Adoption Issues/Post-Adoption: Family Reconciliation
My sons biological dad disappeared from our lives when my son was 1 due to an addiction he couldn't overcome. I eventually got remarried and had another child, my husband adopted my son when he was 5. Not long after the adoption was finalized my husband became verbally and emotionally abusive and very controlling so we divorced. My son has always known that his dad is not his biological dad and recently he has been asking a lot of a questions, which I answer. I have no ill feelings toward Bio dad. Recently Bio dad found me and we have been talking every day. He has two children from a previous relationship, he's been clean for many years and he would like the opportunity to get to know our son. How should I approach this? I want my son to know his Bio dad because he has his behavioral traits (adhd/bipolar) and he always asks about him but I don't know where to begin or how to begin and how do I approach this with my controlling ex husband who tried to keep the truth about the adoption from my son? Please help!
Misty, trust your instincts. It is the best approach. Clearly, your son has a right to know his father and his siblings. And, promoting these family relationships will help your son to feel less dis-membered by the separation. Thank you for writing.
Remember, this is about your son. It is not about your ex-husbands, and it is not about you. For the sake of the young people involved, please insist on adult behavior from and between all of the grown-ups.
Begin here: Talk with your son's father and plan to meet soon at a neutral location - a local restaurant or park, maybe. Is your son curious about his "new" siblings? Please be sure to include them, if possible.
For this meeting, keep the focus entirely on your son and his paternal family, even if it means excluding the adoptive father and excusing yourself. Take or send a camera. Help your son establish direct communication with his father and with his siblings. And, keep tissues in your pocket.
What happens next? Expect change. Beyond that, it depends on your son's age and his response to the initial meeting. He may want some quiet time to process events and sort emotions, or he may be ready to spend the summer with his "new" family members.
A boy with two fathers is a lucky young man, Misty. Reconciling the family - balancing the seemingly opposing needs of its members - could be similar to the blending of families seen in remarriages with children.
Family or individual counseling may be helpful. If it seems appropriate, please seek the advice of a professional with adoption-related experience.
Best wishes, Misty. Thank you for your questions. I hope I have been some help.