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.

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