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I adopted my daughter from foster care 6 years ago when she was 10. I recently discovered she was communicating with her bio mother while at school. She refuses to bond with us so we decided contact with bio family is out of the question, especially bio mom. To ensure no contact, she is not allowed a cell phone, or to use the internet. Yesterday she accidently brought her school tablet home. I decided to go through it and found she has profiles on social media, a YouTube channel, and a pinterest account. I went through her messages and found out she's been talking to bio family. She had even met up with them! Her bio mother has purchased food, clothes, makeup, school supplies and other items for her. I deleted all her social media and reported all the people she was talking to. What else can I do?
I see this post is about a month old, but figured I would respond in case it is helpful.
Firstly, and without assuming too much, I have been in a similar position. I am an adoptive dad; began fostering when my son was 13 and finalized when he was 16. He just turned 20. I recognize all of the fear, betrayal, and anger that you are feeling. Around 17, my son started more social media contact with bio family, and recently (last 2 months) has more or less completely broken ties with us, his adoptive family. He has moved in with bio family, trading a job, economic stability, and the family we have built over the last 6 1/2 years for the chaos of his bio family's reality. He took my last name when adopted (his choice), but has since changed it back to his birth name on all of his social media profiles.
So I get it. It hurts. I'm angry, I feel betrayed, I want to lash out at him.
That said, I honestly believe that former foster youth have 'unfinished business' that they need to resolve with their biological families . These are people that they have known (in my son's case, longer than he's known me) and with whom they spent their formative years. That rejection/abandonment runs deep, and they likely need to figure out why it happened, if it's reparable, etc. I won't go too much into those feelings, as there are others on the forum who were foster youth themselves that can likely speak more authentically to this experience.
So in my mind, we were always going to have this experience - he was always going to seek reconnection with his bio family, and it's my job to love him through that. In spite of that. In many cases, BECAUSE of that - because it's pain that he experienced before we met, and it ultimately isn't a reflection on me.
In my case, we have always supported him reconnecting with his bio family in safe, structured ways. Do I think they're good influences on him ? Of course not. But since it's an emotional inevitability, I'd say we pursued a 'harm reduction' approach - encouraged him to pursue when he was ready, but encouraged him to do it in concert with therapist, us, other trusted adults. Of course, he followed none of that advice - handled on his own, and on the third visit, basically never came back. It hurts like hell.
You asked for advice - what else you can do. I would say that first and foremost, I'd recommend you stop conditioning permission/ability to contact her birth family on whether or not she's adequately 'bonded' with you. She wants to remain in contact with people who she's known half her life - I suspect that's reasonable, and trying to force her not to is only likely to strengthen the desire, and continue to drive it underground. I'd recommend instead that you seek to find a way in yourself to support your daughter's journey. As in my case, it may mean she writes you off for a time - but I ultimately want my son to know he has a dad that loves him BECAUSE of who he is - all of the trauma, baggage, and poor decisions included, rather than DESPITE who he is.
Do I know how to write all of this on an adoption forum ? Sure. Do I live it every day ? Absolutely not. Some days, I am furious at him. When he does randomly text because he wants something, it takes all of the strength I can muster not to strike out at him with a "what's the matter ? Your bio dad can't pay for that ? Not working out so well, huh?"... But I am the adult. I'm the parent. So each day, I try and accept that this is his journey, that it's not about me, and that I am his father regardless of what last name he puts up on his facebook profile.
Hope you are doing well.
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