Responses to Reunion Trapped

This is a follow on blog to yesterday’s “Opportunistic Dependency” blog. Some responses to the young woman’s plight.

From one response – Do you know where she is located ? When she says these threats I would call the police or 911 to do a wellness check explain the situation and your concerns. If she is using it as leverage, she will hopefully not want that burden. If she is truthfully mentally not doing well, then you could really be helping her. Even if she is using it as leverage and has to get psychological help, maybe it could get her head in the right place.

While this answer seems harsh, I had to make a similar decision – to cut ties with a toxic sibling for my own mental health. Here’s what the commenter said – There is only so much your own mental health can take, and my view is that this seems to be all about her, not about you. She is your mother, not the other way around. Your relationship should be about you, or at the very least about both of you, not about what you have to offer her. Until she can get to a place where she can have that relationship with you… It’s on her. Disconnect for your own health. If you choose not to follow this advice, I totally understand. It took years of abuse/neglect for my siblings to come around to this way of thinking. Sending hugs. This is so hard. I get it.

I found this to be a direct and reasonable response –  She sounds like she is suffering from a serious addiction. This is not who she really is. That being said the burden isn’t yours to carry. She needs a professional to help her.

And maybe spending time with others facing similar challenges would be helpful, as this woman suggests – None of this is on you. She’s sick in addiction. And appears that abuse and manipulation are her tools. All I can recommend is an Alanon meeting and know that whatever she chooses to do to herself is her choice – not on you at all.

Another one shared – Similar to my story although she was older at 18 and is an alcoholic/depressive which she told me was my fault! I tried but like you she wasn’t actually interested in me…it’s tough and I do think of her but for my own sanity or what I have left its easier to have no relationship and it looks like I never will. Please don’t feel bad in anyway about saying no. Life is so difficult sometimes.

Another woman shared – It took me many years and thousands in therapy to understand that I am not my mothers mother. I had to get to the point where my mental health, family and self came before her. I’m so sorry that you are dealing with this. My mom was a teen mom too. She suffers from active addiction and I “raised” her my entire life. It is completely acceptable to cut toxic people from your life. It can be heartbreaking but at the end of the day you and your family (significant other, kids) need to come first. I personally learned how to compartmentalize the relationship and to politely but firmly say no. It’s hard when threats of suicide and self harm are thrown at you but you cannot be held responsible for her actions. She has a lot of issues that she needs to work out for herself.

And just one last sharing with perhaps a ray of hope –

Birth mom and recovered addict with an adopted daughter in reunion, Addicts are sick and many behave very differently to how they are sober. Not excusing her behavior. I never asked any one for a dime when I was an addict but that was mainly because I chose escorting to fund it, rather than stealing or bleeding family dry. I like to think that shows my character – that I’d rather choose a path harmful to myself than to others. Your mother has to answer for that, My advice would be keep your distance until she’s sober. Don’t close the door forever. She was so young and its tough. She may well be a sweetheart like you – when sober – but definitely don’t give her money and ignore the threats. Mostly anyone who’s going to kill themselves doesn’t barter it for money. I’d say it’s all hot air to manipulate. Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide if you want the “addict mom” drama. But do hope she cleans up her act. It took me 12 years! But I’ve been sober now for 13. It can be done.

Opportunistic Dependency

In life, one often learns who they must say “no” to, because to say “yes” is never a temporary response but an open door to repeated requests, that eventually cause resentment and regret. Sadly, this is often the case in families. I’ve seen it more than once as I am certain most readers here will have as well. Today’s blog is focused on the story of an adoptee reunion. The young woman is somewhat like my mom was – always knew she was adopted and though she yearned for contact with her mother, was unable to achieve that before she died. From what I have learned from my mom’s cousins about my maternal grandmother, she would not have been like the one in my story below –

I was adopted at birth and raised by a wonderful family. From birth (or old enough to understand) I was told about the adoption and what that meant, it was a closed adoption. I never thought about it much while growing up. I just knew I was adopted and the chances were low I would ever get to know them (birth parents) and I was ok with that. I know others deal with it differently, I didn’t have much of a desire to know the back story.

Fast forward to when I was 27, my husband and I were googling our birthdays and the first post I saw was from an adoption website from a birth mom trying to find her daughter. Low and behold that daughter was me! I was shocked and overwhelmed, and thought it was my duty to reach out to say thank you!

I learned she was only 13 when she had me, others choices were available and she chose life for me. On my first attempt to reach out, she needed more time. She admitted she was on drugs and didn’t want me to know her like that.

A couple years passed by and she reached out again. It has not been a happy 5 years. She constantly pesters me with – can you give me money ?, can you give me shelter ?, can you help me ? And when I kindly say no, she responds with rage. Complete and utter anger. She doesn’t want to know anything about me, just wants to exploit her relationship with me.

I’m a super kind person but I know better than to give her anything monetary. It has reached a point where the relationship is toxic and I don’t want to be a part of it any longer. When I try to break it off, she says she is suicidal and will kill herself if I don’t comply with her requests.

To be honest, I wish I had never opened the reunion box. But I did. Now I don’t know what to do. What if she kills herself ? I would feel so responsible. All of this is so so so hard on me!!! What would you do ? And could you live with that choice for the rest of your life ?

Tomorrow, I’ll share some of the advice she received from sharing her story.

What Is Wrong With Being A Single Parent ?

 

I believe in a two parent home but it doesn’t always work out that way.  In my mom’s group, we have several mom’s who are single parenting their children and every one of them is awesome.  Some became mothers without a partner because they wanted to parent and gave up hope on marriage.  Many two parent homes become single parent homes when one of the parents dies, as happened to two of the families in my mom’s group.

So, the reality is that many kids grow up in single parent households. Every parent starts out with zero parenting experience and babies do not come with a how to manual. Today, I read about a 6 month old baby with a loving relative.

In the situation I am reading about, there is no empathy being expressed for either the deceased mom or her brother. The brother has lost his sister. The child has lost his mother. His nephew is probably one of the few things this young man has left of his sister.

Actually, this is a very sad story but unfortunately not a totally rare problem.  Thus warned, here goes, sigh –

The baby’s original, biological, genetic mom was heavily on drugs during pregnancy.  She told the social worker she had no family. Therefore, the baby was taken into foster care at birth. Then, the baby’s mom committed suicide and left a list of relatives. Hence the complication now.

The foster parents have grown attached to the 6 month old boy. He does have some challenges (both mentally and physically). The foster parents really really do love this boy. To their own perspectives, he is their son. He honestly knows no other parents and he’s apparently very happy with them.

Both foster parents have an adequate education. The foster dad works and makes a great income. The foster mom stays home with the baby and devotedly transports him to physical therapy 2 times a week, etc etc.

Now the baby’s uncle wants to raise this baby. He’s 29, single and has a steady occupation and therefore has the financial means to raise baby. However, he has no previous experience with children. It really isn’t his fault that he didn’t know about this baby until recently. He never knew his sister was pregnant because she was estranged from her family at the time. To date, he has not made an effort to see or have contact with the baby.

The foster parents really want to adopt this baby. It will crush them, if this baby is uprooted and turned over to someone who is effectively a stranger the baby doesn’t know. The baby is in a loving two parent home that meets his needs. Is it the right thing to send him into a single parent home ?  It could be a struggle for this young man to meet the boy’s physical and mental need for expert therapies.

As a young man, the uncle doesn’t have the life experience to understand the trauma he will cause, if he takes the baby away from his foster parents. He doesn’t understand what he doesn’t know about parenting.

What do you think is the right outcome in this very complicated situation ?  Generally, I’m in favor of genetically related family – always.  I’m in favor of reform that prevents people from fostering simply in order to adopt a baby.  This is a complicated case with no easy answers.  I am glad I don’t have to be the one to judge.

Skewing The Narrative

It is a fact that many adoptees will actually say they wish their natural, genetic, biological mother had aborted them.  It is also a fact that the government does NOT fund abortions, contrary to the messaging that comes out of evangelical, pro-Life and conservative interests with the hidden agenda of triggering people’s emotions in order to get their vote.  It is also true that the government is already funding some adoptions through a huge tax credit for the single adoptive person or couple.  The government also funds adoptions from foster care paying court expenses.  Many of these adoptions also receive an adoption subsidy, Medicaid and free tuition for the child.

And finally, I do speak from experience on this issue.  I am grateful for access to a safe, legal abortion back in the early 1970s.  That is a blessing that is increasingly hard to get access to.  This planet actually already has enough people and truth be told, more than is sustainable.

I do believe in letting nature take it’s course.  I believe that purging events such as the COVID 19 pandemic is an activity of this Earth.  I believe that predators cull out the weak.  Not that I wish to be a victim of either.  I believe in the kind of God that always knows what each of that God’s individual expressions will do in any given situation.  I believe in a life that is meant to teach our soul important lessons, make us more empathetic and give us a more tolerant perspective on human behavior.  I also believe there is never anything wrong going on, even if we are unable to truly comprehend what we are seeing.  And I do believe that humanity evolves and progresses and that includes what medical science advances including safe abortions and reproductive assistance.  Finally, I believe that death is only an experience in our human lives but personally, I believe in eternal souls living more than one incarnation.  We cannot kill a soul though we can kill the body that the soul moves about the planet with.

An image like the one above is offensive. Abortion and adoption have nothing to do with each other.  Speaking of government funding – why not help families stay together, fund the help that struggling families actually need and support them through a financial crisis ? What if government funded birth control ? What if society supported struggling mothers ? What if society held fathers to higher standards ?

While I’m at it – what about free health care ? Mental health intervention ? How about the government starts caring about drug addicts and puts more funding into rehabs and counseling ?

Some of these people who think like the image above should have to spend at least 9 months forced to serve as a walking incubator for someone they’ll never be allowed to meet again, and then have all proof that they gave birth to a child erased by changed birth certificates and sealed adoption records.  Yes, think about all of those mothers who have had that very experience.  One can get over a conception and abortion quickly.  One lives with the pain of having been separated from their child for a lifetime.

 

Not Always Sunshine and Rainbows

From a foster youth’s perspective –

Hello all! I’m a 22 year old female that started my journey in foster care at the tender age of 4 years old. My parents were addicts which seems to be the case for most kids in care. Most children are set up to fail and they assume where they may end up will be much better then where they come from and thus sadly wasn’t my truth.

I luckily only ended up in two foster homes but one became long term until I was essentially kicked out at 17 because my foster mother no longer was getting benefits for me.. she will not admit that but it’s the truth.

She took in me and my bio brother, she had two golden children of her own and always made it a point at any given time to segregate us. Her children could do no wrong and me and my bio brother often got the brunt of things. Punishments often included cold showers, forced to eat food we didn’t like, public humiliation, physical and emotional abuse.. I remember a lot of name calling, threatening behaviors and often time ignoring my need for love and attention. I was often berated over my weight even though now looking back I was an average child along with my brother.

I was told around 9-10 that they would love to adopt us and make us “part of the family” only to turn around a week later and say “we decided we won’t be adopting you because the financial burden would be to much and we get money for you now”.

That always weighed heavy on my heart as a child, I felt like a pay check to them and never truly wanted.

Fast forward to my teens I began to search for my bio parents, with a failed attempt on bio moms side.. but found my father and started building a decent relationship.. it strange how I felt an instant connection even though I hadn’t seen him since I was 6-7. He passed away this past November and we were finally at a peaceful place in our relationship and I’m now dealing with another wave of grief and abandonment even though this time I know it’s not by choice.

My bio mother still remains a mystery to me that I hope some day I can figure out and fill that empty place in my heart. I just wanted to write this to let people know adoption and foster care is not always the sunshine and rainbows you see on tv and often times can leave children with scars that last way into adulthood.

Please protect us, protect the little girl I was, protect us at all cost and try to understand our hurt.

Alone And Aging Out

I don’t often address issues related to foster care because I really don’t have any direct experience with that system – thankfully.

Even so, homelessness is an issue close to my heart since my own youngest sister was homeless for 4 years and somehow survived that and even managed to extricate herself from that about 10 years ago.  Her situation remains precarious and my heart hopes she doesn’t end up in those dire straits again but there is no certainty.

I have learned that when children in foster care reach a certain age, they are put out without much in the way of resources.  Some even run away from foster care before they reach that age.  These are children who lack any kind of supportive family to love and care for them.  Their parents may be in prison or addicted to drugs and self-absorbed.  Or their parents may have even died.

There is a non-profit known as Pivot in Oklahoma that is trying to do something substantial to help youth who would be homeless otherwise.  They are building a community of tiny homes to primarily serve the needs of 16 to 19 year old youth.  These are located right outside of the organization’s headquarter.  In addition to providing a bed, small kitchen and bathroom (a roof over their heads), the organization provides services.

They help the teen get a job. They teach them life skills. And they provide therapeutic attention to help these youth heal from a less visible internal hurt.  So regardless of the reason their parents are absent, a youth is understandably upset that the person who was supposed to take care of them, is not there for them.

All children still do love their parents at that level of attachment from birth. There is a grieving process that needs to be addressed – what should have been, could have been – wasn’t.  This healing is necessary if a person is truly to move forward with their lives in a productive manner.

Complicated

I’ve been following threads this morning that touch on a topic that I have struggled with before.  It is complicated.  I am pro-Life in a pro-Choice way.  I believe it is a woman’s right to choose and I am deeply concerned about efforts to overturn Roe v Wade.  I just read yesterday that an amicus curie brief was released in which 205 Republican lawmakers, including 39 senators, have asked the Supreme Court to consider whether the 1973 protection of the right to an abortion “should be reconsidered and, if appropriate, overruled.”

Personally, I once resisted the suggestion to have an abortion.  My husband was a heroin addict and had developed hepatitis.  We had a nephew with severe birth defects.  My husband was concerned that our baby would also have negative impacts.  I don’t know why but I just knew she was perfect and defended her life.  She is perfect.

Yet, then I became pregnant under worrisome conditions.  I was taking exotic drugs of a psychedelic nature frequently.  My partner was not the kind of man who was going to be a supportive father.  I was not in a financial position to raise a child on my own.  I had already voluntarily surrendered my daughter to her paternal grandmother while I tried to get on my feet financially.  Shades of my maternal grandmother and how she lost my mom to adoption.

I had an abortion because it was safe and legal.  It was not an easy decision to live with, I will admit that.  It haunted me a bit.  I remember a message coming into my awareness that my son would come back when the timing was better.  It would happen 25 years later.  A son was born into a stable marriage with good circumstances.  Interestingly, my daughter had a similar experience with a still birth and when she became pregnant again, had the same kind of knowing that this was the same son’s soul that was lost before.

I have some concern about a missionary zeal that takes babies from vulnerable young women in order to indoctrinate them into evangelical Christian orthodoxy.  Yet, I also recognize that homelessness and drug use and a lack of financial and familial supports are a serious issue.  I have concerns that Roe v Wade will be overturned and young women will return to back alley abortions in their desperation.

I don’t really have answers to any of this.  Just concerns that are on my mind this morning.  Personally, I believe we live these lives to learn and develop at the soul level and that there are no mistakes, no death and an eternity in which to expand our awareness.

Simone Biles – Kinship Adoption

I am often amazed at who has adoption and/or foster care in their background.  Simone Biles spent 3 years in foster care at a young age.  Fortunately, her grandfather and his wife made the decision to adopt her when she was six.  Biles’ birth mother suffered from drug addiction,. When she was only three years old, her siblings were removed from the mom’s custody along with Simone.

Today, she speaks out as an advocate for other foster youth.

Did you know that in the United States there are nearly 400,000 children and youth in foster care?

Simone Biles views them as 400,000 unrecognized talents waiting to be discovered.

She also notes that only 3% of foster youth ever go on to earn a bachelor’s degree.  This is compared to a rate of 30% in the general population.  There are academic and emotional challenges that accompany multiple family and school placements over the course of a foster youth childhood.

Although she was young when her foster care ordeal began, she remembers how it felt to be passed off and over-looked. Like nobody knew her or wanted to know her. Like her talents didn’t count, and her voice didn’t matter.  Recovering family made her feel like she mattered. Finding a passion, something she loved and was really good at, gave her grace and self-confidence.