Recently we sent our yearly update about our 10 year old son to his birth mother (he was adopted at birth). We have a semi-open adoption, which for us means that we have each other's email addresses, and email a few times a year, sending pictures back and forth occasionally. No visits, no identifying information - well, not much, we're not super careful about it, because we' don't have boundary issues or any concerns about his birth family. Near his birthday, we send a longer letter - a yearly summary, with several pictures.
My question is, what is not okay to share? Would you want to hear about problems and concerns? Especially if you are not directly involved in your child's life? Our son has behavioral issues and life has been really hard with/for him the past couple of years. He has been diagnosed with ODD and ADHD - with Oppositional Defiant Disorder being the most trying for us. When we write our letters, we write honestly, but only write the good things: what he's up to, what he likes, what sports and activities he is doing, fun stories and good experiences. I feel like that is not totally honest, as life is really, really hard. He is defiant, lies, steals and has outbursts that leave us emotionally mentally and physically exhausted. He is a good kid. He wants to be and do better. He sees a therapist, and he is trying, but it is hard for him to get himself under control. I added a vague reference to that in our yearly letter, that he is struggling with some behavioral issues and having a hard time, but my husband took it out. I told him I didn't feel the letter was honest without it, that it was sugar coating our life, our son's life. He responded that it was not her business (not in a mean way). That she doesn't see him, doesn't interact with him right now, and it wouldn't help her to know these things. It would just make her worry. He is honestly a great kid, and has a lot of talents and great things going for him, and my husband says that these are the things we need to share, not the negative.
What are your thoughts? I don't want to paint our son in a negative light. And my son only wants good things said about him - wants his birthmother to think he's perfect, but I feel like I am lying to her - a lie by omission. (BTW, his birth mother is an emotionally healthy and mature person, and a mother to other children, so she knows kids aren't perfect.) :)
Last update on November 9, 6:08 pm by Juliana13.
Not a bmom, so I can't give that perspective, but I can tell you why I do share more than just the good stuff. I really wasn't sure at first, but I read things from bmoms on here that gave me a good perspective. I'd guess there are archived threads that address the topic, but I'm not sure how to search with the new format.
If I just share only the good stuff, I'm essentially lying, or at least giving a distorted picture, and I am not okay with that. My son and our lives are real, not a storybook. I assume my son will someday want to meet his bparents, and I'd like him and them to have a reasonable idea of who the other is. I don't want them to meet and for either to believe I hid things from them.
Also, as I said, he is a real person. Part of what makes us who we are is our imperfections. My son deserves to be known and loved for who he is, not just for his shining side.
In terms of why it may be important to his bmom to know the struggles, if people only share positive things with me, I either feel inadequate, or ( more likely) I don't believe them. Most people have a good sense of when someone isn't being totally honest, even just through a letter. At least for me, if I think something is missing, I will usually fill in something worse in my own mind. Knowing is always better than wondering.