Adoption and Family,  adoption and tweens,  family

Navigating Adoption and the Tween Years

Just 11 short years ago, my oldest daughter could be picked up and carried around. Sigh. Now she’s a tween. Let me just say the tween years are clearly preparation for the teen years ahead. But adoption and the tween years, well that’s just a special planet in the parenting journey.

And me with Payton last summer at a Dove event.

My kids are all sorts of awesome. Except when they are not. Sound familiar? I’m not complaining, because I love them, all the time, even when they are not particularly loving.

parenting teens
parenting teens

Anyways I slept very poorly last night which is unusual because I am always exhausted when I finally fall into bed, but I had a sore neck that has persisted all day and frankly I am quite concerned I might have whiplash. Not from driving, but from the constant assault of moody hormonal tween.


She can be cruising along lately at 11 1/2 years old in the zone of happy and loving asking for extra hugs and being all: “You’re the best Mom in the world.” when out of the blue there comes a heaping dose of “I don’t care. I am NOT like you! We don’t share the same genes.”

Dear Diary

Dear Diary: I am happy to be a Mom and all. But, really? Is this like payback for all the times when I boasted she was such an easygoing baby? I would really like to get off this little ride for awhile.
Thanks, Signed: me.

Adoption is Just Different

This adoption and tweens episode is new and we have avoided it nicely up to now.

Christmas Morning

Our little angelic sweetheart, shown up above, was like Christmas morning every day when we first adopted her. I always tell that story at meetings when I am speaking to new and prospective adoptive parents. She was joyous and cheery and woke up smiling every moment of her life until the age of six. This oddly did very little to prepare me for the rocky years between starting school and the phase that marks adoption and the tween years.

Where Did My Angel Baby Go?

Payton was our first crack at parenting and she was long overdue and absolutely perfect. Oh I know nobody is perfect and yet, she came close.

I know full well the developmental stuck spots of adolescent adoptees and even child adoptees. I am fully aware there is a push, pull and even an empty space she may never quite be able to fill or comprehend. But would that I knew how to navigate through the choppy spots without quite so much damage to the body of this vehicle that holds my heart.

No, darling, we do not share the same genes. But when that statement is hurled out at me because you are angry I am making you do your best work and not the least possible homework, well it doesn’t quite hit the mark.

Add Grief to the Usual Tween Years

So, take your moody hormonal average neuro-typical tween and then add adoption to the mix. Well, it is not the same. Adoption and the tween years also incorporates a big piece of grief and loss that’s typically not there for kids who grow up in their family of origin.

In fact, parenting adopted tweens is not even the same planet as far as I can see.

All the Questions You Don’t Know

It’s asking yourself when did my biological parent get her period and not knowing. It’s asking yourself when did she first date? And not knowing. It’s asking yourself also what size breasts did she have? Did she wear a bra when she was 12 or 13? And not knowing.

Ours are Closed Adoptions

I should mention that our girls both had closed adoptions because that was reality 12 years ago in Ontario. So we have no contact with biological parents on either side.

We sent letters back and forth the first few years of Payton’s life.

When Anger Meets Humour

Lately, I meet her anger with humour. It is a small weapon and sometimes it works. That started me thinking what if I actually went out and bought us matching pairs of jeans. For kicks.

Stay tuned because I am sure it will be Instagram worthy when I find a matching pair. Until then, all I can do is buckle up and endure the ride.

Mom of two beautiful active girls, traveller, fitness junkie, social media consultant, and keeper of the sanity.


  • Stephanie

    Oh my dear this business of rasing tweens is never easy!! You are an amazing Mama and I adore the strength and love I have seen in the realtionship you share with your beautiful girls

  • Annie Brown

    Oh so not looking for to the tweens years… and they are coming up… the words you are not my mom or we don’t share the same genes are ones so hard to take.

    Many hugs and lots of love to you!

  • Michelle Garrett

    I still remember vividly during my teen years when the words “You’re not my real mother” came hurling out my mouth – the look on my mother’s face is still frozen in my memory to this day. They were words that I never said again and can, unfortunately never take back. Oh the joys of motherhood and all the fun stages we get to endure! Thanks for stopping by Divas With A Purpose for Thankful Thursday!