And, if you don't know what I'm talking about, here you go.
So, after I moved on past the crying and freaking out (well, the crying, anyway), we decided to be proactive.
The night that the biological mother made her request, I blocked her from my facebook account and Brian's. Mine was already private, but Brian's wasn't. But, I blocked her from both, anyway. It broke my heart a little, but I also unfriended our kids' oldest brother because I knew there was a chance that he was in contact with her and I have to protect my kids. I couldn't figure out how to block her from my blog facebook page, though. :( So, technically, she could be reading this. But, I don't know that she's interested in going through all that effort....
The next day, I contacted Patrick's case worker in south Florida and explained the situation. I asked what this woman was legally allowed to do. Yes, she had officially lost all parental rights, but I doubted that they included "no facebook" in the TPR report. I asked what our rights were. Since I was trying to be neutral, always afraid of rocking the boat; she ended up missed my point and said that if we wanted him to have visits with her, it would be up to us. I was screaming, in my head, "No, I don't want her anywhere near my children." But, I did like the "it will be up to you" part. But, a few emails later, it was clear that she didn't think visits would be a good idea, anyway.
Then, I asked my former caseworker friends on facebook. They were unsure of exactly what could be done, but agreed that it was not a good situation.
Then, we had a monthly check in with our local case worker. We walked outside, so we could privately ask what our rights were and what the biological parent was allowed to do (yes, this was our official question). She seemed confused at our alarm and then, of course, I got nervous and tried to downplay my hysteria over the whole thing, but I don't know if it worked. Of course, it's different for her. She works with the biological parents just as much as the adoptive. She's used to visitations and reunifications. This is way beyond that, though. She ended up saying that it was up to us and that we could tell her to stop if she contacted him again. This was a far cry from my ideal "We're going to find her and take away her computer, phone, or library card. We're then going to pack her up in a box and ship her to China!" But, I guess, it wil have to do....
As the days passed, it faded. I never fully stopped worrying about it, but there were so many other things to worry about on a daily basis. Until one day, we were pulling out of the driveway and he abruptly told me that she had sent him several more facebook requests. He told me that he finally sent her a message and said "Please stop sending me requests. I really don't want to talk to you." She responded with "Ok, be blessed."
I drove on, pretending not to freak out, and marveling at the fact that she didn't realize the best way he could be "blessed" was for her to leave him alone. I was painfully aware that I had been living under the misapprehension that she wasn't contacting him, but also aware that he was being honest with me and that he had told her to back off. And, I was frantically texting Brian at every stop light. It took me several minutes to get the text to him, but he finally got the message. :) His response was that maybe we needed a lawyer. I agreed. But, in the end, we wondered what a lawyer really going to do? Tell us that it's up to us if we want visits and tell her that she should stop?
I thought about it all day. I knew what I wanted to ask him, but wasn't sure if I should and wasn't sure how he'd respond. I knew that we needed to get her out of our lives, as much as possible. But, I wasn't sure how he was really feeling about the whole thing, deep down. It was after bedtime for the younger three kids and Patrick was showing me how to play a random cell phone game. I sat there with the question on the tip of my tongue and played it out in my head a few times before I finally said "I need you to do something for me." I paused, a little too long, as if I was on a soap opera, then said "I need you to block her."
I think I said something about her not being a safe influence. Yeah, I've used that line before, but it mostly sums it up.
After messing with me for a few minutes and pretending that he didn't know how to block someone, (he is a teenager, after all, ha), he told me that it was done. I thanked him and he went back to showing me how to play the game.
So, that was it. It was done. As it would appear, everything that we could do had been done. Short of that shipping to China idea, there really wasn't much else for us to do, unless she showed up on our doorstep.
I'm still really upset, but there's apparently nothing not much to I can do. Patrick has made it clear that he wants nothing to do with her and, as far as I know, she's currently out of the picture. So, I can't ask for much more from the situation.
I know that this is partly a sneak preview of similar scenarios that might occur with the others. I know that she still has that part of them that I never will. But, I also know that to them, I am Mommy. I have to hold onto that. Because that really is the most important thing.
All I can do now is focus on us and hope and pray that we never have to deal with her again. But, never is a big word and forever is a long time for things that you hope will never happen. So we'll see.
Man, time's like this, I wish there really was a Batman. He would totally know what to do. ;)