Mother Child Bond

It seems rather obvious to me that nature intends for the mother who gestates and gives birth to a child to remain in that child’s life, nurturing and caring for that life, until it is mature enough to continue on its own. During various times in human history, the age at which a child was “on its own” have varied. Child often were sent off to work somewhere at a rather young age in times past. I’m not here to judge the rightness or potential harm in that, only that it was a reality.

So this comes up in adoption circles sometimes, especially as it relates to an adoptee. Is it right to tell an adoptee that their original mother loved them ? This is often used by adoptive parents to justify that fact that the mother gave the baby up for the child’s own good. Often, the mother was at least convinced that was the reason to do so. Since society does not support family preservation with its resources, this has often been a compelling argument used for surrendering a child to adoption and then later on by the adoptive parents seeking to reassure an adopted child.

It is obvious that the developing fetus develops a bond with the woman who’s womb the baby is growing in. The developing child hears its mothers heart beat and voice. May even experience to some extent her emotions, the flavors of the foods she eats and events occurring in the external world around her. Especially, when domestic violence or drug use is occurring to whatever extent during gestation.

I thought this perspective was valid – Bond doesn’t equal love. There’s no way to prove love. A physical bond between a mother and child is undeniable.

From an adoptee’s point of view – “when you are told over and over by your family, church people, the random stranger at the mall just how much your mother loved you to do what she did…It silences you from talking about your loss, your pain, it makes you feel like you should be only grateful for her, for those who took you in. Complicate that by the fact that loyalty also plays a role and the silencing accelerates, it creates the “happy adoptee” mode because we are beholden and we must be happy.

When we don’t appreciate being taken in by strangers and having our whole legacy replaced by someone else’s legacy, then the adoptee is considered ungrateful and selfish. The child may think they are a bad seed (or even be told that).

One woman suggested – It’s interesting because adoption is always touted as a love based decision, but the reality is we can’t know what someone feels unless they share it in either scenario. I imagine it’s best in the absence of information to say, “I bet she loved you so much,” or, “I imagine she would be proud of you.”

To which another replied – I have heard adoptees talk about this in that way, that giving them up was love based, but it’s been after they’ve actually met their mother later in life and have come to terms with things and healed. The strategy you mention is interesting and I think it takes the adopted parent out of the equation (in a good way) and separates the two parents… as in, “I can’t imagine anyone not loving you, but I can’t tell you for sure.”

Yet another adoptee shares this heartbreaking experience – My adoptive mom always told me my birth mom wanted to keep me. Now that I’ve found her, she refuses contact. Sent back my letter. I still feel the drive to connect with her. I still feel like knowing her could explain so much of my nature, even while having had the nurture from my adoptive mom. I think it would’ve been less heartbreaking, if I didn’t have this idea she actually wanted me. Honestly, there was no benefit for me in spinning this, but it gave my adoptive mom something to say when I was feeling low… or whatever her emotional reason was for telling me I had been wanted. It would make more sense for an adoptive mom to say “well I love you, and I value you, and I know that’s not enough, but I want you to know that I do.”

Another shares – I think the harmful thing is making up stories to “protect” the child’s feelings no matter which way it goes. Sure my biological situation would have been horrible but what my adoptive mom told me was worse because of what my birth mom told the hospital. She could have left it at “she wanted better for you”, rather than add my dad didn’t want me at all because he wasn’t around. He was absolutely around. But I’ve dealt with it.

Regarding the mother/child bond, one woman wrote – The biological safety net your mother provides is important. She’s literally the only person you knew until being out in the world. She provides biological comfort and soothing that is natural to babies.

Here’s a bit more –

Love isn’t a science. The human brain and bonding is science and it’s been proven time and time again that this bond exists. It’s undeniable on a factual level. Love is not a science that can be measured or proven. Love looks so different all the time. What some may see as hate or dislike may actually be happening out of love. Our perception of what’s love is different than other peoples. I think that *most parents do have love for their kids. That love may seem a little off, but I think it takes a real monster to hate their children. While those monsters certainly exist, I think it’s rare. I don’t think it’s wise to tie a child’s adoption/foster story to love. We aren’t their parents. We don’t know their parents hearts or why they made the choices they did.

Instead, in the case of foster care with reunification as a goal, one says that she prefers to keep it as neutral and honest as possible “mom and dad are having a hard time and they aren’t able to take care of you right now. They are trying to get better.” She might say, “I know you miss your mom a lot. Remember, she’s a drug addict and because of that she is sick. She’s trying to get better, it’s really hard for her. I know it’s really hard for you too. I’m here for you.”

This particular foster mother goes on to say, “My kids know all about addiction and mental illness. I feel it’s really important to educate them on their parents issues rather than hiding them from them or just saying a generic ‘she’s sick’. But I don’t tie love or lack of it to what’s happening because it’s not my place. Now if they tie love to it, that’s something we can talk about deeper and their feelings will be validated.”

And finally, I close with these thoughts from an adoptive mother – In my opinion love is not always lasting or enough. Crappy life things happen and parents fail and lose kids or choose to give them up. It sucks. It hurts. It’s a trauma. Yet in that there may be love to the extent the parent is capable of. Sick abuse is obviously different. People who intentionally and repeatedly harm kids are monsters. I am talking those who struggle with other issues. It makes me think of when a parent dies. The love that was there while alive, doesn’t go away after death. But obviously pain and hurt and such are added.

I take good memories for what they are to ME. I was there too. Not just my abuser. And I am not going to erase times I remember love and happiness because over all it was a HORRIBLE time. I also think “love” can be twisted and turned ugly by a manipulative parent. Dealt with that too. Still dealing with the boundaries. As an adult now, after time away and putting up boundaries. I can see she loves me in her own way. Her own hurts and traumas have affected our relationship and some hurts she passed down to me.

I have an adopted child. Our adoption is very open. We see Mom often. Talk often. Do family stuff together like holidays and super bowl and visits. I absolutely want my child to know she loves him. I hope he loves her always and that it grows. He’s little so not super understanding it all yet. I look at his adoption as he came with X amount of family and now they and us are ALL family. I am sure there will be struggles. Hurts. Misunderstandings. But I hope over all there is love. And truth.

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