I'm very glad that I adopted. I know that I'm glad that I don't personally relate to the labor and delivery horror stories that I have heard. I am a bit envious that I don't know what it feels like to feel a baby kick inside you. But, hearing the judge say that a child is all yours, forever and ever, is pretty monumental, too.
Yes, they're all mine. Except for one little thing. I wasn't the one that gave birth to them. That experience belongs to someone else and she's out there, somewhere. Not somewhere in the world, but somewhere in my city. And, I'm not a fan.
I know that there are others who have positive feelings towards the birth mothers of their children. And, in many cases, that's a good thing. But, not for women like this birth mother. Not for women who put drugs before their children. Women who neglect and endanger their children, and, here's the important part, have no remorse, don't really deserve my positive feelings. I understand that addiction is complicated and that drugs change who you are. But, I also understand that children are the priority. And, in our case, on her last supervised visit with Lizzie, before it was all over; she slept on the floor while Lizzie crawled around her and the biological father's 80 year-old blind mother tried to wake her up, from her wheelchair.
So, yeah, when she was out of our life completely, I was thrilled.
And, even though, she lives in the same city, we don't exactly run in the same circles; so we've never run into her. But, whenever I find us at an event downtown, I can't help but look at the faces around me and worry that she's among them. I've pondered a million times what I would say if I encountered her. It usually involves me yelling, dramatic movie-style, "Stay away from my children!?!" But, it's never happened.
Enter Patrick. Her parental rights have long since been terminated and he only has vague memories of her, but he has inadvertently brought her back into our lives.
One night, I had just come home from work. I was a little grumpy, a little hungry, and I had to pee. I was rushing to the bathroom, when Patrick stopped me and showed me his phone and asked "Do you know who this is?"
And, there she was, his biological mother on facebook. Well, it wasn't exactly her. The picture didn't look anything like her. If it was her, it was a very old picture. But, I knew right away who it was because of the name and, who are we kidding, I also recognized it from when I had looked her up myself. I already knew that she was facebook friends with the oldest daughter of the sibling group who was facebook friends with the oldest son of the sibling group who was friends with Patrick. (Did you follow that?) So, this really shouldn't have surprised me.
And, yet it did.
Thinking that he knew exactly who she was, but wanted to know if I knew, I simply said "It's not the right picture." Then he asked, "But, who is it? She sent me a friend request."
That's when I realized that he was going to make me say it. I took a deep breath and told him that it was his biological mother and tried to fight back the nausea.
Then, he casually said "Oh, hi" and clicked accept.
"You accepted it?" I asked in a high-pitched voice which was supposed to sound calm. But, I wasn't. I felt like my world was crashing down around me.
He asked, "Would you feel better if I didn't talk to her?"
I said "yes" and he said "ok."
In my head, I was screaming that wasn't good enough. I wanted her gone, but I was trying to weigh my words carefully. I don't really remember what was said after that. It was such a blurry mess in my head. I think I made some fake joke about how in 90-ish days, I could tell him that he couldn't talk to her. I remember that because I remember thinking "Oh, yeah! I'm the mom, I can tell him no!" But, I didn't say it and I was also wondering if that would make everything worse if I did. I was trying to think of reasons that a teenager would understand for why she shouldn't be in our lives. I needed something better than "You are mine! Mine! Mine! Mine!" I think maybe I mentioned that she wasn't a safe influence and that I didn't really want her seeing William, Antwan, and Lizzie pictures.
Then he said, "Would you feel better if I wasn't friends with her?"
"Yes, that really would make me feel better."
He said, "Ok" and clicked unfriend.
I thanked him, gave him a hug, and rushed to hide in the bathroom. And, of course, by this time, I really, really needed to go...;)
What had just happened?? She had just invaded my world and been kicked out of it, just as abruptly. I knew that she had a facebook and I guess it was naive to think she wouldn't go looking, but there I was shocked, freaked out, and hiding in my bathroom.
Finally, I got myself together, came out of the bathroom, and "casually" motioned to Jennice to follow me into my room. Jennice had been distracted by the other three kids, the whole time, and had no clue what was going on, but she got up and followed.
We closed the door and I had a really good cry. Lucky for me, Jennice gives good hugs because I needed it.
Then, I wiped my eyes, got myself together, again, because there's only so long that you can hide in the bedroom when you have four kids in the living room, and headed out into the trenches.
It was a nice, relaxing evening. (As relaxing as it can be with four kids in the house, anyway!) It was like it had never happened. I knew that wasn't the case and I knew this wasn't the last of her. But, for the night, apparently, it was.
Brian came home. I cried, again. We wondered if we should contact his case worker and find out what our rights were. We pondered whether we needed a lawyer. We thought about having a big sit-down talk. You may be aware, teenagers don't really love big sit-down talks, though. It was officially uncharted waters and I was a little motion-sick (I love an analogy!). We weren't sure what to do.
But, we knew one thing. When it came down to it, Patrick chose me. My boy chose me. He wants me to be his mom. It doesn't cause her to disappear from existence, but it's still pretty cool. :)