Sunday, 8 February 2015

Together, We Make a Family!

Over the last week we have had a visitor staying with us - the former foster mom of 3 of our kids.  For these 3 kids she was/is their family, they were apprehended at birth and never had a relationship with their birth family.  The children lived with her for 2-4 years depending on their age at placement, she was their Mom.  Now referred to as "Gramma" she also has been a great friend and resource, especially when working towards a diagnosis for their many challenges as she was there for all the milestones.  For us openness in adoption varies depending on whom the important relationships for the children are with.

With our many adoptions we have formed varying relationships with members of the children's birth families and foster families.  Some of these relationships have been great from day one and others have taken a great deal of work.  Some have been completely open relationships where we have the people to our home or visit their home, some we visit in a neutral location with them not knowing where we live and others involve letters and photos being mailed through a 3rd party.

Openness can be extremely difficult as you are trying to have a forced relationship with a person you might not particularly like or be drawn too.  It may be a person that has hurt your child greatly or wasn't there for your child.  I recall meeting the birth mom to our first adoptive children and I was terrified, I had lived a very sheltered life and she was extremely rough.  For another adoption when meeting that particular birth mom she was so nervous and scared she was physically ill.  Yet another relationship, that was strongly encouraged by the social workers, turned out to be continuing the abuse that they were originally apprehended from.  We have also had our child speak highly of someone from their past and we have searched out that person and formed a relationship.

Over the years, with many experiences both good and bad, I can honestly say that openness in general has been a good thing for my children and myself.  The way we responded when negative things happened proved our commitment and love to our children, ideally the negative things wouldn't have happened.  The relationships that grew over the years have added to our family.  Being around various members of their birth families has strengthened the children's understanding of where they came from and why being placed for adoption was their path.  Time and circumstance has also changed the relationships when kids are young, the relationship tends to be what the adults make of it but as the kids become adults they have taken the lead on what they want the relationship to look like.

1 comment:

  1. I imagine the decisions you face concerning who, when, and where you allow your children to meet their biological families are some of the hardest decisions you've ever had to make. Keeping your own biases and even fears to yourself so as not to influence your children's opinions must also be very hard. You're children are very blessed to have you as their Mama!