To The Person Who Thinks My Son Should Be Institutionalized.

Author of 5 books, podcaster, parent trainer, husband and father.

Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email
As foster and adoptive parents, we've overheard all kinds of awful things spoken about our children, even to our children. Recently, I heard something that caused my blood to boil, and my heart to break...

As I type these words, I go back in my mind to the moment you said those horrible words- “Well, if he has brain damage, he should be in an institution.” I’m sitting here trying to convince myself that you didn’t mean them…that your words were misheard by me…that you don’t really feel that way. But, I’m not sure if that’s the case.

I think you did mean them. More than that, my precious child thinks you meant them too. He overheard what you said. He’s been told things like this before from people who didn’t mean well…didn’t have his best interest in mind. He’s had to live with the reality that he’s not normal, and never will be.

He knows he has Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and that a part of his brain will always be missing. At 13, he’s already begun processing the truth that his birth mother chose drugs and alcohol over his health when he was in her womb. It hasn’t been easy truth to face.

And what you did not realize was that we’re already wrestling over whether or not to find a place, other than our home, for him to live in order to keep him safe. And no, it’s not an “institution.” Because this is 2016, not 1916 when people chose to discard human beings like they were trash instead of fight for them…love them…care for them. The decision is crushing us to the bone. We’re not sure what to do. Because of his disorder, he’s almost incapable of making wise choices. Choices that keep him safe…the kind that we all learn in a normal-functioning state of mind, growing up.

It’s not like you care about any of that, however. There’s no ounce of your being that cares whether his heart heals. You were only annoyed with his behavior, and that’s why you said those disgusting words. Words like bullets, that can never be un-fired.

While you were busy spouting off horrible words, you missed the bigger picture…

  1. He HAS a future. As you spoke those poisonous words in his presence, and he started to believe you, you blew past one single truth about every human being on this planet…. purpose! All 7 billion of us on this spinning rock have purpose. There was no mistake when any of us were born. None of us were accidents. My son was no accident. Even in the midst of a horrible disorder that could have been prevented. Even though I deal with unbelievable trials with him. He has a future!
  2. He’s not an animal. You reduced him to that when you said he belonged in an institution. As if he were some animal who escaped from the zoo. You called him a monster in the same breath that you said he belonged in an institution. Your view was clouded by his momentary behavior (which I called him out on). He’s not an animal…he’s a child. He’s still learning how to function in this world. Add to that a disorder that causes impulsion, aggression, and lapse of judgement and this is what you get. By the way, this is what I live with 24/7. I don’t see an animal…I see my son!
  3. He’s a human being. Do you want to know why our country is divided right now? It’s not because of two politicians who act like toddlers in suits. It’s because we have failed to see everyone as they really are- human beings. Living, breathing, beautiful, precious human beings. Everyone. Because of that, we are all entitled to fair treatment…always! My son included. He’s a human being. Is he imperfect? By all means, yes. But so are you and so am I!

I can’t stop you from saying hurtful words like you said, but I can call you out for saying them. And, by-golly, I can make sure my son never goes near you again. You can be sure of that.

At the end of this day, I’m not angry with you, nor do I harbor ill-feelings toward you (as this letter may reflect). I feel sorry for you. You miss so much beauty in the world, by always seeing people’s flaws. Sometimes you must choose to see the good in people even when it’s cluttered by behavior, or attitude. It’s there however. Hidden behind brokenness.

Maybe some day, before it’s too late, you’ll see it.

Could you write your own letter to someone who said something awful to, or about, your child?

Share This Post

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on reddit
Share on email
Mike and Kristin Berry are the Co-Founders of The Honestly Adoption Company and have been parents for nearly two decades. They are the authors of six books, and the host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is the executive assistant to Mike and Kristin Berry. And she is the best in the land. In addition to providing a warm and friendly response to the many emails our company receives on a weekly basis, she also manages Mike and Kristin’s speaking and meeting schedules, and makes sure that team events go off without a hitch.

Nicole Goerges

Nicole Goerges is a Content Contributor & Special Consultant for The Honestly Adoption Company. She works with Mike and Kristin as a recurring co-host for the Honestly Adoption Podcast, and co-host of Kitchen Table Talks, exclusive video content for Oasis Community, along with Kristin. She is a fellow adoptive mom, and former foster parent.

Matt McCarrick

Matt McCarrick is the Content Production Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. If you’ve loved listening to our podcast, or enjoyed any of the videos trainings we’ve published, you have Matt to thank. He oversees all of our content production, from video edits, to making sure the tags are correct on YouTube, to uploading new videos to Oasis, to hitting publish on a podcast episode, he’s a content wonder!

Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson is the Community Engagement Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends the bulk of her time interacting with, and helping, people through our various social media channels, as well as providing support for Oasis Community members through chat support or Zoom calls. In the same spirit as Beaver, Karen is also passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and supported. Karen is also an FASD trainer and travels often, equipping and encouraging parents.

Beaver Trumble

Beaver Trumble is the Customer Care Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. Chances are, if you have been in need of technical support, or forgotten your password to one of our courses, you have interacted with Beaver. He is an absolute pro at customer care. In fact, he single-handedly revolutionized our customer care department last year. Beaver is passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and encouraged.

Kristin Berry

Kristin Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Content Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends most of her time researching and connecting with guests for our podcast, as well as direction, designing and publishing a lot of the content for our social media channels, blog and podcast. She loves to connect with fellow parents around the world, and share the message of hope with them.

Mike Berry

Mike Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Marketing Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. He spends the bulk of his time and energy designing and building many of the resources you see within our company, as well as social media and email campaigns. His goal is to use media as a means to encourage and equip parents around the world. He is also the co-host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.