An anonymous post today from an adoptive mum..
Contact with birth family has been a double edged sword for me. As a good, eager new adoptive mum you want to feel you are doing the right thing for your child. Identity, links, etc…So when I heard that my new daughter had brothers and sisters also adopted in the North West I did not hesitate. I wanted to meet them. She was 2 then..
For me initially it meant getting to know 2 lovely couples whose pain and grief and loss around infertility was palpable, it soaked the atmosphere and clouded the conversation and was the endless backdrop to their struggles with their adopted children, my daughter’s birth siblings. What if, what if…My route to adoption was different. I went on to have a baby. And then I adopted again, because I am hardwired for hope.
Twelve years ago when we first got the children together and watched them with each other you couldn’t help but be struck by their physical and other similarities. The girls in particular were peas in a pod. All 3 being raised in very different families but exhibiting the same exhausting behaviours. We were all on our knees. Mine was the youngest. Over the years that we had contact I watched with horror as the other families went through hell once their daughters hit adolescence. Absconding, drunkenness, violence, self harm, shoplifting, lying, stealing, exclusion from mainstream schools, promiscuity. We would visit and they would weep. Both older girls were returned to care at the age of 13 and ended up in specialist residential provision. I dreaded the passing of time as my own girl was becoming less manageable. Surely she would not be that bad??
Fast forward.. Became sexually active at 12. Meets boys in the park for sex. Abusive to me and her little brothers. Knocks holes in walls. Struggles to cope in a mainstream high school. Steals. Lies. Absconds regularly. We are bombarded with police and social workers for 2 years. She is officially a Child In Need. I am going under. I beg the social worker to get her into secure accommodation. I cannot keep her safe. She turns 14. She refuses to be parented.
She visits her birth sister who lives 3 hours drive away and is all grown up at 20. She flatly refuses to return home. We have the discussion with the sister. Social Services are monitoring the situation. In theory.
It is now 8 months on. Peace has descended on our family. My other 2 children are literally blossoming living without their beautiful but very wonky sister. I came off medication. We moved house. We adapted. And yet…
The gnawing anxiety continues for me. My daughter left home at 14 without a backward glance. I could never have predicted it. What normal kid does that? In some sense she must have felt she belonged there.
So you see for me….Contact with birth family changed all our futures. And I am not sure yet if it was the right thing to do. Time will tell.