The name of a thing does not matter as much as the quality of the thing.
~ Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
A person’s name is the greatest connection to their own identity and individuality. Some might say it is the most important word in the world to that person. … When someone remembers our name after meeting us, we feel respected and more important. It makes a positive and lasting impression on us.
I love hearing my sons say “Mom” and my grandchildren say “Grandma”. My oldest son, now 20 years old, sometimes says Steve or Debbie when referring to us but I see this as a maturity thing. Though most of us will still say Mom or Dad even when we are in our 60s, if we are so lucky to have them still living. Back in my early 20s, my young daughter (preschool age) did also sometimes call me Debbie. The children hear other people refer to us by our given names and that is a factual reality, we do carry the names we are given, unless we change them intentionally.
Adoptees are mostly never allowed to keep their birth given names after adoption. Their names are changed and their birth certificates altered. This is the erasing of an identity.
With foster care, the circumstances can be slightly different, as illustrated by today’s story.
Children ages 5 and 6 have spent 1 year with their current foster family. They have been in foster care for 2.5 years. The Termination of Parental Rights has already happened. The current foster family intends to adopt them.
Now the foster mom is crying that the kids keep calling her and her husband by their first names. They insist on calling their biological parents mom and dad. This is totally understandable as those people are their original, natural mom and dad. However, the foster mom says this hurts both of the foster parents’ feelings. Their reason for wanting to adopt is to grow their family. They want the kids to accept that, after adoption, they are the mom and dad now. They don’t want to be called by their first names going forward. They set an example by calling themselves mommy and daddy. The kids continue to persistently call them by their first names. The foster parents call the original birth parents – biodad or biomom – or even by their first names. Kids remain adamant and keep saying my “real” dad or “real” mom.
And the hurt feelings for the foster parents do not end and this matter to them because they’ve never had kids of their own before. They suffer from infertility and after years of trying, they want to become parents by adopting. They’re adopting to become “parents” not simply babysitters.
It upsets them that the original natural parents hardly made an effort to visit the kids and yet the kids still remember them and call them their parents, mom and dad. The foster parents are seeking to drive a wedge between the kids and their original natural parents by saying “A real parent takes care of you. Does not choose an addiction over you or go to prison.”
The foster parents are seeking to intentionally disrupt the children’s relationship to their original parents because it simply hurts them too much to not be called mommy and daddy by these children. The foster mom has said that it has always been her dream and desire to adopt. She is laying down the law !! She will not be called by her first name after adoption.
The foster parents had a fantasy that by now the kids would be happy to call them mommy and daddy. They believed that since these kids are so young, the kids would easily bond with them as parents by now. That after having been in foster care, these kids would be happy to receive a new mommy and daddy.
It would seem that good quality healthy people would not be obsessed with molding a child to be something they are not, when they are supposedly trying to help that child by adopting them. Why would they insist on erasing the factual family history from an innocent, already traumatized child ? Reasons why reform has become such an important concept in adoption and foster care.
2 thoughts on “It Matters What We Are Called By”
Wow! That was really good. I’m going to share it on the anti-adoption page on facebook. The idea that acting how parents are supposed to can make someone the parent of another person’s offspring causes so much unnecessary angst not to mention the loss of legal rights for the person raised by those individuals. It’s not enough to tell them the truth with words if on all their official paperwork and in their daily interactions with the outside world a person is made to live a lie pretending to be the child of a person who is not their parent. Nobody would have to say “real” parent which causes so many hurt feelings if people who were not parents were comfortable with who they really are in relation to the youngsters they are raising. It should be as simple as explaining that their mother and father are absent for whatever unfair reason and that these other nice people are raising them. It is more than just a name that is changed when a person is not the offspring of people named parents on their birth certificate, its identity theft, identity fraud. People should always be named parents on the birth certificates of their own offspring and their names should never be erased, concealed, withheld. There should be no exemptions for people who give their kids up for adoption willingly, or for those who have them taken from them for just cause, nor should there be any exemption for theraputic gamete donors because those exemptions from parental responsibility result in their offspring not having rights equal to the rest of the population, result in entire families not knowing they have a missing member who is their sibling, niece, nephew, aunt, uncle, cousin, grandchild, son, daughter – it’s a massive public health problem when people cannot identify their immediate family members to exclude them from the dating pool. All because someone is unwilling to do the work of a parent without the title. They want that title so badly that the whole world has to go along with a lie that has become so politically correct its trite and saccharine. People want to get into the live of another person’s kid so completely so early as to feel they’ve had a hand in creating a child of their own when it’s a farce.
Thank you for letting me know that you read this, appreciated it and especially for commenting. However, I do not agree with including gamete donors. While genetically the “mother” of the child conceived in that manner, they do not carry a pregnancy, do not breastfeed that child and have no daily role in that child’s life. Should a child know who their egg and/or sperm donors were ? Absolutely. Should they be informed that there are other people out there that they may be genetically related to ? Absolutely. Our sons know that their egg donor has 3 children she claims as her own. They also know that she donated at least one (if not more) other times than to our own family alone and therefore, surprises could turn up in the future on their 23 & Me page. Our donor may not even know if births resulted from her donations. I know in one case the recipients were very harsh and forbid her to even come within so many feet of their home or dog.