Ask Jennifer: Week ending 11/9

Posted at: 03/30/2010 2:51 PM
Updated at: 11/03/2014 10:52 AM

Dear Jennifer,

I hate it when people ask me where I was born because I was born in jail. Then I went into foster care. Then my mother got out when I was 2, but she went right back in on drug charges. This happened again, and the judge declared her unfit.   I was lucky because a nice family adopted me. I’ve had a good life overall. I don’t consider her my mother. I haven’t tried to keep up with where she is or what she is doing. I’ve never been interested. And then one day I got a call from a worker at the jail. My mother is dying. She want me to come and get her because she’s getting out of jail. She isn’t supposed to live long. So, what, I’m supposed to take care of her? She never took care of me. She never tried to give up drugs. The worker said I’m her only next of kin. I started crying and couldn’t even talk. I hung up. They can’t make me take care of her, can they?

Please don’t include my name. I hope somebody in the jail reads this and shows it to my mother.


Dear Anonymous,

Oh honey. Your heart and mind must be spinning. I am so sorry your birth mother was a drug addict and in prison. I am so sorry you went through what you did. I am thrilled a loving family adopted you! What a joyous situation. Your life mom picked you. YOU. Out of so many choices, she picked you. That’s amazing.
You do not need to do anything for your birth mother. That said, I’d like you to think about after your birth mom has passed away. Will you ever wish you told your birth mother how you feel? Will you ever wish you had your day to speak? You might not want anything like that. But think about it. Imagine 5 or 10 years from now when you look back… what will the future you wish you had done? Whatever it is, do that.
I am so happy that you have family that love you. Any woman can birth a baby. Only love can make a mother. To answer your question: no one can make you take care of your birth mother.