How to respond to "You're not my real mom!"?

I'd daresay that most adoptive moms get this at some point or another while raising kids. What's the best way to respond?


  • Having your child say this to you is not easy at all. Your first reaction may be one of hurt, anger, and frustration—or all three. And understandably so.

    Before anything else, remember, don't lose your temper. This is definitely easier said than done; however, you will be infinitely more happy that you did in the end.

    Often, we say what we don't truly mean. How many times has that happened to you in your own life? In the heat of the moment, at the peak of anger, words can and many times do come out of our mouths that don't reflect our true feelings. Nevertheless, words can hurt.

    If your child says this to you, take a step back and breathe. Remember who you are.

    You are his or her "real mom."

    Don't believe me? Well, let's first define what mother really means.

    According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word "mother" has many meanings. First, it can mean "a woman in relation to her child or children." As a verb, it means "bring up (a child) with care and affection"; "look after (someone) kindly and protectively, sometimes excessively so"; "give birth to."

    Let's see, are you seen as the mother figure in your family? Is that your role? Are you bringing up your child with "care" and "affection?" Are you looking after that little person "kindly," "protectively," and sometimes—or maybe a lot—"excessively?"

    You may not have given birth to your son or daughter, but you are most assuredly and completely his or her REAL MOM. A mother cannot be adequately defined by biology alone. Who was there when he was sick with a fever, sore throat, and stuffy nose? Who put a band-aid on her knee when she fell off her bike and kissed it better despite getting dirt on your lips? Who tucks him in at night and kisses his little forehead tenderly? Who comes rushing in during the middle of the night when she wakes from a bad dream? Who comforts her? Who teaches her? Who gives him correction when he needs it?

    You do.

    His real mother.

    So if your child says this to you, respond in the best way you feel is right for that child. A response may not be necessary, or maybe it would be. Either way, respond with love.
  • What I have said to my son when he has said this to me is 1.  I am real, I am a real person.  I may not have given birth to you, you may not have grown in my body, but I am your real mom.  You are my real son.  2.  I'm not your birth mom, I didn't give birth to you, but I am raising you.  I love you as if I had given birth to you and you and I both are real people and a real family.  
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