Adoption · Parenting

Confessions of a (VERY) Imperfect Mother

This post reveals my imperfections as a parent. No parents are perfect, I know; however, more often than I like, I think, there’s another dollar for the therapy jar! In this case, I better toss in a twenty…

I’m sharing this post because I hope that it will help other adoptive parents know they are not alone in the hard questions.

This is what happened (as best my memory recalls):

Payten has been having a particularly hard last couple of weeks. She has also brought up Ruth quite a bit. 

Last week she had a difficult day ending in a temper tantrum that was out of proportion to the situation, even for her. My motherly intuition thought it was the result of thoughts about her biological parents.


ME: You’ve mentioned Ruth a lot lately. Is there anything you want to talk about?

The dam burst!

PAYTEN: If Ruth and David love me so much, why haven’t they ever come visit me?

I wasn’t expecting that!

ME: They were making bad choices. Daddy and I wanted to keep you safe so they weren’t allowed to visit.

Maybe that answer will be good enough.

PAYTEN: What kind of bad choices?

Maybe not!

ME: Just, bad choices… (buying time)

PAYTEN: Did they kill someone?

ME: NO!!!

PAYTEN: Are they in jail?

Thoughts racing around my head – I don’t want to lie to her but is she ready for this? Maybe if I answer this question that’ll be the end of it. Therapist said to answer questions but not provide anything extra so here goes…

ME: Yes, David is.

PAYTEN: Why????

More racing thoughts – Do I tell her why? Will she understand?

ME: I don’t know.

Was that the best answer? Am I being a coward? She knows how much I hate lying… I feel so guilty!

PAYTEN: Where’s Ruth?

ME: I don’t know.

Another lie and another layer of guilt!

The guilt is two-fold this time. Not only do I know where she is, we’ve been communicating. We are friends on Facebook so she can see pictures and updates about our family. But she and I have also forged a friendship.

I feel HORRIBLE that I get the joy of Ruth in my life but my daughters don’t. 

PAYTEN: Does Omah (Carole, Ruth’s mother)* know?

ME: I don’t know.

LIES, MORE LIES! But how do I explain that Ruth is no longer making bad choices but Payten still cannot see her? Maybe this will end it.

PAYTEN: Does she have a house?

ME: I don’t know. Last I heard, she was living in a car. But I don’t know if she still is.

ANOTHER LIE!! Why did I tell her that??

Truthfully, I hoped it would end the conversation and take care of any questions about why they don’t visit.

She starts crying.


I hug her.

ME: “You know this isn’t your fault, right? You didn’t do anything wrong.”

Kids whose parents go through divorce sometimes think this. It stands to reason that kids who are adopted may think the same thing.

PAYTEN: I know.

The real reason Ruth doesn’t visit is that we simply aren’t ready, and we don’t think the girls are either. (David is in jail for drugs and forgery – enough said about him.) And I don’t know when we will be ready.

In my reconnection with Ruth, I’d like to think I am ready, but I don’t want to do it until I’m SURE I’m ready. 

Also, Andrew and I want the girls to understand the reasons they were adopted before meeting Ruth.


Unfortunately, this stuff doesn’t come with an instruction manual. Nothing difficult in life does. So I am trying my best to build my family without one, and I have to hope in the end that it’s solid and standing.

* All names but mine and my husband’s are pseudonyms.

3 thoughts on “Confessions of a (VERY) Imperfect Mother

  1. One day right after bringing Kaden home we were driving in the car and he asked me where was the mom that had him in her belly? Time seemed to stop all I could think of to say was that she loved him very much but could not take care of him so God brought him to us and visa versa…he just said oh okay and that was the end of that. Was it the truth? to some extent maybe when he’s older we should tell him more…


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