I'm worried the daughter I placed in open adoption will resent my future kids

Updated Jul 4 2017
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My partner and I are 18 days away from beginning to try to conceive — as happy as I am, I'm also scared out of my mind. I'm not worried about raising a child, but I'm worried about how my first daughter will react to my pregnancy after I placed her into adoption.

I know that placing my daughter in adoption was the best decision for both of us and I'm fortunate that I have an extremely open relationship with her adoptive parents… and I know I'm not trying to replace her with this baby. I'm just worried that she'll see my future pregnancy as a rejection of her.

Parents who have children in open adoptions: how did you explain future pregnancies and children that you didn't place to the children that you did? – Amalaa

  1. I have a son I gave up for adoption. It's open as well. He adores his little sister and so far feels no resentment. There was never really any explanation outside of "I still love you as much as I did the day you were born, and you're always going to have a very special place in my heart. Now you just have a little someone to share your love with too."

    • oh good. C will be a big sis to the future kids I will have and on my end they will know her as such. I guess I worry too much about what other will think and always in the back of my mind I have a fear of the adoption just closing up as so many I've read online. Just a panic attack think.

      • I totally understand. I had those same fears when I got pregnant with my daughter, and the fear of my relationship with my son just closing up is still always on the back of my mind. I can't say my son will never resent me, but for now, everything is fine. I have a brother who was adopted, and there was some resentment towards my mom, but now their relationship is as strong as ever. I hope that your daughter always understand just how much you love her.

  2. I haven't been in your position, but with most things kid-related, I take the stance of "honesty is the best policy." Be truthful with her. Tell her all of the reasons why adoption was the best choice when she was born, remind her how much her adoptive parents love her, and how blessed her life is. Explain to her that you will always love her and that you will always be a part of her life, and that she will now have new friends (if you're not comfortable calling them her brothers/sisters) who she wouldn't have otherwise. Kids are resilient. They can bounce back from things that would completely unhinge an adult's world with almost no effort. As long as you are honest with her, and the way that you treat her doesn't change (much) and as long as you continue to maintain the same level of contact/involvement in her life, I think that you will find that she will embrace the idea, rather than be hurt by it. Hope this helps!

  3. she might… i was adopted and found my birth mother as a young adult. it is very painful to see the love she has for the children she kept and the disdain she has for me. it hurts. it really does. but you should still live your life and fill it with love – whats done is done. anyway, i thought you would want to hear from someone who was adopted and might know how your daughter might really feel. <3 love to you <3

    • I'm so sorry you feel that way. I hope I never portray anything other than love for her as I would give my life for her still. I'm praying that this open adoption helps her in areas I see those of you who had closed ones hurting. I am glad you did reply, hearing from adoptees helps me to try and find the best course of action. Thank-you

  4. I have an almost six year old son that was placed in an open adoption and an almost seven week old daughter that I am raising. Honestly, I've let my sons parents explain much of the process to him. He knows me as Shelly, the woman who grew him inside her belly and chose his parents to be his mom and dad. They also have a biological child, and have explained that they were meant to be parents to both, God just chose different paths to get them there. I think that how open and embracing they are of making the boy feel wanted, in addition to the fact that I am around, I send presents, and I am very open about how deeply I care for his well being, will go a long way towards him not feeling rejected. I imagine that his teen years will be a bit rough (adopted kids feel rejected, biological kids would rather be adopted, everyone hates their parents biological or adoptive), but keeping up with the openness and honesty ("I wasn't ready to be a mother and it wouldn't have been fair to either of us if I had tried.")

    The thing that worries me the most is how I'm going to explain the situation to my daughter, but I might be making a big deal out of nothing since she may just accept it as it is and never have questions… or at least never have difficult questions.

    • My daughter knows me as "myjessie" and she will tell other people that she has 2 mommies and a daddy. It melts my heart that she says that. I also keep reminding M & K that when she gets in her teens that she may say "I wish I wasn't adopted" but that those of us who weren't will say "I wish I was adopted" and such. I do plan on always telling her the truth (though I will leave her parents to deal with any bio-dad questions as I was raped by a stranger).
      I'm hoping that she will remember being in my wedding last year (and her mom was one of my bridesmaids, that is how open we are) and will see/understand the order of things when she fully understands the whole thing of just how special she is.
      I also plan on telling the kids I will have about her and use the word adoption to get them used to hearing it and then explain when they get a little older. She will always be the "big sis". It helps that I have her pictures everywhere.

      when is your son's birthday? My girl is almost 6 too. her is in late October.

      • He's early September! Honestly, I think of all the many families comprised of many situations that I know, and the kids that were adopted (unless they were lied to about being adopted) we're pretty well rounded and not a one of them felt jealous in any way of their birth moms future kids. That being said, I know a lot of women who had a child before getting married to a different man and had children with the new man and the older children feel left out of the family.

        • I can see how that happens. C's birth father is not my husband. But really my husband is the birth stepdad as we call it to help others understand. She has him wrapped around her fingers, they both love each other! He even carries a picture of her in his wallet! The way he is with her really makes me want to have a mini him!

          • Making my husband a father was probably the best thing I've ever done for him. He is in his element when he is with our daughter. And raising her with him has made me feel even more that adoption was the right decision. It's hard, even with so much support, even planning the pregnancy. When I'm frustrated and he takes her and dances with her, I think that I couldn't have done this by myself. But, if my boy ever resents my girl, all I think I'll have to explain to him is the first few years of his life – I had two stints of unemployment, a brief period where I slept on a friends couch, too many crappy boyfriends, a month long stint in jail, and a whole lot of soul searching to get to a point where I was ready. In that time, he had two loving, stable parents who gave him consistency and were ready to devote themselves to him. Would he really have preferred me?

        • I was an only child raised solely by my mother untill I was 12. Then I was plopped into the middle of my step dad's every other weekend madness picking up his two younger daughters, I have 3 step sisters the eldest was grown by then, and it felt like we were only trying to be a "family" when they were with us the cituation seemed to get worse when the my youngest step sis moved in with us and the one just a few years older than me refused the weekend visitation due to her teenage social life. It made it feel even more diliberate that HIS girls meant FAMILY but I didn't count. It took a long time to get over that.

  5. Thank you all for sharing. Amazing stories, loving people. You make the world shine.

    Op, any child who really feels loved… lets everything else go. Light and Love to you and all of yours.

  6. There is no barometer as to what will happen in the future. I know that my mother put me up for adoption because she had to (1967) and she thought she was doing the right thing for me. It was <3 But upon our initial reunion in 1998 I could not help but feel a type of resentment towards my 1/2 brothers. That they got her and I didn't. Overtime this has been something that has faded away and I am thankful to have her in my life and the lives of my children now.

  7. I am an adoptive mom and I think that parents in an adoption – whether first parents or adoptive parents – can feel especially tempted to stress over all the reasons why their kids might someday resent them.

    I try to remind myself that ALL kids resent their parents for something at some point. It is a normal and natural part of human development to start to question the decisions parents have made for you as you begin to figure out how to differentiate and make decisions for yourself. So even if your child doesn't resent you for relinquishing her to adoption and then having more children you parented yourself chances are there will be something else resent-worthy.

    My belief is that if ALL the parents involved are loving, consistent and appropriately honest the parent-child relationships can survive the inevitable storms. Your daughter may need to have several discussions with you as she grows about why she has different parents than her bio-siblings. Or she may have some other issue that you never see coming that will need attention and hashing-out over the course of your relationship with her.

    Don't let it hold you back from finding happiness where you can, though. The best sort of parent (first, adoptive, whatever kind!) is a person who is capable of love, self-disclosure, and pursuit of personal joy.

  8. I have a 10 year old daughter I gave up for an open adoption to the most wonderful couple ever. I also have a 5 year old daughter and a 2 day old son I'm now raising with my husband. My oldest daughter (who calls me Mom, she's being raised by 2 wonderful Dads) loves her siblings very much. We are all family, and while not conventional, we certainly love each other very much. She doesn't seem resentful at all and seems to appreciate having siblings and extra parents. 🙂 We have always been completely honest with her about everything and she's always really thrived with that policy.

  9. I feel like this was written for me, and not only do I worry about my first child resenting my other kids, I worry about her resenting me. A lot of my issues are wrapped up in the fact that I don't feel like I CHOSE adoption and that I know I would have been a great mom…I was in high school and had zero support and resources, so it kind of felt like my only choice. It kind of pushed me to rush into having kids as soon as I was out of my parents house and had more resources to do it on my own. I firmly believe in adoption, I think there are a lot of young mothers out there who aren't emotionally ready or don't want to be parents, and there are obviously a lot of couples struggling to conceive…but I don't feel like it was the right decision for me personally and it really altered the course of my life. That makes it difficult for me to stand by the decision and stick up for myself when people criticize my decision to "give her up" and it makes it impossible for me to know what to say when the time comes for me to explain it all to her.

    • I'm sooo very sorry to hear you didn't really have a choice. This is a decision that should only be made when you know all your options and know where to get help if you need it. It is hard when you don't have a support system. Thankfully I went to a maternity home (my family knew about the rape and though I got an abortion but I couldn't go thru with it and I could bring myself to tell them) that was there to help you out no matter if you were parenting or making an adoption plan. We all got to make our own choices and hey help in finding the best options (like schooling, housing, jobs and such). Even more so with those of us thinking about adoption, they really laid out both roads for us to make sure we were sure.

      Don't worry about those who criticize you, they don't matter. I know it hurts (it still hurts when you know it was the best choice for you) but the only one who matters is your daughter. When the time comes, just be truthful in this like you have stated here. You can teach her to stand up for herself and be her support like you wished you had had when she was born. No matter what the situation is, she can learn from you. Don't ever resent her for what others made you do. Learn to forgive yourself, you were young and still learning about life (like we all do know matter what age). I know it is easier said than done, but sometimes that is the only way to move forward with your life.

      <3 to you Nicole.

  10. It blows my mind that ANYONE would feel they had some kind of right judge any woman's decision as to what to do with her pregnancy. I also don't understand how someone could ask a question like 'how could you give up your child?'. It's such a horrible, ignorant, and obviously self-righteous thing to say. Choosing to give a baby up for adoption is an incredibly brave and selfless act.

    • Totally agree. I don't want to get into a pro-life/pro-choice discussion, but the fact is that women who suffer through the pains of pregnancy and childbirth so that they can turn their tragedy/mistake/whatever you want to call it into a blessing for someone else is an AMAZING act of selflessness and strength!

      When people criticize a biological parent for "giving up their baby", they ought to be reminded about how you granted someone their dream of being a parent.

    • I agree, but I think this post was as much about the child that is given up for adoption. Whether or not the child has a right to question the mothers' decision, it is clear that the child might feel hurt /resentful/abandoned later on… and I think that's understandable too. I mean, it could have been the best decision for everyone involved, but it still hurts.
      I think the answers given here are really wonderful and I wish the OP & her daughter happiness.

    • At church (CHURCH of all places), a woman heard of my plans to place my son with an adoptive couple and said "if you didn't want the baby, why didn't you just get an abortion?" To my face. Fortunately my mom was standing there and went off on the woman, telling her how proud she was that I made that decision and until she got to know me as a human being, that woman should keep her opinions to her damn self.

  11. My eldest isn't adopted, but she has two families as her dad and I separated very young and each married other people. 2 step siblings and 4 half siblings. She definitely takes some issue with her siblings on my side (who she is closest to) because of the difference in skin, eye and hair colour. My 3 youngest kids have my colouring and therefore she feels like she stands out like a sore thumb. She doesn't of course. And I'm hoping she gets over this and understands that the colour of your skin or eyes does not a "true family" make. It isn't the same thing you are dealing with, but it falls in the same category of having trouble relating or being jealous of half siblings that came later and who very likely are from a more loving/secure family unit. My daughter will undoubtedly see just how lucky she is one day – two dads, two moms, a pile of siblings and her as the top dog. A big family is worth all the issues in the beginning of jealousy and resentment. Siblings need each other in the end so they can bitch about us. 😉

  12. I was adopted and found my birth parents at the age of 18. To be completely honest, I resent their children not because they chose them over me but because they don't want to have anything to do with me. They didn't tell anyone of my birth (including their parents) and I feel like I deserve to be acknowledged.

    I think that as long as you are open, honest and willing to answer questions it will be a lot easier to understand. Adoption has many pros and cons and is very emotionally consuming as you would know, but done right and come at with the right attitude, it can be the best thing for everyone.

    • Totally this. I have a friend who is in a similar position and she quite likes her little sister but is hurt more by the fact that her sister is the "only" daughter when in public. The adoption wasn't open, obviously, but it is hard for her to deal with being closed out and yet having her birth mother want a relationship.

  13. Both myself and one of my close cousins are adopted, and while I have let my biological parents choose whether or not we have contact (I will be 30 soon, and so far we haven't been apart of each other's lives) my cousin has had contact with her biological mother and her two younger sisters. While they aren't as close as sisters who grew up together, they have a really great relationship and visit eachother often, as well as talk all the time. I wouldn't worry about your daughter resenting you or her future siblings, if you placed her in a great home, then she's bless by having that many more people to love her. Sometimes its hard when you're younger, but as you get older and really understand why you were adopted, those feeling fade away. I think she will appreciate that you worried, but ultimately let you know it wasn't necessary.

  14. Hi I am my mothers youngest child and was adopted by an extended family member at a very young age. My birth mother and I have always had a relationship. I wouldn't say I ever resented her for being able to raise my sister and brother but not me because I know ended up much better off, but I did have general issues with not being from a traditional family with my biological mom/dad/siblings/dog all under one roof..

    I went through a period of no contact with my mother as a teen because I felt my life was sweet where I was and just didn't want to be bothered with her. However I love my brother and sister very much and have always been in contact with them even when I wasn't with my mom.

    Currently I'm 32 and have 2 children of my own and a stepdaughter who's 10 she has lived with my husband and I full time since she was 1. She has a open relationship with her birth mother who recently had another child who she is raising and I always worry about how their relationship will pan out and whether of not she will ever resent her. Hopefully she will be like me and see there is nothing to resent because her life is good where she is!

  15. As someone who was in an open adoption, with whom all the adults involved were mostly honest and forthright about things, I *still* ended up resenting my mother for having more children after me that she chose to raise. Despite being told how much she loved me and wished things had been different, I still felt like she cared about them more than me.

    As an adult now, I obviously realize that was never the case and understand better why even 6 years can mean a drastic difference in one's capabilities to parent. In the end, no matter how you approach the matter, she can still feel rejected.

  16. I was adopted through open adoption. My birthmother has her own life and I don't resent it because…

    …I have my own life! And a family of my own, including two wonderful adopted parents and an adopted sister. THEY are my family, and she is also my family, and this works out a-okay with me.

    Please remember that she has her own life, and if she has a loving family, that is what matters.

  17. I was also adopted as an infant, however, my birth mother chose to keep her oldest child, and put her next two children up for adoption, so I grew up knowing that my birth mom kept my oldest brother, and gave my middle brother and myself up for adoption.
    There were times, in my teens, where I was angry about that or felt hurt, but as an adult I hold zero resentment towards my mom, or either of my brothers and if she has any more kids (she might, ive never had any contact with her) I only hope that she was able to love them and raise them with the happiness and stability that she was not able to give me. My parents were great, they loved me and took care of me and were honest with me about my adoption and I have no bad feelings towards anyone because of it.
    Being adopted is complicated, and having members of ones birth family as part of your life is complicated and the feelings that come out of that are unique to each person, in each situation…and thats complicated too.
    I just wanted to share with you that some of us have had fantastic experiences as adopted children and are forever grateful that people made the hard choices they did to give me the life that I had.

  18. Thank you so much for this post. I have a four year old daughter who lives with her adoptive parents. She is the light of my life but I worry how she'll react when I have a family of my own in a few years. We have an open adoption and I visit them often. She calls me Annie, but says she has two moms; her mommy, and her birth-mommy. I gave birth to her as a high school student while in a very unhealthy relationship. I was lucky to have a ton of support from my family and her adoptive parents and their family. I'm not overly worried, simply because her entire adoptive family are so open and loving. I just know many children who were adopted and then went on to deeply resent their birth parents other children. Thank you all for helping to calm my fears a bit and for sharing your stories!

  19. She probably will… some part of her will anyway. Wouldn't you? I think that a feeling of abandonment, of course, comes with adoption. It doesn't mean that

    My brother is 20 years older than me and my mum gave him up for adoption. She met him two years before I was born. I would never say that he has ever actively expressed resentment, but our relationship has always been very complicated and I think he never really felt secure about his place in the family.

    I think "resent" is the wrong word… but I think it does make him sad.

  20. I just wanted to say that for me, I do not resent my biological siblings that were born after me and stayed with my first mother. I was the first born and adopted. I have a great relationship with my adoptive family and my biological family. As she gets older, my advice is just to be honest with her. Her story is different than that of her siblings, and hopefully that honesty and reassurance will quell any jealousy or resentment that may occur, if it ever occurs at all!

  21. I was also adopted, and while it was a closed adoption, I reunited with my biological father when I was about 20. He has two young children with another women and honestly that was hard, but not necessarily in the way I expected. I have zero resentment for them as I have fantastic adoptive parents that I would not trade for the world. It was difficult because I would like to be a part of the girl's lives on some small level, but after a few awkward months of reunion, my biological father gave vague and crappy reasons as to why he no longer wanted me to be in their lives. I understand that he simply wasn't ready, and that's fine. However, I would love to know my half-sisters better.

    Honesty is the best possible option. Kids are more intelligent than we give them credit for and if you can simply explain that life was different then and you wanted to give him/her the best possible opportunities and that those are different than they are for future children, they will understand. Adoption is a very bumpy road during the teenage years, but they will understand. And if you ever sense resentment or other negative emotions, try to talk to them about it and never ever turn your back due to your own pain. As someone touched on earlier, everyone dislikes the world during middle/high school, but they will come around.

  22. Not that Ive been in a situation like this.. But maybe you could write a letter to that child? – just write out everything you're feeling, and date the letter. If they come to ask in the future you could hand the letter over to them?

  23. Thank-you all so much for everything you all have said. Everything everyone has stated is for the most part what I already know logically, I just seemed to have small panic attacks every so often when I think about it. I have and will always keep it honest with her and she will always have a spot in our family if she chooses. She will be after all "big sis" when I talk about her.
    Any other comments from here on I will have to read in 17 days when I get back from my trip to Israel and hopefully pregnant by then!!
    Thanks again! <3 to you all!

  24. I was adopted and have since found my birth mother. She was unable to have other children due to medical complications after my birth. But I most certainly would never resent it if she had had kids later. In my case, my (adoptive) parents were always clear with me that I was given up for adoption out of love because my birth mom wanted me to have the best possible life. Which is true. I've since found out all the details and she really was not in a position to look after me in the way she would have wanted to or to guarantee me as stable a home as she could. So her choice was in my best interest. If she'd been part of my life all the way through that might have made it a little more confusing but I think if you're open and honest (as everyone has said) then you can help your child to understand that while you were not in the right position for your first child, you still love all your kids and having an amazing family who loves her is what matters. Your other children might be jealous at not having extra parents! At least until teenage years.

    I will say right now that yes, most adopted kids probably have times they wish they weren't adopted. It will help a lot knowing you. When you're adopted and in a closed adoption, you fantasize that your birth family would have been better. That is not always the case. Finding my birth mom has given me a much greater appreciation for my adoptive parents because I can see my teenage angst for what it was. Just an assumption that things would be greener on the other side.

  25. I'm an adoptee (closed) a d know my biological mother has other kids that she kept after me. I've always seen it as she was very young and her circumstances were very different — she did what age thought was best for me.

  26. I guess I'm in the minority here, but I was adopted (closed) and I never felt any resentment or hurt toward my birth parents or siblings, and I definitely never felt abandoned or that my life would've been better with my birth family (to be honest, I actively KNEW that my life would've been worse if I hadn't been put up for adoption. My parents didn't tell me that, but I was a smart kid. I could read between the lines.) I grew up knowing I was adopted and I knew that I was put up for adoption because I was the 6th of 6 girls (and I'm pretty sure I was an "oops" baby, as my understanding is that my oldest biological sibling is about 25 years older than me).

    I actually also never had any burning desire to seek out my biological family. My parents are my parents, and to me, that's that. I do really appreciate that my birth parents gave me up for adoption so I could have the great and privileged life that my real parents gave to me. Honestly, other than that, I don't think about it much. It basically only comes up when new doctors want a medical history. I'm sure there are differences with an open adoption, but not all adopted kids go through the same stereotypical feelings.

    (I will say though that I did have a really fantastic childhood with amazing parents. I am sure there are HUGE differences when you are an adoptee and you have serious conflict with your adopted parents/siblings.)

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