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  #1  
Old 04-03-2012, 11:41 PM
Krissy87 Krissy87 is offline
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Never Treated like a "Parent" by public due to my age

This is just a bit of a rant/and outreach wondering if anyone else has similar experiences with the public.

Unfortunately I know there is probably not many close experiences due to my slightly more unique adoption.

Quick back story: Growing up I was neighbors with the girl (liz) who is now my daughter. I constantly baby sat her and she'd constantly stay the nights at my family's house and eat with us. She was not abused at her house mostly just ignored as her mother was a night shift gas station clerk who spent her days in the casino and the step father a truck driver rarely home and if so he was at the bars and if they were in the house at the same time we could usually hear them fighting. Hence why Liz practically lived with my family from the time she was 4 or 5.

Fast forward until 4 years ago when Liz's parents lost their house and moved about 20 minutes away to an apartment and constantly Liz was still staying with us and asking if she could be with us all the time. Well and my husband who had just been married had talked about the idea before but never as seriously and ended up going through the adoption process. We didn't realize how extreme it was I will admit.

They drilled very hard on our age adopting and our inexperience at independent life. I don't know how different our process was from most adoptions due to adopting an older child and with us being young. After nearly 6 months though it finally all went through along with the bio-mother/father being fully cooperative. Everything went smoothly after initial tough interviews.

So for a little over 3 years Liz has been our daughter. She is now 13.. I am a month away from being 25 and my husband is 27. Life has been amazing and Lizzy is truly a blessing and a wonderful part of our life.

Now that I've given a bit of back story I can explain my main reasons for this thread.

I've always had a lot of negative attention/attitudes from the public over my daughter.
A few examples, I've had her call me Mom in public places for complete strangers on multiple occasions to essentially 'interrogate' me. I've had a couple actually get very rude with me and tell me how I have no place adopting.

I recently went to an open house at the high school Liz will be attending next year and had a faculty member not say anything specifically negative but just treat me with a rude manner when they realized Liz was my adoptive daughter. Then when I spoke with the choir teacher since Liz loves choir, basically interrogated me about the adoption and even asked me "Did you even know anything about being a parent?"..

I generally keep my cool with people like this but honestly the last few times I've had these circumstances come up I've been finding it much harder to suppress my annoyance/anger.

The main thing that really has set me off lately is primarily the PTA meetings I've attended the last couple years where I do not get treated like a parent at all.. Other parents are rude to me, I am not treated with respect. At one time the comment was actually made towards me after I said something in a debate "You don't understand what it's like actually to raise a child" in which is one of the few times I railed back.. however I mostly was mad it was brought up during a debate over a subject that it did not need brought up at all.

I was just wondering though for those of you whom also deal with people publicly who are aware of your adoption circumstances - if you are ever treated the same way? I'm sure my age is a big factor in it.. but if you do deal with similar issues how do you handle them? My usual responses are simply "none of your business" or "ask my daughter if she's unhappy".. The funny thing is if my daughter is around when any of these 'experts' are rude to me or try to interrogate me she'll be the first to let her mouth fly at them and usually I have to get her away from the situation. My husband is the same way when he is around, but being in the field he is in in the military he is usually deployed to foreign countries 7 or 8 months out of the year so it's usually just me and her.

I'm just kind of looking for some support/understand/advice here on dealing with this.
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  #2  
Old 04-04-2012, 12:54 AM
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Jillie_sweetheart Jillie_sweetheart is offline
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We all build our families in different and unique ways. Complete strangers will never be able to understand our complete family dynamics because they aren't there day to day. If t works for you, you don't need to justify it to anyone else.

I don't think it is a terrible idea to have continued counseling. not because of anything that you have done but more because the lack of what her bio parents have done. At some point she will have to deal with that. I know that I have been on my own since I was 15 and it catches up to me from time to time. While I have had some wonderful support along the way there is still a great deal of things that I push aside because I am not ready to deal with them.

People that don't understand adoption will always look at it puzzled.
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  #3  
Old 04-04-2012, 06:57 AM
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Krissy87, please don't let anyone else's negativity get to you. It sounds as if you and you & your daughter have a solid relationship and that has more to do with the bond you created with her than your age. I am 35 and we are just now trying to start our family & if we had known then everything that we would go through we would have started A LOT earlier. And if I want to be really honest, there is a lot we don't know about parenting, I think that hands on experience sometimes is the best lesson. I am sure that you would have a ton of things to teach us new older parents.
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  #4  
Old 04-04-2012, 07:26 AM
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Hoping2adoptsibs Hoping2adoptsibs is offline
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I would ask nicely and calmly if they know so much, why don't they do something to help children and adopt/foster to share their wealth of knowledge and expertise of child raising.
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  #5  
Old 04-04-2012, 07:28 AM
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zxczxcasdasd zxczxcasdasd is offline
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I've been there. I adopted my son when I was 25 and he was 9. In his school, where he had been since pre-K and I just appeared as "mom" in the 4th grade, I was definitely held at arm's length by some of the parents, and I very rarely felt respected as his mother by the administration. It often felt like I was someone playing at being his mom, rather than truly being his MOTHER. It often made me doubt myself in instances where I disagreed with the general stance and sometimes insecure in my interactions with other parents. I often felt alone, as all the other parents were 10-20 years older than I was. I even had one other mother tell me that I didn't know my own son as well as she did! I knew it was baloney but I ws still flabbergasted that someone had the gall to say that, much less think it!

In retrospect, I wish I had not let them make me doubt myself. I wish I stood stronger for myself and trusted that my instincts served me well and my principles would not steer me wrong.

My advice would be to choose one or two other mothers you would trust to reach out and strike up a friendship. Let them hear your mother's heart and in your conversation, let them hear the same love and concern that they have with their children (without sharing anything about your daughter or yourself that could turn into negative gossip). As they see that you are doing all the same work they are, they will respect you and that should being to spread to others as well.

In the meantime, don't let anyone make you doubt yourself, and don't let respect for your motherhood be an option. Demand it. (which it sounds like you already are)

There's nothing we can do about idiots making dumb comments. J and I were asked if we were brother and sister for most of his childhood. People would often say I didn't look old enough to be his mom and I would just smile and say "thank you." The backstory is none of their business.

Hang in there!
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  #6  
Old 04-04-2012, 07:44 AM
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I'm sorry Krissy. That's awful. You ARE your daughter's mother and should be respected as such. I'm sure that much of it has to do with your age. I'm also sure that you know more about parenting a 13 year old than I do, since you're doing it and I never have!

I think it's sad that people are disrespecting you, when in fact, they should be applauding you.
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  #7  
Old 04-04-2012, 11:01 AM
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People are just rude sometimes. I got pregnant at 15 and my daughter was born right after my 16th birthday. I look very young for my age, partially because I am small (4'11, size 3). Even though she is my bio daughter, I get the raised eyebrow all the time. Then I get the whole "How old are you?". Sometimes I just say "older than I look."

I think what makes it harder is the fact that people around you know about your adoption and are not respectful about it. I think deflecting and standing up for yourself is important. No matter how well you handle yourself some people are just going to still be rude.
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  #8  
Old 04-04-2012, 11:11 AM
hope2adopt777 hope2adopt777 is offline
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So far, very suprisingly, I have yet to here a negative comment about my young age and my decision to adopt so young. My family has been very supportive of me. However, they also know my history with infertility. I would imagine I am the youngest Pap on this forum ( I'm 21 and hubby is 24). Me and my husband are licensed to adopt through Dhs. Next week we have a meeting with our cw to discuss a possible match of a 6 year old boy. So I would be around 14-15 years older then him (depending on his birthday which I don't know yet). I'm sure I'll eventually get the negative comment as well.
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  #9  
Old 04-04-2012, 01:57 PM
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DrAmanda DrAmanda is offline
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Hugs to you. That would be very hard to deal with and people have no right to judge you and your daughter's circumstances. I can't say that I can really relate to the way you are being treated though. FWIW- I think PTA's in general are full of catty women. As much as I love my daughter's school and help out in her classroom frequently, I won't go near the PTA.
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  #10  
Old 04-04-2012, 03:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zxczxcasdasd

In retrospect, I wish I had not let them make me doubt myself. I wish I stood stronger for myself and trusted that my instincts served me well and my principles would not steer me wrong.

My advice would be to choose one or two other mothers you would trust to reach out and strike up a friendship. Let them hear your mother's heart and in your conversation, let them hear the same love and concern that they have with their children (without sharing anything about your daughter or yourself that could turn into negative gossip). As they see that you are doing all the same work they are, they will respect you and that should being to spread to others as well.

In the meantime, don't let anyone make you doubt yourself, and don't let respect for your motherhood be an option. Demand it. (which it sounds like you already are)



This is great advice. Shame on all those people who don't have the guts and strength to step up for a child like you and your DH did. Don't let them define your family.
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  #11  
Old 04-04-2012, 03:36 PM
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I can relate to an extent. I am currently parenting a 20 year old, a 17 year old, a 3 year old, and a 2 year old. The oldest two are my nephews who came to live with me in 2004 after my sister died. We adopted the 2 little ones (who are both Latino so therefore look very different than my Caucasian children). We get a LOT of double takes and trying to figure out who is who and how we are all related. Some have thought my nephew was my husband (EWWW!), some have thought my youngest son belonged to my oldest and his girlfriend. People are just nuts. I once had someone actually say to me, "You started young, skipped some years, and are finishing strong, huh?" I just walked away from that one!

Don't let anyone make you feel inferior as your daughter's mom. Assert yourself until they listen at PTO. Tell them that you are pretty sure that the 3 years you have been legally a family plus the many more years that you have bonded with and parented this child make you MORE than qualified to be her mom. Stand your ground and keep on being your child's mom!
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  #12  
Old 04-04-2012, 03:42 PM
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I sometimes get those comments from the opposite end; I am 38 with an 11-month-old. There are people beginning to parent who are significantly older than me, but apparently people don't get that. I get occasional comments about it being too bad I won't have the energy a young parent does or how wrong it is for me to parent alone, since I'm single. Some people just don't have the ability to see beyond their own experience to accept that another family being different doesn't make that family inferior. I try to have compassion, because they will never experience the joy of seeing things differently, and that really is sad. One time I told someone to mind their own beeswax, and while they are at it to fix the obvious flaws I see (and enumerated) in them or their child, but that was me having a really bad day and I felt guilty about it later.
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  #13  
Old 04-04-2012, 07:49 PM
Krissy87 Krissy87 is offline
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thanks for all the kind words!

I truly never really doubt my capabilities of being a mother. I more just have been wondering if theres a better way to handle the judgmental people. I showed my daughter my posting and she wouldn't leave me alone and stop telling me how awesome I am :P - I love her!!!

I was thinking about it a lot today while reading the responses at work and I honestly feel bad for the parents who are rude.. since I'm sure they never get such a connection with their children. With my daughter our relationship is also heavily sisterlike/best friends. Heck many friday/saturday night she opts for me and her to hang out instead of her school friends and sometimes I'm even with her and her school friends. Obviously I'm pretty sure this still has a lot to do with my age as well but I feel some parents just don't try to also be a friend to their children while still being a parent.

You all have inspired me to be a bit more vocal with people who talk down to me, since I see I'm not the only one who has dealt with these situations.
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  #14  
Old 04-04-2012, 08:30 PM
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I'm on the other end, too...41 when Peanut was born. I have high school classmates who are having grandchildren now! (Peanut is our first.) Families come in all varieties now, so for people not to recognize that is jut ignorance and to comment so negatively is rude.

And I will say,at 41, driving away from that hospital with a newborn, I got a little anxious and asked my DH, what we were supposed to do with a baby?!?!

So 12 years from now, when I'm (gulp) 54, I'll be calling you for advice on what to do with a teenager!
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  #15  
Old 04-05-2012, 07:55 AM
SOONLOVESOON SOONLOVESOON is offline
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We ran into this when we were hosting exchange students. We were about 32 and the kids were 17. We wanted to buy a "family pass" for an event and they REFUSED US. Even though we actually have a card stating that we are their LEGAL GUARDIAN while they are in the USA.

Hugs to you. As my hubby says, "Learn how to be a duck and let it roll off your back like water".

Good luck!
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