It started off as a beautiful day. It was warm and sunny so I planned a walk to the beach while the boys were in school. I was all dressed and ready when the postman came. An envelope ‘Private and Confidential’ from our LA. I didn’t expect anything from them this week so as one would, I freaked out! There was another envelop inside; it was opened. A picture fell out. I picked it up from the floor. IT WAS HER! With Snoops’ smile and Goofs’ eyes! My heart sank…
We were assured she will not write. Even when we met her she told us ‘she has moved on‘. Recently when we needed her for something she was utterly rude to the SW and told her ‘I have nothing to do with the children anymore so leave me alone‘. And yet, I am holding a neatly written letter from her addressed to me.
I don’t want to read it! I don’t want to know anything about her life! I don’t care what she’s up to next! The only thing I want to know is why did she write to me, but for that I have to read her letter.
She is very polite and courteous. She thanked me for my lovely letter to her that was jam-packed with information about the children; their likes, hobbies, achievements in school and sports. She is only responding to my letter in a friendly tone. It stirs up so many puddles in me.
1. We are NOT friends!
This well known quote in adoption circles from Jody Landers summarises my feelings well. The only reason she and I even know each other is because she gave them birth and now they call me MUM.
From the letter you would think we are, indeed, friends. She is commenting on my comments, adding her own experiences, she is asking relevant questions and no doubt she is expecting me to answer them in my next letter. She is communicating with me better than some of my friends! What the heck is going on here???
2. I don’t WANT to become friends with her!
Even though we know she herself had a very difficult childhood, which contributed greatly to her not being able to care for the children I frankly don’t want to think of her as the victim. It is easier to see her as the abuser who hurt the children repeatedly and therefore lost the right to have them in her house and in her life! We have agreed to do letter box contact twice a year, but I was hoping for it to be a one way communication…
3. Nature VS nurture.
I shared with her about the newfound interest Snoops has for science, space and engineering. I’d like to take credit for that as until he moved in with us he had showed no signs of even remotely being interested in that, but in our house he was exposed to books on space and planets, sci-fi geeky stuff, funny science experiments…etc. But now she tells me ‘it is fascinating how much he takes after me, I wanted to become an astronaut and studied science and engineering and space…‘ Baaaaah! When the initial anger subsided I had to conclude it is for the best that I know these things about her. Not just because I want to be in a position to answer Snoops’ questions when the dreaded conversation comes, but also for his sake to know if he has any special gifting in those areas. In moments like this I am painfully made aware that he is not my biological son! And it has two obvious implications: he does NOT take after me and that he does carry HER DNA in which lots of secrets are encoded.
I know it is us who provide him with opportunities to feed his interests. It’s highly unlikely she could have ever taken him to science shows, pay for his coding club, take the time to explain gravitational force to him a millionth time or just listen to his non stop chatter about space and planets. That was all us! But the initial input came from her…
4. Should I tell the boys about this letter?
They have the right to know, simple is that. But the SW also agrees it is not the time to do it! But when is it the right time? The longer we wait the heavier the secret gets and the potential of a future explosion grows exponentially! Xt = X0 (1+r)t (in case you were wondering. See what I just did there?) From the way the boys behave, if our first recent Mother’s Day is any indication, they are safely, securely and happily attached to us. They do not think about BM, they definitely do not miss her or have any positive memories of her, just the opposite. They do not need their pond stirred at this time. We haven’t told them we met her or the fact that we wrote a letter to her. We even agreed with SW not to include that photo of her and us together in the children’s Life Story Books. So, for now, we wait with this information. If it comes up in a conversation (as in if the boys ask me a direct question) I might include random snippets about her, but then I am sure their next question will be ‘how do you know that, mum?’
For now her letter is tucked away in a locked cabinet and I will not look at it again until it’s time to write my second letter to her, in which I will attempt a friendly (???) tone and respond to her questions so our pen-pal relationship can grow until such time my sons are ready to here about it.