Tuesday, August 28, 2012

If You Wouldn't Accept it from a Friend or Relative

More of Danielle's birth family has been trying to get in touch with us.

This time, it was an elder half-sibling who wanted us to come to a party.  This individual has moved to a nearby town and wanted to get reacquainted.

We didn't even return the phone call.

The other half-sibling, the one we had to make a hard call about, has left us a number of messages by way of voicemail, text and social media site.

We haven't returned any of those messages either.

After FosterEema and I talked it over between ourselves and with our therapist, we decided to cut these folks out of our lives.

Although we both recognize the importance of birth family contact, we also realize that there is an even greater need for family safety.  We've come to the sad conclusion that the majority of Danielle's birth family members have criminal records, use or sell drugs, and/or are involved in gangs.  We don't need this in our life, and Danielle doesn't either.

If she wants to contact these people after she's 18, that's her business and her right.  But now, when it's clear these people are not law-abiding citizens.  We don't want them around.

The basic premise is that we wouldn't allow these people around us if they were friends or our own blood relatives.  If we wouldn't tolerate this kind of behavior from friends or family, why should Danielle's birth family receive special dispensation?

The truth is, they shouldn't.

So we did not tell Danielle this time around when her half-sibling tried to get in contact.


  1. I wish I had been able to stop birth family contact with my kids. It caused so much trouble and had lasting effects. Good for you!


  2. I completely agree with the mission of your blog: well-meaning people like your family HAVE to be INFORMED and equipped with tools before they get to adopt a child whose background is so different from their own. Doing it the way it was done in your case just leads to bad results, for the family AND for the child, because I understand that your child has no satisfying relationship with you, from her standpoint.

    I think you made a mistake when you adopted a severely traumatized child from such a background without having any tools to help her...

    you seem to be the average middle-class family who never experienced that there was another world, not as comfortable as yours out there.

    Your reactions towards your daughter lack the will of understanding her from the place she comes from. You just project the expectations of white, middle-class intellectuals on her and then you are disappointed when she does not live up to them. You seem to view her a bit like a machine that should function the way you like, and if she does not, you want to throw her away like a broken toy.

  3. Park - so who, if anyone, should adopt children from this type of background?! I had a lot of education and tools, including personal experience with mental illness and a lower socio-economic background than I currently enjoy, and it wasn't enough, because my children were so severely damaged by their traumatic childhoods. I agree that ALL adoptive parents of older children need a lot more training and support, but even that would not necessarily have led to a better outcome.

    My son does not have a satisfying relationship with me (from either of our standpoints), but not because we weren't prepared, or have average middle class expectations for him, but because he has a severe attachment disorder and is mentally ill. His biofamily "understand the place he comes from," and they can't handle him either!

    I totally disagree that my friend FosterAbba views her daughter like a machine, nor is it possible that they want to throw her away like a broken toy (they've been striving to meet her needs and working with her for waaayyy too long to be accused of tossing her aside because she's not functioning according to some idealized expectations.

    I can't speak for my friends, but in regards to my adopted children, while I would love it if they met any of my idealized expectations, I have fairly realistic expectations. At this point I just want them to be law-abiding citizens capable of supporting themselves and maintaining at least some form of relationship.

    I have done everything in my power to get my son to this point while keeping everyone else safe. There have been times, many times,like FosterAbba, when that wasn't possible. I too have had to consider disruption of our adoptions. We managed to not get to that point (often to the detriment of all involved), but I'm not always sure that's a good thing. Our son did NOT live up to my very realistic expectations. He is currently in jail, and our family is slowly recovering.



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