling will end after a session or two, and that will be that. Even if something is bothering your daughter, at only seven years old and with a loving family like it sounds as if yours is, you probably aren't dealing with an earth-shaking issue.

    Answer by Ballad at 12:07 AM on Feb. 16, 2013

  • While I don't know (basically anything) about open adoptions, I do know a little bit about kids. So take this for what it's worth...

    Maybe she just doesn't give a damn.
    Her BM is a loser that she no longer has to deal with. and from a quick review of some other posts she is more concerned about the boys and playing than even the grands.

    Maybe she just wants to be left alone with "her" family and the openness and repeated contact isn't that important?

    As an adopted kid (closed) I had my parents and family (it wasn't until everything went to hell in a hand basket in my very late teens that I cared about the others).

    Maybe, she doesn't want to hurt your feelings, because this could seem to be important to you? but not her?

    Answer by feralxat at 11:54 PM on Feb. 15, 2013

  • She knows they are her "birth" family, you don't need to remind her. That doesn't mean she considers them "family " or that by constantly reminding her that you are not her biological "family" you aren't hurting her feelings. How about just call them by their names, especially if it seems she sees it as nothing more than a playdate.

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 12:21 AM on Feb. 16, 2013

  • Yes, Kristi...saying "We're going to see your BFamily tomorrow. I bet J & J are going to be so happy to you. You guys are going to have fun playing..." is just too much for her to take. Really? REALLY?!??! Ugh.

    Hmm....I never really thought of it that way, feralxat. I will admit that we have seriously considered cutting back on the visits, but she does have so much fun with her brothers and is always excited to see them that it honestly just seems as though she sees it as nothing more than a play date.

    Ballad...She does not bring it up. And we have gotten to where we usually only bring up just before the visits. No distress or unhappiness before or after visits. Even if she gets serious and says she doesn't want to talk about it, she quickly goes back to her normal happy self.

    Comment by AllAboutKeeley (original poster) at 12:13 AM on Feb. 16, 2013

  • you know sweetie, Kristie and I basically said the same thing. I just couched my response in a more gentle fashion because it's you.

    curious- why is she in therapy?

    Answer by feralxat at 12:43 AM on Feb. 16, 2013

  • My take on it was that my son does the same thing when I bring up a topic that irritates him. it's his way of saying, "Shut up already!" without using the words that will get him in trouble.

    Answer by gdiamante at 1:49 AM on Feb. 16, 2013

  • Maybe open adoption doesn't "fit" her well? Perhaps, rather than looking at it as being lucky for having TWO families she feels stuck in the middle, between two chairs so to speak, and not really part of either? Perhaps every time she sees her BM she is reminded that this woman didn't want her ...

    Supposing you went a while without seeing her birth mother and family, do you think she would miss them to a point of asking to see them? Does she ever mention them in any context other than visits?

    Answer by winterglow at 5:10 AM on Feb. 16, 2013

  • feralxat...It may have been similar in the end, but the route getting there made ALL the difference. She is not in therapy, but we would have her seeing someone if we felt it was needed.

    I was able to talk to DD a little this morning and explained a little to her that we sometimes bring up her adoption to her so that we can see how well it is going for her and see if we should change things up a bit....maybe even do less visits. She about jumped out of her skin..."No, not less visits, I'd want more!" Of course she didn't want to talk about it anymore, so the conversation ended there.

    Winterglow...She will occasionally mention one of BMom's sons. Just with simple things like bringing up something that he did during one of the visits or if we are looking through toys at a store, she'll say "J would really like this."

    Comment by AllAboutKeeley (original poster) at 6:54 AM on Feb. 16, 2013

  • I'm not adopted, but I'm trying to look at this as if I were a kid that was. I'm thinking that if my mom (who adopted me) kept reminding me that I was adopted, I'd feel...bad. I don't know that hurt is the right word, and I'm not sure I'd be able to describe exactly what I'd mean by "bad." I mean, kids who aren't adopted don't have their mother reminding them "you came out of me". I think maybe I would feel like you were making that distinction for a reason - maybe that something is wrong with me.

    Maybe, instead of reminding her she's adopted before each visit, you can just say, "Hey, we're going to see Billy, Bobby and their grandparents!" And just leave it at that. As long as she knows she can talk to you, in general, and does talk to you, in general, then I'm sure she'll come to you if she has questions or concerns about the adoption.

    Answer by wendythewriter at 7:57 AM on Feb. 16, 2013