Monday, September 16, 2013

The letter I actually sent...

Braxdon's open adoption has not been going as well as I imagined. It's a long story... The short version- I am treated like his babysitter, they (his birth family) refuses to use his new name, his birth mom tried to parent him and wants him to call her mommy and birth dad- daddy. The list goes on and on. No matter how many visits I give them, they always text me asking, "When can I see Owen again?" When we do have visits they include LOTS of treats, candy and toys every time. I work 60+ hours a week and have invited the family to come visit him any time they want at my store, but they never do come. We finally decided to write Kim this letter- (and that part at the end, yes she did have a friend text me and swear at me because I hadn't responded her to text!)

I know I dropped contact with you. Partly because I’m busy and partly because I need a break. I need to be able to settle into my role as your child’s mother. I feel like I have been in this battle with you for “Who is ‘mommy’”! The hard truth is, I am. I am, and forever will be your child’s mother. You choose this. You wanted me to adopt him. So when you come for visits and insist that you are called mommy and birth dad is called daddy it hurts me. I am mommy and my husband is daddy. If you want to be called birth mom, that is fine. But “Mommy” is out of the question.

It is also hard that every time you text me you say “My boy”, “My baby”, “My Owen”. Again, we’re in this battle over who he belongs to... He is MINE. It bothers me that you refuse to call him by the name we have named him. I know that you don’t like his new name and are probably mad at us for changing it, we can accept that, but we did change it. We are not changing it back. I am not going to call him Owen while you are around just to make you happy. He is old enough now that he knows his name and he knows his name is Braxdon. Next time you see him, ask him what his name is. (Although sometimes he says his name is Emma, LOL)

I LOVE having an open adoption, I really do. However, I like taking it at my own pace. If I don’t want to do visits with you all the time, that’s my choice. It’s not because I don’t like you. It’s not because I want to keep my child from you. It is simply because I don’t feel like it. I enjoy driving through the same town you live in and think, I don’t HAVE to stop and see you. If I want to see you, if I have time in my very busy life, I’d love to see you.

I don’t like my child’s relationship with you based on the fact that you give them candy or toys. Please don’t make every time they see you involve treats. Save those for special occasions. Spend time with the child, not money. Talk to me like a friend, not like the child’s babysitter. When you come to visit, please do not parent your child. That is my job.

Holidays are for my family. And by that I mean, my husband, children and I spend it with either just us or with our parents. If I gave you a “Christmas visit” that IS your visit for Christmas. Be grateful and please don’t ask to see the child again on Christmas day. Then, after I agree to let you see them on Christmas... you don’t even show up!

Please, don’t expect them every week, or every month. I don’t like being “hounded” for visits. The more you bug me, the more I do not want to see you. Why don’t I want to see you... Because you spoil my kids with candy, talk to me like I’m your temporary baby sitter and judge me for the way I am raising my child.

I am not saying this to be rude. I am saying this because I’m at my whits end. I have an open adoption with Emma’s birth mom that I love. The visits are casual. We hang out like friends. She plays with her child like you would your niece or best friend’s kid. She doesn’t judge me. She doesn’t parent. She is the fun birth mom and she loves it. She doesn’t shower the child with toys or candy. When she can afford it she gives presents on the child’s birthday, Christmas and sometimes Easter or Valentine’s Day. She doesn’t do anything I feel is inappropriate for, or with the child. (Like handing them an Ipod and turning on Metallica) We enjoy being around each other. I miss her when I haven’t talked to her in a while, not relieved that she isn’t bugging me.

I get that you miss your child. I get that sometimes you want to see your child at a time that is not convenient for me. I have given you my work schedule and have invited you to come to my work anytime to see the child.... yet you never come then.
And having someone text me and swear at me, is NOT going to get me to text you back any faster! All that will do is making me want to not talk to you.


Mrs. Lost said...

I'm so sorry that you are having to go through this. Is open adoption a legally binding document in your state? Or is something that you can stop at any time?

schnitzelbank said...

I think this letter comes across equally bratty as birth mom's behavior. You two sound like two little girls fighting over a toy. Gimme, Gimme, Mine, MINE. Shame on both of you: it's about a child and his needs.
A child should know who his birth parents are, and unless there's danger (candy and rock music isn't the same as dirty needle and gun), there's no good reason to end contact or end a relationship. None of these reasons you've given justify ending your child's connection with his birth mother.
Now, I could understand if your boundaries were drawn with Braxdon's needs in mind, but really, it is mostly all about yours. Your feelings, your time schedule. Nowhere do you mention that bmom's behavior is hurting Braxdon. She just sounds like a pushy person, she needs clear boundaries that you mutually define and respect. She is obviously confused about her place in the relationship, and you were completely nasty to her in this letter. There was a more mature, child-centered way you could have handled this.

Claudia Corrigan D'Arcy said...

I am saying this most respectfully and in the best of intentions;

When you adopt then the reality is that a child has two mothers and two fathers. That's the basis of adoption. The role or mother, the "title" that you are upset about, is not a physical place, the top of a mountain where only one mother can occupy.. There is no need to push another person off the mountain for you to have firm footing. Think of it rather like a vast wide open prairie... where love can abound.. love for the child that you share.
A child is not a possession that anyone can own..he is not "your", he is not "hers" he is his own person and both of you hare going to be vital and important to him forever. Choosing lines int he sand, no matter how logical or right tit might seem will only in the end, hurt him He will feel torn, put in the middle and not be able to embrace all the important people in his life, embrace and love all the important pieces of himself.
Yes, I am a birthmother and I can completely sympathies with what his other mother is feeling, but I do not say this to slap your wrists, but ask you to find in your heart more compassion. We do not choose to place our children because we want to and sadly that piece of paper that grants you the right to parent does little to affect what happens in our hearts... that is not your fault, and it might not even be your problem, but please don't make it be about you and your needs.. make it be about showing kindness to your child's other mother for that is something that will be best for him. Not to go on, but may I suggest a wonderful open adoption book written by an truly wonderful adoptive mother who has a beautiful understand of open adoption: I think you will get some beautiful insight out of it.
Best to you all...

Mitzy said...

I can't find much information on open adoption via foster care. And I'm hoping to have an open adoption via foster care, so I'm extremely grateful for your honesty.

Que and Brittany's Adoption Journey said...

I think when there is a need to correct someone, they need to feel that they are being corrected out of love, and that their relationship with you is important to you. I think after reading a letter that was worded this way, Kim will most likely feel defensive and angry, herself. You may need to apologize to Kim and start again, maybe expressing your feelings in person, so that she can see that you do still want to have a good relationship with her.

aloz said...

My husband and I are adopting. As much grief as you received from the people who don't even know you, I appreciate that this is still here. I also really appreciate your honesty and can see how and why you feel this way. thank you!