Every six months, I feel the stress and pressure rise the closer it gets to letter box exchange.
It’s like going to the dentist to get a filling when all I’ve rather be doing is …. well…anything else. Absolutely anything else!
That feeling as the reminder letter arrives that it’s exchange month again.
The call to tell us the birth mother is fretting because the adoptive family of a sibling sent their letter on the first day of the month so where is our’s? – We still have a week to go… it’s been busy…… it’s still on the bottom of the to do list.
The emotional roller coaster
I don’t want to share details about my children with the birth family!
I don’t want to be reminded that they had them first!
I also don’t want to think about and be reminded of what they experienced while in their birth parents care. I already parent the result daily.
I don’t want to feel like I can’t gush about how much I love my children and how amazing they are, due to fear of causing upset and distress.
I don’t want some unknown social workers to be reading personal details about our children and our family.
It feels like that one last link is still there; which means despite paperwork to say we are their parents, they are still not quite completely ours.
I want to stop writing!
I really,really want to stop writing. If it was up to my husband we would never have started. But; I worry that my children will blame me later on when they are older and understand more about their life story if I stop.
I worry that by not having fairly current information on how the birth family are doing; as my children get older they might go in search of their birth parents before they are really prepared for a meeting, just to get information that they could easily have by continuing letter box exchange.
I feel bad for the vulnerable woman who is their birth mother and the loss she has already endured.
I feel pressured by the social workers who have to support the birth mother regularly as she bombards them for any info on how the children are doing. When we asked if we could reduce exchange to yearly, this was met with oppositional pressure from all levels within the department.
I look at our two most amazing children and feel a debt to my children’s birth mother for the chance I have to share their lives and have them call me mummy!
So here we go again!
I’ve just sent our 6 monthly letters. It took me 6 weeks to write them because it was a start and stop thing.
I’ve shared lots of superficial detail so she will feel a part of their lives even though I know she will never really know them like we do.
I realise this is a small thing to do that means the world to her and that she pressures the adoption contact team daily during exchange month, to find out if our letters have arrived.
I know she has constructed a fantasy in which she gave us our children and she believes one day they will come in search of her and want to be with her again. In reality; they were removed and it may be that they choose never to meet with her. It’s a big unknown.
I know that she will write back. That despite the challenge it is to her, she always makes a big effort…… I also know I should be grateful for this and that my children will appreciate the letters and cards we receive from her when they are older.
I’m aware that many birth parents are not able to respond to letter box exchange. That my children are fortunate in having current information and we can save every single response we get from our children’s birth mother and their birth family.
I find myself having to convince my children that it is their best interests that I write to their birth mother as they have recently started to question why I’m doing it as they understand more about the reasons they were adopted.
So when will it end???
I have taken the step to write and let her know that while our children are happy to share how they are doing with her, I will continue to write and support them. But if that changes; and that should they at a later stage decide they don’t want letterbox exchange to continue or they want to limit the information, we will prioritise and respect their choices.
I know that this will be upsetting for her and she will not really understand but, I felt she needed to be prepared.
I didn’t expect the social worker to call me after reading it and suggest that if the children decided they don’t want to do letterbox exchange in future, couldn’t we just do it anyway? Do the children need to know? Clearly we were not in agreement with this idea!
So when it ends, I do not know. Looks like were staying on the emotional roller coaster for quite some time to come.