Adopted, blended family?!

 I’m just so confused about what to do.  I mean we want to allow our two “new kids” to have access to their biological cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents but at this point our little girl’s counselor says NO WAY!  

Bless her little heart she is still so confused.  A few months ago there was a big incident which I wrote about  (https://mssc54.wordpress.com/2009/04/17/i-hate-you-yuore-not-my-mommy/). 

Our little girl goes to therapy twice a month for an hour.  We’ve had both children for thirty-seven months now.  For the first year her counselor would come to our home every Monday morning and “visit” with her from eight to nine.  Now, at this point, she has “graduated” to a twice a month schedule.

Here’s the most recent quandary.  One of her maternal aunts asked if the kids could spend the night a couple of weeks ago.  Although this aunt is the sister of our new kids’ biological mother they have been pretty good at not letting bio-mom have any contact what-so-ever.  However, on this particular sleep over night our little girl’s eleven year old cousin somehow brought up bio-mom during prayer time.  So much so that when our little girl came home the next day she came up to me with a huge grin on her face and said, “Daddy, I know how to spell my other mommies name!”  Then she blurted out the proper spelling of bio-mom.  What’s even worse is that she began talking about bio-dad by name!  For about a year now she had been referring to bio-dad as “that man.”   So now she not only knows how to spell bio-mom’s name correctly but also now remembers what bio-dad’s name is!

The aunt and uncle don’t seem to understand the gravity of the situation.  “It was just a mistake.”  Well “just a mistake” had our little girl writing a letter today in her counselor’s office saying that she’s sorry her other mommy is sad because she can’t see her.  The counselor told us that she feels guilty and responsible because bio-mom is sad!

So extended bio-family just slips into their life whenever it’s convenient for them, stirs up there little hearts and causes more psychological issues and doesn’t even say “sorry!”  It was “just a mistake.”

I guess we will have to go back to how contact was in the early months.  They can talk to them on the phone while we are on the extension listening but to give them unsupervised access is out of the question.  Needless to say there won’t be any more sleep overs for a very, very long time… if ever.

A couple of things that really ticked me off:  I shot off an email to bio-aunt and  uncle.  Mater of fact here it is.

To be honest I’m a little confused and more than annoyed that “L” came home telling me that she knows how to spell her other mother’s name.  That’s never happened here and has not come up for quite some time.  Not even during to her regular hourly (weekly) counseling sessions she returned to about six weeks ago.  And talking about Gene too!  She told us (and her counselor) that she couldn’t remember “that man’s” name.  Now she spends the night with you guys and she comes home talking about Mary and Gene!!  Great!

 
I’ll just be brutally honest. I want L and P to be able to continue a relationship with their cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents but if it will serve to further confuse her as to who her ONLY parents are we’ll have to reevaluate that.
 
Just to be clear, I’m more than a little ticked.
 
Michael
So then bio-aunt responds:
If you are confused then ask questions.  If you’re ticked and you are, ask yourself what is at the root of the anger.  After you’ve calmed down please call me and we’ll discuss this. You might ask L how she knew how to spell Mary. There’s a perfectly good reason.

Love,

K

Later bio-uncle responds:

Michael I know that you are upset. I just heard about it tonight. L  brought it up when she was praying. She prayed for you and B then she prayed for her other mommy and daddy. That is how it all  started. That was with E when the 2 were praying before going to bed. Have you found out what happened? Have you even asked what happened? I really want to know if this is how Jesus would handle this situation? S

Are you friggn kidding me?! WHAT WOULD JESUS DO? You’re asking ME what would Jesus do?!  Coming from the biological aunt and uncle who when their niece and nephew were four and two years old would rather let them enter into Foster Care or a state run orphanage then to alter their life and take them in and raise them?!!

My (calmer) response to the bio-aunt and uncle was this.

S:

After carefully considering your and K’s response I felt as if one last response may be in order. K and your letters indicated a couple of things that deserve some clarification. It basically revolves around two things you mentioned.

1. My anger
2. What would Jesus do

First, to be clear, my irritation is not rooted in any selfish, carnal, or immature reaction. It is rooted in what is best for two children whose biological parents ejected them from theirlives because of their selfish, carnal, and immature actions. This isn’t about you or how I may feel. It is about them and what is best  not okay or good but best. Their lives are not “normal”. They are being put back together again and to be candid, everyone needs to develop some sensitivity to that concept. B and I deal with this on a day to day basis. We are talking about therapy, counselors, lawyers, DSS, judges, and it seems a little disingenuous to me that you havedifficulty understanding why that would be a sensitive subject to us. Maybe it was time you got “put out” with the people who created this situation and exercised a little bit of attention and grace to those of us who are “in the hunt” with regards to these two children’s lives.  In fact, if we had not stepped up and did as Jesus told the disciples one day “let the little ones come unto me” I dare say that none of us would know where L and P would be today.  They would be with strangers, somewhere in the United States and we all would be left to wonder the rest of our days what ever became of them.

Secondly, what would Jesus do? Are you really so blind as to ask a question like that? Are you really so self-consumed that you cannot see that you have faced that very question on numerous occasions (regarding L and P) and did not pass the test. Do I have to list the ways that you have disqualified yourself from ever asking that question? If this didn’t involve L and P, I could almost laugh at the sheer hypocrisy of that question. Their very extended family who conveniently enters and exits as time permits…asking the C’s…what would Jesus do? I think you may need to seek the Lord on this one more than I.

Having said all that, I do think there can be value in L and P maintaining a relationship with some in their biological family. However, we are the parents. Period.  This is a big, sensitiveve topic in our household; not because of our personal insecurities, but rather every health professionals’ opinion is telling us that the relationship with their biological parents is harmful. You and K are going to have to decide how you will handle this appropriately and develop better strategies of keeping L and P on target from where their support is really coming from. It is time you all made the attempt to get in the game on this one as well.  L spent the first year of her life without her “mommy” only to have her suddenly appear then over the course of the next three years of her life to have strangers (DSS) remove her from her parents twice before we were finally asked to take them.  Imagine you are a little two or three year old girl and haveto wonder if each time these “strangers” came to visit your home if they would take you away from your mommy and daddy….again.  S you can not imagine the psychological, emotional and yes even the physical problems that continue with L to this day because of the extensive neglect she suffered at the hands of those who professed to love her.  This isn’t about you…it is about them. And because of that, I will be ever vigilant to defend the defenseless.

What is really sad, is that all you or K had to do was say, “Sorry Michael, we’ll try to catch these moments and bring better direction to it”. It would have all been over and I would have had incredible respect for you both.

I guess I will take your advice and keep asking, “What would Jesus do”? I feel like I have the fruit to show I have done exactly that. Will the cardiologist check his own heart too?

Standing for the innocent.

Michael
You know in a divorce it is pretty easy to determine what everyone’s role is.  But in an adoption case like ours where the bio family did not want their young niece or nephew and the maternal grandmother actually is the person who told DSS to put them in Foster Care or the orphanage and the bio-parents then asked DSS to ask us to take them….
Well, the lines seem blurred at times.  But for now I have decided to draw the line with a Sharpie marker.  It’s going to take a very long time for the line to fade this time.
Any suggestions or experiences would be appreciated.
Thanks for reading.

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16 Responses to Adopted, blended family?!

  1. Sue says:

    I have none. Plain and simple. Sorry. You are doing the best you can do and know how to do and I give you props for even letting bio family into their lives. I cannot imagine what you or those kids go through on a daily basis, but I know that it’s a good thing they are with you and the Mrs. Hang in there…deep breaths, deep breaths!

    mssc54 replied:

    Surgical Sue: I’ve been working with our little boy with his “coping skills.” Deep breath – deep breath – deep breath – oooonnnee, twoooo, threeee, fourrrr, fiiiive, siiiiix, seeeeven, eeeeight, niiiine, teeen – deep breath. lol

  2. Tosha says:

    I think you might indeed be confused but I also think you rightly know what to do and what your heart is telling you is right. You are in the right. And you truly want whats best for those children and in that. You KNOW what to do.

    mssc54 replied:

    Tosha: Sometimes I get lost in expecting others to be what I expect them to be. Doh!

    • Tosha says:

      I do believe we are all guilty of that at some point..

      mssc54 replied:

      Tosha: There’s so much going on here I’m not sure “all guilty” you are referring to. Some maybe others definately not!

  3. This is an issue I ran up against time and time again in my own family. People believe that blood is blood, that family is family and that nothing else matters. So as far as they were concerned, I had no right to eject my parents from my own life because they were my parents, regardless of whether they ever acted like parents. I was only ever abandoned by one parent, but abused by the other.

    There is substantial peer and social pressure for people to feel obligated and beholden regarding family no matter what actions they take.

    Anyway, the fact of the matter is that it is clear that no one in this other family considers you and your wife to be the parents (no matter what the court says). You are simply caretakers, probably until the ‘real’ parents can get it together.

    While you and I agree on what a ‘real’ parent is, most people can’t see past that blood connection. Anyway, they are clearly trying to undermine your parenthood which they apparently believe is false anyway.

    Don’t get angry. Don’t get engaged in a religious discussion with them. (When it comes to situations like this, people only see what they wish to.) If it is at all feasible I completely recommend severing the blood connection completely. She will never feel wholly a member of your family otherwise and she will always feel displaced and unloved.

    Finally, there is a reason the biological parents fell off the deep end. The family dynamic is clearly not the best. I know this is deeply frustrating, but you MUST reign in your anger. It only gives them more fuel, like emotional bullies who are trying to instigate drama. Frankly, that’s the last thing your little girl needs.

    mssc54 replied:

    Hayden: Honestly… I’m still confused with their confusion. Frustrated doesn’t even begin to explain the level of irritation.

    Now WE are the ones left to pick up the pieces and put them back in order.

  4. Whoops! Sorry about repeating myself. (Clearly I feel passionate here.)

    🙂

  5. melissa says:

    we both know you don’t need my advice and wouldn’t follow it but thankfully i don’t have any advice to give other than stay your path. i know i’m not one to talk but i would have done and reacted the same way….i get alot of grief because i haven’t told or let callie or devin meet bio dad but i have tried REPEATEDLY to let bio families be a part of their lives to no avail…..everyone thinks i did it to be selfish and not have to deal wit the families but it was nothing of the sort. i will have to e mail you and tell you about it sometime. maybe then you will have a better understanding as to why i handled my situation the way i did. but as for your situation i applaud you and b for doin the things you have done and love you both i have NEVER understood a mother being able to give up ONE much less TWO of their children for ANY reason. you and i may not agree on the way that i raise my children but i can tell you this….there is NO ONE on this planet that loves my kids more than i do and i know i don’t always do everything right but i never claimed to be perfect. i just claimed to love my kids and want the best for them as any mother would. have no fear that the day will come that i will be tryin to explain to my children about bio family and its going to be tough but u can rest assured that there will be no lies told and the bio families have been informed of such so there should be no surprises when the kids show up on their doorsteps asking why they didn’t want to be a part of their lives. callie and devin just in the last couple months started callin matt “daddy” and that was of THEIR own doing. i had NO hand in it. its not my choice its theirs and i was not letting ANYONE force that on them….hold your head up and know that even tho you prob don’t believe me i am praying for you and b and your whole family is in my prayers nightly. i wish we weren’t so far away and you could get to know callie and devin and ethen better and see how much your neice has grown and is TRYING to be a good mother. there are still people out there that think they are goin to take my kids from me and i hate to tell them they are gonna have a heck of a fight on their hands….your doin the best you can and like me that’s all you can do….i love yall

    mssc54 replied:

    Melissa: I suppose you are just like your uncle. The older I got I seemed to learn from some of the choices I’ve made and make different choices in the future.

    However, I encourage you to not do like your uncle (aka ME) and confess to the Lord that if you had to raise children again that you would do some things differently next time. He just may take you seriously and you’ll find yourself starting all over with kids at the age of 51!! lol

  6. Michelle says:

    first of all for some reason 37 months sounds like a long time but over 3 years sounds longer. know what I mean?
    Hayden is right you are the parent here. the bio “family” didn’t want to have any responsability when L was a baby and again 37 months ago with both kids. I would think that until they can respect your wishes about the bio “parents” L and P are better off not seeing them. the aunt and uncle seem defensive to me and they are probably that way because they feel “guilty” for not “stepping up to the plate” 37 months ago. That is done. you and B ARE THE PARENTS of these 2 innocent children and you will both do what is right for THEM.
    Love all of you and keeping you in my prayers

    mssc54 replied:

    Michelle: One of the things that gauled me is their lack of acceptance to accept any responsibililty! But I guess I should be surprised at my surprise.

  7. Lindsey says:

    Okay, first off: She probably really does mean well. Her email makes it seem as if it’s your daughter’s “fault”, your daughter wanted to pray for her parents and poor helpless aunt was roped into a discussion. This raises two problems.
    1) Your daughter isn’t disconnecting from her bio-parents in her mind.
    2) Her Aunt doesn’t see this as the developmental stumbling block that it is, and isn’t working with you to counter-act it.

    As her REAL dad, you’re left with no choice but to sever the ties until her aunt treats her psychological safety with the care and caution it deserves. Which sucks, it really sucks- but your daughter needs to bond with you and your wife as her real parents until she’s psychologically to the point where she can face her bio-family without it causing her undue stress and harm. If she’s still facing questions like “why doesn’t Mary and Gene love me/want me” without being able to answer them with “but my REAL mom and dad love me and want me”, she can’t be put into situations where her family situation is talked about in ANY terms but, “you have a family that chose you and want you, you owe those other people no care.”

    You’ve got a servants heart and a real mercy drive, so it must kill you to have to take the hatchet to familial relationships you want to preserve, but your first concern HAS to be your daughter’s psychological well-being and her emotional development, and if her aunt doesn’t share that concern or won’t stand behind your decisions when she disagrees, she has to be kept on a short lease. Even if it hurts her.

    mssc54 replied:

    Lindsey: The aunt may mean well but she has had more than three years to give some thought to this difficult situation. She is very well educated, the uncle is a heart surgeon, they are millionairs! Yet they are unwilling to give any dedicated time and thought to how to handle conversations that will benefit THEIR niece.

    Is it any wonder the bio-mom, the maternal grandmother and the aunt all come from the same gene pool?

  8. K. Trainor says:

    Oh goodness. This must be so difficult for you and your family. I have to agree with Lindsey and Michelle, that this is the time for YOUR family, and not for other folks who weren’t willing to BE family when it mattered.

    Whatever you and your wife decide, you’ll both be a part of my prayers that all works out best for your family. *hug*

    mssc54

    K.Traionor: HAHA! Now you see why (when I read your Blog post) I was curious as to wheather you had read my Blog post before you posted about JACKASSES? Too funny!

  9. Joni Ruhs says:

    Based on no professional expertise in this area, it seems better for the kids to wait until they’re older and can rightly understand the situation as to whether they want to contact bio-fam.

    mssc54 replied:

    Joni: I think your insight is right on. Thanks for commenting!

  10. Joy says:

    Boy, this is tough. I would tend to agree with those who’ve said, you said and did the right thing but don’t let yourself get drawn into “discussions” with them about ANYTHING. You are the parent and you are making the decisions for them. As long as the counselor agrees, nobody can make you do anything and you need to protect these two children that NOBODY in that family had time or love to do themselves. Shame, shame on them and cheers to you for the love you and B have.

    mssc54 replied:

    Joy: The thing is I just keep hoping that one day the proverbial light will come on in the bio family and they will realize…. Naaaaahhhh, who am I kidding.

  11. marlajayne says:

    No easy answers for this one.The only advice (since you asked for it) is to stay cool, calm, and collected. Even Christ got angry a time or two, but in your case, it will only make you look weak or crazed (?) in the bio-family’s estimation. You always want to come across as wise, sane, and LOVING. Another thing to remember is that you are the parent. Period. The court has placed these children in your hand for good reason, and keeping that thought uppermost in your mind will help you.

    mssc54 replied:

    Marlajayne: Looking “loving” can be a relative term. No pun intended. But I certainly understand your wise point.

  12. ransom33 says:

    Hi Michael,

    I feel for your plight, I really do. And I am sure you are doing what you can for the best future of those kids.

    I totally understand your anger and frustration at people who did not care and have suddenly taken an interest. I think of the prodigal son who is selfish and thinks only of himself and on his return, the brother who has always been loyal and righteous is angry at the unfairness in his mind of the Father welcoming the son gone astray with open arms. If the father can forgive the unfaithfulness and selfishness of his children, we must do so too and give people a second chance, because we also make mistakes and sin and those mistakes and sins have been forgiven.

    I have to say I don’t see there is a problem with your daughter wanting to find out about her biological mother’s name, and how moving that she has room in her heart to pray for her. She has a right to know about her bio-parents, and if that right is denied, she will only resent you for it later when she grows up. At the end of the day, you are now her parents and that will never change, but in order to find out who she is and why she is the way she is, she will attempt to find out more about her bio-parents sooner or later.

    Like you said, this is not about her uncle and aunt or anyone else, it is about her. Her needs must come first and from what I see and hear, a considerable need for any adopted child when they grow up is to know who their bio-family are. Whether they wish to keep in touch with them or not after that will be up to the child.

    Be blessed!

    mssc54 replied:

    Ransom33: I’m not at all sure the Prodigal Son applies here. I’m more thinking of when Jesus told the Disciples to go from town to town and if they find a town that refuses to here the Gosple then leave that place and shake the dust from their sandles.

    As for our (7 year old) daughter wanting to know more about her biological parents and “having a right” to know about them… It’s like that movie with Jack Nickelson and Tom Cruise, she can’t handle the truth. At such a young age, it will only serve to further delay her healing by enguaging in “fantasies” about her biological parents. We don’t mention them by name when we pray we just pray for (the family).

    Additionally, since she is only 7 years old, it is very important at this age that she recognizes that she only has one set of parents. Imagine in 5 or 6 more years as she enters the teen years and we have to discipline her. She does not need to have some thought in the back of her mind that there is another option for her regarding parents. It’s much like when Jesus taught about being “double minded.” That will only lead to disaster. After they are “put back together” we plan on letting them know the circumstances surrounding the need for them to be removed from their biological parents.

  13. TRO says:

    You did . . . are doing . . . the right thing. They are wrong. Stay strong.

  14. lawyerchik1 says:

    What a struggle …. not that this is a “voting” matter, as it’s easy to voice an opinion when you aren’t the one dealing with the aftermath, but I’m with Hayden and the others who have suggested cutting ties with the biological family, too.

    I have absolutely no experience to support my opinion, but you’re going to have your work cut out for you just continuing to work with these kids toward healing and wholeness without having to worry about being undermined in your efforts by people who appear to have contributed to the problem in the first place.

    When the kids are older and can understand more about what happened and why you’ve adopted them, maybe when they’re 18 (or 30) is plenty of time for them to get re-acquainted. Stability, love, patience and consistent messages and teaching are in their best interests, and sometimes, parents have to be the “bad guys” and just say “no.”

    Good luck – you are taking on such a huge responsibility!! Good for you!

  15. Tessa says:

    Wow. Thanks for sharing that. It seems you know what is best and are handling things great. I feel for those children and your family. You are blessed and the love you give those children is all that matters most. The world needs more parents like you that stand up for the helpless children. I hope to adopt one day. I looked into it and it cost a lot of money I was surprised. Why do they charge so much when they need a home? Once I am done with college and make better money I will save it up.

    mssc54 replied:

    Tessa: At times it is difficult to determine who is getting the greater blessing the children or those of us who love and care for them.

    I don’t know where you live but in the USA there is no charge for adopting children from Social Services. In our state alone there are hundreds of children just waiting for someone to take them home, love them and care for them. The problem is that most people who want to adopt expect to get a new born infant with no negative history. It is truly sad for an 8 or 9 year old child to go from home to home while the perspective adoptive parents basically give the kid a test run to see if they want to keep him/her. Breaks my heart.

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