Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Birth Families...Or Who Needs THIS at Christmas?
I am not the adoptive parent dealing with this right now. But actually I am because all adoptive parents live with the ghosts of former caretakers, either birth parents, foster parents, relatives or institutions. With the above title I just heard my daughter,Yolie, slam her computer shut.
I got an email from a mom who received unwelcome correspondence from a birth parent. The bottom line is that the birth parent now is not the one parenting the child for whatever reason usually because a judge terminated parental rights for neglect, abuse or abandonment.
I have often thought about birth parents when I was the one up in the middle of the night with a puker or a child with a fever. Or in the daytime as I hold raging children who are so profoundly hurt by what has happened to them at the hands of a birth parent. Decades ago I held a much more sympathetic feeling toward birth parents, mainly out of respect for producing these lovely children.
Over the years I have hardened up. I have listened to my children's horrific stories. Dr. Laura refers to the BPs as sperm or egg donors...that's all, nothing more.
I have met most of the birth moms of my children, I have read boxes of paperwork documenting what happened before the children were removed and put into foster care. I held Yolie, as a young adult, when she expressed her wrath after reading her files. The police and CPS had been involved with her birth family since the 1970s and could have saved her sib group from misery much sooner.
Twice now Texas welfare officials have handed over my name to birth families and they have found us thus resulting in emotional chaos for my children. With the internet we are all easy to find. In the end though both times we were blindsided and my children were wounded once again....I have to say that we are all the more stronger for having had to go through the drama.
Other families tell me that they choose to adopt internationally to avoid this but I've heard from BPs across the world finding their children now in the U.S....again I credit the internet.
My pastor Tony, who I truly adore, just wrote a column for a local magazine for the February issue about love and he used Mama Daisy as an example. I was the one who agreed to keep in touch with her, mainly because it was thrust upon me, but it did work out for us. She didn't interfere but she did write me an angry letter once when the girls were grown. She couldn't understand why they weren't keeping in touch better.
In 2001 when I changed school systems I let a contact with a birth mom lapse. I did it on purpose, I told the old school to not give out my phone number to anyone. This particular mom was mentally limited and had not been calling me as often anyway. For a time I had been hearing from her weekly. I had told the four kids that she was calling me but they were not interested in talking to her, they were somewhat relieved that she was OK and that I was handling it, and her, as she was very self-obsessed. She told me she was glad that the children were in Georgia and doing well as every single one of her many brother's kids were either in jail, in gangs, doing drugs, etc there in south Texas. Her four children that I adopted had all finished high school, two in college and one in the Navy. I had met her once in 1990 in Brownsville, Texas. She failed to show for the first meeting, the workers tracked her down for the second and drove her to the office. I still have the pictures, me young and green behind the ears with inexperience, naive and blindly positive that love was all we needed. She looked rough, years of bad living, no nurturing to her or by her in her life...we were the same age but her eyes had little life within them.
Now, knowing just a little bit more, I would still choose to meet birth parents whenever possible as it has given me a much needed perspective, I'd still keep quiet about my anger and resentment over the damage they did to my children and I would avoid contact at all before age 21 as the potential for great damage remains forever to delicate, traumatized emotions.