Mo is asking to see his other mom

Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 09:04 am
and I don't have a problem at all with him seeing her.

But I think she has a right to her privacy and for her own reasons she is not currently in contact with him. She knows where we live, she knows our phone number, she knows me well enough to know that she could see him if she wanted to. We are in contact with other members of her family.

I don't feel right about calling her up and guilting her into a meeting. Not that I would use guilt, she isn't guilty of anything but I'm afraid that if I asked for a meeting that she would feel guilty saying no.

I've tried explaining to Mo that she's doing good and that she is really busy and that I'm sure she thinks about him a lot and that I know she really loves him and blahblahblah.

He keeps revisiting the issue and pressing for more information and I think I made a mistake by saying that it might be kind of hard for her to see him and that we just need to be patient and that when the time is right for her that she will want to see him.

Now he wants to know why it might be hard for her and I'm having a difficult time explaining.

I think he's reaching the age where his friends are wildly curious about adoption. Mo has always talked freely about his "others" and I think some of the kids are peppering him with questions that he doesn't know how to answer.

I'm glad he's coming to me with his questions but I don't know how to deal with his requests to call his other mom so that he can see her mostly because I think the request could be unfair to her.

Any ideas on where to go from here?


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Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 09:26 am
phone bio mom, she might just be staying out of sight for you.
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Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 09:28 am
I agree with dadpad. Don't know how to phrase a conversation with her though!
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Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 09:31 am
How were things left with you guys? It's a bit of an unusual adoption, I know, not strictly "open" or "closed" (or whatever the actual terminology is).

Could you call her and just say all this stuff? Without telling Mo first/ that you're going to. Just call her and kind of see how things go -- make it abundantly clear that if she prefers not to see Mo, that's FINE, that you're not guilting her at all, but that you thought that you'd get her input rather than making an assumption about what she did or didn't want. That gives her an opportunity to say yes or no (yes you were right that she'd prefer not to see him right now, or actually she'd be interested in seeing him).

Those are my offhand thoughts but I also know that Mo has specific issues related to this whole thing -- attachment stuff, etc., -- and so I'd also tend to advise asking a professional about it, like that counselor.
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Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 09:33 am
I agree with dadpad and littlek. Perhaps you could just explain the situation and ask her how she feels it should be handled. No pressure. No guilt. This should give you an indication on how to proceed further.

Mo needs some answers and reassurance so that he has the resources to deal with his friends.
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Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 09:51 am
mmmmmm Boomer

really tough one that!

errrrrrrrrr... my initial reaction, though, could be 100% wrong .... could Mo write her a letter so that he feels as tho he is asking ...

I dunno Boomer...

(wish Deb were here but think she may still be offline)

I just think that if Mo is asking, putting it in writing is using his voice - but of course, that may be completely inappropriate and make it harder for him if he doesn't get a response...

his voice is important - maybe a letter just saying that it would be nice to see her and telling her some of the things he has done

sorry, that's not much help, is it- wanted to respond to you tho

must be hard for you trying to answer his questions

I don't know if there is a wrong way or a right way... just has to be your way because you know him best and what his level of understanding is.
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Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 11:00 am
boomerang wrote:
But I think she has a right to her privacy and for her own reasons she is not currently in contact with him. She knows where we live, she knows our phone number, she knows me well enough to know that she could see him if she wanted to.

She has chosen not to be in touch at this time. That is her right, and I don't think Mo has a right to supercede her wishes. Your instinct to leave her alone about this is, I think, quite right.

I'd written something very different initially, but I think you may just have to tell Mo that the answer is no. Sometimes there just aren't explanations for things, and trying to create explanations makes it messier.

Is there anything that Mo hasn't wanted to do, that other people have wanted him to do, that you've protected him from? If necessary, you could use that sort of situation as an analogy.
Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 11:14 am
I'm agreeing with ehBeth.
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Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 11:25 am
I'm agreeing with Osso and ehBeth. Kids are pretty intuitive, and it is comforting to believe that one's birth parent gave him/her up altruistically and out of love rather than believe s/he wasn't wanted--you have also certainly told him that he was chosen because he was so wonderful and he is loved beyond measure.

But it is important to understand that the pain of being forced to deal with what one cannot have must also be considered, and that the birth mother should not be subjected to unnecessary pain and angst just to satisfy the kid's curiosity.

Tell him that when he is old enough, he can decide for himself whether he should contact her. Until then, understand that she loved him enough to want the best for him. It was the most painful thing in the world for her to give up a child out of love. And that he should understand and not make things harder for her. He can tell his friends that when he is older, he will decide whether he will see her.
Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 11:31 am
I like that last paragraph, Foxfyre.
Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 11:33 am
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ebrown p
Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 11:34 am
It sounds like there might be an intermediary... someone who knows both you and the bio mom, but might not have the emotional involvement.

Is there someone you could trust to be responsible, who knows the bio mom, that you could use to offer contact? I think you would need someone who could make an offer that really doesn't come with any pressure for her to accept.

The only other idea I have is to be absolutely honest with Mo. It will help Mo to have confidence that you aren't hiding anything from him... and kids are more resilient than we imagine.
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Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 11:35 am
I see Sozobe's point about speaking with that earlier expert re Mo's particular attachment history.
Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 11:41 am
The only problem is putting a guilt trip on her. And if she is unwilling to see him, and he found out about it--it's amazing how much kids find out that we don't think they ever would--that would be far more difficult for him than to believe that not seeing her is his idea for now.
Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 11:51 am
Well, Boomer knows the bio mom pretty well, and has said she doesn't want contact with Mo right now. It seems clear to me that that should be respected at this point., and that efforts to contact her or letter from Mo would be pushing it. Unless, an expert who knows Mo's case had a different opinion, I'd go with paying attention to bio mom.
And use some words to Mo like that paragraph of yours.
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Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 11:57 am
Foxfyre wrote:

Until then, understand that she loved him enough to want the best for him. It was the most painful thing in the world for her to give up a child out of love. And that he should understand and not make things harder for her.

Out on a limb here.

Not all kids will understand or have the ability to understand why they were given up, out of love, especially, particularly, children with attachment issues. Telling a child this is and hoping they will understand, well, I don't think he should feel that it's his responsibility of making it harder for the birth parent.

I agree that the mother has the right to privacy and her decisions are foremost in a situation such as this, these were her choices. I also agree that children need to be told 'no' in many situations because explanations can be messy or can cause more damage.

But I also know that when a child is told they are given up for their best interests, or out of love, that when a child repeatedly asks the question "why won't my mom/dad see me"... that giving no explantion or a less than honest explanation, that it can really damage the child. Saying it was because they were so loved - that doesn't make sense to a child. Children with attachment issues, I believe, more so.

They don't all understand. Certainly, the stigmatisation (if that's a word) that children feel who are 'given up' is huge for children. Each child will react differently. Each circumstance is different.

It isn't the child making it harder for the parent. They are the children. They shouldn't feel responsible for making it harder for the parent by asking to see them. The answer can still be a no - but I think the professionals involved with the issues Mo may have - maybe need to have some input.

Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 12:06 pm
All good points. Certainly my kids were not able to assimilate or accept all the 'grown up' concepts we attempted to feed to them. At least at the time.

Still, I do not think it harms a child, even one with attachment issues, to be able to believe that he was not given up because he wasn't wanted, but because his Mom couldn't care for him. And I don't think it hurts to give a child a solid reason for why he is told 'no' and one would be because it would be difficult for the birth mother. He doesn't have to fully understand that. He only needs to understand that the problem is not him, that his current mom isn't just being unreasonable or mean--even if he accuses her of that--and that he will be given power to deal with it himself later.

In other words, kids can be more reasonable than we sometimes give them credit for, even if they don't immediately act reasonably.
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Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 12:08 pm
while it's true that the bio-mom retains the right to self-determination, the adoptive mom has the responsibility of parenting/decision making (never an easy task under the best of circumstances). "open adoptions" present obvious and not so obvious difficulties which the adoptive moms must navigate. personally I would support Boomers judgment over and above Mo's.
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Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 12:11 pm
Thank you all so much for your wonderful replies.

At first I tried to convince myself that she would be happy to hear from me and want to see Mo but when I realized that what I was doing was talking myself into it I rethought the whole situation.

I know that she knows he is loved and well cared for. She doesn't have those doubts and questions that plague most birthparents. She knows she made the right decision for both her and Mo. She has moved on with her life and she is doing good.

I care about her. I've known her twice as long as I've known Mo. She was important to me long before Mo was even thought about. I absolutely, positively do not want to cause her any pain.

Even though Mo is not angry or hostile towards her with his questions I can't imagine that him asking these same things to her would be easy for her.

It started seeming very small and selfish to call her: "Mo has questions, you need to come explain." That doesn't seem fair.

And I have to think long term for Mo. Even if she did agree to a meeting what if she didn't want any further contact. I think that would be very, very hard on him.

There is a go-between I could us but I kind of get the feeling that she lords her contact with Mo over his other mom. She would go Betty Bowers batshit to "facilitate" such a meeting.

I've thought about trying to stumble across her via myspace or facebook just to initiate a conversation and see how she's doing but I imagine my motives would be pretty apparent.

I think for now I'll just have to go with my gut and keep saying "No." I'm still not completely comfortable with that but I feel better about it since some of you think that's the best way to handle it.

Thanks again everyone!
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Reply Fri 3 Jul, 2009 02:26 pm
You don't have to say NO, just say "I am not able to do that right now."

He is just looking for answers to the abandonment that he feels. There is a good book called 'Being Adopted" that may help you guide him thru this. Main thing is to keep talking to him about it. She was not able to care for him then and is unable to fill that role now. she loves him as much as she is able to right now (which is not very much)

He will understand when he gets older, but kids in those pre-teen and teen years have a lot of difficulty processing the entire thing, especially when other kids want to know all the details.

Good luck with this.
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