Yesterday, I received a wonderful letter in response from someone who had been hoping for a follow-up from the young boy in foster care who wrote to me last December. (Yesterday's letter was from the boy's overjoyed adoptive mother, whose adoption of the child is now official).
Today, I hand the reigns to "A Friend From the System" who shares her story, and some advice for the new mother. It is moments like this that make what I do so rewarding, and I thank all who make them happen!
Dear Jamal's Mom,
Congratulations to you, Jamal and the rest of your family. Thank you so much for giving Tazi, and me, an update; I was wondering how things went. I am very pleased to hear that my response to Jamal’s letter gave him the encouragement that he needed to speak to the judge and tell him what he truly wanted. I am sure that the judge listened to him intently. Now, it is time for me to add to Tazi’s advice to you as Jamal’s A-Mom.
The court system will (unless things have changed over the years) seal the adoption records and make it very hard for Jamal’s mother to come looking for him. As for telling Jamal what really happened to his B-Mom that is something only you can tell if Jamal is ready to hear. However, not knowing can have an effect on him. My B-Mom passed away when I was 6 years old. While I was in the foster home (no, I was not adopted by them, but by another family) I was always told that my B-Mother died in a car accident; I am sure Tazi’s mom remembers me talking about that. That was the story that was passed to my A-Mom as well. I, for years, remembered things a bit differently. I remembered trying to wake her up off the couch, and she would not wake up. That made me very curious as I grew up. My A-mother could not tell me anything differently, as that is what she was told too. So, I grew up believing that. As I got older, and became pregnant with my first child, I found I had a real need for medical information that I could not get. (THIS is what Jamal will truly need as he gets older.) I recommend that if you access to any of this, you save it for Jamal, it will be easier for him and his family (when he gets older) to fill out medical forms. Not knowing where I came from put me into a depression.
As I turned 18, I attempted to locate by B-father. I was unlucky for many years due to the fact that Rhode Island sealed my birth records and the state of Massachusetts altered my birth certificate [Ed. Note: The letter writer is from Southern New England]. For the last 12 years (I am now 42), I have been doing genealogy of my birth family, with the help of my A-mother, who does this professionally. Back when we first started the genealogical search, we contacted the state of Rhode Island for a copy of my B-Mom’s death certificate. As it turns out, I was correct and she did not die in a car accident, but rather a drug overdose. About 4 years ago, I found that my B-father died in 1992 in California, alone and in a nursing home.
I have also found a biological uncle through my search; we still talk to this day and have actually met. I found out that He had tried to come looking for me, but was not successful as the adoption had been sealed. I am telling you all of this, so that you can see how difficult it is to locate someone after an adoption. If Jamal so chooses, when he is old enough, there are registries he can sign up on, I know, I did when I was looking for my B-father. One of the many ones out there is http://registry.adoption.com/.
My B-Mom had a friend that adopted her granddaughter due to circumstances similar to Jamal’s. She was told that her B-Mom had died. As a teenager, her mother actually DID die, and her grandmother, now mother, told her this and she became very confused and unhappy. As you can see, it is important for Jamal to know “where he came from”, but you, as his mother, need to determine when it is best for him to hear the ugly details.
A Friend From The System
Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.