This blog is my place to vent and share resources with other parents of children of trauma. I try to be open and honest about my feelings in order to help others know they are not alone. Therapeutic parenting of adopted teenagers with RAD and other severe mental illnesses and issues (plus "neurotypical" teens) , is not easy, and there are time when I say what I feel... at the moment. We're all human!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Birthfamily contact

Because our kids are older, we've always had to deal with biofamily. Bear especially had phone numbers memorized and was used to contact with grandparents, biofather, aunts and uncles and of course Kitty and Bear's younger sisters. Fairly early on it occured to me to ask biofamily to be careful about the information they shared with my two, because it was extremely upsetting, especially for Kitty, to hear about biomom's most recent abusive relationships among other things. Sometimes the family members complied with my request, sometimes they didn't.

Early on we had given Bear access to the internet and e-mail because as far as we knew he'd always had access and it seemed an inexpensive way for him to keep in touch with family and friends in far away Nebraska. It took us a awhile to figure out that he was not responsible enough to have this kind of freedom. Ditto on the cell phone we gave him for Christmas (after 2 phone bills that were almost $500 each!).

At one point I began e-mailing the half-sister of one of the kid's half sisters. Although not related to biomom, Chrissy was living with her as her nanny. She had been communicating with Bear on MySpace before he lost his internet priviliges, and seemed willing to answer some questions. She gave me some insight into many of his lies. At one point though I used e-mail to send her some current pictures of the kids - and that's where it got sticky. Chrissy gave my e-mail address to biomom and included some of the questions I'd asked Chrissy (about gangs and drugs for Bear, why they were both behind a year in school, whether or not Bear had been in treament facilities...).

The great part about it was biomom answered some of the questions, and was willing to share some information about the biofathers. This was especially important for Kitty who's father left after only a week-long stint with biomom, I'm assuming because the carnival moved on - he never even knew she was pregnant as far as we know. Kitty had no pictures or information. Biomom also told me more about things like who they were named after, and how much Native American blood they had.

Then Bear heard that biomom was pregnant again. I confirmed it with her, and started thinking about how to share the information with Kitty. We finally did present it to Kitty in attachment therapy (only because she was about to have a phone visit with her younger sisters and I didn't want her to find out from them.

The weird thing is when we were coming home from therapy on Tuesday I mentioned that biomom was due this month and Kitty acted as though this was the first she'd heard of it! She didn't freak out or anything, but it reminded me of the time a few months ago when she commented that she hadn't seen our cat Lady in a few days. Lady had passed away the week before, and she knew that and had been very upset at the time. The day after she had made the strange comment about Lady, she appeared to remember that the cat had passed away. I don't know why there was a blip.

In the beginning I was talking to biomom every couple of weeks. She even sent me some baby pictures of the kids! They were in pretty bad shape, but my staff is amazing with Photoshop and were able to fix them up pretty well. It makes Bear crazy to know that I'm communicating with biomom and he has asked me not to tell her anything about him. I've respected his wishes, and as far as she knows their adoption was finalized long ago. I've told her that the kids are unable to handle communication with her, and asked that anytime their younger sisters are visiting grandparents or something to please let us know so that Bear and Kitty can talk to them on the phone without having to be concerned that biomom is present.
The photo at the top originally was scribbled on with ballpoint pen, had brown stains on it, and was scratched so badly it looked like Bear had a "glowing booger!" I can't believe what the guys can do in Photoshop!

In May, I sent biomom some pictures of the kids for Mother's day and asked how she was doing with the pregnancy. She told me she had just found out the baby was to be another girl, and she was a little disappointed because she "wanted to give 'Bear' a little brother." Many of the comments she had been making all along seemed as though she thought of me as a foster mom who was caring for her kids for a little while. This last comment was basically the final straw for me. So I told her that I had given Bear a little brother that worshipped him. I haven't heard from her since. I'm not sure if I should send pictures of Bear on his birthday, acknowledge the fact that the baby is supposed to be born this month, or be greatful that she appears to have bowed out of our life!

I'd love to hear your opinion. Would you send her an e-mail?


Alyssa's Mom said...

Hi Mary,

You don't owe this woman anything! If your kids want contact when they get older, deal with it then. Now, I say good riddance!

Anonymous said...

I'd say no. Bear doesn't want you to tell her anything about him, and that includes his birthday photos. Let sleeping dogs lie.