Children in Foster Care, Forgotten Fridays, Foster Parenting, Vulnerable ParentsDec. 2, 2016

Forgotten Friday | 3 Reasons Not to Vilify My Kid’s Birth Mother

There’s often an assumption that since our children are adopted, or have been adopted from the foster care system, their birth mothers must be bad people, or have done some really bad stuff. The truth is, this is an unfair assumption to make about a human being.

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We’ve often wondered how someone, who knows very little about our children, their story, or their birth mother’s story, can point a finger and judge. It’s not in our DNA to do this to any human being. Certainly not the person who gave our children life. We believe birth mom’s should never be vilified. Here are some big reasons why..

Reason #1 – Moms are off limits!

Yo Momma so dumb it took her 2 hours to watch 60 min. 
Yo Momma so old she was a waitress at the last supper.
Yo Momma so poor she can’t afford to pay attention.

Remember “Yo Momma” jokes? Who doesn’t? I have to admit, there is a small part of my humor that is still stuck in Jr. High. There’s something about momma jokes. They’re funny, clever and a little risky. We all know it’s ok to poke fun but most of us will admit that insulting a person’s mother is cause for a schoolyard brawl.

More often than not, the conclusions people draw about our children’s birth parents are far from funny. They are not flattering and they are often teetering on the line of curious and rude. Unlike momma jokes, the exaggerated insults are assumed to be true. Maybe you are wondering if your comment about a child’s birth mother is inappropriate. A good rule of thumb is to return to the middle school way of thinking: You can tease someone about their clothes, you can raz someone about their grades, but do NOT make fun of someone’s Momma!

More often than not, the conclusions people draw about our children’s birth parents are far from funny.

Reason #2 – Moms are part of a child’s identity and therefore off limits!

Conversations about my child’s birth mother aren’t inherently bad. Sometimes questions are great. Some questions or observations just show interest. My kids like to talk about their birth mothers, just like I love to talk about my mother. I love when someone notices that I have my mom’s freckles or my dad’s blue eyes. My children feel the same way. They love to hear that they have their birth mom’s beautiful smile or talent for drawing. All of my children know the good and the bad of their own story. They are also just like you and me. They want to know that they are tied to something good. They do not need you to color their story with your uncalled for vilification.

Reason #3 – I will never ask about your mom’s baggage because Moms are off limits!

Did your mother do something bad? Do you want to talk about that right now? Do you want me to discuss every shortcoming your mother has at the next church picnic? No, of course not. Because that’s called gossip and it is inappropriate. You deserve discretion. Your mother is a human and she deserves respect. For some reason foster and adoptive children are not afforded this privacy or this regard. The good and the bad of their story is theirs alone to tell. Do not ask if she was using drugs. Do not ask if she was a “crack-head.” If you are about to say or ask something about someone’s birth mother, stop and run it through your own head. Picture your own mom as you formulate your thought. If it would insult your mom, don’t say it about my kid’s mom.

Do you want me to discuss every shortcoming your mother has at the next church picnic? No, of course not.

My children’s birth mother is not a saint. Neither am I. We both wholeheartedly admit to our own shortcomings. I also know that my children see themselves mirrored in my reflection. They are watchfully creating opinions of their own identity based on what they see reflected in their birth mom, in me and in the world around them. Please remember that when you vilify my child’s birth mother you damage my child’s tender heart.

Kristin Berry

Mike and Kristin Berry

Mike and Kristin Berry are the authors of the Confessions of an Adoptive Parent blog and the book The Adoptive Parent Toolbox. They are the parents of 8 children, all of whom are adopted. Mike and Kristin’s passion is to reach overwhelmed, weary, and stressed out parents, all over the globe, with this message: “There is hope…you’re not alone on this journey!”

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