I was at a meeting with non adoptive parents and somebody brought up the fact that their child had screamed ‘I hate you’ at them the day before and how hurt she had been by this, almost all of the other parents said that they had experienced the same and the group went on to discuss how difficult it is to hear and how hurt they had been.
Both our sons have indeed declared their hate for us in fits of anger – as well as the possibly more dramatic ‘you are not my parents anyway’, but neither my partner or I had been hurt or upset.
It certainly had an impact and it felt significant, but we instinctively knew that it was not meant and not at all hateful.
In fact we saw something quite positive in the outbursts, after (at the time) 3 plus years of us being a family, to hear these worlds coming from our sons actually seemed like a badge of honour.
It was evidence to us of just how settled they were (and possibly that they were becoming more attached) to have the confidence to make such statements with the knowledge that it would not affect their relationship with us or jeopardise their placement.
And that is a huge positive to us adopters and consequently certainly nothing to feel bad about.
Of course we tell them that it is not a nice thing to say and that we love them regardless and ‘tough luck’ because they are ‘stuck with us forever’ (a playful phrase we have always used to help them understand the permanence of the placement).
We strive for many things as adoptive parents and something that is high up on that list is to be seen and treated like any other parent – and by our sons pushing the boundaries and saying inappropriate things to us, they are indeed doing exactly what all the birth children of the parents at the meeting do and regardless of the words we are confronted with – that warms our hearts.