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gell214
01-08-2013, 08:11 PM
I'm single, so I really need help with this.

In my story, as one of the subplots, a mother learns that the girl she thought to be her child is not her real daughter and that her real daughter is this girl she has never even met before.

When the revelation was made, the mother and the real daughter is present, the fake daughter is not. So the mother and the real daughter is left to talk.

How would the mother react?

Note: She, of course, loves the fake one.

Wicked
01-08-2013, 08:46 PM
How the mother deals with it will depend heavily on her personality.

However, speaking as someone who discovered they had a close blood relative they never knew about, my first reaction was excitement and elation. There was quite a bit of shock, too. That first moment felt a bit like I'd walked into a wall, but really wasn't sure what had happened. The elation came in quickly with realization, but slipped away gradually. Then I became more apprehensive. I wondered who they were, where had they been, what kind of life had they had.

And then it was fear. That one hit the hardest. What would they think of me? How would they respond to me, or judge me?

I suspect many people would have a similar cycle of elation/fear/self doubt in those circumstances.

Alpha Echo
01-08-2013, 09:00 PM
I think I'd feel betrayed by whomever mixed up my daughters. I'd feel conflicted - loving the daughter I had who wasn't really mine and wanting to get to know and love the daughter who is.

Depending on the girls' ages...I may feel scared. I may not want to tell the daughter I'd been raising b/c what if she wants to know her real mother, and her real mother wants to take her away from me?

And if not, if I could possibly keep them both...would they get along? Would I be forced to choose? Would the one I'd been raising be jealous?

Does my biological daughter even want to get to know me?

And anger! How did this happen? How could this happen?

And sympathy and empathy with whomever raised my daughter as their own.

ETA: I'm watching Desperate Housewives during my cardio workouts, and it just so happens I'm on the last season where Gabby finds out one of her daughters is not hers and was indeed switched in the hospital with another...

Cyia
01-08-2013, 09:25 PM
One significant detail -- she wouldn't call the daughter she raised a "fake." It would be more like an adoption scenario; she's not the girl's birthmother, but she is her mom. They have an actual parent-child bond, so it is in no way "fake."

She'd want to know her birth-daughter, of course, but at the same time, she'd be concerned for the girl she's raised. She'll want the child she's raised to know she loves her, while still getting to know her birth child. She'd also be in a place of fear herself, on some level, wondering if the girl she's raised will want to leave her, or if she'll prefer her birth family, or if the birth family will even accept her.

(This could be more pronounced if one family shares a belief system or ideals that are incompatible with the other. A girl raised Pentecostal discovers that her birth family are Atheist, or vice versa, for example. The family who has raised her might be reluctant to allow her to see the other family, or likewise, the other family might feel it's their duty to "fix" their birth child by altering her views to match theirs.)

Also consider that family history can have something to do with the reaction. If there's one child with a physical condition, but not the other, or if genetic illness runs in one family and not the other. If one of the mothers was in foster care or adopted herself, it could lead to significant things, such as a fear of being perceived as "abandoning" her child, even though that's not what happened.

If something jarring or traumatic has happened to one child, there could be feelings of "I was never supposed to go through that." Differences in socioeconomics, if one family is wealthy and one isn't would be heightened. The wealthy mother realizes her child has been raised without the privileges she would have had if she'd been with her birth family, while the less affluent mother sees her child as being given an opportunity for a life she could never have provided.

Your story, and the mothers' reactions, is going to depend on the variables in your particular scenario.

Buffysquirrel
01-08-2013, 11:15 PM
I can see the parent reacting with, well, no wonder x y and z went wrong with my daughter. She wasn't really mine. It'll be different with this one.

gell214
01-08-2013, 11:18 PM
Thanks for the input guys :).

Mother is very motherly. She actually had a terrible mother so she did everything she can to be the best mother to her not biological daughter.

Your suggestions gave me a lot to go on with this scene. Have to think about this. Thank you so much :).

shaldna
01-09-2013, 02:36 PM
I'm single, so I really need help with this.

In my story, as one of the subplots, a mother learns that the girl she thought to be her child is not her real daughter and that her real daughter is this girl she has never even met before.

When the revelation was made, the mother and the real daughter is present, the fake daughter is not. So the mother and the real daughter is left to talk.

How would the mother react?

Note: She, of course, loves the fake one.

I'd be asking a lot of questions. Firstly - when is this set and where?

In the UK and Ireland it's no longer common place to have 'nursery' care in maternity wards. Instead the baby stays with the mother at all times. In the past the babies would all be taken away at night and looked after by staff to allow the mothers to rest. They don't do that now.

Also, I'd be asking how they managed to mix up my child - they put tags on both wrists and both ankles and the bottom of the cot is labelled too - they have to be cut off and the staff don't do that - you do it yourself at home.

My point is that it's going to be quite hard to get a senario in recent times where babies are switched at birth.

gell214
01-09-2013, 03:00 PM
I'd be asking a lot of questions. Firstly - when is this set and where?

In the UK and Ireland it's no longer common place to have 'nursery' care in maternity wards. Instead the baby stays with the mother at all times. In the past the babies would all be taken away at night and looked after by staff to allow the mothers to rest. They don't do that now.

Also, I'd be asking how they managed to mix up my child - they put tags on both wrists and both ankles and the bottom of the cot is labelled too - they have to be cut off and the staff don't do that - you do it yourself at home.

My point is that it's going to be quite hard to get a senario in recent times where babies are switched at birth.

Hi :).

This is actually for a fantasy novel. The setting is in a different world than ours. It resembles medieval times somewhat. So there :D.

AnnaHex
01-09-2013, 03:19 PM
I'd be terrified someone was going to take my child (the one I had brought up) away from me.

stitchingirl
01-09-2013, 07:08 PM
As a mother myself, I can only imagine the thoughts that would run through my head. I imagine a feeling of being robbed would be there, too. To see my biological child standing before me and realize they are a perfect stranger would be almost too much. I carried them in my body. Felt them kicking, and spent hours talking to them. But there would be fear as well. Would they think I purposely somehow allowed them to go to the wrong home only to feel guilty about the decision later on, hence why we were standing in the room together after so many years?

Not to mention the racing thoughts the adoptive daughter would have once she was informed.

Sophia
01-09-2013, 07:17 PM
Here are a couple of recent news stories with this happening that include reactions from the parents involved, which may be of help to you:

Switched at birth, then meeting aged 12 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15432846)

Brazilian babies swapped at birth end up living close (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-12231761)

gell214
01-09-2013, 07:23 PM
I'd be terrified someone was going to take my child (the one I had brought up) away from me.

Okay, so INITIAL reaction is for the child you brought up, and then reaction to having this stranger in front of you as your biological daughter would come second?

I guess what I want to know is which child would bring forth more emotion at that moment that you were told this girl is your daughter, with that girl just standing there?

gell214
01-09-2013, 07:26 PM
To see my biological child standing before me and realize they are a perfect stranger would be almost too much.

This is very VERY helpful. Thank you.


Would they think I purposely somehow allowed them to go to the wrong home

I haven't thought about this. So there would be a feeling of dread that the daughter might blame you, then?

gell214
01-09-2013, 07:26 PM
Here are a couple of recent news stories with this happening that include reactions from the parents involved, which may be of help to you:

Switched at birth, then meeting aged 12 (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15432846)

Brazilian babies swapped at birth end up living close (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-12231761)

Thank you! *Off to read...

CrastersBabies
01-09-2013, 09:55 PM
The current "fake" daughter would still be my child in spirit. The new "bio" daughter would also be my child, but, it would never be the same (imho) as the connection I have with the child I raised. Blood does not always equal family.

I would be open to learning about the real daughter. Did she have a good life? A bad one? Get to know her. I guess for me genetics does not mean instant unconditional love here. It might grow into that very quickly.

Did the bio child know her real mom was out there and was looking for her or did they both find out at the same time?

I would need a moment to think. Space. It wouldn't be me sitting there talking anything out. I might arrange to meet this person later.

It's a hard deal.

Alpha Echo
01-09-2013, 09:59 PM
Okay, so INITIAL reaction is for the child you brought up, and then reaction to having this stranger in front of you as your biological daughter would come second?


IMO, yes. Absolutely. The very first thought I think I would have is, "Does this mean someone is going to come take away my baby? The child I've nursed and raised and loved?"

Then I think it may veer to...do I tell her? (in the OP situation). If so, will she want to find her bio-mom? If she does, will they have a stronger bond than she and I have?

And then...I would probably feel some guilt over not immediately wanting to get to know my bio-child. Over not rushing and gushing over her.

Confusion and anger over how/why it happened.

So...so many feelings.

But initially I think would be the fear that someone may take my daughter.

gell214
01-09-2013, 10:09 PM
The current "fake" daughter would still be my child in spirit. The new "bio" daughter would also be my child, but, it would never be the same (imho) as the connection I have with the child I raised. Blood does not always equal family.

Gotcha.



I would be open to learning about the real daughter. Did she have a good life? A bad one? Get to know her. I guess for me genetics does not mean instant unconditional love here. It might grow into that very quickly.

I would need a moment to think. Space. It wouldn't be me sitting there talking anything out. I might arrange to meet this person later.

Okay, so bio daughter is there, right in front of you, and basically you'll need space and time to think? Got it. The daughter would probably need that too. Do you think?


Did the bio child know her real mom was out there and was looking for her or did they both find out at the same time?

Bio daughter knows she was adopted, so yeah, she knows her real mom was out there somewhere.

gell214
01-09-2013, 10:10 PM
IMO, yes. Absolutely. The very first thought I think I would have is, "Does this mean someone is going to come take away my baby? The child I've nursed and raised and loved?"

Then I think it may veer to...do I tell her? (in the OP situation). If so, will she want to find her bio-mom? If she does, will they have a stronger bond than she and I have?

And then...I would probably feel some guilt over not immediately wanting to get to know my bio-child. Over not rushing and gushing over her.

Confusion and anger over how/why it happened.

So...so many feelings.

But initially I think would be the fear that someone may take my daughter.

Thank you so much. This is exactly what I needed to know, the chronological thought process a mom would have in this situation.

CrastersBabies
01-09-2013, 10:59 PM
Gotcha. Okay, so bio daughter is there, right in front of you, and basically you'll need space and time to think? Got it. The daughter would probably need that too. Do you think?

I would desperately want space, yes, but if this is a minor and they are looking to me for a response and I can see it in their face that this is important to them, I might try to stick it out, but I have no idea what I would say? I would want facts and such. I too (like another poster suggested) would be afraid they would take the child I raised away.


Bio daughter knows she was adopted, so yeah, she knows her real mom was out there somewhere.

If this is a scene where the daughter has found her mom (finally) and it shows all over her face, then I'd probably try to sit and listen, but I honestly wouldn't know what to say. There would be so many things to process. What about my husband or sig-other, what will the child I raised say? What will happen now? What is expected of me?

I don't see it being a weird, "run into your arms and hug" moment. I see it being uncomfortable and tense. Again, will depend on how much information is verified and if there is proof staring me in the face.

It might be a thing where I sit for a few minutes, tell the girl I have to think (and talk to officials and get the story), then would want to see her a few days later. I would want to know about her life, see pictures, ask about her friends. I would absolutely try and try to accommodate her, but yeah . . . it would take a little bit to sink in.

It sounds like an interesting scene, btw.

gell214
01-09-2013, 11:28 PM
I would desperately want space, yes, but if this is a minor and they are looking to me for a response and I can see it in their face that this is important to them, I might try to stick it out, but I have no idea what I would say? I would want facts and such. I too (like another poster suggested) would be afraid they would take the child I raised away.



If this is a scene where the daughter has found her mom (finally) and it shows all over her face, then I'd probably try to sit and listen, but I honestly wouldn't know what to say. There would be so many things to process. What about my husband or sig-other, what will the child I raised say? What will happen now? What is expected of me?

I don't see it being a weird, "run into your arms and hug" moment. I see it being uncomfortable and tense. Again, will depend on how much information is verified and if there is proof staring me in the face.

It might be a thing where I sit for a few minutes, tell the girl I have to think (and talk to officials and get the story), then would want to see her a few days later. I would want to know about her life, see pictures, ask about her friends. I would absolutely try and try to accommodate her, but yeah . . . it would take a little bit to sink in.

It sounds like an interesting scene, btw.

Awesome, thank you so much. There's a lot more to the scene, really. Daughter is 24 years old, so not really a teen. And would not really be looking to mother for a reaction but more on needing a minute herself.

She knows mom is out there but she wan't trying to find mom. I mean, it wasn't her priority. She basically found out that this other world exists, goes to other world, life gets threatened, etc. etc. And in the process, her real parents are revealed.

Her real father is not the mother's husband too. And yes, proof is there because it is the person who switched the babies that reveals it to mother and daughter. So, like I said, a lot's going on :D.

This...

I don't see it being a weird, "run into your arms and hug" moment. I see it being uncomfortable and tense.
clears up a lot.

Thanks!

Troyen
01-10-2013, 11:24 PM
You've gotten a lot of feedback already. But here's my take. I am the mother of an adopted child. She is not my "fake" daughter, she is and always will be my real child. She has thrown at me in anger before the idea that she wants to go back to her "real" mom (the one she has no memory of). And when the anger passes, I've talked to her about why those words are hurtful and why I would never say the same to her. I am telling you this to emphasis that no mother would ever refer to the child she has raised as "fake" unless she is very cold-hearted. And I disagree with the comment that was made about maybe the other one would turn out better. I agree with Alpha Echo. And if the two girls are to know about this they would have a lot of confusion and conflicting feelings as well. There was a movie on TV years ago (and I think it was based on a true story) that was about two girls that were switched at birth. I wish I could remember the title for you. In that case it was done on purpose by a nurse because one of the girls had a heart condition and the nurse thought that the healthy child should go to the couple that had struggled with miscarriages rather than the couple that already had a bunch of kids. Later the truth was discovered when the sick child had blood work done and someone mentioned her blood type. It was not a match to her parents. By then the mother of the other girl had died and that father was left to sort things out with the other couple that were raising his natural (but very sick) daughter. I'm not sure if this helps at all. But I will say that if I were faced with the possibility of losing the child I had a bond with, I would be very scared.

gell214
01-10-2013, 11:39 PM
You've gotten a lot of feedback already. But here's my take. I am the mother of an adopted child. She is not my "fake" daughter, she is and always will be my real child. She has thrown at me in anger before the idea that she wants to go back to her "real" mom (the one she has no memory of). And when the anger passes, I've talked to her about why those words are hurtful and why I would never say the same to her. I am telling you this to emphasis that no mother would ever refer to the child she has raised as "fake" unless she is very cold-hearted. And I disagree with the comment that was made about maybe the other one would turn out better. I agree with Alpha Echo. And if the two girls are to know about this they would have a lot of confusion and conflicting feelings as well. There was a movie on TV years ago (and I think it was based on a true story) that was about two girls that were switched at birth. I wish I could remember the title for you. In that case it was done on purpose by a nurse because one of the girls had a heart condition and the nurse thought that the healthy child should go to the couple that had struggled with miscarriages rather than the couple that already had a bunch of kids. Later the truth was discovered when the sick child had blood work done and someone mentioned her blood type. It was not a match to her parents. By then the mother of the other girl had died and that father was left to sort things out with the other couple that were raising his natural (but very sick) daughter. I'm not sure if this helps at all. But I will say that if I were faced with the possibility of losing the child I had a bond with, I would be very scared.

Hello :)

A couple of you guys have commented on the term "fake". I would like to apologize for that as it was only me not being able to find a good word to explain the situation for this post. I find it interesting, however, how much emotion that term triggers in you guys. It shows me how a mother would react.

What I get from reactions so far is this: she will never be "fake", even if she is not biologically yours.

And that says a lot. So thanks so much.

Troyen
01-11-2013, 12:42 AM
Hello :)

A couple of you guys have commented on the term "fake". I would like to apologize for that as it was only me not being able to find a good word to explain the situation for this post. I find it interesting, however, how much emotion that term triggers in you guys. It shows me how a mother would react.

What I get from reactions so far is this: she will never be "fake", even if she is not biologically yours.

And that says a lot. So thanks so much.
I'm glad it was helpful. I tell my daughter that I am her real mom because I am the one that is raising her, loving her, taking care of her. The woman that gave birth to her is her birth mother or biological mother. And I use the word mother there, not mom. A woman she doesn't know can't be her mom. I think in your situation the only good way to say it is "the daughter she raised." A little long-winded, but I can't think of a better way. This is an emotional topic you're working with. It's hard to understand the feelings of motherhood if you are not a mother. And it's hard to understand the feelings of raising a child that is not yours biologially if you have no experience with it. Even my mother-in-law has said things that I felt were insensitive and I was glad that, at the time, my child was too young to understand what she said. I wish you luck with it. :)

gell214
01-11-2013, 01:05 AM
I'm glad it was helpful. I tell my daughter that I am her real mom because I am the one that is raising her, loving her, taking care of her. The woman that gave birth to her is her birth mother or biological mother. And I use the word mother there, not mom. A woman she doesn't know can't be her mom. I think in your situation the only good way to say it is "the daughter she raised." A little long-winded, but I can't think of a better way. This is an emotional topic you're working with. It's hard to understand the feelings of motherhood if you are not a mother. And it's hard to understand the feelings of raising a child that is not yours biologially if you have no experience with it. Even my mother-in-law has said things that I felt were insensitive and I was glad that, at the time, my child was too young to understand what she said. I wish you luck with it. :)

I agree, it is a very sensitive issue. And I want the mother to be able to react accordingly for all the readers out there to get an accurate view of the situation. The first thing I thought for her reaction to be was to run to her bio daughter and hug her. Thanks to you guys, I've learned that that is not an accurate reaction at all.

My story revolves a lot around family and bloodlines and such, and I really want to get these reactions right. Thank you so much for your help.

ETA: Your comment about telling your daughter the difference between a mom and a mother (birth/biological) also resonated with me on a personal level as I am planning to adopt in the future (hopefully in the next 2-3 years).

Troyen
01-11-2013, 03:06 AM
I agree, it is a very sensitive issue. And I want the mother to be able to react accordingly for all the readers out there to get an accurate view of the situation. The first thing I thought for her reaction to be was to run to her bio daughter and hug her. Thanks to you guys, I've learned that that is not an accurate reaction at all.

My story revolves a lot around family and bloodlines and such, and I really want to get these reactions right. Thank you so much for your help.

ETA: Your comment about telling your daughter the difference between a mom and a mother (birth/biological) also resonated with me on a personal level as I am planning to adopt in the future (hopefully in the next 2-3 years).
That's great! I wish you the best of luck with that. It can be a long road, but it is worth it when you meet your child. We celebrate our first day together every year.
Also, I noticed in an earlier comment that the daughters in your story are grown up. That being the case, there would be no worry of losing cusody of the non-bio child. But I also have an adopted brother and he (as an adult) began to look for his birth mother. My mother told me how worried that made her at first because she was afriad he would stop seeing her as his mother. But she knew it was something he had to do (unfortunately he never did find her. records were sealed back then). She eventually realized that her worry was unfounded. She was the one that raised him. She would always be his mother.

cornflake
01-11-2013, 05:42 AM
Gotcha.


Okay, so bio daughter is there, right in front of you, and basically you'll need space and time to think? Got it. The daughter would probably need that too. Do you think?


Bio daughter knows she was adopted, so yeah, she knows her real mom was out there somewhere.

This language too, can be considered quite offputting. As others have pointed out, your real parent is the one who parents you.

I know a few adoptees well, one in the family, and there is not nor has there ever been a question about who their real parents are.

Also, while there are certainly adoptees curious, interested, whatever, in finding the people they're biologically related to, and who form later relationships and etc., plenty are not and don't.

The ones I'm close to never had any interest. One never has met or looked and likely never will. The other was contacted, as an adult, by the biological parents. That person had - we'd discussed this a couple of times growing up - never been interested in finding them at all. They met, there was no grand connection or feelings beyond 'oh, huh, that's where X physical feature that my family doesn't have comes from.' They're not in contact.

That person's parents also have biological children and see no difference and never have. To the point of forgetting the adopted is not biologically related (like 'well, I didn't get taller until X age so you'll probably....' until someone in the room says 'but...' which results in 'oh, yeah, huh.')

Which is all to say I agree that the initial reaction - backed up by the famous one here I recall about the girls switched at birth that they all discovered about 10 years later I think - would be fear someone would try to take your own child (the one you raised) away from you, and fear for that child being upset, confused, etc. Then the other child, then the other people maybe wanting your child, just chaos, which is how that real-life story kind of ended, iirc.