The boy’s biological grandfather came to visit over the weekend, as I mentioned, and they were all happy to see him and spend some time together. This time around, Maymo was able to better understand the whole “grampa” concept which was nice for all involved. Today he’s been talking about the whole thing much more excitedly than he did last year.

The flip side, of course, is that having Grampa here on Saturday and again on Mother’s Day meant that the two older boys were very much focused on their biological mom. Grampa mentioned bio-mom a few times and that got Middle One’s attention. He made some small comments and, finally at one point, he flat-out asked when he could see her.

We have been very open with the boys in age-appropriate ways. We have told them on many occasions that they cannot see her until they are 18 years old – legally adults – and why.

But Middle one is 9 and has memory problems. And he misses his biological mom.

They know about the problems she has and why they were brought into foster care and why they were adopted instead of being returned to their biological mother.

They know that legally not a single member of their family – including Grampa – have any rights to even know where the boys are living let alone their new names or visiting with them.

We have explained that we are doing the best we can to keep them in touch with their family of origin, while following the law, in ways that are safe and secure. Auntie Em’s visit, for example, was an amazing thing for them on so many levels! But visiting their biological mom is not an option because it’s not safe or healthy for them to be around her.

After Maymo went to bed last night, Coffee and I spent a few hours of Mother’s Day explaining, again, why Middle One and Oldest One can’t see her. Explaining the laws. Explaining the chances she was given to fix her mistakes. Explaining the mistakes themselves.

We talked about how we know that she loves them and misses them but that there is absolutely, positively, no way we can put her in touch with them until they’re 18 years old. By law, not because we feel like being mean or we hate her or we want to make their lives (and hers) miserable.

This is far bigger than us.

Explaining “crown wardship” and “termination of parental rights” was not quite part of the plan for this weekend, obviously. I had planned to spend at least 2 hours reading a book.. instead, I folded laundry because our schedule was tossed off kilter by a late-afternoon visit on Sunday.

Before you think I’m whining, though, one thing I’ve said about parenting adopted older kids is that you have to be willing to forgo ‘normal’ holidays in a lot of cases – and that includes Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day and even the kids’ birthdays. I knew that going into this and I knew that, by adopting older kids, I’d have to suck it up sometimes.

In this case, I skipped parts of Mothers Day to let my boys be with their “other mother’s” father and then worked to clean up the squishy emotional mess of it. There will be more of it to clean up this week, without question, as they process it all over again.

I’m not telling you this so you’ll pat me on the back and tell me how awesome I am (though, of course, you can feel free! Any time! Go ahead!) I’m telling you this because.. Adoption is complicated.

There are so many emotions that run below the surface for all of us on even the most ‘average’ of days; the important part is to focus on the kids and sometimes it’s hard to do that. It’s hard to spend “happy occasions” comforting someone else while (seemingly) the rest of the world celebrates.

It’s hard to feel like “less than Mom” sometimes – like a place holder for someone else who isn’t returning for at least 6 more years for one kid and 9 years for another.


  1. MayB says:

    You’re a good woman, Violet. It’s appreciated. Thank you for being so patient and kind. You’re a real mom. No doubts about it.

    • violet says:

      I do know it means a lot to the adults involved to see the boys – they have all been so kind to us (Coffee and I) and I know they were and are just as nervous as I am when we plan to get together! It’s just.. weird. Awkward. Not because of WHO, but the entire situation! As I said to the boys last night, not one person in their family thought this is how things would end up, ever – including their mom.

      And I know, too, that when the boys are older they will understand better why things are the way they are and how and it will feel less horrible for me on some levels. My rational side understands what we have to do, and why, and my emotional side says, “Holy crap, this is SO UNFAIR for them”.

      Seriously, someone needs to write an instruction book for all of this. Like, before the kids are older and moved out and I have time to write it myself. :)

  2. You protect them like a mamabear, and you try to see the situation from their viewpoint and do what’s best in the big picture.

    It’s tough to manage all those emotions, the expressed and the repressed.

    Sounds like you did great.

  3. Andrew says:

    *pat pat pat* You’re awesome!

  4. Ditto to the first two comments, Mama Bear. You are a real mom! Never doubt.

  5. Melly says:

    Happy Belated Mamma Bear’s Day!!!

  6. Jo says:

    I don’t know that I would refer to anything she did as “mistakes” but that’s just me. I’m such a harsh judge of bad parenting. I think you make bad choices and you suffer the consequences of those bad choices, and mistakes don’t really play any part in it. A mistake is when you put sugar instead of salt into the recipe. It’s not when you [fill in the blank] and lose custody of your children. You have to SERIOUSLY fuck up to lose custody of your children. I don’t know. “Mistake” sounds too kind too me. MHO of course.

  7. Angelina says:

    I don’t have any of the deep complications you have and still mother’s day is always bittersweet for me as well because having a kid with special needs (I used to call it “having a kid who daily makes you want to strangle either him or yourself…”) is so exhausting that most mother’s day I want to escape my family. Mothering for me is rewarding but it isn’t the bliss-fest it seems to be for a lot of other moms.

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