We are moving into new waters as we close on the adoption of our twins on June 15. We love bio mom and bio grandmother and deeply desire for the twins have some contact with them...though we've never really had a conversation about boundaries. Here's what its looked like so mom had 1 hour visits for a over a year. She called, confirmed visits, and backed out of nearly every single one of them for 14 months straight. We text occasionally and I email photos to the grandmother (mom doesn't get email) who then forwards them to all her associates and family as a front that she is still "grandmother" and an active participant in their lives (even though she has only laid eyes on them once in the past 6 her choice). The boys do not have any clue who these 2 are, wouldn't recognize them in a crowd. We want this to change, however, the pattern of scheduling visits and canceling at the last minute continues. To the point its becoming a real stinger for us in terms of planning our own weekend plans. Again, we've not had a conversation about what post adoption visits would look like....this needs to happen...easier said than done. Bio mom has no problem calling our house weekly to apologize for missing the visit and offering very big reasons for canceling then requesting another. She called again last night, we let it go to voice mail. In her message she is crying, slurring her words, and requesting another visit. How long and often should we reschedule all these canceled visits? I am so torn, because I want these little boys to form some sort of relationship with their relatives...but I'm not sure I can play this game.
I know the bios love the boys. I know they want to see them. But I think we it comes down to it, its too painful for them to see what they lost. I'm starting to think they really only want the "idea" of seeing them without the follow through (I'm a slow learner apparently).
What should I do? How do I handle this delicately? I want my boys to know their family, but I also want to protect them from this dysfunctional cylce of broken promises. Then there's the whole calling our house high and leaving messages crying, sobbing, and repeating the sentence "I just love you guys so much" over and over.
In my opinion, you need to walk away, maybe not completely but definatley some kind of dramatic seperation for them to understand the reality of the situation. It would be impossible to establish a healthy beneficial relationship for your children, with people who are not mentally and emotionally stable, drug addicted and lying to you.
I would tell them that you will need a break once the adoption is finalized for you guys to settle in as a family and for them to deal with the reality of the situation. I would offer to mail pictures and updates at 6 months and then at 1 year. I would cut off all communication between those times wether it be phone, text, e-mails letters etc. but allow them to mail a letter at the 6 month and 1 year mark to the kids and to you to let you know how they are doing and for any changes in contact info etc. (That way they aren't calling and harassing you every day, during that period of time and with those couple letters you can get a feel for where they are as far as being able to communicate with you appropriately or not.
After that year of communication in that way I would determine where you guys stand as far as contact. If you feel that things really still aren't healthy you might decide to continue as your doing for another year or maybe even drop down to yearly updates. If things are going great than you may want to plan a meeting at that year and a half mark with them (without the children) to see how you can communciate in person with one another and to give them more updates and pictures and then decide after that wether you are ready for more contact or ready to start any kind of phone contact or visits with them that include the children.
In other words. Take things extremely slow and allow time for everyone to process their feelings. After a period of time it will be easier to gauge where they are at and wether a relationship is possible. Right now emotions are so raw and it may be difficult to see wether it will be beneficial for the children or not, but as time progresses you may find the questions easier to answer.
Hold her accountable at every turn (drug tests, no temper tantrums in front of the kids, respecting you as the kids parents etc).
Agreed!With that being said,I would be very upset,if someone decided to change my babies name.
Changing their names is a big deal. It wasn't a decision we made lightly, and we know it has caused the family pain. But I think the harder part for them is the reality that these boys are being adopted. Something the family never dealt with. They haven't even begun the work of going through this loss. For the past year they have convinced themselves that we were just the care takers, while waiting for DHR to step out of the situation (foster parents), then they could begin their relationships with the boys. Of course we would be the adopted parents, but THEY would be the REAL family (as it was said to me on Sunday). Weekends at grandmas, Christmas together, birthdays...all a big happy family. I wish I had known how unrealistic their expectations were. Of course this comes from not communicating. We are all guilty of that.
I see hope that this will settle down. Not sure about bmom, but I get the feeling gma will come around and "may" be able to work with. Perhaps bmom will too...she's just at the emotional work done whatsoever. Drug abuse and mental illness stand in the way of progress for her. :(
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Oh I've heard the term 'real family' too from our 2nd biomother and it just gets under my skin. They have no clue what the definition of 'real family' means. It's so much more then genetics, and that's all these kids got from them...genes. We are their 'real families' and don't you EVER let them make you feel differently. And yes, I will come back and read this the next time they try and pull this crap on us too. LOL
Yikes. I would stop taking grandma's calls and send her some photos twice a year from a PO Box if she doesn't already have your address.
It sounds to me like bmom has borderline personality tendencies. If you ever plan to have contact (or even if you think the kids might make contact on their own via facebook or whatever 15 years from now) you may want to talk to a therapist about how to deal with borderline personalities and effectively maintain boundaries. You can google the symptoms and see if that sounds like her.
It typically takes some extra defenses to keep folks with that personality type from hurting children emotionally--it's all drama, all the time, and manipulation, and cutting people off when they don't get their way.
"For the past year they have convinced themselves that we were just the care takers, while waiting for DHR to step out of the situation (foster parents), then they could begin their relationships with the boys. Of course we would be the adopted parents, but THEY would be the REAL family (as it was said to me on Sunday). Weekends at grandmas, Christmas together, birthdays...all a big happy family."
:eek: Sounds like reality is about to hit them very hard. I expect they will be very angry and upset for a while as things start to sink in. This is where a break would really be beneficial.
Drug abuse and mental illness stand in the way of progress for her. :(
The mental illness is the huge problem and will stand in the way,even more then the drugs.It might be the reason she endes up on drugs in the first place.
teacher1998, you could be talking about my kids' first mom.
she has borderline personality disorder, drug and alcohol addictions and is generally quite manipulative.
she's contacted me several times despite a permanent no contact order. i can break it--she can't legally.
i keep waiting for her to get help, grieve, work toward sobriety, accept that the kids aren't coming back--nothing. at Christmas she posted on her fb that she was watching them ride their ponies. she posted to her ex that the kids wanted to see him because they missed and love him. about 5 months ago she told a church about the foster parents who have the kids and how she's working her plan and hoping to get them back.
the problem? we adopted them nearly 3 years ago. she cannot bring herself to believe the truth of the situation.
oh--she doesn't know they have new middle names either.
i wish we could have some contact, but she is unstable, unwell, and unsafe. my babies came from that--it took a very long time to get them to where they are now. i don't want to go backwards.
i do believe, however, that where there is life there is hope. both of these first moms may one day have a revelation--or not. but it could happen. if it does, then we'll talk. until then, we keep her picture up in their rooms, pray for her nightly, talk about her when they want, remember the good stuff. it's as close as i feel we can come right now.
i have no advice for you--just emotional kinship. i wish you peace and clarity in this very difficult situation. if you figure out how to make it work, please, please let me know!
I've had the same situation. I keep it short and simple. After several missed visits, I started spacing them out more and more. We started with weekly, then bi-weekly, then monthly, then twice a year, then once a year, and now we are text/photos/calls only. Looking back, I feel like bioparents just couldn't handle the visits and/or they were too hard for them but couldn't bring themselves to tell us that. Instead they indirectly told us by not showing up.
It's 3 years later now with us, and no visits in the last year. My LO would have no clue who they are. Biomom even stopped calling and texting, except a simple text on my daughter's birthday.
I would not force the issue one bit. yes, open adoption is nice, but doesn't always work. If you can get their contact info, email, phone, address, etc, it would be nice that your children have a way to contact them when they are older. I personally like to make sure I send a text or photo once a year just to make sure bio parent hasn't moved or changed her number again, and it's nice to know she is still alive.
Best wishes to you.
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Greenrobin: I had no idea we were in such similar boats. I think borderline personality is a real possibility...not just with the bmom, but the grandma too. Yikes.
Update: We haven't heard a single word from the family since last week. DH and I have been holding our breath waiting to see if they made a legal move...something...ANYTHING they could come up with to contest or hold up our adoption. No indication at this point. We'll see I suppose.
16 more days until we finalize. I will be so glad to get past that hurdle!
I've been deal with an addict, mentally unhealthy BM for a couple years now. Boundaries are important, but these boundaries HAVE to have clear consequences
It wasn't until i said - if you are more than 15 minutes late for a visit, we will leave and you will have lost you quarterly slot. Do it twice and all future rights for visits are lost.. and I said it in writing,, only then did the excuses stop
She tried a few "your cousin was holding me hostage", threatened violence.. but when I stated, "then you need to have him arrested. There is no excuse for leaving our daughter hanging", she stopped wriggling
good luck
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Again, thank you all so much for your input. I'm sorry there are so many others of you with similar experiences. It is emotionally draining trying to figure out right from wrong. I wish I had a crystal ball, ya know?
As for a new pregnancy. We were thoroughly convinced back in Jan. at the TPR hearing that bmom was pregnant again. Doesn't look like she was after all. Thank goodness. I hope and pray they aren't hiding a baby some where.
At church last night, I was approached by a woman I've only known a few weeks in our adoption support class. She came to me after class and told me that she had pieced together who our birth family is and that she KNOWS them. YIKES! She wasn't sure how I would respond and asked if I wanted to hear her opinion. Of course I did. She said she has known the family since bmom was an infant. The known drug abuse and drug dealing is extensive, even though gma is able to hold down a pretty decent day job (which we knew) . She went on to tell me other things that I had heard from DHR back when the boys were first taken into custody. Her advice was to cut all contact. She said the family would do everything they could to sabotage our relationship with the boys in order to make the mom and gma look like victims of a malicious investigation and baby stealing operation. She went on to tell me that the lies have already begun.
So my parents, our CW, our AW, our Lw, my adoption support group, and our attorney are all saying to cut our contact with bios to a semi open adoption.
Its been quiet for over a week now. Not so much as an email. We went from big drama to nothing. Makes me wonder.
I have 3 separate families that I have varying open relationships with. All 3 have meth, alcohol, poverty, mental illness issues. We have managed to find healthy family members in all of the situations that we have continued a relationship with. We have seen our fair share of drama over the years but do not regret any of the work we have had to do. We do not do a certain number of visits per yr. We do not reschedule missed visits right away either. We have a life and they fit into ours not us into theirs.
Our dd, Emma, has been with us since she was 3 weeks old. He mother has struggled w a meth addiction and pretty intense BiPolar. Her parents, brother, and Gma also have the same issues. The first few years were tough. While she was on drugs, she lied about us to anyone that would listen and made threats to steal her back. I confronted her in a loving way and made it clear that she had to be sober to see her supervised but we knew she loved her. Fast forward, the family is sober and a very active and loving part of our lives. They consider my other children a part of their extended family. Emma has unsupervised over night visits with with her Gma and sisters. It took a lot of work on both our parts but it has been worth it. We had to prove we loved her as much as they did and they need to be sober or as least around us. I never expected sobriety and made it clear our relationship didn't require it. It only required a sober visit. In the end, I insist on honestly and make it safe for them to be honest. It is the backbone of our relationship.
My other children's family have different issues but we make anyone that is safe a part of our lives. An aunt and uncle of our sibling group has babysat all our kids for the weekend. They attended our adoption. They also took one of our daughters in briefly when she began predatory behaviors on our youngest and couldn't be in our home. They are not perfect, far from it. They are honest and love our kids.
I recently left a visit for our youngest with her family bc the Gma began screaming at me. She is paranoid and very manipulative. I can't stand her. We moved visits to our home with only her mother until next weekend.
Calling the house "high". That would be enough for me. Seems like you have really tried to make it work. Maybe try again in a few years, maybe she will be clean and more responsible.