Being since AD is 16, almost 17. I respect that I am not her legal mother and have no role in the decision making with her life. What do I do if she calls me for advice, in particular if it has to do with aparents? Its the natural mother instinct to want to offer motherly advice but where is the line? I dont want to challenge any advice countered by her parents. What happens if amom dies, will I expected to fullfill the mother role in her place? Not that she could ever be replaced. I am sorry if this comes off as wrong but I need to know what if. I wouldnt have a problem with that but how does that work. Amom is really sick and she is much older than me so the chances of her passing before me are expected. Will I be able to fully fullfill my role if she asks me, do I automatically swoop in, I dont know what to do with anything because my role is just as her birthmother at this point.
My son's adoptive parents brought me back into his life when he was just shy of his 14th birthday, although we weren't allowed to meet each other until he turned 18. When we did finally reunite in person and develop a relationship, I faced many of the same issues you're asking about.
To be honest, I played everything by ear...or as the post-adoptions caseworker said, by the "seat of my pants." But looking back in hindsight, I think I put myself into the "favorite aunt" position in his life. I did a LOT of parenting of my son in his late teen years and early 20's, but the trick was not to let him ever know that I was being a parent...I mothered him, but was never his mom; I parented him, but was never his parent, if that makes any sense at all, lol.
The one thing you need to be careful of is triangulation. Teenagers, no matter if they're adopted or raised in their biological families, tend to triangulate among the adults in their lives. It is a hard row to hoe, however, because sometimes the kids are telling the truth...or at least the truth as they see it.
I've been reunited with my son now for 21 years. The one thing that has always helped in our relationship is that I always inquire about his parents during our conversations...what they're up to, how their health is, where they went on their latest vacation, etc. I think it relieves my son a lot that I never have tried to replace his parents. One of my main concerns when he was younger was that he never be put in a position where he felt he was being disloyal to his mom and dad by having a relationship with me. I knew instinctively back in those years that if he felt a sense of disloyalty or of being "stuck in the middle," that I'd lose him again, something I never would have risked.
It can be really difficult to reunite with an adolescent, especially since they're biologically hardwired to be striking out in independence at that age. You also get a lot of teenage angst and drama. But if you can take everything one step at a time and play things by ear, always putting your daughter's needs in front of your own, you'll do just fine. :loveyou:
That makes sense, its so hard not to automatically go in mother mode when they are your biological child. But you cant parent them the same as you would your other children because the dynamic is different. Amom has always been her mother and I will not take that away from her, it wouldnt be fair to either one of them. So hard to find the balance because its easy to get caught up her world then realize I have to tend to my life at home with my kids.
Another reason why its so difficult because amom isnt the same as she was, I built a relationship with her based on how she used to be, its like I am relearning our relationship, could it ever really be how it is back then. So much guilt she has carried over my pain, I wished she had talked to me about it, I wished she had never gotten so far into depression that she felt like she needed the shock treatments.
I remember my mother got ECT too and it screwed up her mind to the point where she thought she was a prisoner and in a desperate attempt she dug 4 inch long screws out of the window to remove the ac unit, when the nurse walked in she panicked and jumped. She swore the nurse pushed her but it was the paranoia and she always believed that.
I feel a major loss for amom because she changed, I want her to be like she used to be, so free spirited and full of light, vibrance. I didnt realize what she went thru, she knew I was in apin when my dad called her over a few days after ADs birth, I was a mess, I wanted my baby so bad but knew I couldnt provide for her the way they could.
The relationship I had with amom was the way a mother/daughter relationship should be, but with limits of contact. I never had a relationship like that with my mom and always wanted that.
I have an update for you guys. Things are going well with DD and us. Things arent going so well for amom though. Since our reunion she decided her marriage wasnt working and she divorced adad and moved out. She is now in an inpatient facility for her depression. I see a wedge being driven between amom and DD and I dont want it to happen. DD has been upset with amom because she didnt come to her chorus performance, tonight is her homecoming and both my DD's went together. I am so sad we get to share that with her and amom couldnt. DD wonders if amom is trying to push her more my way purposely, but I think amom is thankful she has me so she can have one mom there for her when she cant be physically or emotionally.
That must be very hard for the Amom to be so very depressed that she had to go inpatient for treatment.That is very serious and can be life threatening if the patient is suicidal. I hope your daughter can have some compassion for her Amom's suffering and it sounds like you do feel compassion for the Amom. It is nice that your daughter and the Amom have such a sweet loving person such as you to help them in their difficult time and I bet they really will appreciate you.
I do hope your daughter comes to realize that her mom isn't trying to hurt her by not coming to her choral performance. If her mom is hospitalized on a psychiatric unit, her depression must be pretty severe. Depression isn't something that you can just turn on and turn off. Depression and suicidal ideation have nothing to do with willpower or character flaws. It happens to even the best of people. Remember Abraham Lincoln? His depressions were so severe that he actually went catatonic for days and weeks at a time. He was also one of our country's finest presidents.
I think you need to be really cautious in how you deal with your daughter right now. Whatever you do, be careful that you don't give her any excuse to alienate herself from her mom. It won't be good for anybody in the long run if your daughter feels like she has to switch allegiances. The fact is, no matter how messed up her amom is right now, she's been her mother since shortly after her birth...and that has to be honored and respected.
Believe me, I know first hand how tempting it is to just step in and fill her parents' shoes, especially when mental illness is involved...but you need to ask yourself what that will mean in terms of your daughter's emotional well-being in the long run. I'm not saying to pull back from her -- I'm saying that you should emotionally support her in this confusing time of her life, but don't try to play the saviour role. It'll backfire on you if you do...
I'm having a hard time tonight trying to find the right words to explain what's going on in my head about this. I just know that you need to be careful and look at her life and best interests in a totality mindset.
You said it quite well Raven!! When someone has this extreme level of depression, they are just trying to keep breathing and trying to get up in the morning. (despite NOT wanting to breath or get up in the morning).
Having just gone through a divorce, I can attest, it is hell. It is enough to make you depressed if you aren't already, but if you have depression serious enough to require hospitalization, that is deep depression. People don't get hospitalized nowadays unless the symptoms of mental illness are quite serious.
I understand it is sad that amom could not be there for the choral performance, but if I were going to step in and facilitate anything, it would be my daughter's understanding that her mom is not doing this on purpose or to intentionally drive herself away. When people are depressed, they simply cannot just flip a switch and "be there" the way we may want them to. That is the nature of depression. Hopefully, with the right treatment and medication, your daughter's mom will be able to better function. Getting the right medication can also be tricky (trial and error) and can take at least a month to be fully effective.