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AD wants to return to birth Mum

Green457 April 25, 2019 18:37


Just want to check how the land lies here... our AD has been with us 8 years and has always blamed herself that if she was any good as a person her Birth Mum would have looked after her. (drugs and alcohol and domestic violence - the BM not our AD) BM has never written or made contact with AS since she was removed from the home. AS has frequently said that even though she can remember some very scary and horrible incidents of violence and cruelty she 'should be with my Mum like other children are'.

AD is generally a happy child but this feeling that she is a failure as her BM didn't take care of her has always remained strong.

AD has recently found out that BM has had another baby and this time is keeping the baby as she is now 'in a much better place', Both her and the new baby are doing 'very well'. We were told that we should share this info with AD and have done and it has totally floored AD. Behavior has totally gone to pot as she is in bits! She now just wants to go back and live with BM and baby and is getting very angry with us that she has to stay with us. BM is apparently keen to rebuild their relationship and is going to write and explain it all to AD but we have not received anything yet.

I am writing this as I wonder what our options are. We love AS deeply and keeping her hear against her will is going to be hell for everyone and seems cruel... however knowing what BM was like in the past, my feeling is that I don't want to let her with a million miles of BM!! Has anyone ever been in this situation ..I wonder how you handled this???

Any responses greatfully received


Serrakunda27 April 25, 2019 20:13

How old is she? I'm guessing early teens? I don't think her feelings are that uncommon to be honest. I've been through much the same with my son. I'd get her in some professional help as soon as possible, particularly theraputic life story work. Speak to post adoption support and ask about the Adoption Support Fund.

She needs to understand that returning to birth mum is not really an option. Its not as simple as her just going back to live with her. Birth mum may not want her, be in a position to care for her, but in any case you are the legal parent, social services would need to be involved, she'd have to leave her friends etc etc etc.

I'm not suggesting that you put this to her in such a stark fashion or all at once. You need some professional help to steer you through this. But in the meantime, she has such a lot going on bless her, empathise with her, she is entitled to her feelings, which are quite reasonable for her situation. Tell her its ok to feel sad, angry,confused, but above all its not her fault, any of it.

As for birth mum, although its sounds harsh, she doesnt get to choose about rebuilding their relationship. She lost those right 8 years ago. Thats for you to control, with social services help if necessary. And be very wary of handing over any letters from birth mum.

Its a really tough time with many difficult emotions. Theraputic life story work really was a huge help to us. Good luck

Green457 April 26, 2019 11:45

Thank you so much Serrakunda27.

Good advice, She is 11. She has always said that she feels that she should be with her Mum, and asked in the past could her birth mum come and live with us as I could show her how to be a good mum and then she could go back and live with her.

She has a very idealised view of BM even though she has only ever told us about bad memories of her time there. She says that if she had been a better baby she would have been looked after better and that now she is old enough to look after herself she should be allowed back.

At the same time I have sat with her many nights after she has been woken by terrible nightmares of watching someone getting stabbed by BM, being hit herself or watching grown ups fighting, being really shouted at by BM or left in the dark terrified on her own.

I think she has totally separated in her mind, the real person from her need to have a 'real mum' as she calls it.

I love AD to bits and she is generally an engaging and happy child but I can see she is emotionally crippled by her experiences to date and it effects her sense of self worth at such a deep and damaging level. She told me a while ago that it all the time, no matter what she is doing she feels a big hurt inside. It makes her so very sad that sometimes she wants to just die... the only reason that she hasn't killed herself is that 'I know you won't let me'.... too right,

Thank you again, I felt very low when I posted this, yesterday and your suggestions are very helpful


Serrakunda27 April 26, 2019 16:30

Poor thing, what a lot of stuff churning around. Definitely look at getting some professional help.

We started life story work at 11, he was ready to start hearing some of the more difficult stuff. Bear in mind that she probably doesnt want to hurt you either. My son was very shocked I think when he was raging about how unfair it all was, and how he wished he could have had a proper family from the start, and I said yes it s**t isnt it, yes you should have had a proper family. But this is where we are and what we have to work with. He knew then he could say anything to me and I wouldnt get upset about the other mum.

He is 14, still says it, I still don't get upset. Its still important to acknowledge those feelings.

Lettice April 27, 2019 20:12

Does she have adoptee friends? Being in a group where everyone is adopted can be worth a lot more than having a sw try to tell you it's OK to belong to an adoptive family.

Serrakunda27 April 28, 2019 12:43

Thats not what's really being suggested Lettice. Our life story work was about trying to reach an understanding of why the child got to where they where, acknowledging how unfair and **** it all is, but arriving at a place where the child can move forward with their lives.

But I do agree its very benefical to have friends who are also adopted.

Green457 April 29, 2019 09:53


Yes she does have several adopted friends and we are in regular contact with foster carer where there are often newbees to meet and play with.

I don't think that this is about feeling different from or the same as other children; this is a deep, crushing feeling from the core of her being..... the woman she loved, adored and totally relied on didn't take care of her, neglected her basic needs, hurt her and allowed others to hurt her....and ultimately rejected her. As a baby, her Mum should have loved her, looked after her, kept her safe and delighted in her existence....but she didn't.

I can't get my head round having to carry that level of rejection around all the time, the pain seeps into everything because its a core core belief of never having been good enough.... and its now made 100 times worse because, to her, another baby is good enough to be looked after by BM.

It makes my heart cry with pain for her. She is a lovely, caring, kind and sensitive child trying to navigate the world, whilst carrying a soul destroying burden of rejection and feeling worthless and useless. This is an understanding of the world and of herself she has held right from the very beginning of her being she never had the opportunity to learn another way for the first 3 years of live.

Knowing some of the things she has experienced and how they make her feel inside, leave me sometimes in complete awe of her bravery and the effort she puts into every day life, just to keep going and to get by in things that would be easy and maybe no effort for a non traumatised child.

I have been in contact with a therapist who has helped us previously re the life story work and she thinks it will be well timed to do this now so help is at hand.

Also, spoke it all through with hubby over the weekend and we are going to ask SS if we can write a letter to BM to explain, in a factual way, the struggles and issues that her early life has left AD with so that she, maybe, has some idea of the effect of what she intends to write to AD will have. whether they will allow this or pass it on to BM who knows but we have to try our best for our AD.

Thanks againxx

Callie September 10, 2019 13:19

I just wondered how your AD is doing now? Have you managed to get some Life Story work or help?

Our AS (8) is beginning to show signs similar to your daughter; regarding not being a good baby and asking if his BM be able to care for him now etc.

I struggle to be able to tell him (emotional) age-appropriate reasons other than the fact his BM was not able to keep him safe.

Green457 September 13, 2019 21:00

Hi Callie

The life story work was fine for the first 5 or 6 sessions - when we were just talking about general stuff such as what makes you feel safe, what makes you feel scared, happy etc... all her responses were very much based on current day life.... but as soon as BM or anything to do with BM was bought up, even vaguely, in any way shape or form she went into absolute meltdown, very upset, abusive and very very distressed. The first time the therapist thought it was a sign of progress (was not at all sure myself but you go with the flow) but on the second occasion AD also got very angry and was very verbally abusive to me and I cut the session short as it was awful both for her and for me...on leaving she said 'I never want to come here ever again'. so we haven't. On later discussions with therapist and DH we decided that this was just too much for her to deal with, as she was just not ready to go back to that baby place yet its just too painful and scary.

Strangely, although she was asking lots of questions and expressing how she wanted to go back to BM, since the sessions she has been much less critical of me and less quick to anger ..She just seems a bit calmer in herself seems to notice, appreciate and enjoy the nice things we do together....she even said thank you for me buying new school uniform for her !! She is just a bit happier to be here. She said in one of her discussions with DH that she thought her mum was selfish not to look after her and that this made her angry - so good that she is just starting to be able to express the not-so-good as well as the good feelings about BM.

All in all I think the life story work was a good thing to do, and AD got some good stuff out of it to do with the idea that no feeling is a bad feeling, how to recognize and express what you are feeling to others and how to ask for help if your feelings get too big...she is just not ready for the reality of the feelings around her early life yet, although she is 11 emotionally she is more like about 7 or 8, so I think she took what she was ready for. We will play it by ear with her and be led by her needs... she is still talking a lot about BM but not quite so ideally

Callie September 16, 2019 10:05

Ah very interesting. I do think that it is what AS needs. Glad it has helped your AD, and your relationship. Its a tough one when they have to go through the hurt to come out the other side. As you say, its a spring board to allow them begin to acknowledge their feelings etc.

I know that AS's anger comes from the feeling of rejection and it is difficult to convince him that BM did love him


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