Can I ask for a bit of advice please from anyone who’s children have taken the decision they came Of age to see birth parents? Ds is 14 just now but since he came to us at age 7 he had always thought about that day. The day when he gets to go back and see his mum. He has a very strong relationships with two half siblings much older than him but we write to Mum. Things have always been kept positive from both sides, she appears to have turned her life around, managing issues that led to him being adopted in the first place. I hope for his sake, and hers that is the case. I think I’m becoming jittery at the idea he may actually decide to leave and move on. I won’t lie, it petrifies me. We couldn’t stop it and wouldn’t even try if that’s what he decided to do. But how did you cope with it? Or did it actually happen, did they decide to not to leave? I really want him to stay at school especially and do his best. I’d hate anything to upset things as he is so settled. Obviously it’s all his decision in the end and that’s ok. I’d he’s happy I’m happy xx
Sorry no personal exp or hands on advice to offer...
baa however gets fixated on ideas & wishes & once determined finds it impossible to listen to reason, no matter how well reasoned 😈 , so I really sympathise.... baa will do what he wants & the more reasoned with the quicker he will push against me & do the rash/unreasoned instead 😱 ...
My advice perhaps contact pas & sound them out re ss observed intro's to bm.... if you trust your ss contact perhaps that would be the safest way forward....organised, sustained & supervised... maybe bm has turned her life around, be reasonable/not want the responsibility of ds & be willing to work with you....
Your ds clearly remembers bm as he was 7 at placement that is perhaps the start point... rose tint is impossible to fight... baa has no tint re his bf... It would be impossible for me to persuade baa out of this if he had made his mind up as your ds has.... my heart goes out to you.... sending many hugs xxx & cyber support your way....
I hope other wise ones come along soon with tips xxx
Xx moo xx
Proud single adoptive mummeee to brothers baa & skweek 14 & 13 .....
Why would he leave school and go and live with her?
I think this is a really complex issue. My experience is that curiosity is the key driver here, have they missed out? It doesn’t mean they want to go and live with birth family.
Birth family turning their life around around doesn’t always mean they have room for children who will constantly remind them of really difficult times and things they got badly wrong.
Social media makes it all very easy to track and contact birth family with or without your involvement, the cases I am aware of are usually without which has made it all a bit messy. Mine waited until they were over eighteen and no longer living at home but I have friends whose children did it earlier and they were able to be much more involved and they met with birth family to lay down ground rules. SS appeared very inexperienced at this part of the adoption journey. After an initial intensive period in both cases the interest has dropped off.
When they were younger there were periods when I used to think and worry about it a lot which one therapist said probably mirrored their thinking so try looking at your thoughts and see if there is any pattern to it.
Watching from the sidelines while they explore is so tough, I can fully remember the churning stomach and what if they go and don’t come back feelings but also the delight when they said “but this is home Mum”.
I think you have to believe you are giving all you can to provide that stable safe port that will always be there. A good place to return to where your child knows exactly how things will be.
We now bumble along, birth family are there in the background and our two have different thoughts and feelings about them. We often chat about those thoughts and feelings, doing lots of listening.
You know your son best, do you need some outside help to address this with him and you? Do you feel he will do something about it on his own? Are the older half siblings likely to do anything? The age he is at the moment means your involvement is vital. How much have you done some wondering with him about his feelings about birth family?
Good luck, we have come out the other side stronger, it is still a work in progress and has taken years but we are getting there.
Riding the roller coaster with DH, AD (22) and AS (21). Both striding out in the big wide world.
Hi, my son is nearly 16. He has always had direct contact with birth dad. Currently he does not want to see mum, but this time last year he did, so the current status quo may change. Whilst I'm not clear what sort of relationship he wants with her, I do know he doesnt want to run off and live with her. He likes his life too much, his family, friends, he has a place at college. He isnt about to give it up.
What they say at 7 isnt necessarily what they think now. Has he said that he wants to go back to her, or that he wants to see her, or is it your fear at the moment?
Part of me hates seeing Simba grow up because I can't protect him like I used to. But mostly I am incredibly proud of thr independent and mostly sensible young man he is growing into. It's his future, not mine and I have to accept that and trust that he makes good choices fir himself.
Has your son had life story work? This is part of the reason that I am confident in understanding where he is in relation to his birth mum. It was a very painful process but he understands so much about what led his birth family to where it all ended. He does not want that life, he wants the life he is building for himself.
If he hasnt had life story work I'd look into it, and above all talk. Its perfectly natural for him to be curious about her and for you to be worried, but there are a whole range of options between a one off meeting and going back. She may of course not want him back.
Its a complex issue but keep talking and let him know that you support him
Mum to the 'hansom' Simba, age 16 and 40 now retired teddy bears
Hi, thanks for your replies. When he came here his sw was adamant he didn’t need life story work as he was 7 and fully aware of what had happened up til then. This to me was complete nonsense. At that age for him to completely understand her issues and why she wouldn’t take care of him or get better so he could stay with her... I mean really? Anyway I wanted it and they resisted. It’s been left to me to explain his life since then then. He always did say when he was growing up how he would like to see her again. Didn’t necessarily say going back to stay, that’s just me wondering if it’s a possibility, has it actually happened before. He doesn’t actually have social media for now as we decided not to and let him concentrate on school although he nags about it. We probably can’t keep him from it forever but have explained the reasons you til now- birthmum context, sw etc. he gets it as far as we can tell but yes he’s coming to that curious age. Whatever he says he wants to so we will support him x
Treetops, Simba was also 7. As you say SW was talkimg rubbish, knowing facts is a long way off having a mature understanding of why it all happened. I'd rather he didn't but Simba understands the impact of mental ill health, drugs and drinking on their capacity to look after him.
Thats not to say he doesn't have questions for them, he does, and one day he can ask them himself.
I think you need to try and come to terms with your fears, and move to a place where he can talk to you about it all. Its better that any communication with birth parents comes with you in the driving seat.
I would look into life story work for him.
Mum to the 'hansom' Simba, age 16 and 40 now retired teddy bears
He’s always been really open in talking to me about what’s on his mind. Until he reached 14 that is. These days I’m left to decipher the moods lol. Some days I wonder is it his age or is it more than that. We’ve had the conversations relating to future decisions and I always reassure him we are here for him whatever the future holds. To be honest I don’t know whether to allow him to use social media or not. I know some parents just don’t until they’re a good bit older, nothing to do with adoption or anything. Just it’s more of a distraction for them. He’s not completely banned, just Facebook. Trying to sway him away from his computers is hard at the best of times... like most teenagers I guess x
Treetop, can't add anything to what Moo and Serrakunda have said. But the until he was 14 resonated with me.
I have two older kids 28,18. When they turned 14, each time I felt like I had lost my child. All of a sudden the ease of communication had gone, they were completed shut away emotionally, I could no longer reach them.
When it happened second time round, I recognized the pattern but it was still extremely hard, especially as the child in question was in a dire place emotionally and I was worried for their safety.
Once they turned 17/18 things started to change again and they slowly emerged from their shell. It's like phoenix from the ashes, no longer kids, but beautiful in-betweeners who have a go at being adults with lots of mature thinking (and then asking if Mummy could make them a hot chocolate, because no-one makes them like Mummy). ;-)
It will get better, it sounds like you two have a good relationship, it is a massive grieving process for us when they grow up. All of a sudden our children have gone, with boys even more so, with their original voices being lost. I am really sad I never recorded my son speaking before his voice broke. I can no longer remember what it sounded like now.
It is a scary time because you do not know when, if and how they will emerge. The teenage years are years of mainly one-sided giving. And it seems forever when it is happening.
Married to Bumblebear, 3 1/2 kids, a mix of adopted and home-made.
My now 19 year old always talked a lot about birth mum. She was placed with us at 12 months though, so unlike your son, had no actual memories of her and hadn't ever lived with her. But there had been regular (several times a week- that anazes me now!)contact up until placement with us. I was the source of her information, letting dd have lots of photos in her room, along with a book I made explaining her adoption. And we often talked about bm.
I worried that in her teens she would contact bm. Once she told me a woman had followed her in the street and knew her name. I thought it must have been bm but later dd told me she made up the story (and that it was a fantasy about bm). But nothing happened until she was 18 when she tried to contact bm on Facebook and hadn't realised her surname wasn't the one she was aware of as her own birth name which was birth father's. I gave her mum's name and then they were in touch.
It was hard at first. We knew her birth family were quite local but they turned our to be more local than we realised. Also, it wasn't just bm she got in touch with, but through her, aunts, cousins and grandparents and even half siblings on her (dead) fathers side that mum's family didn't really know.
Dd was obsessed at first as were the birth family but obviously we couldn't stop her seeing them and didn't try to. We even had an aunt round to tea at ours to form a relationship with her. But it was hard as she saw bf as fun and us as boring.
She is still in contact now (though not in person since lockdown) but the initial enthusiasm has worn off on both sides. It's clear mum is still fairly inadequate and has mental health issues, though I've met her and she is no threat. She can't put dd first- wouldn't even go bowling with her on her 19th birthday as she said she didn't have the money but went abroad with her boyfriend the following week.
Dd has spent some nights away with birth family and had a 5 day holiday with bm, aunt and cousin last Autumn. On her return dd threw herself into my arms, said she had missed me so much and that she would never go on holiday with bm again!
Dd doesn't have lots of friends, never had a boyfriend, hasn't yet had a job and was doing voluntary work prior to lockdown. She's highly dependent on us still. I don't think she feels that much connection to her birth family but they have provided some social life for her. But it certainly doesn't feel like she's about to leave our family. She makes out she misses them but really I think she's miffed that they're not that interested in her.
So we had our ups and downs but bf feel like no threat now. But of course, every situation is different.
Worrying about what might happen is best avoided. I'm not sure you can insist they avoid social media for long though. Our two are heavily involved. Younger dd (different birth family) found her bm on Facebook out of jealousy of her big sister, but she hasn't contacted her - she's never shown the same interest in fact.
Thanks everyone, a lot of what you say makes sense and certainly resonates with us. I guess we must need to take it as it comes. The funny thing is, yes when he was younger he talked non stop about her and always got upset talking about her but since sort of 10-13 he rarely ever talks about her at all. He has photos but doesn’t put them up. So we’ll see what it all means one day. Thank you xx
Treetop it sounds like you have a fundamentally good relationship. All you can do I think is just keep letting him know you are there.
Don't forget that its perfectly normal for teens to start treating their parents like a total nuisance, its been a few years since Simba deigned to walk next to me when we are out - just in case his friends saw us. I tell him now that we don't have to socially distance as we are the same household
Simba also talked a lot about his mum in the early days, not so much since he was 10/11.
We have had developments here in the last few days,
I have a later life letter from his mum. I was planning on talking to him about it after GCSEs but an opportunity arose at the weekend. He now knows about the letter and is deciding whether he wants to read it. Watch this space !
Mum to the 'hansom' Simba, age 16 and 40 now retired teddy bears
Post by clrstillstanding on May 20, 2020 20:59:54 GMT
Really agree with the advice about life story work and/or a 'later in life' letter. My AD was 6 when she arrived, and had been seeing her BM on a weekly basis. She had such mixed feelings about BM, which was really difficult for me too. I was given some good advice dearly on by our DDP family therapist, which was to secure a proper 'later in life' letter and to time carefully when I gave it to her. I rejected the first draft of the letter, which I asked to see, as it was written for a young child rather than a teenager. The social worker involved then took an enormous amount of time to prepare the letter which included information that I didn't know about AD's early life. It was really difficult reading for AD (she was 13 when I gave it to her) and she needed a fair bit of support, but meant that since then she has been under no illusions about her BM in particular.
If your AS has built up his own internal story of his birth family, he may need a lot of support when learning about the reality of why he was taken into care - but much better this way which you can manage rather than via social media when he is older.
Single adopter - daughter now 15
Used the very boring display name of 'clr1' on the AdoptionUK forum and never got round to changing it
I would be interested to hear how you get on with your later life letters. We were given it before he went to high school and advised to wait til he’s ready. When will that be? He’s now 14. Do we wait til he’s left school which husband thinks we should but I’m not so sure as like I say, if he does decide any time soon he wants contact he needs to be prepared doesn’t he? There were things in there I wasn’t aware of too but all in all not much of a surprise in the letter he doesn’t know except this one thing about bm being admitted to hospital a couple of times. Doesn’t specify what but I can probably guess something to do with the issues leading to adoption
Hi. I don't come on here very often, but happened through today and this resonated rather heavily. My daughter is 16. She came to me at 8 and has always had direct contact with BM, though strongly controlled by social services. Eighteen months ago she contacted BM on Facebook, but they continued to keep their distance. However, the loss in recent weeks of our beloved PASW who was at every previous contact has made my daughter decide that she doesn't need support from social workers any more. She contacted BM on Friday with the intention of arranging a (socially distanced, dog-walking) contact on the same day. She had not anticipated that BM would not immediately reply, or that when she did reply (yesterday) she would not agree to an immediate meeting. DD has not had to deal with the previous many cancellations of plans that the SW has sorted out for us; I never told my daughter until the morning of contact because of how stressed she would get and the danger that it wouldn't go ahead. This has been taken out of my hands now. So we have a plan for them to meet on Wednesday, which may or may not happen, and she is completely dysregulated and will remain that way until then at least. I have always known this day would come. I even know there is a good possibility that she will at some point decide to try living with BM. She is already talking about it. BM has not turned her life around and I don't think it will last for long -- an older birth sibling tried it and left again after a matter of days. But yes, it is absolutely terrifying. The idea of deliberately placing her in danger, the worry that the years she has been here won't be enough protection. But what can we do? Just be there. The idea that your son didn't need life story work because of his age is utterly ridiculous. Most children need life story work multiple times at different stages of development. Get onto your RAA and demand it now as a matter of urgency. Hopefully it will be different people now.
Mum to DD (16), clinging on to education, and a slightly traumatised cat.
Hi Elderberry, thanks very much for your reply. Yes a lot of what you say has definitely come up over the years but I’ve also had discussions with him advising him that it just might not turn out the way he would like. He or she may not be ready for it by the time it comes around. Before he came here she did get to see him once a week I think but then one day she just stopped coming and it broke his heart. He just thought it was all his fault. It tears my heart out the things he’s had to deal with in the last but I just really pray that talking openly with him since then will provide him with enough information to make that choice whenever it will be. x