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!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Just when you thought


Just when you thought it couldn't get any crazier around here!


Yesterday was biomom's birthday, and the day before yesterday I'd gotten some of the family Christmas pictures (We always have one of just Bear and Kitty so we can send them to biofamily). So I decided to e-mail her the Christmas picture and a few others.


We don't have an open adoption, and it wasn't my choice to begin contact with her, but I like keeping my options open with her. She's given me some baby pictures of the kids, and answered some of my questions (as far as I can tell mostly honestly). Mostly I stroke her ego a little, but occasionally I'll ask tough questions about the kids' lives with her.


Last time she wrote she told me that she regretted giving away Bear and Kitty and wished she hadn't done it. Quite frankly I was upset by this, and told her straight out that she did the right thing, and she should have done it sooner. I didn't hear from her for months, and assumed I'd offended her. Then I got her friend request on Facebook. I refused and closed my (hardly used) Facebook account.


A couple of days ago on her birthday, I sent the kids' biomom Christmas pictures and a few snaps from the last 6 months. The following is the e-mail she sent back. The fourth paragraph is the part I'm freaking out over. My first instinct is to say "Hell yes!" Hubby is concerned that we'd have to give her our address and other personal information. We also discussed the fact that at least one of the girls has a father who is at least nominally involved in her life.

The grandparents said at one point that they wanted the girls so this would probably go around their wishes. I know Biomom is semi-estranged from her mother who put her in foster care at age 14 because she was "out of control" (sound familiar?), and her mother is constantly running Biomom down in front of all of the grandchildren. Quite frankly I don't want the woman even talking to my kids on the phone, but I tolerate it because she is their grandma.

Okay, I'll stop until you've had a chance to read the e-mail.


Subject: Re: Happy Birthday

Dear Mary,

Thank you so much. That was the best Birthday present I could have received. I am so happy to hear the kids are doing well! I can't believe how good they look well grown up!!! They both look very happy! And well adjusted. I think about them everyday. The holidays are the worst but I have been doing alright.

Yes, the girls (Bear and Kitty's biosisters that remain in Biomom's home) have
grown so much, they are doing really well and {one year old sister} is so arnery. She reminds me of {Bear} when he was little. She has such a little temper. LOL...
Right now I don't have any recent pictures, we are getting them taken at Walmart this week end providing we aren't still snowed in, and I soon as I get them I will
send them to you.

I am almost finished with another semester of school. Three more to go to get that degree! I feel this is such a great accomplishment for me.

Mary, on a serious note, I have been wanting to ask you a question concerning my girls, and haven't really known how to ask. I see you have done a wonderful job with {Bear and Kitty}, and I am worried that if something were to happen to me, that they will be caught up in the system, and was wondering if I could leave a living will for them to come to you and Hubby.

I just worry about them so much and want them to be in the right place. I am
sorry to ask this question but I just need somewhere where I know they will be
alright. I will want what is best for them also and I know deep in my heart that
they will be good with you. I am not saying anything is going to happen any time
soon, but just in case. Well you think about that wonderful question and then
let me know. I think I trust you more than anyone I know.

And Mary, once again, thank you for the pictures. That was an awesome birthday present! I love when you send pictures of the kids. It makes me feel connected to them still and as their bio mom, I think I need that.

Thanks

{Biomom}

Some of the friends and family I've discussed this with are concerned that we'd be (potentially) bringing more damaged children into a family already dealing with a lot. Others are supportive.
There are several reasons I am planning on saying yes.
1. These kids are related to my children. The older two lived with Bear and Kitty (the girls are now 7 and 10). They are family.
2. If something happens to Biomom this would be the only way we would ever get custody of them. At least one of them has a birthfather that is still nominally involved in her life. The grandmother said she wanted them at one point, but she might not feel the same way if they are older and harder to handle, plus this is the woman who "raised" Biomom. We have no relationship with any of the birthfathers (since they all have different ones) so we may never hear from the girls again. We have NO legal rights to them. Legally my kids are not even related to them anymore. Unless the girls were placed into Nebraska foster care we would most likely not even know about it (and maybe not then, but we did ask to be placed in the notes as being interested in adoption if they entered the foster care system).
3. I do not feel our family is done. While I definitely plan to wait until Bear graduates from high school, and Hubby would rather wait until Kitty is out of the house as well, I am still considering adopting more children (this time younger than my youngest child instead of older than my oldest!). Except for the one year old, the kids are the ages I would potentially be looking for. With these children, while I know they are as potentially "damaged" as my kids are, at least I mostly know what I'm getting myself into and some of the resources we will need. We know at least one of the children is also ADHD (like Kitty) and the bipolar disorder comes from the mother's side. We know a lot of the history of the family.
4. And the number one reason? I'm certifiably insane and masochistic and can't imagine my life without constant stress and chaos.
We would definitely proceed carefully, and avoid giving Biomom any more information about us than she already knows. We would also try to make sure this was a "First Option" kind of deal. We might be totally broke or be having a monstrous crisis at our house or it might not be the right thing for one or even all of the children -we don't want to be legally stuck in a bad situation. We are aware that this would be a private adoption and there for the kids would not be eligible for Medicaid or the adoption subsidies that help make having Kitty and Bear affordable (the co-pays alone for their meds would be over $200 a month or more!)
I'm totally open to thoughts, opinions and suggestions! (Just please don't get offended if they are not taken!)
PS How scary is it that she trusts me more than anyone she knows?!!

2 comments:

Struggling to Stand said...

It wouldn't be a living will, it would need to be a real will -- hers -- and you would be listed as her preferred guardian of the kids. In Texas, I was told that no matter what I said in my will, biodad had first dibs. Also, I believe, that the court took the info in your will "into account" in their decision about how to place the kids, but given that the kid's needs come first, the court could do whatever it felt was in the kid's best interest.
She needs to consult w/ a lawyer, as, probably, do you. There may be a way to hide your identity, but I doubt it, as the court (and others) would need to be able to find you ...

Struggling to Stand said...

Oh, and I'm quite certain you could tell the court "no, I cannot be the guardian of these children, please ask the next people in line". [Right, like you would do that should it come down to that, but the courts could not make you take the kids.]