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Visiting with DD's Birth Father - Page 2

post #21 of 57
Thread Starter 

Whoa. Slow down. I've posting in the Adoption Forum for five or six years. I'm a huge proponent of open adoption when it's safe and healthy for everyone involved. I've got two open adoptions. DS (and DD) was in his birth mother's wedding last summer. We've been to his half-sister's birth day party at his birth mother's apartment and to holiday get-togethers at his birth grandmother's house. We've got close relationships with both of his bio-sisters and their adoptive families. We recently met DD's bio-brothers and their pre-adoptive family. We have been to a park with them and were even invited to their house for Thanksgiving (but won't be attending.) Their being in foster care and being adopted has never been a secret. But, what that all means is something that clicks gradually for kids. It's not a "one-stop explain it all and everything's understood" kind of thing.

 

My kids have learned about adoption in an age-appropriate manner all along. DD's been in my home since she was a baby. She only had ONE visit with her birth father and that was right before the termination happened. She was a toddler. When we were in court for the TPR, I told him that I'd like to have contact once her adoption finalized. But, that the contact info that I was given (for a relative) must have changed and there was no way that I could get in touch. And for a while, he was back with her birth mother and that is a deal breaker for me for safety (and comfort) reasons.

 

I have stepped outside myself and thought about what he feels. I don't know how to further prove that. And I absolutely think about what DD feels now and might feel in the future. I spend hours talking about it with friends (IRL and online.) If I didn't feel it was important to my kids and their birth families, I wouldn't go to all of this trouble. But, the child's needs need to be primary.. He is a genetically-connected stranger right now. I can use the words "birth father" right now even though she doesn't know what that means. Growing in someone's tummy (or uterus) is one thing. It's physically obvious. Fatherhood is different.

 

We read books about adoption, talk about their adoptions, belong to two transracial adoptive parenting groups, and talk about people we know who are adopted. We are embracing the Hispanic side of DD's background. I help others to understand that some language surrounding adoption is hurtful, or confusing, to adopted kids. Like the whole "adopting a family for Christmas" or "adopting a child overseas." I encourage others to use the the term "sponsoring" instead of "adopting" because it's confusing to my, and other, kids. My kids know that we help babies who can't live with their families for some reason. They may not understand that we are a "foster family" but they do know that we are ready and waiting for an infant or toddler to join our family (for a while or forever) if it's needed.

 

You can't tell me that we don't talk about adoption.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emilie2 View Post

This is not a stranger, this is her birth father. I would step outside yourself for a minute and examine how he feels.  How you dd will feel later. Adoption should be talked about at an early age- much earlier then 4. Your dd does understand if you would explain it to her. She knows babys grow in tummy's. You can make it age appropriate but you do need to tell her. 



 

post #22 of 57

Emilie,

 

I don't understand why you would assume that Polliwog hasn't talked to her daughter about adoption.  She is making a huge and difficult effort to foster a relationship with her dd's birthfather so he won't be a stranger.  And I would argue that the child comes first, not the birthparents.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emilie2 View Post

This is not a stranger, this is her birth father. I would step outside yourself for a minute and examine how he feels.  How you dd will feel later. Adoption should be talked about at an early age- much earlier then 4. Your dd does understand if you would explain it to her. She knows babys grow in tummy's. You can make it age appropriate but you do need to tell her. 



 

post #23 of 57

I don't understand why she would not tell her that the man who was hugging her was her father. fathers are not different- it takes a man and a woman to create a child- this is the man part.

post #24 of 57

If you read books about adoption to her how could she not know she has a birthfather?

post #25 of 57

Emilie this child is FOUR. My son is almost four (will be in January)...there is no way at this point a "birthfather" would be anything other than an abstraction. To HER he IS a stranger. He may be blood related, but she does not KNOW him. IMO unless you've been having a relationship with birthfamily the whole time a toddler or preschooler will not truly understand what it means. My son keeps talking about his "daddy" (because his brother keeps talking about HIS daddy, who he lived with and has strong memories of)...he will point to random houses when we are driving and say "Thats my daddy's house"...he will say "My daddys name is...Red Ranger!" At one point he had some little toy and was walking around saying "this is my daddy" He really has no idea what he is talking about. There is only so much about conception a four yr old can understand. I've been trying to explain about birthfamilies to my son but we usually start with a "you grew in your first mommy's belly but she couldnt take care of you so you were taken to the agency until you could come live with us" type of story....trying to fit in an unknown birthfather with circumstances of conception that are not known to me with a child who doesnt even understand how babies are made yet is NOT EASY.  Its way way harder than i thought it would be.

 

I think part of the problem in the OPs situation is that bdad has been loving and thinking of his daughter this whole time...in his head and heart she is his daughter....but to the little girl, she has NOT been thinking those things, and so to her he is a stranger. You can tell by the way she behaved in the visit she wasnt comfortable because things were allowed to happen that would not normally be acceptable in her family.

post #26 of 57

Guess I misunderstood but it seemed to me that she did not even attempt to tell the dd that it was her birthfather but just a man she knew. I tell my kids all the time things they can't understand so they are familiar with the concept.  Just because she can't understand does not mean it should not be talked about.  I don't think.

post #27 of 57

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emilie2 View Post

If you read books about adoption to her how could she not know she has a birthfather?


Seriously?  Do you have kids?  (I'm not being snarky, I'm being very serious).  My own extremely advanced almost 8yo doesn't really grasp the concept of birthparents in adoption (his 3yo sister is adopted and it has never been a secret in my family).  He is just barely grasping it beyond "I came out of your belly and she came out of (birthmother's first name)".  Relating it to the birthmother is easy because there's the belly involved.  Even then, my daughter seriously does NOT "get" that part and she's pretty bright.  There's no way she'd be wrapping her head around the birthfather and frankly, because my nearly 8yo hasn't really asked about how babies get made--he doesn't really understand it either.  We are a two-parent heterosexual household and even then birthfathers have never come up.  In fact, birthmothering only came up because her older brother made note of coming out of my belly after seeing a pregnancy picture of me.  At the moment, she'll tell you that her brother came out of my belly and she came out of (bm's name) belly but she's reciting this verbatim vs. understanding it.

 

You can't just tell a kid about it and expect they just "get" it.

 

And yeah, Polliwog has been posting here a long time.  There's nobody that could have possibly read maybe 3 posts of hers to understand that she is profoundly sympathetic to and respectful of a foster/adoptive situation and birthparents.

 

Sorry I missed this post from the beginning.  We've been away and it's been a whirlwind.  But hugs to you.  I'm sure that was really hard; and it sounds like there's a lot more to swallow going forward.

 

post #28 of 57

I do have kids and they do understand the concept of adoption. They know they have four sets of grandparents on my side- Grandma Sandy who gave birth to me and Grandpa John who is my biological dad, then grandma and grandpa A who are my adoptive parents. They rarely see my bio parents as they live far from me but they are a part of our life and talked about.  My dd is 5 and she will talk about the grandparents that raised mommy and the parents that borned me.  My son is also very advanced at 8 years old and understands it and even some of the complexities of it and is quite compassionate about it.

post #29 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emilie2 View Post

I do have kids and they do understand the concept of adoption. They know they have four sets of grandparents on my side- Grandma Sandy who gave birth to me and Grandpa John who is my biological dad, then grandma and grandpa A who are my adoptive parents. They rarely see my bio parents as they live far from me but they are a part of our life and talked about.  My dd is 5 and she will talk about the grandparents that raised mommy and the parents that borned me.  My son is also very advanced at 8 years old and understands it and even some of the complexities of it and is quite compassionate about it.



But those people are real people in her life to her because she has a relationship with them.  If you were to suddenly spring your bio parents on her a year ago, even if you had talked about them in theory, she wouldn't have necessarily grasped the concept.  Especially if she had no other grandparent figures in her life with which to relate the concept to. 

post #30 of 57

She has not seen my bio dad since she was 2 or my bio mom since she was 2. But I do talk about them and we have pictures of them and I tell her who she gets what traits from etc.  My bio mom has very curly hair and my dd has the same hair.  My dd also shows my bmom's personality a lot. She also looks just like my bio dad's twin sister. Ds looks just like my bio dad at that age. Those are the things that are age appropriate...Kids are naturally curious about things like that- i know I was.  I am so glad I can tell my kids about where they come from.  All of it.

post #31 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emilie2 View Post

She has not seen my bio dad since she was 2 or my bio mom since she was 2. But I do talk about them and we have pictures of them and I tell her who she gets what traits from etc.  My bio mom has very curly hair and my dd has the same hair.  My dd also shows my bmom's personality a lot. She also looks just like my bio dad's twin sister. Ds looks just like my bio dad at that age. Those are the things that are age appropriate...Kids are naturally curious about things like that- i know I was.  I am so glad I can tell my kids about where they come from.  All of it.

 

And even though my dad died years before my younger kids were born, they see pictures, they say "thats your dad? he died?" they know his name, they hear stories.

 

The problem is....if you dont know these things, dont have info about the bparents, dont have pictures, and this person is not someone you have had a relationship, its much harder to create that for your child.

 

The thing is....the OP says that her daughter was uncomfortable and despite being told about birthfamily, did not see this man at this first visit as anything other than a stranger who gave her big gifts. Given that Polliwog has been posting here for years and has made her feelings about open adoption known, i tend to take her at her word that that is simply where her kid is at right now.
 

 

post #32 of 57

But isn't it your job as adoptive parents in 2011 to do so?  I know I wish mine had. Instead I had silly fairy tale dreams I made up in my of donna reed in a gingham apron....I would have been around 5 at this time. Or later around age 9 or 10 I truly believed the pop star Tiffany was my biological mom and my biological dad was vanilla ice- since his nose was sort of like mine. And I liked to sing.  Funny to find out later I am not alone in this fantasy land- it is a common thing for adoptees the  stars are different depending on the generation.

 

I am not an adoptive mom. I know what I wish had been done for me.

 

I spent countless hours pouring over one little slip of paper that had some information about my bio parents ,,, it is tear stained and wrinkled and in a file now- since I know them and now have a whole drawer of things. But should we not be trying to prevent some of this for adopted kids now that we know better?

If you can spare your child this wondering- wouldn't you?

post #33 of 57
Thread Starter 

My kids know my mom (and stepfather) and my dad (and stepmother.) DD now knows (in a four-year-old way) that E. is her birth father. But, they are really just words. She really doesn't know what that means. And even if she did, that doesn't make a strange man repeatedly kissing, hugging, stroking her hair while she hid her face, and talking to her just two inches from her ear and easier for a four-year-old to understand and be comfortable with.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emilie2 View Post

I do have kids and they do understand the concept of adoption. They know they have four sets of grandparents on my side- Grandma Sandy who gave birth to me and Grandpa John who is my biological dad, then grandma and grandpa A who are my adoptive parents. They rarely see my bio parents as they live far from me but they are a part of our life and talked about.  My dd is 5 and she will talk about the grandparents that raised mommy and the parents that borned me.  My son is also very advanced at 8 years old and understands it and even some of the complexities of it and is quite compassionate about it.



 

post #34 of 57
Thread Starter 


What am I not doing?. I've told you all that I do surrounding my kids and adoption. DS was in his birth mother's wedding. I've been in her home. He looks A LOT like her...and all three of his sisters (full bio and half.) He loves to draw and his birth mother did when she was little. They all have the same feet. My son and his sisters have similar voices. DD's baby brothers look a lot like she did when she was their age (but she was chubbier.) We haven't had a picture of her birth father (my computer got a virus and somehow I hadn't uploaded that picture anywhere) but we do now. It's not safe or healthy for DD to see her birth mother but I remember what she looked like and know a tiny bit about her. I know that DS will likely never know his birth father and that he was not nice to his birth mother. But there has to be things she liked about him when he was well.

 

You are looking at things from your adult adoptee window. Which makes sense. Because that's who you are now. But, I'm looking at things right now through two windows. My adoptive mother window and through DD's four-year-old window. I pursue relationships (to various degrees) with my kids birth families because I want them to have some of the answers that may come up. But, for now, he's just a stranger. Who was too touchy/feely for her (and my) comfort.

 

My kids were adopted from foster care. Their birth parents rights were terminated (well, three out of four.) There are many foster/adoptive parents who aren't interested in openness (even letters or pictures.) That's not me. If it's safe and healthy for my kids, we'll give it a try. But, I get to set the boundaries. That's my job as an adoptive parent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Emilie2 View Post

But isn't it your job as adoptive parents in 2011 to do so?  I know I wish mine had. Instead I had silly fairy tale dreams I made up in my of donna reed in a gingham apron....I would have been around 5 at this time. Or later around age 9 or 10 I truly believed the pop star Tiffany was my biological mom and my biological dad was vanilla ice- since his nose was sort of like mine. And I liked to sing.  Funny to find out later I am not alone in this fantasy land- it is a common thing for adoptees the  stars are different depending on the generation.

 

I am not an adoptive mom. I know what I wish had been done for me.

 

I spent countless hours pouring over one little slip of paper that had some information about my bio parents ,,, it is tear stained and wrinkled and in a file now- since I know them and now have a whole drawer of things. But should we not be trying to prevent some of this for adopted kids now that we know better?

If you can spare your child this wondering- wouldn't you?



 

post #35 of 57
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by heatherdeg View Post

And yeah, Polliwog has been posting here a long time.  There's nobody that could have possibly read maybe 3 posts of hers to understand that she is profoundly sympathetic to and respectful of a foster/adoptive situation and birthparents.

And you know me IRL (although, it's been a while since we've seen each other.) You've seen my DD with your husband, your father-in-law, and another male relative. She LOVES Daddies/Men. So, for DD to be hiding under a chair or hiding her face under her hair and on a stuffed bunny, you can be sure that she was feeling stressed. Heck, after the visit (before the bike,) she was playing around in the parking lot with her twin brothers' foster dad. He's met her once before and didn't attempt to get into her personal space.

 

post #36 of 57

I am not married.  Did you mean you know me or her?

post #37 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emilie2 View Post

But isn't it your job as adoptive parents in 2011 to do so?

 

But HOW...when the bparents are an abstraction??? With two of my adoptive kids, they KNOW their birthparents...*I* know their birthparents (to an extent)....i can say to my daughter "oh you look so much like your mom!", i can say to my son "Oh this ball, your daddy gave you that!" When my one son says "remember when we would go to the agency and see my black daddy? That building was sooo tall" i can say oh yes, i remember that!

 

With my son....i can tell him NOTHING about his birthfather, not a name, not a race, NOTHING. With his birthmother, i can tell him a name, and thats it. Well, i have other information i can give him, and WILL give him in a few years, slowly and age appropriately, but its not easy explaining abuse, neglect, mental illness and homelessness to a 3 yr old, and THAT is not the image i want to paint of his birthmother until he's a bit older and can understand what i'm saying. (So far i've been very general "sometimes when a mommy can't take care of a baby, that baby goes to live in a family that is ready to take care of a baby!") With my one son (who never lived with bfamily and was placed with me at three weeks old) what i've focused on so far is his placement story, how he came to be in our family. I've slowly added other info, and i'm so far focusing on the one birthfamily member i sort of know (at least i know his name, and he had visits for a few months, and we have one picture)...to introduce the idea that he has other family somewhere. Its HARD though...its hard because there is so much hard stuff there, like how no one in his birthfamily came forward for him...any one of them could have tried to adopt him and they didnt. I get to try to frame that in a shiny happy way, lucky me! Or that i've asked on a few occasions for a pic of the birthmom, no go. Or the sibs he may never know. When you look at your innocent sweet toddler who is the joy and light of your family...its HARD to bring all of that into the mix. I absolutely think it must be done....but frankly the REALITY of doing it is so much harder for me than i thought it would be.

 

With my other two adopted kids who actually knew and loved and had relationships and LIVED with their parents....sooo much easier in many respects (but then there are so many other issues that crop up, like bmom walking on water according to my dd or the endless fantasies my younger one makes up about his dad to fill in the blanks.)

 

I have siblings my kids do not know, they are older and live far away. The first time my oldest brother met my kids, if he was whispering in their ears and pulling them close *and they were uncomfortable with that* i would not be happy about that and would want to set up some boundaries.

 

 

post #38 of 57
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emilie2 View Post

I am not married.  Did you mean you know me or her?



heatherdeg knows polliwog in real life and has seen her with her kids. (and fwiw heatherdeg has seen ME irl with my kids too LOL. )

post #39 of 57

I get the setting of boundaries....  I just hope its done out of love and not out of fear.

post #40 of 57

That's awesome you ladies can get together!!!  I think it would have been great for my amom to have other adoptive parents to talk to.  I am thinking of suggesting to my amom to read some amom blogs on the computer but don't know how she will react. 

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