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<p>Hi.</p>
<p>At a TPR hearing, we were asked by the judge if there were any instructions on what foster children should call their birth parents. My answer was, "No," with some elaboration re. our first child's experience (every caring female was "Mama"). Our foster son, age 4, was bounced around quite a bit- to the point that he responds to questions about his address with "I move from place to place" - and refers to his bio mom by her name. She writes letters signing off as "Mommy," but that name has only been used by him re. an aunt and his stuffed animals during "make believe." I am "Mama" and my partner is "Bwana" which is exactly what our first adopted child uses. We did not push this, it was his choice. During letter reading, he did ask if I was the mommy who was writing the letters and my response was that it was "Vicky (alias), you know, your birth mom." He's not spoken with or seen birth mom for 11 months and early into his stay with us picked up the birth mom language since it was used in conversations that included our daughter.</p>
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<p>What do your foster children use for their bio parents? He does refer to his "Daddy", the bio dad who has never been present, but obviously has some mythical power. Were you ever instructed one way or another?</p>
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<p>Cheers!</p>
 

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<p>My first foster son was a newborn and so not calling anybody anything. He was adopted by the time he was saying mama. But i still refer to his bmom as "his mom" even though he has not met her (other than at birth)....my second foster child had only one visit with her mother, she also did not seem to be saying mama (i cant really remember) but that WAS her mom so i had no problem referring to her as such...seems like it would have been awfully disrespectful to call her "birthmom" when the child had only been in care a couple months and RU was the plan.</p>
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<p>With my third and fourth foster children, my son was placed at 17.5 months, he had been living with his dad...he very much identified his parents and just that "mommy and daddy"...he, by his own choice, never called me anything at all until we got closer to TPR (almost like he knew he was staying, out of the blue he said mama, about six months after he came)...i never referred to myself as "mommy" in front of them, though i probably did at home simply because i had another same age child who called me mommy. During visits, if fs would come to me for comfort or assistance, i would kindly/gently redirect him back to his mom, saying something like "oh your mommy can help you with that button" or "oh i think your mommy has a drink for you"...seems like the right thing to do.</p>
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<p>My last foster child, my fs' 8 yo sister, moved in after rights were already terminated, she started calling me Mommy and then Mom very soon after move in....she used to call her other mom "My real mom" or "my mom" but out of the blue started saying birthmom which i think signalled her acceptance of the loss of her and of her pending adoption. However, i usually call her bmom "your mom" or by her first name. Birthmom is a weird term to me, not that there is anything at all wrong with it i just dont always feel comfortable with it, personal choice.</p>
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<p>I would not encourage a child to use the term "birthmom" with a child who's parents' rights have not yet been terminated.</p>
 

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<p>Wow, the judge asked you a lot of questions.  When I've been in court all that I've been asked is basically how the child is doing.  Except for when I testified at my now DD's birth father's TPR hearing.  But even then, it was all about the child.</p>
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<p>Anyway, when my now DS came to me at age two, he was calling every woman mommy.  So, I was mommy too.  Gradually, he started calling me mommy and eventually began calling his mother by her first name (probably because that's what his slightly older sister called her.  When I talked with him about his family, or when we visited with them, it was Mommy and Grandma.  For a while she became Mommy First Name but for the past few years she's been just First Name.  Grandma is still Grandma.</p>
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<p>DD came to us when she was nine months old.  She started calling me Mama and Mommy because that's what my DS called me.  She never had a visit with her birth mother so there was no confusion.  Eventually she started calling me Mommiella since her first name ends in -iella.  LOL.  Now she usually calls me Mommy but sometimes I'm Mommiella (which I love.)</p>
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<p>In training, they told us to let the children decide what to call us (within reason.)  That's what I'm most comfortable with anyway, so it's easy to follow their lead.</p>
 

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<p>I wanted to add that I would never refer to a child's parents as their birth parents (pre-termination.)  That just doesn't feel right to me.</p>
 

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<p> </p>
<p>I got the same message in training, and it seems like the obvious choice as far as what the KIDS say. But I certainly wouldn't echo back "mommy" and "daddy" talk unless I was fostering a child with an RU plan. First names are good.</p>
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<p>Birthmother/father would also make me uncomfortable, mostly because I see it as a term for people who placed their infants, not people who hurt or neglected their children to such a degree that the state intervened. Again, first names are good. My DFS will know who I'm talking about, and if he wants to call that person "mommy" I am actually just fine with that. I suspect it is something that will change over time. </p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Smithie</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1291095/fostering-and-birth-parent-s-names#post_16182490"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p> </p>
<p>I got the same message in training, and it seems like the obvious choice as far as what the KIDS say. But I certainly wouldn't echo back "mommy" and "daddy" talk unless I was fostering a child with an RU plan. First names are good.</p>
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<p><strong>Birthmother/father would also make me uncomfortable, mostly because I see it as a term for people who placed their infants, not people who hurt or neglected their children to such a degree that the state intervened.</strong> Again, first names are good. My DFS will know who I'm talking about, and if he wants to call that person "mommy" I am actually just fine with that. I suspect it is something that will change over time. </p>
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<p>But, how is that parent less of a birth mother or father?  I'm not following your logic.</p>
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<p> </p>
<p>It's more that "birthmother" is a term of respect for me, and thus not a term I'd use for anybody who had hurt my child. I'd say "the woman who gave birth to KidsName" if forced to refer explicitly to the biological relationship, but really, where I am going to be called up to do that? The doctor's office, when discussing possible prenatal exposure or genetic illness? </p>
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<p>Whereas, if I were doing a private infant adoption, I think I'd talk a great deal about the birthmother (and birthfather if I had any info), because 1) my child wouldn't know anything about their biological family and would be relying on me for all info and 2) there's a narrative there that is healthy and appropriate for a young child to hear. My son, being adopted later in life after being removed from the care of his biological family, is going to know a great deal about the woman who gave birth to him, and possibly about the man who got her pregnant. I hope he'll share the information with me at some point, and he can words things however he wants. But that's not my narrative to construct.  </p>
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
<p>Pre-termination v. post-termination and constructing narrative- all very intersting points. The real life stories marry with this well. I think following his lead - especially given his background, age and strong language capabilities -- is still my preferred way to go. Our first came to us at 3.5 with barely another language and still holds little interest at these talks about her life, though I hear age 8 is the age of reasoning in these situations. She  is why birth mom/mother came up, to truly clarify to her who is who since she was relinquished to authorities at birth and never experienced fostering. Every so often I plug in an innocuous  message about her birth mom using the name coupled with the title birth mom/mother as a way to pave the way for her when/if she eventually wants further discussion.This is consistant with the children's books we have lying around on the subject.  I want her to know that this is never a bad secret between us. With dfs, we've followed his lead of using birth mom's name and after this chat, I will continue to do so unless there is a change in the tattered RU plan or his perception of her. </p>
 

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<p>Smithie, i suspect you may find a difference what you think you believe now about biological parents vs what you may experience once you actually have a child placed with you. My daughter was hurt by her bmom, to what extent i dont know because she wont say anything negative about her, and the removal was for neglect, but i suspect she has had some awful experiences. But that being said...i love her bmom. Getting to know her through foster care visits (which was invaluable), being able to sit and talk with her about what she wanted for her kids, being able to SEE with my own eyes that even though she pretty much sucks in her mothering abilities she LOVES her kids (and to see that NO ONE, not even "another mother" will replace this woman in my daughter's eyes)...i dunno...i think that unless there is outright horrific abuse (the child was set on fire, or raped by a parent etc)...you will need to, somewhere in your heart find a way to love and respect your child's birthparents. You need to be able to find a way to frame the removal in a factual light without being overly negative. Because to do less...the child will see a reflection on THEM, as they come from those people. They are of them.</p>
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<p>My first adopted son, his mom basically abandoned him. Never tried to come to a visit, basically said "keep him, dont call me back" (he was newborn)...no one in the family cared to try to get him except one uncle and that was halfhearted. How do i tell my son "your mom didnt want you?"...i dont...i will tell him that she is mentally ill, and that i hope on some level she knew enough to know she couldnt raise him, so she let him go. That some people just arent able to be parents. With my second adopted son and my daughter....i will be able to tell them their mom tried hard, and did some good things (she always brought food and clothes to visits, for example, and never missed a visit),but that she herself had been a fc and suffered abuse as a child. There is a way to give honest info without being overly negative.</p>
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<p>I also think you'll find there are LOTS of kids removed for neglect or a simple inability on the parents part to parent, or for drug/alcohol abuse. It might be easier on some level to have this portrait of a villian bparent you can erase, but i bet for the vast vast majority of kids in care...its not the reality.</p>
 
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<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
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<p> My son, being adopted later in life after being removed from the care of his biological family, is going to know a great deal about the woman who gave birth to him, and possibly about the man who got her pregnant.</p>
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<p>Is this how you're planning on referring to them though? "the woman who gave birth to Childsname and the man who got her pregnant" ??</p>
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<p>Yknow, its possible that is the woman who held him, rocked him, nursed him. That "man" might be her husband, her childhood sweetheart, or her longtime partner. These may be the people the child called "mom" and "dad"...even in the most horrible of homes, there is bound to be some love, some fond memories, something good to find there.</p>
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<p>I guess i'm just not seeing the benefit to the child in constructing this scenario of horrible bparents (not even bparents, but biologic vessels, apparently) that you must never speak fondly of or have respect for and whom you must move far away to hide from so as to never ever have any contact. Its easy for us to think this awful abusive neglectful people are sooo different from us (and in many ways they are) but i think you'd be really surprised to find out birthparents arent really that different in many ways. It makes my daughter so happy when i, out of the blue, make a positive comment about her mom. Just something to think about.</p>
 
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<p>Well... this is a disturbing little thread! I wonder if the judge in the OP's case was trying to investigate an allegation that the foster parents were undermining RU attempts via what the kids were told to call them at home. That's a common complaint from parents who aren't doing well. As for what they call us, we've honestly only ever had newborns and pre-teens. With the pre-teens, they know who their parents are. To call them anything other than "your mom" or "your dad" is just confusing and disrespectful.  And talk about invoking a self-esteem issue... geesh. I don't really care what the parent has done to them, they didn't any less give birth to them. </p>
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<p>Smithie--I can't even wrap my head around how you're going to manage all of the contingencies in your logic when it comes to a flesh & blood child. Some of these birthparents truly struggle--even the ones that actually hurt their kids. I'm not saying the kids should be left there, but I don't think it's anyone's business to categorically rate them as "worthy of the title" or not. And if that's how you're thinking about it, I promise you a kid will pick up on it. They're people. And they happen to be people that have given you the gift of that child being in your life. Realize that the information you will get about the situation and the birthparents will be biased 42 ways to Sunday... so you will never be making that judgment on fully accurate information.</p>
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<p>We HAVE had infants long enough that they "get" the concept of mommy & daddy. We use first names. With the older kids, we obviously have to have the talk about "what do you want to tell people" and offer them up the "Aunt" and "Uncle" option if it would help them. That did spill over into use with the infants, actually. And it works nicely because it makes you more than just a stranger--a respected "family" member--without undermining that child's feelings about where they have come from and who they "are".</p>
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<p>With our ad (who is only 2yo), we have started referring to her birthmother as "Name... who had Lala in her belly" but this is by far more for my 7yos benefit in understanding who she is. We definitely have introduced the term birthmother, though. She was a SafeHaven baby. Does that make her birthmother worthy of the title, Smithie? Or is that a gray area? ;)</p>
 

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<p>I've worked in foster care for 8 years, and in that time, I have yet to meet or work with a kid that didn't love their parents, regardless of the level of abuse and neglect they suffered.  Even the kids who had insight into the events of their past and expressed anger/disappointment/sadness over the choices/actions their parents had made.  Occasionally I've met a kid who called them by their first names, but mostly they called them mom and dad, like any other kid.  I think for any adult in that kid's life to discount those feelings by interjecting calling them by their first names or call them "birth mother" or "birth father" is disrespectful to the kids feelings and the history involved in those feelings.  I work with older children, who have clear memories, attachments, and feelings when it comes to their biological families, which obviously can be different when it's an infant or young toddler.</p>
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<p>Likewise, we try to stress that children should be free to call their foster parents by what they feel comfortable calling them.  Some kids call their foster parents "mom and dad", some by their first names, some special nicknames, but we try to respect what the kids feel most comfortable calling them.  </p>
 

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<p>"Realize that the information you will get about the situation and the birthparents will be biased 42 ways to Sunday... so you will never be making that judgment on fully accurate information."</p>
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<p>I do realize that. That's one of the reasons that I am not going to jump in and construct a narrative either way. First names are good, for me to use. My son will call his first family whatever he wants, and I'd actually be <em>concerned</em> if he didn't start out talking about "mom," and "dad" if dad had been in his life. But for better or worse, the "... who had you in her belly" approach, or some kind of constructed story about her struggles, would be kind of awful coming out of my mouth in reference to a person who I know nothing about, and that my kid knows <strong>a lot a lot a lot</strong> about and some of it pretty darn painful to process. I feel like my job is to be ready to hear what he's got to tell me, when he's ready to tell it (and/or to give him access to a neutral third party to hash this out with). </p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Smithie</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1291095/fostering-and-birth-parent-s-names#post_16185117"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>"Realize that the information you will get about the situation and the birthparents will be biased 42 ways to Sunday... so you will never be making that judgment on fully accurate information."</p>
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<p>I do realize that. That's one of the reasons that I am not going to jump in and construct a narrative either way. First names are good, for me to use. My son will call his first family whatever he wants, and I'd actually be <em>concerned</em> if he didn't start out talking about "mom," and "dad" if dad had been in his life. But for better or worse, the "... who had you in her belly" approach, or some kind of constructed story about her struggles, would be kind of awful coming out of my mouth in reference to a person who I know nothing about, and that my kid knows <strong>a lot a lot a lot</strong> about and some of it pretty darn painful to process. I feel like my job is to be ready to hear what he's got to tell me, when he's ready to tell it (and/or to give him access to a neutral third party to hash this out with). </p>
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<p>Okay... you're kind of all over the place here.  You're now talking about what you'll do with your potential child vs. what you actually think.  And here, you acknowledge that you won't really know anything about that birthparent to make the judgment you refer to making earlier on about who has the right to have the "title" of birthparent.</p>
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<p>So I'm still confused.  In my daughters case, as a SafeHaven baby, is her mother someone you would consider worthy of the title of "birthparent"?  Or have you read these posts, realized you could never accurately make that judgment and change your mind about who is or isn't worthy?</p>
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<p>And referring to someone's parent by their first names is one thing (and I would argue that it could be hurtful not to refer to them by the same title that the child refers to them), but eventually, someone's going to overhear you talking and ask who "X" is (a friend, relative, whatever)... and will you then call them that child's "birthmother/father"?  Or will you avoid that title altogether and just say "the person that carried dc in her belly"?  It just seems like an awful lot of semantics over something that is clearly a bigger deal/control issue for you vs. something helpful for the child.<br>
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<p>We had a foster daughter from 4 weeks old to 2.5 years old.  While it hurt *me* at times, we were careful not to call her parents birthmom or birthdad.  It was mom and dad.  She never identified with them as such, I suspect not until she was physically living there with mom after a very quick transition.  But she is her mom, and therefore that's what I called her.  As Baby Girl got older, I called her "Mommy ****" if it started appearing Baby Girl was confused.  Baby Girl, being so young when she came to me and being baby #3 in our house, followed suit with her foster sibs, who she fully identified with as full sibs.  Since they called us mom and dad, she never hesitated.  Like I said, once she started transitioning, we would find ourselves (maybe more for our own children's understanding) saying Mommy **** and Mommy *** for the two of us.  But we have always - and still do - made it clear that, no matter what a parent may have done, Baby Girl still loves them and I have been adamant in explaining to my kids that she missed her mom and now we're happy that she's happily back with her mom.  After all, wouldn't you be sad to be away from me?, we often tell them.</p>
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<p>I grew up with a dad who did bad things to my mom and I.  Although I was too young to "remember" in my head the worst of them, I do remember a wide variety of sins he committed against me as I grew up.  He let me down a million times, too.  But I was always p***** off when my stepdad insulted my dad.  After all, he is my dad.  So, I think that experience really helped me to understand the way she was stuck in the middle.</p>
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<p>Truth is, fostering is a very difficult situation for all.  It is a sacrifice on our behalf, and it is a struggle for the children stuck in the middle.  But it is also very hard for the parents.  They are not faceless monsters; I used to truly love the woman who's child I raised.  One day maybe we will one day be friends again.  But for now, she is making poor choices and has hurt many people.  At the end of the day, though, she lost 2.5 years of her child's life.  I have the pictures, the memories, the goodnights, the happy times.  That, unless she was less than a human, would hurt anyone who carried a child in their womb.  Some people just may not know how to "process" that hurt properly.</p>
 

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<p><em>"So I'm still confused.  In my daughters case, as a SafeHaven baby, is her mother someone you would consider worthy of the title of "birthparent"?  Or have you read these posts, realized you could never accurately make that judgment and change your mind about who is or isn't worthy?"</em></p>
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<p>In your daughter's case, I think that's up to you. Not because she's a SafeHaven baby, but because she's YOUR baby and anything she knows about her family of origin is going to come from you, and you need to do what you think is best. If I were in your shoes, I'd probably not throw any other "mother" language into it, because your DD has never been mothered by anybody but you, but I can see the argument both ways.</p>
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<p style="margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:2px;padding-left:0px;"><em>"And referring to someone's parent by their first names is one thing (and I would argue that it could be hurtful not to refer to them by the same title that the child refers to them), but eventually, someone's going to overhear you talking and ask who "X" is..."</em></p>
<p style="margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:2px;padding-left:0px;"> </p>
<p style="margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:2px;padding-left:0px;">If my son wants to talk about his biological mother, he will. I expect that he will talk about her quite a lot, and I HOPE he does because if he doesn't we will never know a blessed thing about her other than the DSS file litany of sins. If somebody asks him to clarify, he will. Nobody will EVER overhear me talking about his biological family, because it's not. my. story. It's not for me to share or speculate with the wider world beyond the bare-minimum version required if there's an ongoing safety or or behavioral issue that can only be handled in context. In which case, I'd probably say "previous caregivers," as in "DS is afraid of men with beards because of a bad experience with previous caregivers, we need to slowly acclimate him to having Mr. X as a gym teacher" or "DS didn't have well-child visits that I know of with his previous caregivers, so we need to do catch-up vaxes for school." </p>
<p style="margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:2px;padding-left:0px;"> </p>
<p style="margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:2px;padding-left:0px;">I agree that you are in a very, very different situation because your DD was adopted in infancy, and you have the choice between inserting yourself into the narrative and having there be no narrative at all. I don't need to make that choice. </p>
<p style="margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:2px;padding-left:0px;"> </p>
<p style="margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:2px;padding-left:0px;"><em>"will you avoid that title altogether and just say "the person that carried dc in her belly"?"</em></p>
<p style="margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:2px;padding-left:0px;"> </p>
<p style="margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:2px;padding-left:0px;">I hereby solemnly swear never to let that candy-coated hogwash pass my lips. <img alt="orngtongue.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif"> For a toddler adopted in infancy? Sure. The fluffy-bunny speak is developmentally appropriate. For a 6 y.o. coming out of the foster system? He'd probably kick me in the shins, and I'd probably deserve it. </p>
<p style="margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:2px;padding-left:0px;"> </p>
<p style="margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:2px;padding-left:0px;">I don't have any illusions about having control over what has happened to my DS or what we're all going to go through while he's dealing with it, but one thing I DO have control over is my own mouth, and the shutting thereof, and the value-neutral terms that come out of it. First names are good, for me to use. </p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Smithie</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1291095/fostering-and-birth-parent-s-names#post_16186833"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p><em>"So I'm still confused.  In my daughters case, as a SafeHaven baby, is her mother someone you would consider worthy of the title of "birthparent"?  Or have you read these posts, realized you could never accurately make that judgment and change your mind about who is or isn't worthy?"</em></p>
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<p>In your daughter's case, I think that's up to you. Not because she's a SafeHaven baby, but because she's YOUR baby and anything she knows about her family of origin is going to come from you, and you need to do what you think is best. If I were in your shoes, I'd probably not throw any other "mother" language into it, because your DD has never been mothered by anybody but you, but I can see the argument both ways.</p>
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<p><span style="color:rgb(0,0,255);"><strong>Okay... but I'm asking what YOU would do--so that I can understand your point about the birthparents worthy of that title.</strong></span></p>
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<p style="margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:2px;padding-left:0px;"><em>"And referring to someone's parent by their first names is one thing (and I would argue that it could be hurtful not to refer to them by the same title that the child refers to them), but eventually, someone's going to overhear you talking and ask who "X" is..."</em></p>
<p style="margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:2px;padding-left:0px;"> </p>
<p style="margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:2px;padding-left:0px;">If my son wants to talk about his biological mother, he will.  <span style="color:rgb(0,0,255);"><strong>I might be missing something here--did you get a placement?</strong></span> I expect that he will talk about her quite a lot, and I HOPE he does because if he doesn't we will never know a blessed thing about her other than the DSS file litany of sins. If somebody asks him to clarify, he will. Nobody will EVER overhear me talking about his biological family, because it's not. my. story. It's not for me to share or speculate with the wider world beyond the bare-minimum version required if there's an ongoing safety or or behavioral issue that can only be handled in context.  <span style="color:rgb(0,0,255);"><strong>Okay, but it's likely that a child won't know how to articulate this stuff and part of them building trust in you will likely include you "saving" them in that situation by modeling how to handle it.  True: not your story.  But you should probably have a ready response if someone asks him because he may not--and that would be humiliating.</strong></span> In which case, I'd probably say "previous caregivers," as in "DS is afraid of men with beards because of a bad experience with previous caregivers, we need to slowly acclimate him to having Mr. X as a gym teacher" or "DS didn't have well-child visits that I know of with his previous caregivers, so we need to do catch-up vaxes for school."  <span style="color:rgb(0,0,255);"><strong>I disagree with this.  His birthparents are his birthparents.  And you're making assumptions that he comes from abuse.  I had kids (more than one different placement) where the parents were mentally delayed/disabled and just weren't able to keep the kids safe where there were no other relatives.</strong></span></p>
<p style="margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:2px;padding-left:0px;"> </p>
<p style="margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:2px;padding-left:0px;">I agree that you are in a very, very different situation because your DD was adopted in infancy, and you have the choice between inserting yourself into the narrative and having there be no narrative at all. I don't need to make that choice.   <span style="color:rgb(0,0,255);"><strong>My ad is one of multiple cases I've had, but the one with the biggest "gray area" in applying your logic and a ready example to help me clarify.</strong></span></p>
<p style="margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:2px;padding-left:0px;"> </p>
<p style="margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:2px;padding-left:0px;"><em>"will you avoid that title altogether and just say "the person that carried dc in her belly"?"</em></p>
<p style="margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:2px;padding-left:0px;"> </p>
<p style="margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:2px;padding-left:0px;">I hereby solemnly swear never to let that candy-coated hogwash pass my lips. <img alt="orngtongue.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/orngtongue.gif"> For a toddler adopted in infancy? Sure. The fluffy-bunny speak is developmentally appropriate. For a 6 y.o. coming out of the foster system? He'd probably kick me in the shins, and I'd probably deserve it. </p>
<p style="margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:2px;padding-left:0px;"> </p>
<p style="margin-top:0px;margin-right:0px;margin-bottom:0px;margin-left:0px;padding-top:0px;padding-right:0px;padding-bottom:2px;padding-left:0px;">I don't have any illusions about having control over what has happened to my DS or what we're all going to go through while he's dealing with it, but one thing I DO have control over is my own mouth, and the shutting thereof, and the value-neutral terms that come out of it. First names are good, for me to use.   <span style="color:rgb(0,0,255);"><strong>And I will reiterate that doing so can be highly offensive to the child you're doing it to.  I hope you will consider that, because you sound very firm about this.</strong></span></p>
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<p>Nope, no placement yet. <img alt="greensad.gif" src="http://files.mothering.com/images/smilies/greensad.gif"> I hope and believe that it will happen this year. </p>
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<p>And yes, I am very firm on this question, because for me it is an ethical question. My home is a place where the parent-figures are not entangled in the old dynamics. We can know about it, and talk about it, and answer questions if we truly know the answer, but our emotions about the circumstances of placement are not a consideration for the kid. Everybody else involved is likely to have dumped their emotions on him and made him responsible for their feelings and sent him the message that he is never going to be emotionally free of whatever bad domestic situation got him into foster care, so I'm going to stop that trend. One part of that is using emotionally-neutral terms, like first names, if we're going to be talking about the major players. Any "mom" terminology is going to come out of his mouth - whether it's directed towards the woman who gave birth to him, or me. </p>
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<p>I honestly can't tell you what I'd say to a SafeHaven baby about the woman who gave birth to her. On the one hand, what she did was not abusive or dangerous, and if you want to construct a narrative (or if the cops investigated and found her and interviewed her) you could even surmise that it was done out of love. Titles of respect seem appropriate. But I just can't imagine telling a child who I'd mothered since the first days of her life that she had another mother. Fundamentally, I don't BELIEVE it. It seems more accurate to say "you grew inside another woman's body, but I am your mother." In a way, I feel like my road with my DS is going to be EASIER - unless he was taken away in infancy and bounced through the system for a few years, which I hope and pray will not be the case, he's going to have a biological mother that he definitely remembers, who definitely parented him in some way, and what's between them is just not in the same universe as what's between him and me. In some ways, she'll always be more important as the first mother ad the one who carried him. In other ways, I'll be the "real" mother who healed and fed and clothed and educated him, and gave him a safe and happy home. Two very different roles, and two very different kinds of bonds I'd imagine. </p>
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<p>(After all this angst, watch me get placed with a kid who was raised by his grandfather and has never called a woman "mom" in his entire life.) </p>
 

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<p>I have never fostered, or done respite for a child, who was removed for abuse (although I know that many children are.)  All of my kids have been removed for mental health and/or developmental issues (often combined with substance abuse.) </p>
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<p>I'm pretty open with my kids teachers. When kids are small, I think it's important to have the information necessary to help them do their jobs and for my kids to be successful.  I think that in many cases, the "previous caregivers" thing just wouldn't cut it.  And the child you will be having in your home will be a foster child.  There will be no hiding that from the school, not that you would want to.  Teachers spend a lot of time with our children.  I don't think you need to get into the nitty gritty of things but I do think you need to be as open as you can.</p>
 

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<p>I don't know.  I just can't imagine having a foster child in my home and calling his parents Robin and Joe to his face, unless that's what he calls them.</p>
 
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