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Old 01-07-2013, 10:53 AM   #1
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How much do you share?

As my son is getting older and he is starting to ask harder questions about his birth family. We have always had a very open policy about talking about adoption but he is starting to want a more detailed story and I am not really sure what to share. He was adopted from foster care so his story is complicated. He is 7 and I am just not really sure how detailed to get with him at this age.

Would love to hear your experience

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Old 01-07-2013, 11:13 AM   #2
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DS remembers a lot on his own - adopted from foster care as well, so had contact with his parents until he was 6.

He has been much less forgiving of his mother than me. I "get" the age, drug dependancy and neglect and the generational cycle. I know that she tried, she just couldn't stick it out. He doesn't. At almost 13, he just thinks she sucks, and he still holds a huge amount of anger at her. From the day the adoption papers showed up, he refused to call her anything but her first name. If I said "your mom", he would correct me and say "you're mom, she is XXX".

We still do the "your mom really loved you, she just couldn't take care of you". After he did the DARE program at school, he understood drugs and their effect on your life a bit more, and realizes that it wasn't that his mom didn't love him. She was sick, dependant on drugs, and drugs trump love.

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Old 01-07-2013, 11:22 AM   #3
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His biggest question- and one I've never been able to answer fully- is "Why wasn't I enough to make her quit?"

How do you answer that, as a mom who would move heaven and earth for your kids??

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Old 01-07-2013, 11:35 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Ontariomama View Post
His biggest question- and one I've never been able to answer fully- is "Why wasn't I enough to make her quit?"

How do you answer that, as a mom who would move heaven and earth for your kids??

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"It is a disease and sometimes no matter how bad we want to get better we don't. She did the best she.could and gave you us."

I was adopted and it is a feeling that doesn't really ever go away. It shaped my whole life. You eventually come.to terms and understand it wasn't about "you'. Of course that takes decades

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Old 01-07-2013, 11:37 AM   #5
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Re: How much do you share?

Wow that is though. I have a feeling that we will get that question in the future as well.

My son is 7 and still has no idea what drugs are. They had a drug awareness week at school but it seemed to go right over his head. He was 4 when he was placed with us and before that was with another foster family so he never knew his birth mom. She was in jail his whole life and was just released only to pass away from a drug overdose a few months later. I have always tried to paint the best picture I can of the situation without disturbing the truth but I think as he gets older and understands more its going to get harder to do that.
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Old 01-07-2013, 11:59 AM   #6
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Re: How much do you share?

We haven't had to cross this bridge yet. Thankfully, in our situation, birthmom has a decent head on her shoulders, so we don't have to get as creative as we will have to about birthdad.

I would probably stick to referring to the drug addiction as an illness. Beyond that I think simple, straight forward answers are your best bet. It may be that it's over his head now, but it gives him language to use and a starting place as he matures and can come to understand his story in new ways.
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Old 01-07-2013, 01:40 PM   #7
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Re: How much do you share?

We are not there yet as the two we adopted/are adopting are only 4 yrs and 6 mos old. But, someday we will be in the same boat with the why wasn't I enough for her to quit. My oldest is 8, and also had no clue what drugs were. Dh and I went to a training with Joseph Califano (How to Raise a Drug Free Kid - every parent should read this!) which was very, very interesting. And we learned that the average age of first exposure is in elementary school! So although it hasn't yet come down to relating it to her sisters' birthmom, I wanted to try and sort of lay a groundwork for when it does come up. I don't know how good this was but it went something like this. You know we try and use natural / herbal medicine when we are sick. But, sometimes we have to use drugs / chemical medicine. And we are careful to only do that if we really need to because it's not good for us to take them all the time / if we don't need to. Some of those anyone can buy at the store whenever they need to. But, some of them the doctor has to say if you can have it so we get a prescription if you are really, really sick. And some of them are so bad for us that no one should ever take them and so it's against to law. They don't help us when we are sick; they can make us sick. Just like some plants help to heal us and others can make us sick so you never eat any out of the yard unless Mommy says it's ok. I know that doesn't even start to explain the why would someone choose to take those then or addiction. But, I guess it's a start...

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Old 01-07-2013, 06:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ulawolf

"It is a disease and sometimes no matter how bad we want to get better we don't. She did the best she.could and gave you us."

I was adopted and it is a feeling that doesn't really ever go away. It shaped my whole life. You eventually come.to terms and understand it wasn't about "you'. Of course that takes decades
Yep. I finally spoke to my own birthmom on the phone Christmas Eve for the first time. It was enlightening.

I think it helps ds to know that I'm adopted and most of what he feels, I probably did at that age too.

Big problem is that his mom did not give him to us. She did everything in her power - short of actually getting clean - to stop the adoption. Including accusing us of conspiring with caseworkers, abuse, medical neglect, and refusing to let him see her. Cause you know the foster parents have all the power!

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Old 01-10-2013, 06:34 AM   #9
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Re: How much do you share?

Just remember it's always a continuing story. As they get older, you get a little more specific or add something new they wouldn't have been able to understand before. My sister (joined our family through foster care adoption when I was a teen) has a pretty horrible backstory including a dead sibling. She was told about the worst stuff as a teen (15, maybe?) and I know my mom always questioned if it was the right thing to do. My sister is in the middle of college now and my mom has asked her if she maybe wished she didn't know some things and my sister was adamant she was happy my parents told her everything they knew despite it being "hard". My sister has seen her bio mom's FB page and has enjoyed looking at pics of family members that way, but has no desire to meet anyone right now (closed adoption).
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Old 01-10-2013, 12:23 PM   #10
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Re: How much do you share?

We haven't dealt with that yet, but our agency does all open adoptions so that they kids grow up knowing their story, and how their mom loved them so much they wanted the best for the, ect. Most of the families have a great relationship with the birth mom, but those who don't are just honest with the kids. Obviously, you don't want to get into the nitty gritty that he might not understand yet, but I think its important for them to know the truth, it just needs to be edited to be age appropriate sometimes.
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