My daughter is 4 years old and her bmom lives about 7 miles away. We have had an very open relationship and we have spoken openly about parenting expectations from the beginning. Her life is changing now and I can appreciate that but as my daughter gets older it is harder to explain away times that C. says that she will be here and doesn't show up. I mentioned this to her casually after she didn't show up at her birthday party. I really don't want to make her feel guilty and I don't want to lay a burden at her feet - I just want to protect my daughter as much as possible from these let-downs. On Savannah's birthday C. had her boyfriend call and say that they wouldn't be over until after he got off work and could drive her (she just had a baby the week before) I completely understand if she didn't feel well enough to come over but she didn't even call S. and let her know she wasn't coming which left me being the one that has to explain why I said C. and sissy would be here and they didn't come. Most of the time I don't tell my daughter that we're getting together until I'm positive that it will happen because too often she flakes out on me. I always want Savannah to have a good relationship with C. and her kids but I am concerned that she will just become more and more disappointed as she gets older and has more understanding about C. not following through. I'm not expecting her to have continuous contact - I'm happy with what ever she is comfortable with - I'm just not happy with broken promises. Anybody gone through this before? Any advice?
Not fun, I remember. You have to be brutally honest without blaming her. I used the example of when parents divorce and the child sits waiting for the parent to show up and the child is so disappointed. She was able to relate to that b/c her Dad did that to her and she was able to be careful after that. I have had to be very careful about when I tell her we will have a visit just to be on the safe side. I also allow unlimited phone calls, my dd can call her anytime she wants (with her Mother in agreement of course). At first she called several times a day b/c she had so much anxiety about her Mother's safety and wellbeing. It has tapered now to once a day one of them will call the other and the anxiety is gone, if she is able to see her great if she can't it is discussed between them and I am no longer put in the middle. It is working beautifully for all of us.
When we adopted our children thru foster care we agreed to an open relationship with mom & dad who are divorced. After 2 years of "I'll be there" and not showing up or "I'll call" and not calling we have decided to close the relationship FOR NOW. I cannot explain to these children WHY mom or dad don't show up or don't call because I don't know. I finally decided that I had to protect these children - after all we adopted them so they could live a "normal?" life. I would be very honest with her & tell her that if this continues you will not allow contact any more. good luck!!
I think honesty is the best policy. Share your concerns about your child and how when she doesn't show up how it impacts your child. I think by being upfront and showing your concern for your child she won't feel that you are being mean about it. Good luck to you!!
We also have a very open adoption and when my daughter was younger if a promise to visit was broken I didn't have to explain it to her but now that she is 6 I no longer allow this to happen. As you said at the beginning. I don't tell her of meetings until we are sure they are going to happen. She is old enough to look forward to these visits and I will not let her be disappointed.
I was reading Lois Melina's book on Open Adoption and there's a chapter on dealing w/ this sort of thing. She suggests using age appropriate discussion w/ the child about it. I think the example's something like a bdad promising to take a child to some ticketed event that he didn't really have any tickets to. Melina suggests talking to the child about why the bdad made the promise to begin with (probably really did want to take the child) and why he didn't keep the promise, what happens when we don't keep promises (people are sad and disappointed) etc. 4 might be young to have that kind of discussion, so I'd agree you want to limit the number of situations where that can occur, but in general, Melina's advice seemed sound too---there are undoubtedly going to be disappointments along the way, so maybe you have to give kiddo some tools to handle it in addition to addressing it w/ bmom.