When Circumstances Change

Expectant mothers considering a surrender of their not yet born child to adoption who end up in my all things adoption group are often counseled “don’t choose a permanent solution to what is actually a temporary situation.” Case in point, in today’s story.

So a woman had a baby when she was 19 years old. She surrendered him to adoption because she felt that she could not support herself and so by extension, could not support a child either.

5 years have passed and the original mother recently graduated from college. Throughout his young life, the adoptive mother has allowed the boy and his original mother to have contact with one another.

In a definitely misguided perspective, the adoptive mother encouraged her adoptive son to think of his original mother as a cousin or a friend. The complication here is this is a kinship adoption. The original mom is the adoptive mom’s cousin. 

Well, his original mother can now support herself. At the moment, she wants MORE contact with her son and for him to stay with her a few nights a week.

The adoptive mother is a stay at home mom and she claims her concern is that his original mother would utilize day care for him and only spend time with him at night.

The original mother and adoptive mother are now at opposite ends – the adoptive mother claims that if the original mother loved him so much, she would not have given him up 5 years ago.

The original mother claims it is cruel of the adoptive mother to refuse her request for a few nights a week with her son.

When the original mother brought up her financial struggles at the time the boy was born, the adoptive mother came back with “You don’t get to abandon your child and then decide you want him back 5 years later. I am his mother now.”

The original mother believes, given time, the two of them will bond with one another again and he will begin to think of her as his mother also. It has been proven that children are able to comprehend of more than one woman as being equally both of his mothers.

Now, the adoptive mother has threatened the original mother saying – “If you continue trying to steal him from me, I will stop letting you see him at all.” The reality is – the original mother can not legally undo a finalized adoption – so it is not possible for her to physically steal the child back from the adoptive mother.

One can certainly agree with the concern about putting him in daycare but this “stealing” language is very destructive. No one “owns” their own biological child, much less someone else’s child who one has adopted. He should be allowed to bond with his mom as often as he wants. The child should set any boundaries regarding the rebuilding of a disrupted mother child relationship.

There really has to be another way to satisfy both women. The original mother could pick her son up for the evening and drop him back off with the adoptive mother before work. Rigidity often prevents viable solutions to sticky issues from being considered. Always, the child’s best interests and well-being should be what governs decisions.

The truth is, the original mother did not abandon her child but was doing her best to do what was best for her baby at the time. Unfortunately, whether conscious of it or not, every adoptee has an abandonment wound. Because their original mother did leave them. Pure and simple. Understanding adult complications is not possible until a person is mature and living the realities of life’s hardships themselves.

The honest truth is that visits for the original mother and her child will promote a connection that is critical for the child after having been relinquished. Seeing that no harm comes of it would ease the mind of the adoptive parent. This is a situation in which a professional therapist acting as an intermediary might head off some horrific results. The child will grow up eventually and will know the truth. Better to keep things harmonious during his childhood.

Is Foster Care Professional Employment ?

These days it seems anything goes.  Even a stay at home mom of 25 years managed to get a job running a movie theater with a staff of 15 people. She made her case by outlining her experience in scheduling and budgeting experiences related to running a household.

With foster care, the “payment or stipend” goes to the child’s expenses and so is not actual compensation for doing specific work.  It has been mentioned that if this a job that you would have to be bonded for, then yes you would list that experience of being a foster care parent on a resume.

If you are applying for a job where foster care experience is relevant, such as working with a youth program or something like that, it should definitely be listed but not as employment experience.   It may need to be disclosed as a potential conflict with some positions, for example – work in behavioral health for an agency that also does child welfare work.

And it is interesting that advertisements seeking foster parents are always listed in the “jobs” section of the classifieds.  Listing time spent fostering would make logical sense to explain a gap in work history. If you didn’t work for x number of years because you needed to be at home with foster children.

One foster parent shared – I might list foster parenting under community service/volunteer experience, depending upon the job I was applying for. I never have listed it in our 25+ years as a foster family. I feel that people are prone to look at me as a “savior” then, and I don’t feel comfortable with all that goes with that.

Another mom said – I did list foster parent and stay at home mom.  I was applying for a teaching job after 10+ years of no employment, and I listed it as experience rather than employment. I definitely wouldn’t put it on a resume, if I was applying for a job that didn’t involve  work with children.

A Human Resources Director noted – I would find it odd to see foster parenting on a job resume. Unless the job that they are applying for is in the foster field – like a volunteer, a house mom for a group home. Resumes are to get you the interview, not the job.   Any gap of employment should be explained in a cover letter and not the resume.  She also noted that HR professionals are not looking at gaps in employment as a big negative at this time. After the financial crisis, a lot of people lost jobs and it was hard to find other jobs and/or a good fit.

In fact, this professional admits there are employers out there that will not consider a person for a position because of familial obligations. She suggests the applicant remove any mention of foster care, stay-at-home, etc. Instead say something like “I was away from the workforce for x amount of time because of a personal obligation/matter. That obligation/matter has been addressed and is no longer a factor nor will it impact me in this position.