When Mommy is Sick, by Honeybee

Five of my six beautiful daughters — with Honeybee in the middle.

I asked Honeybee if she wanted to write about how she feels when I am sick to help other mothers understand how their children might feel.  This is what she wanted to share with you.

When Mommy is sick I feel sad and have bad feelings. I am afraid that she will die because my Mom died before by getting sick.  When Mommy tells me she only has a cold, I just feel madder because it just reminds me more that she might die.  It doesn’t matter that it is only a cold.

If Mommy dies I will die too.  I will, because then I wouldn’t have a mom and my life would get awful-er.  If you don’t have a mom, it feels like you don’t have nobody to talk to.  I wouldn’t get that much love because Mommy gives me a lot of love.

Moms should tell their kids that they are not going to die and they will be okay.

From my Mommy perspective, I think Honeybee feels that if her first mom died (which left her motherless for eight years), it is too good to believe that she will now have a mom who will see her into adulthood. It’s as if her heart believes, “Bad things happened in my life, and they are going to keep happening.”

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In Attaching in Adoption, Deborah Gray writes about a boy who believes that the trauma in his life was somehow caused by something inherent to him. “I am the kind of person that things like this happen to.” (p. 119)

I see this in my children from “hard places”. There is a hopelessness that believes that life can’t change and can’t be good. There is a very real fear that the old life of being an orphan cannot be overcome.

I need to speak truth and life to my children. “I am a healthy mom and I will take care of you.” “You will always be part of our family.”  I know I can’t promise that I won’t die, but I can affirm the truth that I am taking good care of myself and I hope and plan to be alive long after my children are grown.


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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. CinDC
    October 27, 2010

    This is a wonderful- in that it's so helpful of you both to have done. Thank you!

  2. Tisha
    October 27, 2010

    Wow, thank you Lisa and Honeybee for sharing that. It is helpful to hear her perspective and to understand the way it makes her feel. I will remember this.

  3. Kathrin
    October 27, 2010

    Oh sweety it breaks my heart. It must be very scary to you, Honeybee. Thank you so much for sharing your feelings you are helping a lot of kids through their parents.
    Lisa, I am so glad you all found eachtother.

  4. joyfully original
    October 28, 2010

    Thank you, Honeybee.

  5. sandee
    October 28, 2010

    this is hard…I see it and feel it too. because I think (single mommy of 4) what would happen if I did die. by an accident or unavoidable illness. Abba knows that, but for some reason beyond my understanding he also sometimes lets it happen…. 🙁

    how can i comfort them, when I cannot comfort myself?

  6. ANgela
    October 28, 2010

    HoneyBee's reality is that mothers do die! Most childern do not experience this. My reality is that children do die, because I lost my daughter at 4yrs. old. I also face that fact every day that I could lose another child but the peace lies in trusting in a higher power. It is our responsibility as parents to instill in our children the importance in trusting in God. We can not promise them that we will not die because this is reality (as much as we may not want it to be) and I love to think that our example as parents in trusting in God no matter what happens, helps our children to do the same. It may seem unfair to have to face such harsh realities, but my children lost a sister & witnessed their parents lose a beloved daughter, but they have had a deeper working w/in them because they are seeing that life goes on & when we trust in God, he will comfort & help us through everything!

    1. One Thankful Mom
      October 28, 2010

      Angela, I absolutely agree. We need to point our children to Jesus and His great love for them. For a child who has only had parents and a family for two years, I do think it is okay to assure her that we are doing everything possible to live long, healthy lives. She already knows that sickness could take us, we just try to be gentle with her tender heart. She has seen more death than most people ever will see; she needs to held close and assured that we are here for her, we are the grown-ups and the protectors.

      1. ANgela
        October 31, 2010

        Yes, you are right, these children who have had such "harsh" realities definately need much reassurance again & again! As I think of our journey to adopt 2 children from ET, I want to thank honeybee & you, Lisa, for sharing with us!!

  7. Donna Jordan
    October 28, 2010

    Thank you Honeybee for sharing your thoughts. My Caleb can share his thoughts, but my Hannah, whom you have met is really unable to share her feelings with me. Thank you for letting us hear your side it is very helpful.

    Thanks Lisa for taking the time to share this with us.


  8. learningpatience
    November 2, 2010

    Oh, this post! So sad . . so heart wrenching!
    Have you talked to her about the fact that if you did die, she would still have Russ and the rest of the family . . . does that provide any comfort?
    And one a whole different level, I absolutely can identify with her thinking . . . even in my very spoiled American life. While I had a lot of good, I did not have a perfect childhood . . . and when I read that paragraph about being the kind of person that these things happen to, I gasped and thought, "Oh, those are my thoughts!" And if I, who grew up in a home with two parents can think these things, how much it be for her who really did have "the worst thing" happen? Praying for healing for her . . .

  9. Oldqueen
    November 5, 2010

    Beautiful post.


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