Saturday, May 24, 2014

A Matter of Closure

There was an interesting discussion on the radio the other day about what adoptive parents go through when their child wants to contact the birth parent(s).  Having gone through that experience, I decided it was time I blogged about it.

My son was placed in foster care when he was six years old. On a Friday, his drug-addicted mother left him and his three year old sister in a run-down motel room, where they were living at the time, and she never returned. It took three days for those two frightened children to be discovered and during the three days they survived on food my son found in garbage cans. The abandonment was reprehensible, but it paled in comparison to the abuse they endured since birth.

Who could resist that face?!!!
To make a long story short, they were both released for adoption. Their social worker and counselors determined it was in their best interest they be placed separately due to a variety of circumstances. My ex-husband and I adopted Bobby and another family in Connecticut adopted his sister.  We arranged cross-country visits during summers and they maintained weekly contact by phone.





As with many children that have suffered abuse, he joined our family with severe emotional and behavioral problems that reached the point of his needing institutionalization for assaults and two suicide attempts.  I became so angry I started researching (before I had Internet) and found both biological parents.  His mother had moved to Michigan and his father was in Colorado.  I wanted to give them a piece of my mind but my intention was to ask if they would be willing to talk to my son.  I knew he needed closure in order to move forward.  Obviously they were both surprised to hear about the adoption, but willing to cooperate.  Thankfully both were clean and sober at that point.  (I also wanted to ask why they hadn't tried to find their children but as I said before, that wasn't my intention, anyway ... it was something they needed to explain to Bobby).

The calls were made under the supervision of Bobby's therapist at the residential treatment facility and it was recommended I not be present.  That day I was an emotional wreck...On one hand I was glad he would be able to get closure and hopefully make significant progress to come home, but on the other hand I was scared he would want to reunite with one or the other and not love me any more.   The calls worked, he made great strides emotionally and behaviorally. He had no intention of reuniting, whew!, and eventually came "home".   Although his parents continued contact for awhile, the letters and calls unfortunately diminished after a few months.

Visiting him in Michigan in 2009
after birth of our second
granddaughter.
Seven years ago my son moved from here (California). After the birth of my first grandchild his girlfriend wanted to be closer to her family....coincidentally in Michigan. Once there he asked me if I could find out if his biological mom was still there.  The fear surfaced again...not just with him wanting to see her but having "that woman" part of my granddaughter's life.  To be honest I don't know if it was fear, jealousy or anger.  I did some research (thankfully it was easier via Internet) and she still lived in Michigan about a hundred miles away from Bobby.  He did visit and take my granddaughter, and after the visit he called me.  I fought tears as he said, "Mom, it was so sad, she looked so old and worn out from all the drugs. I'm so glad I have you!"

He hasn't visited her since, but just as Bobby needed closure
so many years ago, I needed some too. I carried a great deal
of anger, hate and resentment towards both of his biological parents.
I had to accept the fact that although they made some bad choices
and suffered the consequences, I had made bad choices too ... during my
"demon years". How dare I judge them?

I don't know if they ever reached out for God's mercy...I hope they have.
Regardless, it's my job to keep my side of the street clean, keep them in my
prayers and forgive ...

For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.  
Matthew 6:14-15

Present Day :)

I am so very blessed!!!!!







1 comment:

  1. I'm glad everything worked out for you and your son, Patti!

    ReplyDelete

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