Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Quandary

KC is 8 and in my experience this is about the age when my kids adoption stories stop being a beautiful story of how we came to be a family.  When kids are little it seems almost fairy tale like to them.  They know they had a first mother, but the whole part of us coming together is the part they focus on.  Which is good. It shows we love each other and are securely bonded.  But it is like seeing "to be continued" after your TV episode finishes.  It is not complete because they are not ready, and they will let you know when they are.

KC and Lissa both have closed adoptions.  I need to be clear that this was not something either K or I required.  I am under the impression from the adoption agency that we used that this was the request of the first mom in both cases. In KC's case, I do have a snapshot of his first mom and this is the very first page in his scrapbook because to me, that is where his story begins.

The other night during his shower he told me he was really feeling sad.  I asked why and he said because he did not know his birth mom.  He agreed that looking at her picture and reading what I wrote about her (I wrote down any little positive nugget the agency ever shared with me) would help.  But what he said he really wants the most is to hear her voice.

First off, I am glad that he could share his pain.  I know a lot of adoptive kids are afraid to share this with their adoptive parents.  He isn't and that is huge to me.  Here is my dilemma.  As I said, I was informed that this was a closed adoption.  I am really supposed to know nothing of where his mom lived etc.  However, the hospital gave me a ton of intake paperwork when he was discharged and they forgot to redact all her personal info from the papers.  That means her address as of 2004 and her phone number as of that date are on those papers.

I tried to find her on Facebook but her name is a common one and I have only ever seen one picture of her so there are quite a few possibilities out there.  I want to try and make some kind of contact.  At the very least I owe that to KC.  I also don't want to hurt his first mom and there are some really unbloggable but really sad and frightening circumstances surrounding KC's conception.  Here are my choices as I see it:

1.  Do nothing--Can't and won't do that.
2.  Contact the agency and see if they will try to contact her.  I might do this first with a letter to N. who worked with us on why we are doing this.  My worry is that reunification of first moms and their children may not (likely isn't) their priority).
3.  Write a letter to the address on the hospital paperwork and see if I get a response. I could do this but it feels like I am taking advantage of information I was not legally entitled to and I am having a hard time with that.

Those who read who are either adoptive parents or first mothers, could you weigh in with what you would do, or what you would want done if it was your child searching.


Anonymous said...

For the letter,I would be worried about who receives it. You don't want someone other than her to open it. I have thought about this too, ideally hiring a neutral party to contact her,make sure its really her,and see how she really feels.

Alternatively leaving your info with the adoption agency and telling them that if she contacts them searching,that you are happy to get in contact.
I think there are also online sites where if both sides say they are looking then they can find each other - but it may only be for older people.

Anonymous said...

I don't think my comment went through, but it was to say that I think you can send a more general letter like "I lost touch with our relative Her Name who lived here and my 8-year-old loves hearing about her and wants to get to know her better. If you can help me contact her, my address/phone/email are here."

I also recommended checking with Suz if you don't already know her. I believe she has significant contacts in your son's home state.

And lastly, we contacted Mara's mom sort of by mistake and Mara's dad without asking him first. Both had refused contact while she was in foster care and were very much open to it after adoption. Situations change and people change. You can give her a chance to make her own decision, if you can reach her, and I don't think that's necessarily being more pushy than assuming you can read her mind and because she didn't want contact 8 years ago she no longer does, if you know what I mean.

I think it will matter to KC that you're doing all you can. I know there are times I've had to tell Mara, "I'm sorry we can't talk to Mom's Name, but her phone must not be working and we're not sure where she's living right now." It hurts, but she knows we're trying and, honestly, it's a reminder of some of the ways her mom wasn't capable of taking care of her appropriately, and that's an important thing to understand too.