Sunday, April 8, 2012
My Cataclysmic Mistake-The Beginning
I recently made want is, most likely, the biggest mistake I have ever made in my life. I am not exaggerating or being melodramatic. I truly wish I were. This mistake came from the best of intentions, but completely backfired and I'm afraid there may not ever be an end to the direct and collateral damage.
Here is some background to begin this very long, involved story. Alex and Shauna both have contact with their birth families. For Alex, we have been in contact since birth. Since his birth mom was killed in 2006 and his grandmother died the following year of cancer, we only speak to them on Facebook, but will probably see them if we go to Chicago this summer. As for Shauna, we had contact until shortly after her first birthday. Nothing happened between us or anything, but we moved to Virginia and her grandmother lost our new address. I sent her some letters, but they came back as undeliverable. Turns out the family had moved shortly after we did and lost our information during the move. A year and a half ago, I found them on Facebook and we have been in contact since them. I have talked to her grandmother on the phone a few times and Shauna texts and skypes with her sisters once in a while. They have been extremely thoughtful and careful not to cross any boundaries. They are so grateful to have Shauna back in their lives. They were very sensitive to Shauna's feelings and have never pushed themselves on her. Shauna enjoys the relationship they have. She loves seeing their pictures and discussing how much they have in common. She loves seeing people who look exactly like her. Hannah has told me several times that she feels really badly because she doesn't know anything about her birth family and she feels left out. I was trying to be a good mom and I decided that I would try to find Hannah's birth family for her. Have you figured out what the horrendous mistake was, yet? Here's a hint, I will never try to be a good mom again. (Insert a huge sigh here.)
I have searched for Hannah's family many times over the years. They have an extremely common name and it turned out to be very difficult to find them. One night, I spent about six hours on Facebook, going through everyone with the name of one of Hannah's birth sisters, Jasmine J. I clicked on each name, then looked through their friends, hoping to find a Jasmine J. who had friends by the names of Hannah's other six siblings . I finally hit the jackpot and found all but two of the siblings on Facebook. I also found Hannah's birth father and found out from his Facebook, that her oldest brother had died several years ago. The next day, I asked Hannah if she would still be interested in getting in touch with her birth siblings, if I could find them. She was very excited and didn't hesitate to say yes. I then talked to Mike and we agreed that I should send Jasmine a message, explaining the issues that Hannah has and asking if she thought that the family was ready for contact and if that contact would be safe for Hannah. I composed a nice letter and sent it under a fake Facebook account because I didn't want them to know our last name or where we lived right away. After about ten days, I hadn't received a reply. I wasn't sure if that meant they didn't want to know Hannah or if Jasmine hadn't read my message. I had a strong feeling that she had ignored the message because it was from someone she didn't know. Jasmine is 7 years older than Hannah and she had been so in love with her baby sister, I just knew she wouldn't pass up an opportunity to get to know her.
Here are a few excerpts from my letter:
She is sweet, loving, kind, caring, naive, friendly, and active (very active! Lol)...She has Bipolar Disorder, ADHD, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and Pervasive Developmental Disorder... She is smart, but struggles with learning disabilities, also...She struggles with rules and often puts herself into dangerous situations because she is unable to completely understand consequences and has trouble "thinking ahead" and anticipating what might happen in certain situations...She has been in long-term treatment for these problems and she has shown tremendous progress over time, especially over the last two years...You and your siblings and parents have been in our thoughts all these years. We discuss you often and I have told Hannah that she comes from a kind, loving, close family. She has had a picture of her, you, and some of your brothers on her dresser, all these years. In the picture, she is sitting on your lap and she has always said she feels so close to you, even though she doesn't actually remember you...As I've said, she has a lot of serious issues and I don't want to start anything that will throw her off track. I am trusting that my gut feelings are correct in telling me that you are a trustworthy person, who will tell me honestly what you think. Before I allow Hannah to have Facebook contact with all of you, I need to know if you think anyone in your family will look negatively on our adoption of her and express those feelings to her. I'm not trying to be rude or anything, I'm just trying to protect Hannah, so please don't take any of this the wrong way...
To be continued...