Friday, 3 July 2015

What Would Happen if I Met My Birth Mum?

"What would happen if I met my birth mum in the supermarket"

I looked at KC.

"What do you mean?" I asked, trying to pretend I hadn't heard him although in reality I was just giving myself space to think.

"Well, say I was at the supermarket getting you some milk or something, by myself, and my mum was standing there, what should I say to her?"

I looked at him. This was a genuine question - he wasn't after anything or trying to play me - this was obviously on his mind. A couple of weeks ago the school had a talk from members of the NSPCC and, although KC didn't attend, his classmates have all been chatting to him about it and, his teacher told me that he has achieved a 'cool' status in being adopted, having two dad's - having experienced some of the isues they only hear about in assemblies - I'm not entirely sure he appreciates this new status as talking about his birth mum and his past life in care has never been top of his priority list - well, not to school mates anyway.

But I was't going to let this opportunity to talk openly about his adoption go, I wasn't going to sweep it under the carpet with a well meant pleasantary, "Let's talk about it later." As my sons both tell me, 'when a parent says 'later' they usually mean 'never'.

So we talked.

He had a lot of questions.

Yes we have his life story book, but he doesn't like to look at it for very long. It's not the pictures or the story that upset him, it's that they bring back memories of 'the bad things'. He very rarely talks about the 'bad things'. But today he wanted to talk about his birth mum and why she let the 'bad things' happen.

"Maybe she's changed?" he said hopefully.

"Maybe she has," I replied, "But, to be honest, I don't know. But when you are ready then we can look for her together - although legally we can't do that until you are 18."

"My friends say I can find her through the TV show, "Long Lost Family."

I stopped. We don't watch that show, not because I have anything against it - its just not my cup of tea. However, here we are at home being careful over everything the boys watch, monitoring internet and mobile phone use - doing all the right things. But I hadn't counted on well-meaning friends spurred on by talks from well meaning adults...

'I don't think thats the best way to make contact." I said.

"Do you still write to her?" he asked.

"Yes," I replied truthfully - in fact our contact letter is due later this month.

His eyes lit up, "Can I read her replies?" he asked.

I wasn't going to sugar coat things, "She has never replied," I told him. "Not yet anyway."

"Can I write to her?" he asked.

I thought about it. He is nearly 11 now.

"Why don't we write it together," I said.

"Good," he said, "I want to tell her how much I've grown and about my cricket match."

He stopped.

"Do you think she goes to the gym now and is healthy? Has she stopped taking drugs and drinking? Is she still married to TJ's dad?"

None of these questions I could answer - well, some I could - I had seen her Facebook page and it didn't look as though any of the above had been adhered too - apart from the marriage which I saw from her status was no longer recognised but I couldn't tell him that.

I think he saw I was a little moved by his questions.

"Its okay," he said, "I don't want to live with her - not after what they did - but one day I might want to visit."

He paused, "And anyway, you are always saying we can't live in the past - so I'm going to have a good day and plan my future."

I wonder if his plans include her... or his fantasy version of who she is...


  1. What a sensitive and poignant piece. I love the way you talked to KC about this, and didn't fob him off when in an inconvenient place like a supermarket. Your adopted son's personality comes through too. He sounds like a lovely boy. Very interesting insight for those of us who don't have adopted children. Thank you.

    1. Thank you so much Siobhan, thats a lovely thing to say and I really appreciate your comments. I think adoption can seem very remote and any way that we can create an insight into the lives of adoptive families can only help in removing stigma and improve understanding.

  2. Those kinds of questions never fail to catch me off guard, although I love when they happen around here. Sounds like you handled the situation amazingly, great job! I hope the letter writing process goes well. I'd love to read about it, we are in the middle of a similar situation ourselves.

    1. Thanks Mama Bear... I'll let you know how it goes... I'm a bit wary of what he will say... Is that adoptive parent jealousy?