Dear John Letter to Birth Mom

August 15, 2007 at 3:14 am (Foster Parenting)

Today I sent the dreaded “Dear John” letter to my son’s birth mom.  I had pictured in my head since early on in this process that we would have an open adoption.  I would be the pick up the socks, give you a curfew everyday mom, our network of friends would be grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles and his birth family would be in that mix.  It would certainly be awkward at times but no more so than I imagine many family’s holidays and get togethers are especially the other more traditional blended families (divorce, etc.). 

In many ways I don’t think society is up to speed on open adoption yet so that wasn’t helpful.  Aside from our first social worker who I think through spending time with birth mom as I have, grew to really care about her – everyone else has been appalled I guess is the best word to use.  No one in my life has thought this would be a good idea.  I have done a fair amount of research on how it is and isn’t working for other families through the adoption blogs, etc.  And felt it was what was best for the adopted child, especially since for our situation with foster care where I have interacted with birthmom regularly through out a good portion of his life – we have done joint doctor’s visits, all the court and DCFS stuff, celebrated his birthdays together, etc.

My adoption social worker has not liked the idea from the very beginning and has been condeming it and trying to convince me to stop having visits with birthmom.  Back in probably January, my son started getting really distressed at the end of visits.  He had been seeing his mom for over a year, multiple times a week that first year in foster care and was never distressed.  At first I dismissed it as being over-tired, hungry, over stimulated etc.  However, the distress continued to increase to the point that I have now decided to stop visits.

I am not 100% confident that I am doing the right thing but I have gathered information, talked with lots of child development people and been objective through out the decision and this seems to be the right decision.
I am now waiting for the hate mail and calls to start from birth mom and family.  I will need a lot of strength to get through this time.  Especially since I can not be sure that I am doing the right thing so that will be a fairly easy veneer to chip at.

To date, this was definitely the most emotionally difficult thing I have had to do.  I sure hope I made the right decision and that I can endure the coming attacks with grace and love.

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August 13, 2007 at 7:09 pm (Foster Parenting, Solo Parenting)

Once a month – now that is much more my style.  Leaves lots of room for “midwestern do better” guilt that can paralyze you from writing because the next one should be really clever to make up for not writing.   But I have enough mental vomit to dump into cyberspace that I am not going to let a little guilt cause me to assure cleverness. 

We have had lots of happenings in the past month.  Not such a great month, truth be told.  I have battled DCFS and am now holed up, wild eyed and licking wounds…more on that later-  

We have moved.  We have a 2nd court date for terminating parental rights since it wasn’t done correctly the first time.  Little man has a new baby sister (half-sister, technically).  I haven’t spoken to my parents in over a month since they made it clear they will never accept my adopting a son and I let loose the claws.  Don’t poke the stressed out mamma bear. 

So, a question for the reader.  I think my parents are wrong, but I was an ass in my email.  Do I make the first move – is that the christian thing to do?  Or do I just leave it and when they decide it is important to be a part of our lives they can open the door.  It feels like for years I have taken their emotional abuse and turned the other cheek and just kept going back for more, continuing to make them a priority in my life even though I am not a priority in theirs.  If I don’t call -even before all this- we don’t talk.  I feel like I have wasted so much energy into this relationship and even in my 30’s I was thinking things would change.  I would finally be enough, as is – not married.  For now I have let their approval go.  So am I just being stubborn and wounded by not making the first move or am I setting boundaries?

On a completely different note…

I have read a book that is really messing me up.  The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical by Shane Claiborne.  I heard him speak a few years ago, have checked out the Simple Way blog from time to time and have listened to a few online sermons by him from my virtual church but for some unknown reason – other than my skepticism and irritation of all things God related lately – I went into this book reluctantly and with a bad attitude.  The book really spoke to me, re-opened my eyes to that fact that I do kind of dig God, just not what christianity has become.  Seriously do not read this book unless you are ready to get messed up. 

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