He said IT

April 3, 2012 older child adoption, Sonia 10 Comments

He said it.

he said it in rage.
he said it anger.

But regardless of why
he still said it….

You are not my mama.

Looked me right in the eye
and screamed it into my face

You are NOT my mama.

Been home a little over a year and that is what came out of his mouth.

And honestly?
Though I didn’t let him see it,
and I didn’t react to it,


A lot.

The tantrums are fewer now than they were when he first came home.
The fits of rage and frustration have pretty much dwindled
but not once
despite it all

in those early months
did that ever come out of his mouth.

So why now?
Why after a year?
A year of love and encouragement, of life and fun?


Maybe if I did know my heart wouldn’t have crumbled beneath the weight of those words
because I could have explained it away inside my head
but as it is
I have nothing
no thing

no explanation

so those words just hang out and echo in my ears.

Is he finally fully settling in?
Is it finally sinking in that this is forever?

Is he mad at me that we don’t know who she is
or where she is
or why she left him?

Is he really mad at her and not me?

I don’t know.

Is he just mad that he got sent to the stairs for a time out for something so trivial that I can’t remember what it was?
Is this just the adopted child version of “I hate you” that we see from teenagers on TV?

Does he just


This is, after all, the same child that told some visiting Chinese missionaries in our home that it was “impossible” that he got to stay here forever with us.
That after being home 2 months at the time, the child had no idea that this was his family forever.

What I can’t wrap my brain around is how to explain this to him any differently.
I’ve read the books.
I’ve found our path.
I’ve explained how blessed he is to have two mama’s that loved him.
His China mamma
and me.

And though I know there is a lot of debate amongst the adoption community about fabricating your child’s story
and I agree with that
I also think that I do 100% know something about her
and that is this:
she. chose. life.

And to do that
and to risk that abandonment charge in broad daylight
to me
she loved.



It happens as we all know.
It happens e.v.e.r.y.d.a.y.

This woman chose life.
And with the risk she took
call me crazy….
but I call that love.

So though I don’t spin a fairy tale of the circumstances of his birth family
we make it clear
his story begins and ends in love.

And we talk about it.
He wants to talk about it
a lot.
He’s happy and engaging when we talk about it.
He hugs me and plays with my hair while sitting in my lap when we talk about her
and when we talk about his story.
So I don’t know.
I don’t know if we are missing something here.
or if this is part of a normal to-be-expected thing that will happen

or worse

that this is how he really feels.

Because if that’s the case.

Then I don’t even know where to begin.

So I pick my heart up off the floor
scoop him up in my arms
and walk this road with him.

Because if I know anything
I know that’s what HE would do.
So I’ll wipe the snot off of my face,
act like I haven’t been crying
and carry on.

Because I?

I am his momma.

10 responses to “He said IT”

  1. Kam says:

    Bless you dear sister. How hard that must be. Our son had tantrums for months…lots of them. But he was only three. And he had no language. No Thai, no English. So he couldn’t speak really at all. I’m sure he would have said the same thing though, had he been able. Still, it must hurt so much to hear it. Thank you for being bold enough to share this.

    Hold fast.

  2. Kim says:

    Thank you Sonia for sharing. And for your honesty. Our kids adoption stories may be different, but the feelings are the same. For our kids. And their mommas.
    Love & Blessings,

  3. Heather says:

    You know, to me it seems like he’s well attached. No child who felt insecure would risk saying something like that if there was a nagging fear that it might actually sever the relationship. I remember reading years ago that bio kids often push away from the parent they feel most secure with and cling to the parent they feel least secure with — maybe this is a different outworking of the same principle. Not that it doesn’t hurt — it does — but I think it shows that he feels secure enough with you to really let it all hang out. And your unconditional love reaffirms to him that this relationship is forever — no matter what. He can say “you’re not my momma,” and you’re STILL THERE, loving on him. Hang in there…

  4. Rebekah says:

    I know how much those word hurt. Our son made the exact same comment almost a year after he was home. I was expecting to hear those words sometime when he was upset with me, however, not when he was so young (as he was only weeks away from turning 3). He also had the fits of rage, and just looked at me and screamed it. It was hard not to react. And It was hard not to show that it hurt my feelings.
    Hang in there. It is so hard when our babies are hurting.

  5. Amy says:

    Those are words I fear. Though I know there will be a day when I’ll probably hear it as well. Like you, we also have a biological child. I’m also awaiting the “I hate you” time. But similar to what Heather said, I think it’s *because* he’s so well attached & bonded that he feels safe & comfortable enough to say that in anger. It’s like how well my daughter acts when she’s out in public, only to come home & turn into a raging lunatic. She’s putting on a “show” impressing others. But at home, with her family, she’s comfortable enough to show her “ugly” side. She knows we’re not going anywhere, and we’ll love her forever & ever. She knows there is nothing she could possibly do or say that would ever change our feelings. But sometimes she needs to test that- just to make sure. That’s probably what your son is doing. Hang in there. He knows you’re his mama. He just needs to test it. Just to make sure.

  6. Aus says:

    Morning Sonia et al – well – and promise not to hate me – I’m glad he said IT!.

    It means he KNOWS he’s your son – that he KNOWS that it’s forever – that he TRUSTS you, your relationship, and his place in the family enough to say it – it means that he loves you right back!

    Our oldest adopted – Korean – 8 years ago – currently 9 (going on 15) still has what we call “rages” sometimes. Not as often as the past, and frequently when she’s feeling sick as a trigger, but still – we know your pain all so well. And during those rages will say and do anything she can to “push our buttons”. It’s immature to try to hurt those that love you – it’s immature to try to feel better by displacing your anger on the one trying to help – it’s immature to push those buttons. But our kids ARE immature, and sometimes we get “fooled” by them – because frankly – most of our adopted kids also impress us by being “wise beyond their years” or “old souls” or “what ever expression you choose to describe it” – but we’ve all seen that haven’t we.

    And so – again – y’all please don’t hate me for saying it – but his ability to trust in your love enought to say those words…good work Sonia….you son loves you back!

    hugs – aus and co.

  7. C Smith says:

    It doesn’t seem to me that this tantrum was a sign that he’s not attached, in fact, the opposite is probably true. It sounds an awful lot like my own biological child, only he said “I wish you weren’t my mama”, it still hurt but only a child who is totally convinced of your love would say such a thing. I just calmly said, well I am your mama, and you may not speak rudely or hurtfully to me.

  8. Wow. Sigh. That’s beautifully written. Thank you for writing something so personal. So many people naively think our older adopted kids will just feel grateful for a family. They don’t realize the depth of the grief in their lives. People don’t expect the raging. I agree with all the others that the fact that he said it may mean he does feel safe, he does feel attached. Again thanks, for sharing.

  9. I also appreciate your take on his “story.”

  10. Jennifer W says:

    You need to be ready. I knew I’d hear it at some time – after all I yelled a version of it at my (bio) mom. So when my dd tried it out – and she wasn’t angry (which is actually scarier) just an extremely bright 6 year old trying to work it out, I was (pretty) ready. I asked her what made a real mom. She said, “Having the baby in your belly.” I asked, “Is that all moms do?” She gave me the prize idiot look and said, “Of course not, moms do lots of things.” “Like what?” “Like taking care of the baby, their clothes and food and stuff.” “Do I do that?” “Yes, but you didn’t have me.” “But I still do mom stuff, right?” “Yes” “And you call me mom.” “Well, you’re my other mother.” “So when you say real, you mean birth mother?” “Yes” “And I’m still your mom, but I’m your other mom?” “Yes” “So I guess I am still your mom?” “Yes, my other mom.”” “But I’m also real – I’m not a fake mom am I?” “No, you’re not fake, at least I don’t think so.” “So maybe it’s ok to have two real moms, your birthmom and me, your adoptive mom, what do you think?” Deep thinking ensued. I’m still waiting for “I hate you.” but she isn’t a teen yet.

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