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good-bye letter

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Hello.

I'm not sure when to show (read to) our soon to be adopted 5 yo the good-bye letter we just received. She's had no physical contact with the bio mom since she was 3 and the last letter read to her was summertime. She has a hodgepodge of memories as she was moved from home to home and had several caregivers during those years. The biomom is mildly delusional and doesn't deal well with system boundaries. All of her (dfd's) memories are positive, though very mixed up as to who is who. The issue was neglect, by the way. We allowed her to keep all the letters she received (biomom sent many) in her room and only recently moved them since they were only being taken out as playthings that were thrown everywhere. She hasn't asked for them, but knows they're for her to see anytime she wants.

 

So, the question is whether we read this very loaded letter now, after the adoption, or until she starts asking more questions? She never asks about them anymore, but is fixated on the state where they've moved to (far from us). The letter repeatedly talks about how to get in touch with bio mom and bio dad when she's older and how much they love her. Very personal identifying info was also given. Our names are in there as being very good people, but it's clear that we are only allowing letters once a year despite biomom wanting much more contact. 

 

Does anyone have experience with this sort of situation?

 

 

post #2 of 16

I would save it and and keep it for later.  At least for my daughter, a letter like that would be very triggering.  I think you are doing the right thing by keeping the letters and letting your daughter know they belong to her, but keeping them safe and away.

post #3 of 16

We have several letters and cards from biomom and a letter from dad as well... One of them that mom wrote talks a lot about how wonderful their life together was and does talk about her struggles with addiction and abuse a little. I am thinking I'll save that one for when our girl is older and can process the information. I worry about her believing the fairy tale that's in it, but I am glad she'll know that her mom loved her in her own way.

 

I think letting her know that you have letters and some are for when she's older (because they have grown up issues in them) is good.

post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 

These are all comments to chew on. Thanks! I'm careful about saying, "...when you're older since there are adult topics." She's right now very oppositional, so I foresee a big clash. However, the honesty behind that statement is worth remembering, so I'll think on how to say it when the time is right. 

post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 

The trigger piece is a given with our girl. What I'm wrestling with is the common wisdom of hearing things now and getting used to these ideas while still very much dependent on adults v. holding off until she's more mature, yes, but also more likely to separate and do an identity remodel. Not sure if that makes sense but I have to start work now!

post #6 of 16

I've read, and have been told, that you should talk about the hard stuff before the child hits puberty. Easier said than done, of course. I'm going to check in with DS's former therapist and get her thoughts. I may have her participate in these conversations when the time is right. We've got four individual sets of "hard stuff" and I'm not looking forward to it.

post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 

Let me know what you learn. We were encouraged by the GAL and caseworker initially to get a therapist for her and chased down a few who'd be willing to work under public insurance. They all said a young 4 year old is too young. She's now 5 and more capable of understanding the world, so I may revisit this idea. She's emotionally behind according to her preschool, with a low frustration tolerance. This isn't surprising given all that is happening (pending adoption plus fostering/parenting history). A bit of therapy might help.

post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 

Have you done life books? We have one (via video as well as photo book)  for our first, but her story feels simpler given that her first and only "home" was a "baby home" in Russia. Complicating details will be relayed as she becomes more curious, but relinquishment was at birth and that feels like a different kind of pain. Our foster daughter has memories of her birth parents, as well as other kin, and had visitation with one of them as recent as a year ago. Then TPR happened. Anyway, I'm unsure of how to create an "honest" life book for her given the few snapshots we have of her birth family. There are also birth siblings that were placed for adoption that I've not even mentioned yet, though she was there during those pregnancies. Point is, this Life book feels far more complex.

post #9 of 16

RedOakMama just posted the text of her daughter's life book to pollywog's thread smile.gif

 

We did our dd's lifebook with her therapist.  The therapist was amazing at wording really hard things in language a four year old could understand.  It talks a lot about the number one job of parents, keeping kids safe.  When parents can't keep kids safe, soemtimes they have to live with a new family.

post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 

Pumpkingirl, how do I find that thread? I'd be very interested in reading it as well.

post #11 of 16


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by alwayslearning66 View Post

Let me know what you learn. We were encouraged by the GAL and caseworker initially to get a therapist for her and chased down a few who'd be willing to work under public insurance. They all said a young 4 year old is too young. She's now 5 and more capable of understanding the world, so I may revisit this idea. She's emotionally behind according to her preschool, with a low frustration tolerance. This isn't surprising given all that is happening (pending adoption plus fostering/parenting history). A bit of therapy might help.


DS's therapy hasn't been adoption related (well, at least directly,) but I want to move that way now. We haven't been to see her since May but I'm hoping she'll be able to fit him in on her caseload again. DS started at five but his sister started therapy much younger. In fact, we see her former therapist so sh'e's been involved longer than I have. She knows ALL the details of the case.

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by alwayslearning66 View Post

Pumpkingirl, how do I find that thread? I'd be very interested in reading it as well.


Here you go: http://www.mothering.com/community/t/1336398/visiting-with-dds-birth-father/40#post_16776070

 

post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 

I have to say I was surprised by the therapist who argued so deftly against seeing her so young. He sounded quite together and it may have more to do with the intracacies of her case at that time. The caseworker was attempting to prove lack of attachment with birth mother and wanted a therapist who was willing to testify in court on this.

 

Thanks for the link!

post #13 of 16

Sounds like a bonding assessment might have been helpful at the time.

post #14 of 16

I am a little bit confused. That last letter you received-- it was both a good bye letter and one that suggested they have alot more contact and that you were the one limiting it? That doesn't make sense to me. Perhaps if it does express both ideas, it could be why it is giving you red flags because that would make a child very mixed up.

 

It is getting much more common to find therapists that work with young children. You may want to google Early Childhood Mental Health for a wealth of resources on this topic. They are not necessarily adoption related but will give lots of good info on attachment, trauma, etc. In my state (and many others) there are specialists that do ECMH with children birth to six.

post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 

That was the plan - a CANEP (?) - until birth mom made a major error that caused it to be moot. 

post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 

Yes, red flags are everywhere with her. She also sent a thinly veiled threat by saying that she knows where we live and hasn't bothered us yet. You can see why the caseworker the other day spoke to us about the possible need for a restraining order if she becomes more agressive/assertive. I should say that I do try very hard to understand her position and don't entirely blame her for her actions. She just goes about it all wrong given her cognitive barriers and  socio/economic upbringing

 

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