Saturday, June 21, 2008

Clear Sailing to Pain....

Things seemed to be going well. My son and his wife are getting settled in. They both have transferred their jobs down here. He did have to take a pay cut because the local store works differently, but it seems like he may be able to advance quicker into management since this store seems to have openings there, partially because it is a just opened store. His wife also should be starting some part time work, which will give them some extra income. She is getting hit with some serious morning sickness, so it is not certain whether she will be able to continue to work, but she is certainly going to try.

She also got into a local program that will allow her to earn the few last credits she needs to get her high school diploma. She dropped out of high school in January to move up with my son and completing this will be a good step for her personally and in business.

All seemed well, until I found out tonight that my youngest son, who is currently finishing his specialty training in the Army, has been contacting his birth father enough that they know all of what is going on in his life. I am only 1 state away and I have not heard from him at all, past a letter to all of us here that I am fairly sure they told him to write to his family. I did call the S1 a week or so ago and my son called my wife and daughter, so he did talk to them at that time, but I have heard nothing since.

It also seems he will be doing a short stint at the local recruiting office in the other state before shipping somewhere overseas. It is very possible I will not see him at all, even though I would gladly drive up to see him if I could.

I don't so much mind that his recruiting stint is where he ran from to "escape" our house, but the fact that I have no contact hurts greatly. I had also not heard from my oldest daughter until I called her last week, but even then I barely spoke to her. She said she was going to call me back that night, but didn't until the following day. Then, she spoke briefly and had to run, spending most of the time griping about her brother, not talking with me about herself.

She said she would call back, but has not for several days. I called her today and left a message, but I suspect I am wasting my time since she probably doesn't consider me a "real father" anymore.

I don't know that I could have prepared for this, but it is really lousy. This is definitely not the picture given by those cheery adoption shows and promo spots. Why won't anyone deal with the reality here?

I know I will ultimately make it, but the journey is more painful than most people realize. A father's heart is true, whether you give birth or not....

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Birth Family Relations

I am sure many of you know this, but birth families have their own agendas.

I got my children's original birth certificates before we finalized the adoption. (Though I would have gotten more than 1 copy if I had thought more about it.) I figured they would like to have them in the long run, so I did so. This meant I knew the original birth family information. (It also leaked through a few documents from CPS.)

When my oldest was 18 and starting to search, I decided to open up the birth last name to everyone. This ended up with contact rather quickly and we ultimately even went up to their city for a long weekend so the children could meet some of their extended birth relatives.

You might expect that this would mean the birth family would respect us and work with us with integrity, right? No way. In this case, the birth father is the only one that had ongoing contact, but he gave enough incentives that both my boys (in the middle according to age) moved up there at 17. This is legal in our state, but not in the birth family's state. We lived with it, but weren't overjoyed. This was especially bad since we thought we were working with them to accomplish the best for our children.

We now find out that we are regularly disparaged there and discounted as having any lasting claim to be a "family" for our children. This is coming from my oldest son, who has been known to "say what we want to hear" in the past, but it rings true with everything else we have picked up on.

My youngest daughter turns 17 this summer and we expect him to do all he can to get her to run up there as well. She has noted that she has no intention to do so (and she has some things that are likely to keep her in our area for a while), but I don't think that will stop him from trying. I also think she is likely to face more of a mental battle here than she realizes, but she continually stresses her commitment to me. I wish I was less hurt by all this seeming betrayal, but I will ultimately get over it.

I suspect I will personally have lots of mental tension this summer, but having my oldest son back in town is likely to play an interesting role. It is definitely stirring up relations in their birth family, but hopefully that can all settle down.

Ultimately, I don't care where everyone lives, once they are adults. I do hope to have a long-term relationship (as a father) with all of them. I don't expect to replace the birth family and I never have (though they do seek to replace me completely).

This is a disappointing part of adoption that many young adopters should prepare themselves for. The pain can be worse than anything you can imagine. Thinking the entire effort to "build a family" was a waste is really discouraging.

Fortunately, some things appear to be turning around, so the end may ultimately be good. We are not through the woods by any means yet.

Keeping Up is Hard to Do!

Things are really changing around here. My oldest son, the one who went through such a rough teenage time, is now back living at home for a while with his new wife. They got married in the spring and moved down here a couple of weeks ago. They didn't have a place to stay (that they could currently afford), so my wife and I did the surprising thing and opened up our house to them. We want to work with them to get established jobs here, pay off all bills and plan for moving into something of their own. I have a feeling this will take a few months, maybe longer. While the relationship is different since they are adults, they both seem to really be trying to lay a good foundation.

They are hoping to be able to transfer their jobs with a large national chain down here this week, so hopefully he will get into the work groove again soon. He has helped with a few things around the house already, so it hasn't been a huge vacation. The three of us went to our church today (my wife had to work) and they seemed to enjoy it, though I am not sure if they will be staying there.

A very interesting turn of events. This would have seemed impossible when I was writing some of these early posts.

More discussion to come....