Visiting with DD's Birth Father - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 57 Old 11-20-2011, 02:31 PM
 
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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.
 

 


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#32 of 57 Old 11-20-2011, 02:46 PM
 
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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?


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#33 of 57 Old 11-20-2011, 03:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
 

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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.



 

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#34 of 57 Old 11-20-2011, 03:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

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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?



 

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#35 of 57 Old 11-20-2011, 03:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.

 

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#36 of 57 Old 11-20-2011, 03:23 PM
 
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I am not married.  Did you mean you know me or her?


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#37 of 57 Old 11-20-2011, 03:27 PM
 
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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.

 

 


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#38 of 57 Old 11-20-2011, 03:28 PM
 
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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. )


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#39 of 57 Old 11-20-2011, 03:29 PM
 
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I get the setting of boundaries....  I just hope its done out of love and not out of fear.


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#40 of 57 Old 11-20-2011, 03:30 PM
 
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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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#41 of 57 Old 11-20-2011, 03:35 PM
 
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Oh and to answer your question- I think just talking about it is so important. Working thru the hard parts.  In my home it was talked about in the unhealthy ways.... my mom was a drug addict and my parents indeed did feel I should be grateful I was raised by them. Which I am some of the time,,,, some of the time very much not so.  Its such a dual thing. 

And I think some birthfathers experience a profound loss too. Not all of course as not all birthmothers seem to- or they are so disconnected they can't handle it.... whatever it is.

From what I read about reunion sometimes the fathers were the ones to search, are more receptive to reunion and happy to again be a part of their childs life.


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#42 of 57 Old 11-20-2011, 03:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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If I was afraid, we wouldn't be having visits. Right now, the expectation is that visits will be play dates and that physical contact will be limited and always be acceptable to DD.

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



 

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#43 of 57 Old 11-20-2011, 03:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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There's a lot of tough stuff with my kids birth parents. Especially DS's birth father and DD's birth mother. Right now, we just don't talk about it. It's hard enough thinking the subjects of significant mental illness and domestic violence (both male and female.) They are going to be hard conversations to have and I'll do the best I can. It actually makes the developmental delays and alcoholism seem easy, in comparison.

 

I was at a workshop a long time ago (at my state's foster/adoptive care conference) and adoption was described as the least worst alternative for a child. I love my children more than anything. I'm grateful to have them in my life and I hope that they are grateful that they have me. As much as I love them, I wish they wouldn't have needed to be in foster care and be adopted. I wish they could have been born to parents who had the capacity to raise them. DS's birth mother is parenting his half-sister and seems to be doing ok.
 

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Oh and to answer your question- I think just talking about it is so important. Working thru the hard parts.  In my home it was talked about in the unhealthy ways.... my mom was a drug addict and my parents indeed did feel I should be grateful I was raised by them. Which I am some of the time,,,, some of the time very much not so.  Its such a dual thing. 

And I think some birthfathers experience a profound loss too. Not all of course as not all birthmothers seem to- or they are so disconnected they can't handle it.... whatever it is.

From what I read about reunion sometimes the fathers were the ones to search, are more receptive to reunion and happy to again be a part of their childs life.



 

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#44 of 57 Old 11-20-2011, 03:50 PM
 
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I found out at 20 my bmom was a drug addict alcoholic and a tad bit mentally ill and it did not make me love her any less or want to know her any less.  I don't know when would have been the appropriate time to discuss those things... I know you will do it the best you can when the time is right in a way that preserves the good with the bad.


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#45 of 57 Old 11-20-2011, 04:15 PM
 
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That must've been really hard, especially since you were excited (but nervous) about it!  :(

 

How is DD doing now?

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#46 of 57 Old 11-20-2011, 04:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Emilie2 View Post

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?



I am so sorry you are still so hurt by the choices your adoptive parents made.  But I am also troubled by the way you perceive Polliwog.  She is working so hard to give her adoptive kids a relationship with their birthparents.  You seem unable to see it??

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#47 of 57 Old 11-20-2011, 04:30 PM
 
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Thanks for bringing this conversation back to the most important question Tigerchild!

 

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How is DD doing now?



 

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#48 of 57 Old 11-20-2011, 04:53 PM
 
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No- Sometimes I just get caught on one thing. I see it and apologize.


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#49 of 57 Old 11-20-2011, 06:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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She's fine right now. We've talked about it a little bit and I don't think she's too upset about it right now. Part of that is "bike love" talking, though. I'm going to talk with the twins foster parents and get their perceptions. At least one of them was in the room at all times and I want to make sure that I'm reading things accurately. I'm 99% sure that they'll agree that things were too intense, but she's not their daughter.They know him a bit better. They don't speak Spanish, either, but they've seen him every other week for almost a year (at visits.)

 

It was harder than I ever could have imagined.
 

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That must've been really hard, especially since you were excited (but nervous) about it!  :(

 

How is DD doing now?



 

There is SIGNIFICANT mental illness in both kids' birth families. Luckily, we've got a great psychologist that who can help us work through it. DS's GAL was a psychiatrist. He didn't do much with DS's case but was very involved with his older sister's. I'm pretty sure he'd give me advice when the time comes.
 

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I found out at 20 my bmom was a drug addict alcoholic and a tad bit mentally ill and it did not make me love her any less or want to know her any less.  I don't know when would have been the appropriate time to discuss those things... I know you will do it the best you can when the time is right in a way that preserves the good with the bad.



 



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No- Sometimes I just get caught on one thing. I see it and apologize.



 

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#50 of 57 Old 11-20-2011, 06:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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No- Sometimes I just get caught on one thing. I see it and apologize.

It's ok. I'm glad we all stuck with it. It's not a difficult issue and there are no easy answers. I'm sorry that you were made to feel that you needed to be grateful and that you weren't able to have the information that you needed when you were growing up.

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#51 of 57 Old 11-20-2011, 06:59 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Emilie2 View Post

Oh and to answer your question- I think just talking about it is so important. Working thru the hard parts.  In my home it was talked about in the unhealthy ways.... my mom was a drug addict and my parents indeed did feel I should be grateful I was raised by them. Which I am some of the time,,,, some of the time very much not so.  Its such a dual thing. 

And I think some birthfathers experience a profound loss too. Not all of course as not all birthmothers seem to- or they are so disconnected they can't handle it.... whatever it is.

From what I read about reunion sometimes the fathers were the ones to search, are more receptive to reunion and happy to again be a part of their childs life.


Thats terrible that your APs framed your birthparent history in such a way. I am a big believer in telling the truth, even the hard truths, but i think there is almost always a way to do that without vilifying anyone. My dd's bmom has a lot of negatives, made many poor choices, but she has good qualities too. DD needs to hear both. I read a book called something like Telling the Truth To your Foster or Adopted Child and the author strongly believes that you need to give the child ALL of the info you have BEFORE puberty. Waiting until the child is a teen is risky because the teen years are too tumultuous, they need to process the info BEFORE that time hits. Its hard though. There is one specific thing about my dd's history that i know, and she does not know, that i think will be particularly devastating to her and i'm not sure of the right time to tell her.

 

As far as birthfathers...i'd give anything to have just a name...a name. Without at least a name, my son has no hope of ever finding him. I've seen pics online of my son's maternal family and NO ONE looks like him, not even a little bit. I'm thinking he has to look more like his bdad and i'd sooo love to meet that guy. My son is very....unique...in terms of personality and i'd so love to know if he gets any of that from his bdad. It makes me mad because even though no father is listed, in the paperwork there is ONE spot where a name is apparently given, and its redacted. It drives me CRAZY that they may know, but my SON doesnt have the right to know?? How can one have privacy from their own child?? I doubt he even knows my son exists and pretty sure he would not want his name kept secret from him. One worker even said "oh we know who he is, but there's a warrant out for him so if he shows in court he'll get arrested so he wont show up"....argh. Dont know if that was even accurate but to keep this info from my son is just so unethical. I could go on and on ranting about this.

 


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#52 of 57 Old 11-21-2011, 01:13 AM
 
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Quote:
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Oh and to answer your question- I think just talking about it is so important. Working thru the hard parts.  In my home it was talked about in the unhealthy ways.... my mom was a drug addict and my parents indeed did feel I should be grateful I was raised by them. Which I am some of the time,,,, some of the time very much not so.  Its such a dual thing. 

And I think some birthfathers experience a profound loss too. Not all of course as not all birthmothers seem to- or they are so disconnected they can't handle it.... whatever it is.

From what I read about reunion sometimes the fathers were the ones to search, are more receptive to reunion and happy to again be a part of their childs life.


Thats terrible that your APs framed your birthparent history in such a way. I am a big believer in telling the truth, even the hard truths, but i think there is almost always a way to do that without vilifying anyone. My dd's bmom has a lot of negatives, made many poor choices, but she has good qualities too. DD needs to hear both. I read a book called something like Telling the Truth To your Foster or Adopted Child and the author strongly believes that you need to give the child ALL of the info you have BEFORE puberty. Waiting until the child is a teen is risky because the teen years are too tumultuous, they need to process the info BEFORE that time hits. Its hard though. There is one specific thing about my dd's history that i know, and she does not know, that i think will be particularly devastating to her and i'm not sure of the right time to tell her.

 

. It drives me CRAZY that they may know, but my SON doesnt have the right to know?? How can one have privacy from their own child?? I doubt he even knows my son exists and pretty sure he would not want his name kept secret from him. One worker even said "oh we know who he is, but there's a warrant out for him so if he shows in court he'll get arrested so he wont show up"....argh. Dont know if that was even accurate but to keep this info from my son is just so unethical. I could go on and on ranting about this.

 


It drives me crazy too..... I got lucky a lawyer had the name of my bmom and she knew who my bdad was- and after dna it was confirmed.  I am so sorry this information may not be available to your son.  I am so glad to hear you are fighting for it.

My bdad was just out of prison when my bmom knew him- he is now an auditor for the US DEPT of the ARMY and has a masters degree and spent 4 years in peace core- it s pretty neat how he turned his life around. 

I can remember it being the preteen years where in a fight with my amom she let me know I had a brother my bmom had adopted out as well... I wish that had been done different.

I commend you for being so supportive of your kids and aware of their possible feelings.


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#53 of 57 Old 12-05-2011, 12:06 PM
 
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Skipping over the bulk of the conversation (short on time)...but a few ideas come up:

 

Your dd and my dd are the same age.  One thing that has really helped make her birthparents more real, and less strangers, is a lifestory book.  Polliwog, I can't remember...do you have one?  Could you make a very simple one on shutterfly or booksmart?  In there I spend several pages talking about her parents, about their families and background, and about the decision not to parent and the choice of adoption.  It's all very simple, obviously...when I wrote it and started reading it to her, she was two...so it's on that level.  (And also, the info we have is very limited.)

 

I agree that a four year old is going to have a hard time truly *getting* the idea of birthparents, but dd has heard this story so many times that she knows she has two moms and dads, and knows that two of them live in Korea.  She asks about whether they miss her, and where they work, and if she can give them drawings and presents.  We only have a picture of her mom, not her dad, but she's latched on to that picture and likes looking at her face, and talking about what they have in common.  She asks questions about her dad, too.

 

Now...if we took dd to Seoul this year and she met her parents?  I'd imagine they'd be filled with emotion, and might want to swoop in and do some serious hugging.  I can't know until I'm in that situation, but I think I'd be okay with that.  Don't get me wrong...I'd be mentally on guard for how dd is doing...but if that's what they need, and where their emotions lead them, then as long as I have reason to believe they're common-sense people who will have dd's needs at heart, I think I'd be willing to understand an emotional overflow--even if dd was a little scared by it.

 

Part of the reason I'd trust the process is because I trust her to "get" it.  I feel like it would take her a while to put the realness of her parents in perspective, but there's already a framework in her brain where their realness can go.  Perhaps it would be worthwhile to work on that framework more with your daughter?  As for sex ed...Dd has been asking about the birds and bees since she was three, Ds even earlier (as they got siblings), and by four they both knew about sperm and eggs.  It's not really a charged subject for a little kid....and besides ;), they really like knowing it's how almost EVERYTHING is made...flowers, puppies, the frogs in the pond.  It makes more sense when they know about eggs and sperm. ;)

 

It's just my opinion, but I wouldn't worry about him being too touchy-feely at this first visit.  I'd let your daughter get to know him as he is.  Maybe he's an emotional guy, and maybe she'll recognize that in herself some day.  You can even make that part of her framework for him, if his tendency toward hugs and emotion continues.  You can help her put it in context.  I'd imagine dd would understand something like "Here's a picture of your dad.  Remember him?  He gave you all those hugs when you met him last time.  I bet he's really missed you and was very excited to see you after so long."  You could talk longer about whether she liked those hugs, if she minds them, or if she'd rather you asked him to change things on her behalf.  As she gets to know him more, I'm sure she'll get used to what he is and who he is.  I'd worry that asking him to behave a certain way, or be a certain role, would be damaging at the start of a relationship that your daughter and her dad are going to have to forge (to some extent) on their own for the rest of their lives.

 

As for dd's lifebook, this is what we have written:

 

DD, do you know that all babies begin the same way?

 

It's true.  It takes two people, a man and a woman, to make a baby. [There's a picture of an illustrated Asian man and woman..the woman is pregnant and you can see the image of a baby in her belly.]  Everyone in the world has a birthmother and a birthfather.  You do, too.  Your birthmother and birthfather are Korean.  We call the woman who gave birth to you your Omma, and the man who helped make you we call your Appa.  They are your birthparents.

 

You were conceived by your Omma and Appa, your birthparents, near the beginning of December in 2006.

 

See your belly button [there's a picture of dd pointing to her belly button]?  That belly button is a reminder of when you were very, very tiny and in your Omma's belly, growing and getting ready to be born.  For nine long months you stayed cozy and warm inside your Omma.  Everything your tiny baby body needed to grow was given to you by your Omma's body through your belly button.  You stayed in her belly until you were big enough to be born.

 

Then, in the afternoon of [month and day], something very special happened!  You were born! [Illustration of a newborn baby...we don't have any newborn pictures of dd]

 

Your Omma gave birth to you and you took your first breaths of air.  You weighed 7 pounds, 6 ounces, and you were 20 inches long...a very healthy baby.  We don't have a picture of you then, but you had dark eyes and a little round face, and very short fuzzy hair.  This is [name of hospital], where you were born.  [Photo of the clinic where she was born]

 

Then there's a page on the zodiac, and the year of the pig

 

Then there's a page on the name her parents chose for her, and what it means

 

Then there's a page about the city where she was born

 

Then back to her parents....

 

Your Omma and Appa lived in [city].  Your Appa's name is [name name name] and your Omma's name is [name name name].

 

Your Omma has two older sisters and an younger brother and sister.  She was born in [name of city and state] in the south of Korea, which is famous for its apples and for very lovely women.  Her parents, your grandparents, are farmers in [city].  Your Omma worked in [city].  She described herself as being reserved and quiet.  She was [age] or so when you were born.

 

Your Appa is an only child.  His father works as a security guard at a temple.  Your Omma says he was friendly, even-tempered, and quiet, and he worked in [city], too.  He was [age] or so when you were born.

 

Your Omma and Appa lived together for many years.  They had some grownup problems and they knew they wouldn't be able to to take care of you when you were born.  Sometimes people aren't able to take care of a child, any child.  It's not your fault they couldn't take care of you, DD.

 

This is a picture of your Omma when she was six months pregnant with you!  [photo of her mom] We see so much of your Omma in you.  Sometimes you smile like her.  You also have her eyes, and the shape of her face, and we think you might have the same hair that likes to fall forward.  Your Omma looks friendly, like you do.

 

Then there's a page about her mom making the choice to live at a maternity home with photos of the people her mom knew there and photos of where she lived.  Text:  When your Omma knew she was pregnant with you, she knew she wanted to take very good care of you and make sure you would have a good, loving family.  She decided to live at a place called [name], with a very nice woman named Mrs. [name].

 

Mrs. [name] said your Omma is a kind woman.  She described your Omma as "calm and bright."  She said she wasn't very talkative, but was comfortable to be around.  Your Omma lived at [place] for the months before and after your birth, and the women there took very good care of her.  Mrs. [name] said that your Omma loved you very much, and wanted you to grow up with a family.  Your Omma made the decision for you to be adopted.  We're sure it wasn't easy for her to make that choice, but she believed it was the best decision.

 

Then the book goes on into dd's life...where she went after she was born, her first photos, the foster families she lived with, why she was moved, and what was going on behind-the-scenes with us so that we could adopt her.  We feature her foster families quite a bit, her foster siblings, the first photos we ever saw of her, the first time she got a package from us, her first Spring in Korea, the first time we met her, how she reacted when she had to leave her foster families, and how she reacted as she got to know us.  After all that, there's a page with pictures of her four families...her birthmom (again...wish we had one of her dad!), her first mom with her, her second foster mom with her, and a photo of her with us that first day in Seoul.  Underneath it says:

 

All the people who love you...and now you would have a new family.  A family forever. 

 

DD, do you know that families are made in different ways?  Some children join families by birth, and some join families by adoption.  When you are adopted, that is forever.  You will always be our daughter, an we will always be your Mommy and Daddy.  When you join a family by adoption, you have two sets of parents.  Your birthparents that we call Omma and Appa, and us, your Mommy and Daddy.  You also have many people who have loved you and taken care of you.  So many people love you, DD!

 

Then it goes on to describe our first few days and weeks as a family...it introduces my extended family and dh's, and shows pictures of what she liked to do when she first joined us.  There are pictures of her baby annoucement, and of us with the judge on the day she was adopted.  The last page says:

 

DD, your first name means shining light.  It's a form of your great-grandmother [name]'s name, and we think the meaning is beautiful.  We also wanted you to keep the name your Omma gave you, [name], because that is your Korean name and it is an important part of who you are.  [Name] and [Name] are your two family names.

 

Both names were given to you with love.  Both families are a part of who you are and who you will become.  Our little light, our little river and grace, our beautiful girl.  We love you.

 

~~

 

I hope you don't mind me sharing that, Polliwog.  I know you're a very experienced adoptive parent, but I wanted to share some idea of what dd (at four ) knows very well about her parents and conception/adoption.  Obviously we've toned down the details in her parents' relationship and in the difficulty of choosing adoption...we'll fill that in as she asks...but I did want to give her as much basic information as I could about her parents and their personalities.  I so wish we had more information, or a photo, of her father--I think it would make it easier for him to be even more real for dd.

 

Maybe it's all just wishful thinking, but I'm hoping that if we make her Korean families (birth and foster) more real to her, then when she meets them she'll feel like they've been a part of her story forever.  She'll know a little of what to expect from them, and know (through the book and our conversations) why they would have an emotional reaction after not seeing her for so long.  That's not to say that their reactions might not weird her out a little (or a lot) at first, but that when we talk about those reactions I'll be able to put them in context, and she'll understand better what's happening and why.

 

Hope that helps.  Best of luck to you...I'm sure it's not easy.

 

 


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#54 of 57 Old 12-07-2011, 09:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by RedOakMomma View Post

It's just my opinion, but I wouldn't worry about him being too touchy-feely at this first visit.  I'd let your daughter get to know him as he is.  Maybe he's an emotional guy, and maybe she'll recognize that in herself some day.  You can even make that part of her framework for him, if his tendency toward hugs and emotion continues.  You can help her put it in context.  I'd imagine dd would understand something like "Here's a picture of your dad.  Remember him?  He gave you all those hugs when you met him last time.  I bet he's really missed you and was very excited to see you after so long."  You could talk longer about whether she liked those hugs, if she minds them, or if she'd rather you asked him to change things on her behalf.  As she gets to know him more, I'm sure she'll get used to what he is and who he is.  I'd worry that asking him to behave a certain way, or be a certain role, would be damaging at the start of a relationship that your daughter and her dad are going to have to forge (to some extent) on their own for the rest of their lives.

 

I'm still processing all that everyone's written as well as everything that happened that day. However, I believe strongly in "my body, my boundaries" with ANYONE. Every person has the right to personal bubble space when they want it. His holding her in his arms tightly and hugging her while she was obviously uncomfortable with it, AND whispering in her ear in a language she doesn't understand, isn't ok. Sitting with his face inches from her head, while she's hiding her face (under her hair) in a stuffed animal, and speaking to her in a language she doesn't understand, isn't ok.  She's allowed to have her personal space respected.  We're not talking about a quick hug here.

 

I would like to try seeing him again. I really think the park is the best idea. I'd definitely bring along someone to help interpret (both the verbal and nonverbal stuff.) I'll even bring the bike if she's able to learn to ride it by them (which wouldn't surprise me.) We'll see how things go.

 

 

 

 

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#55 of 57 Old 12-09-2011, 06:20 AM
 
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Maybe, in addition to helping her process who he is and what he is in her life and family, you could help her voice what she wants when he's in her personal space.  I know that could be tough for a four-year-old...my dd would probably feel very shy about speaking up to a near-stranger.  Perhaps a code word she could use?  Or maybe she could come to your lap when she's feeling uncomfortable, so that you become the guard of her personal space?  I could see saying something like this to dd:   "If you don't feel comfortable, or if you feel like you want some space, come over and sit in Mama's lap.  Then the adults can talk while you take a break."

 

I still think a four-year-old could have pretty useful conversations about WHY he's behaving that way, and WHY he speaks in a language she doesn't understand.  I know it's different, but I've had similar discussions with dd and ds when we go to spend time with extended family, and there are a few very smothering great-aunts.  Yes, my aunts' behavior is alien and alarming to them, but when they've been prepped on what to expect and why my aunts behave that way, they know better how to respond and they don't freak out by the difference in what my aunts see as normal and what our family sees as normal.  I also think it's pretty amazing how different your dd's understanding of people's motivations and emotions might be in a half year or a year.  My dd is almost 4 and a half.  Ds is almost six.  His ability to cope and understand personal dynamics has really changed in the last year...watching how he behaves around strangers and how he's able to engage in a conversation about their behaviors or feelings, I'm guessing that the age of 4 and 5 is the time of a big transition toward a larger consciousness of others' feelings.  He's also much more able to relate to people and stand up for his comfort zone without having to fall back on me.

 

The park does sound like a good idea.  It gives your daughter some natural escapes if that's what she needs or feels she wants.  Maybe he is just too intense right now...hopefully there will be some combination of him relaxing a little and your daughter feeling more comfortable with his differences.  Fingers crossed for you!


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Originally Posted by Polliwog View Post

 

I'm still processing all that everyone's written as well as everything that happened that day. However, I believe strongly in "my body, my boundaries" with ANYONE. Every person has the right to personal bubble space when they want it.

 


I have to add that this is really foreign to anyone who hasn't adopted from foster care.  The mixed feelings we have about birthparents and our need to protect our children is just greater.  Every kid has the right to personal space and a child adopted from foster care has a greater right.
 

 

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#57 of 57 Old 12-13-2011, 06:31 AM
 
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Good point. 


RedOak ~ Momma to DS (8) , DS (4) , DD (3) , & DD 9/10 ~
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