Christine Rhyner

Blog

You ARE my mother?
11/10/2013 12:00:01 AM by: Christine

   It was a day like any other. My young daughter, about seven years old at the time was hanging out with me in mine and my husband’s bedroom. I can’t even remember what we were talking about, but in response to something she said I answered, “Because I’m your mother.”

     That’s when she replied, “You are?”

     I can remember feeling my heart sink, yet a part of me was unsure as to whether she was toying with me.

     When I replied that of course I was her mother, she questioned me again with another “You ARE my mother?”

     There are moments when we are caught off guard by something our adoptive children say. We may be unsure as to how to respond, where a particular question or comment from our child has come from, and we may feel completely rejected or inadequate in our role of adoptive parent. I felt all those things rolled into one in that particular moment.

     And I thought back to a previous incident when my daughter sat at the breakfast table and completely out of the blue exclaimed, “My own mother didn’t even want me!”

     That was a stunner. But in that moment I swooped in with reassurances that her biological mother did in fact want her, loved her and must have gone through a terrible pain to have to give her up. Did it help? I’m not sure. I cannot know exactly what she feels or thinks in the deepest recesses of her mind and her quiet, reserved nature makes it difficult to draw those emotions out of her. I do know that she went through a severe depression when she was handed over to us in China that lasted for days. While the other babies all seemed to be full of energy and bonding with their new moms and dads, Olivia hung in my arms like a wet dishrag and barely ate. She has always preferred my husband and I have to say it has been difficult to be as close to her as I had always hoped.

     At that moment in the bedroom, I decided to make light of her comment. I told her yes, I changed her diapers, prepared her bottles, rocked her to sleep at night and loved her, and all that made me a mom to her. Then I told her to come over to me and pinch me—which she gladly did. Then I exclaimed, “Ouch! See, I’m real, I’m here and I’m your mother.”

     Olivia laughed and the topic was dismissed. But I have to admit there are moments of insecurity that I have as her adoptive mother.

     We have to recognize that the adoption experience, in particular for transracially adopted children is different for each child. While my son has never questioned my role as mother and we share a bit of a stronger bond that do my daughter and I, my understanding from what I have read and heard is that girls tend to have somewhat of a more difficult time with abandonment by birth mothers. And it’s interesting that she has never mentioned her birth father, only the woman who gave her up for reasons she cannot comprehend in her limited understanding.

     While it may be difficult for adoptive parents to accept that we may not be the most worthy, acceptable, unconditionally loved “substitute” parent for the real thing, we have to set our feelings aside, tough as it might be and really clue in to our children that are now part of our forever families. We must be gentle, accepting and communicative with our transracially or domestically adopted children and understand they deal with a hurt that we can never understand.

     We can participate in Adoption Support Groups, Culture Camps, celebrations of our children’s ethnicities and surround ourselves with other families who have interracially adopted. We can make sure our kids have someone with whom they feel safe discussing issues surrounding their abandonment and adoption.

     As to what the future holds for Olivia in terms of her feelings and issues surrounding her adoption, I cannot know. I do know that what she has expressed makes me want to try harder, love her more and give her what she needs to become as emotionally healthy as she can be.

Share This Blog:


Previous Posts

Is the Church Changing?
4/25/2017 10:55:00 AM  by: Christine

What Are Our Values Anymore?
4/14/2017 7:29:00 AM  by: Christine

The Final Frontier (Part Two)
4/3/2017 10:10:00 AM  by: Christine

The Final Frontier (Part One)
3/27/2017 9:00:00 AM  by: Christine

Soulmate
3/17/2017 5:00:00 AM  by: Christine

The Colors of a Writer
3/10/2017 5:00:00 AM  by: Christine

Camp Fear
10/9/2016 3:56:00 PM  by: Christine

What's Not to Get About the Writing Life?
8/15/2016 1:24:04 AM  by: Christine

Learning to Sing the Song of Winter
8/2/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Perspectives & the Second Half of the 10 Commandments of Conflict
7/24/2016 9:57:10 PM  by: Christine

Perspectives & 5 of the 10 Commandments of Conflict
7/17/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Run Writer Run! Make Music with Your Words
6/20/2016 5:30:43 PM  by: Christine

Mom, the Fishstetrician
4/18/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

The Radicalization of Hillary and the Democrat Party (PART 2 OF 2)
4/16/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

The Radicalization of Hillary and the Democrat Party (PART 1 OF 2)
4/15/2016 2:51:12 PM  by: Christine

Why Ted Cruz NOW?
3/19/2016 12:26:00 AM  by: Christine

Why is the GOP Committing Suicide?
3/14/2016 12:30:25 AM  by: Christine

Dear Chicago
3/12/2016 9:36:14 PM  by: Christine

The CONSTITUTION For President
3/3/2016 3:41:00 PM  by: Christine

Does God Give Us More Than We Can Handle?
2/29/2016 10:08:29 PM  by: Christine

That Unanswered GOP Debate Question
1/9/2016 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

America's Lifeline
12/31/2015 3:04:50 PM  by: Christine

Fractured Nation (2 of 2)
11/14/2015 8:42:06 AM  by: Christine

Fractured Nation (1 of 2)
11/11/2015 11:04:35 AM  by: Christine

What is Orphan Sunday?
11/8/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

November's Gratitude and Longing
11/4/2015 8:30:39 PM  by: Christine

Losing a Child is Like...
9/12/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Finding God in a Tenement
9/3/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Doing School in the 21st Century
8/22/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Superstition vs. Planned Parenthood
8/19/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Addicted to Giving Birth?
4/21/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Why We Should Have "The Talk" Before Marriage
3/20/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Adoptive Parents "Hypersensitive" & "Selfish?"
3/12/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

What's So Wrong With Calling It "Gotcha Day!"
2/26/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

How God Connected the Dots
2/7/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Exposure of Transracially Adopted Kids to Their Races a Bad Thing?
2/2/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Out With The Old
1/12/2015 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Those Who Scoff at International Adoption
8/16/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Setting Aside Birth Story Facts for Truth
7/31/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Sneak Peak, "How much did you pay for her?"
6/11/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Blessing Through Adoption Pain
5/16/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Eight Ways Publishing Your Book is Like an Adoption Journey
2/23/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Neglected Ministries?
2/17/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

It's a Boy
2/8/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Thoughts of Her
2/1/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

To My Son
1/30/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Rational Thinking?
1/25/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Minority Against Minority
1/12/2014 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Happy New Year!
12/30/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Happy Thanksgiving
11/25/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

You ARE my mother?
11/10/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

The Transracially Adopted Children's Bill of Rights and Some Thoughts
11/3/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Infertility Is...
10/19/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Will He Speak English?
10/11/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Kitty-Sam
10/5/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

What's in a Name?
9/30/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Vhristine

An Adoptive Mom's Message to Those in the Healthcare and Education Professions
9/25/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Being Tested
9/11/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

When We Are Weary
9/1/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Trailblazers
8/24/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Chrisrine

A Fresh Start
8/22/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

God Works Behind the Scenes
8/13/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Why Adoption Requires Forgiveness
7/28/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Dust Bunnies and Poo
7/19/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Reality Check
7/13/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Forgiveness is Work
7/9/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

An Answer to Prayer, Part Three
7/3/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

An Answer to Prayer, Part Two
6/27/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

An Answer to Prayer, Part One
6/22/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Are They Really Brother and Sister?
6/16/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Infertility's Not Fair
6/13/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Has He Ever Eaten a Dog?
6/11/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine

Sometimes We Fail
6/9/2013 12:00:01 AM  by: Christine