Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Primal Wound

I love my daughter-more than I love anything in this entire world-including myself. Becoming a mother has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. I recognize that by myself gaining this joy- another has lost a piece of them. My daughters first mom and my daughter. The loss to Sarahs first mom is obvious.
See our adotion experience is different. We did not enter into an open adoption. We actually adopted through foster care. The first mom (FM-for further typing purposes) did not in the beginning wish to lose her daughter. She did not make an adoption plan. She had no intention of doing so. But due to circumstances- she found herself sick with very serious addiction problems.

To add to that struggle- she is bipolar. I had met with the FM on several occaisions and the love for Sarah was apparent, but she could not battle her demons to become a safe person to raise her children. She knew my husband and I would adopt Sarah if that was what path we started to head toward. She tried initially to work the caseplan but was unable to do so. I talked to her frequently updating her on the baby and offering her support. After 4 months she decided to terminate her rights, and the birthfather also agreed willingly to do so.
The rest of our story is history from there. Or is it? I look at my daughter everyday and I know she has her mothers eyes and nose, her fathers ears. I read what books on adoption I could find. None of which really covered the whole foster to adopt scenario. So in a way we are winging it. Just doing the best we can do to let her know her story. But on a deeper level-I wonder-does she know? Does she know her loss? She as a toddler is a stubborn girl, with frequent outbursts of anger. Is this anger normal toddler behavior? Or is it the anger and frustration surfacing from a loss she feels but does not understand?
I feel like adoption is like an onion- and the layers just keep peeling back. My husband thinks I am overanalyzing- but I just do not know. Because I have never had that loss. I just want to do the best thing for my daughter. I have the urge to contact the FM every once in awhile- just recently I found her-in jail. Her lifestyle has not changed and is actually becoming worse. In a sort of way I feel responsible for that too. Granted she has had her problems-which was what brought around the whole adoption to begin with- but how can some one recover from all of that and with the pain of losing her child unwillingly?

1 comment:

Tamsin said...

Hi there! I have so enjoyed reading your posts, and Sarah sounds just delightful; despite the obvious troublesome behaviors that come as part of the package! We have similar issues but on a 13 year-old level! Although some of the information I would like to share with you is UK-based, it may be of some help? My husband and I are foster parents for a Private organization called Pathway Care here in the United Kingdom. We are very fortunate because, other than the extensive training program prior to beginning fostering, we are all sent on regular training courses to better understand children in care and why they behave the way they do at given times. Something, therefore, you may like to research online (a topic I found invaluable) is: Attachment Disorders.

Also, despite these brochures being UK-based, you may find them useful. They are on the British Association of Adoption and Fostering website:

Another thing that research shows is a must for children who are in care or adopted is to have extensive Life Story work done for/with them. Children who understand and have proof of the life they had before they were in care/adopted are proven to do better as this helps them understand who they are and where they have come from; it gives them an identity. Has Life Story work (basically scrap booking) been done with Sarah prior to and continuing on from her adoption? This will be something you can look through at bedtime that she can reflect upon and, perhaps, better understand and come to terms with her situation; it is also something she can look back on when she is older. (It should contain a basic family tree, pictures of her as a baby, perhaps a copy of her birth certificate and where she was born, a little info about her birth parents - maybe with a letter from her mother (if you have one?) and a simple description of why mummy was unable to care for her, but that she loved Sarah so much that she found a new family that would take good care of her, and so on, then introduce Sarah's new family, with a picture of you altogether .... for example.) We have been told that if you imagine a child with each foot within a circle - one circle is their adoptive or foster family and the other is their birth family - the closer together we can keep those circles (links), the more sable the child will remain. If Life work has not been done, this may well be a good place to start with Sarah.

Hope this helps and hope all is well at your end!
All the best,

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