most of you know that we have been riding an emotional roller coaster since finding out that j’s bio-mom’s cousin applied to adopt him in december/january. we were hopeful that we had the better chance as his relatives had not visited him at all since he was put into our care. about three weeks ago that all changed.
j’s sw called to say that bio-mom and her aunt wanted to visit. we set up a visit in the sw’s office. the courts mandated that the visits be monitored. we were told that we were to monitor the visits.
i don’t remember being that nervous before. i had no idea what to expect. the visit was overall uneventful (no animosity like i was preparing for), but it was extremely uncomfortable. we had nothing in common with j’s relatives, other than our interest in j. we were all cordial, but had little to say in a tiny room full of 7 people (besides the three of us, it was bio-mom, her two aunts, and her teenage cousin).
what struck me was how young his bio-mom appeared. yes, i knew she was 17, but she seems so much younger than that. she is polite and soft-spoken, but so reticent to approach him, and so surprised that he doesn’t recognize her when he sees her. when j referred to us as “mommy and daddy”, there was a collective “oooohhhh” from her family and when the visit ended, she picked him up and told him, “I’M your mommy because I carried you for 9 months and I’m going to get you back.” i have no idea how much he understood of that, but i screwed up and cried in the car. i was just so full of anger that she felt a rightful place in his life when i am the one who sits up with him at night, nurses him back to health, and is there for him every day. i say i screwed up because when j saw me crying he said, “you okay mommy? you okay?” he shouldn’t have the burden of making sure i’m okay. it’s my job to make sure that he is okay. that won’t happen again.
we set up visits for every week at the same time, but told the sw that it needs to be monitored by a worker, not just us, as we were uncomfortable with some of the things she said to him and we didn’t want it to turn into a “he said, she said” situation. the most surprising thing that came out of this visit was that j’s bio-mom told us that she had moved in with the aunt to try to get him back. we had previously been told that she had zero chance of getting him back because of the circumstances of his detainment.
our adoption worker was very upset by bio-mom’s statements and the nickname that she has for him, and made sure that we had a monitor there the next week. still uncomfortable, but much better since all present signed an agreement to be appropriate in our words and actions. this was last tuesday, and a tdm (team decision meeting) was scheduled for the following day.
we were also very nervous about the tdm, being our first time going through this. there were 5 workers present, a mediator, bio-mom, her cousin, us, a psychologist we have been working with, and one of our relatives. the first piece of surprising news that was we actually had legal priority to adopt j. they pulled out a relationship chart showing that we had a stronger relationship (because of his time in our care) than his biological bond with his bio-mom’s cousin. the aunt’s application could very likely be denied because j’s bio-mom moved in with her, so she was told that if she wanted to suspend her home study she could wait to be approved later when situations changed (she is a relative who seems to take in other relatives, mostly children, who are in need). i think that she truly wanted to help bio-mom get j back, so she had her move in. the only problem is (and this was explained to them) that it’s too late in the game for bio-mom to get him back. family reunification services had been terminated long ago and there was basically no chance of her getting him back. one of the workers told her that she was lucky to have the opportunity to have some part in his life because we were possibly open to communication when/if we adopt j.
the meeting overall was very emotional. part of me feels so sad for j’s bio-mother. it seems she never had a chance. she was so young when she gave birth, and seems to have no real relationship with her father. her mother is just getting off of drugs. at the same time, i am so grateful to her for giving him life, but also hesitant to let her into his life with what knowledge i have of her own, including why he was detained in the first place.
we brought a life book with us for everyone to look at at the tdm (recommended by the adoption worker). it was apparent that she loved looking at it, and husband asked if it was okay with me to give it to her and order another one for us. i agreed, but the workers were adamant about us ordering her a new one. they later explained that their opinion is that she shouldn’t have any pictures of us whatsoever, for our protection. they said they knew our hearts hurt for her, but she is so young and we don’t know what influence she could be under in the future. point well taken. i am more mistrustful and wary of everything than husband, so it was good to know that i am not paranoid when i look to see if anyone is following us from visits.
so, it looks good for our family to stay together. the hard part now is balancing everything in relation to j’s bio-family. we want him to know who he is, to have that connection, but his safety is first and foremost. i am struggling with how much to trust, but only time will tell. i don’t want to allow a relationship to be established with someone if she isn’t going to follow through. she cancelled yesterday’s visit.
the tpr hearing is may 13. we’ll see.