I still have not gotten a response from M’s aunt about getting back together. I am letting it be for now and will make contact again to offer to bring M for a visit sometime soon. I do wish now that the plan had sounded more certain, because two of M’s sisters were there. We’ve never met R, the 12-year-old, but I’d really like to. The four-year-old, A, is the one who came to the birthday party. I took M to visit A a couple days ago. This is only our third time seeing her, and second time in the recent past.
Visiting A is really eye opening, as far as how other people live so differently right in the same area as I do. A lives with her bio dad, whose other children are grown and have their own children. Two of those grown children also live there, with their seven children. So that’s three adults and eight children in a small, dark three bedroom apartment. They have lots of TVs and video game consoles, and I saw a laptop, but other than a couch and chairs, it’s pretty bare in there. Except for all the people, of course. There are a few embarrassing moments, like M wanting to play in the pile of dirt in the corner of the house, but really the dirt/mess doesn’t bother me much. It’s not my house. I don’t know who sleeps where, except that A sleeps on the couch, or at least, in the living room. The sister she lives with is pregnant with twins, also, so wow! Full house getting fuller.
M had a blast playing with all the kids. The boys, especially, and they were so good with her, like little babysitters and good big brothers. She gave everyone an enthusiastic hug when we left. I felt very welcome there, everyone was laid back and cool, and they opened their household up to not only M, but to me, so warmly. I hope they will let me take A out to the children’s museum or a different park sometime, so the girls can spend more one on one time together. M wants nothing to do with a “sister” when she can play with all those boys!
I want to have a family tree made for M, with the roots and branches each filled out. (Roots for bio family, branches for adoptive family. Both sides are equally important for the tree, both sides are complex, both sides grow, but they are also different.) M will soon have five bio siblings, and she has quite the array of cousins, step cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, step-grandparents…. it’s such a mix of people, with many siblings having different fathers. I’m not sure if I should just stick to matriarchy in those cases or what.
Any ideas for what to put down for M’s bio dad, who’s name is unknown but who is Mexican? He goes by a nickname, but in Spanish it’s semi-offensive, or at least, not appropriate to put on something meant for a little girl.
Cindy continues to communicate with me via text and facebook. She is attending her prenatal appointments and it looks like she is still together with Hermanito’s dad. I’m rooting for her to have a positive outcome this time.
5 thoughts on “trying to keep up with open adoption”
This situation is so complicated, and I really really admire the way you are making it such a positive thing for M. Kids never have too many people loving them, so I feel you are doing the right thing but I imagine it will have its challenges as M gets older and becomes more aware of differences in lifestyle.
Does M call her bio mom by her first name? Or do you say “Cindy is your bio mom”? I would think you could leave off names for mom and dad and just put “Mommy” for you and “Bio mom” and “Bio dad” (or “birth mom” or whatever term you guys use) on the family tree. Sounds like a great project.
For the tree, I am just putting names, no titles. M will be the tree trunk, the first two roots would be “Cindy S—” and “father’s name”, and the first two branches would be “my name” and … oh wait, I’m not married so there’s no “and”!
Since we’ve never met Cindy in person, and M has no real understanding of who she is or what she means to her at the age of two, we say “Mama Cindy” when pointing to her picture or listening to a voicemail. As she gets into age 3 and 4 it will start to be more significant to her that I am calling another woman by the title “mama”.
Any chance you will ever find out information about her bio dad or his family? I think a nameless root thay goes nowhere would be depressing. How about she is the trunk, cindy is the trunk right under the ground before it splits, and you are the trunk right before it splits into branches.
Good idea! No one knows his name, unfortunately…
Can you use the initial of his nickname? Some people do go by initials. Any change cindy could provide you initials if not name? Leaving a blank is awkward as it carries implications of unknown etc. Tricky issues to navigate in tactful fashion. You will make the right choices however because you are closest to the people involved and your compassion and openness is demonstrable already.
Re the birthday party: it does sound like you were set up to fail and be wrong no matter what you did. Take on no guilt.