Monday, October 4, 2010

The Mamma

I have been reading a book called "The Primal Wound understanding the adopted child" by Nancy Newton Verrier. I am not finished with it yet, but so far it has given me much to chew on. The idea that an infant, even 24 hours old, knows it's own biological mother and grieves for her if lost to him, whether by adoption, death, foster care, and even separation in the hospital for medical reasons, was new to me. I balked a little at first, especially because I am married to an adoptee, mother to an adopted child, and mother to a fostered infant.

The more I read, the more my experience rings true with the author's. She is an adoptive mother and therapist. The idea that nobody can replace the biologial mother, even a bad, abusive, neglectful, or indifferent mother, makes complete sense. Sometimes- often, the scenario of adoption that plays out is that the child never feels that they really, truly belong, and the relationship between the child and adoptive mother is strained at best. No matter what kind of loving, doting parent she is.

Even an infant can grieve, and feel loss, and be angry and feel rejected. The adoptive mother who is Betty Crocker and Mary Poppins all rolled into one- I mean to say the best mother in the world, will still not really replace the biological mother. Even a bad mother is loved by her child. We all know that kind of loyalty to The Mother. She may be wonderful or she may reject us, but we still all want our mamma when we are scared, sick, or facing something devastating.

There's something missing when she can't be undone. When I worked in a nursing home, there were often very elderly people still crying for their mamma's. Once I did hear a woman crying repeatedly for her daddy, but that was only once.
I was in foster care for awhile as a child, and I remember being worried about my mother, all the while enjoying the safety and attention in the foster family. I liked it there, it was so much better than my own home, but I felt I had to be loyal and return home to my own mother. We didn't have a good relationship then, and none now, but there is still that something inside that recoils at the rejection of a mother. You feel as if your own mother could reject you, of course anyone and maybe everyone will. You feel "less than".  So far this book has been a real eye opener, and I'm learning alot. I'm changing my ideas about the children in foster care too. I changed my mind about adoption a long time's not the fairytale people think- on so many levels. That's not to say I don't believe people should do it, or that there isn't a need for it, or that we aren't willing to do it again, but I wish everyone could go into it without the clouded vision. The reality is bittersweet.
I'm halfway through the book, and holding out some hope that the author leaves us with some encouragment. whew! But the bottom line for me is this:
"He (Jesus) heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." psalm 147:3


  1. Excellent post!!! I think that was the best post I ever read. I was also a child who went through the foster care system. I was reunited with my mother only to have her leave me a note saying she could not handle it and I never saw her again. I was nine years old. I still miss her and wish that she could be apart of my life. It hurts deeply to not have her in my life even though I have a wonderful mother in law. I would agree the loss of a mother no matter what age is very difficult. Thanks for posting.

  2. Rebecca,
    I wish I could hug you dear sweet thing! My husband experienced a second rejection by his biological mother after finding her too. The 2nd time hurt worse I'm afraid. God knows. He sees, He understands, and His arms are always open- He carries our sorrows if we but learn to give them away to Him! You are loved, even if you don't feel like it!


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