The last time I saw his birth parents was at the courthouse for a hearing. They paused long enough from fighting with each other to talk to me briefly. They asked me to send photos once a year, around his birthday. That was it.
He was supposed to have one final visit with them, for his first birthday. They cancelled three times.
After a year of dealing with their nuttiness and drama, I was glad to be dome with them. I didn't send pictures that year. If they wanted to know how he was, they could have shown up for the visit.
But when his second birthday rolled around, I was feeling guilty. Open adoptions are much more in vogue these days. And I was watching a lot of "Teen Mom" with Caitlyn and Tyler. My Catholic guilt set in.
I knew their names, hometowns, etc. So I looked them up on MySpace (this was a couple years ago) and messaged them. They responded right away. To protect my son, I never told them my last name, where we live or where I work. But we chatted about our son and I sent pictures. Things were okay for a couple months. They were, surprisingly, still together as a couple. They had an apartment and he had a job.
Then the craziness reappeared. She emailed all the time, in a very needy way, not just for our son but for contact with ME. I felt like I had to mother her, too. She didn't understand why I wouldn't text her (um, because then she would know my phone number).
By this point, we had switched over to Facebook. She started complaining, to all her FB friends, about how she "wasn't allowed to see her son." I emailed and tried to tell her my reasons why: He was still so young and they were still not all that stable. Her emails got nasty. They got mean. I got angry. She wanted to see him, talk to him, visit him. She WANTED him. It became clear to me that not only is she manipulative, but delusional.
I didn't initiate contact for a while. Then after many months, the guilt returned. I was probably watching "Teen Mom" again, or maybe "Juno." So I responded to her emails. They started off fine and then BOOM she unloaded a crap ton of negative emotions and hate onto me. It was awful and upsetting. Her reaction should not be surprising, given the instability of her life and her borderline personality disorder diagnosis.
But having that much hate and vitriol directed at me was horrible. And it made me very, very worried for my son's safety. From now on, they will get a very brief email once or twice a year, letting them know our son is fine. But that's it. That is it.
I know I screwed up by contacting them. I thought it would make this better for them, but instead, I made it worse. For that, I am sorry and regretful. I know they are hurting, I do. But I have to do what's best for this little boy, since they cannot or will not.
They still don't know our last name, where we live or where I work. But I know his birth mom is always looking for him. She is on the Internet all day and we live in the same state. As soon as my son turns 13 and gets a Facebook account (or its future iteration), I know she will be there: BOOM! Trying to explode into his life. I am trying to prevent that from happening for as long as I can.
That's why this blog post is anonymous. It's why he doesn't show up in my Facebook profile pictures. It's why I refuse permission for his Little League team or his school to post pictures of him online. It's why I am not telling you his name or age.
I tried to open up our adoption, maybe just a little bit. And it was a huge mistake. The state created closed adoptions from foster care for a reason.
I wish we could all be one happy family. I envy Carrie's relationship with M (the Portrait of an Adoption family). But M is older, got her issues worked out and is not harmful to K.
That is not the case here. I will never badmouth his birth parents to him. He has seen their photos and I answer whatever basic questions he has. But he hasn't had many. When he is 18, he can read my huge, thick file of his records from the state, including his birth parents' full names etc.
But while he is underage, I will protect him and keep him safe. Even from his own relatives.
Portrait of an Adoption is hosted by Carrie Goldman, author of Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher, and Kid Needs to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear. If you have a story you would like to submit as a candidate for next year's series, please email it to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.