Monday, May 24, 2010

The Long and Winding Road

I've hesitated about talking much about my son and his relationship with his father here. Because I know that some of what I have to say won't paint me in a very good light with my adoptee friends. Or maybe I'm just "being all adopted" today and worrying too Regardless, I'm ready for the comments..good, bad, slap upside the head..I'm fine.

Word of warning..I'm not sure whether my ex's wife reads my blog clue. I don't follow her around the internet (although, truthfully, I used to, just to see if she was talking about me..hahaha)…but I've gotten over myself and realized that most likely, she feels like I do now and couldn’t care less what I say… If she's reading this then I'll hear about it from my ex and all I can say is I'm sorry that we disagree so strongly on this.

Anyway, I digress (a lot).

My son's father and I split up when Chase was three months old. And then the hard times really began. There was a restraining order put in place, and before you ask, no, he was never physically abusive towards me but that doesn't mean I wasn't fearful of what he might do. And the judge granted the order..not to keep my ex away from our son, but to keep him away from me.

Long story very short, my ex ended up leaving the state in 2004…for places unknown. Eventually, I found out that he was living in Louisiana with his pregnant girlfriend (now wife)..and they lived down there all through 2005 until 2006. He took me back to court so he could exercise his visitation rights again in early 2007.

While he was gone, I began my relationship with my current boyfriend. He's put up with a lot through the years and I'm eternally thankful for him in my life. He accepted that I was a single mother raising two children and loves them more than the world. See, this is where it gets sticky.

Every day on my way to work, I'd drop Chase off at daycare. He'd play with his friends, and get loved on by his teachers. And he'd see the parents, moms and dads, come to pick up his classmates. Every day. And he was growing and his brain was beginning to think..really think.

One day when Chase was about two years old, we got home from work/daycare and he ran into the house, straight into my boyfriend's office.

"Dahnnie! We're home!".

You see, Dahnnie = Daddy. And I'm going to be completely honest here, I said nothing. Because the fact was, at that point, I had NO idea when my ex might come back up north. No idea what his plan was for his life…only knew that right then, his number priority wasn't Chase. For better or for worse, it just wasn't. And I get that. I do. He had built a life down in Louisiana and really, I couldn't fault him for that, although it made me sad for Chase.

And my boyfriend had been there for Chase in ways that my ex logistically couldn't. The late night feedings, the diaper changes, the dinner table fiascos, the scraped knees, the boo boo kisses…the inevitable time…and Chase saw that he had what his friends had at daycare…a Dahnnie.

Flashforward to today and things are hard for Chase. More difficult than I think my ex can understand..(I'm NOT saying this is bad, or whatever…it just is)..and it's causing issues for Chase. My ex believes that Chase should not be allowed to call Steven "Daddy". Period..end of story. That because he doesn't share the same genes as Chase, he has no rights. Legally, that's correct. But morally, I respectively beg to differ. I'm adopted. I have TWO moms. The one that raised me (albeit, badly at times) and the mom that I'm biologically and inexplicably connected to. In my eyes, neither has more of a "right" to me. But both just as real as the other.

Yesterday when I got Chase back from his weekend visit, I took him over to see the rest of my afamily and Madelyn at my sister's house for my nephew's birthday. He'd had an accident in his pants. Actually, he had two accidents while we were there. Now, usually this means one of three things: He's tired, he's lazy (lol) or he's stressed out. As I got him cleaned up in my sister's bathroom, he said something to me that hurt my heart.

"Daddy yelled at me today. He said I'm not allowed to call Steven Daddy anymore." Now, whether "yelled" means talked to in a stern voice, my bet is on probably. But it was hard to hear that it's still going on. I'd kind of put it out of my head (bad Mommy) and thought that since my ex and I were being civil and decent with one another, his tone would change with Chase. But it hasn't. I simply told Chase to tell Daddy (my ex) that he can talk to Mommy about it, and that I was just happy he has so many people that love him.

And tonight, while I'm at therapy, I'll be pushing my therapist for the name of a counselor that I can take Chase to so we can address the issue and see what an unbiased third party person thinks.

Was I wrong to not tell Chase that he had a father out there somewhere? Probably. But what was I supposed to do? Sigh.

I'll bet I lost quite a few readers several paragraphs back because I'm so long winded today, but I had to write it down.


  1. ((((Chase and Christina))))

    This is really rough :( I don't see why Chase should NOT call Steven Daddy. Steven has obviously been there in all the capacities required of a Daddy whilst your ex hasn't. And the other thing is, Chase chose to call Steven Daddy. Not forced, told to or any of that, it was Chase's decision regardless of what anyone else thinks.

    Steven is the man Chase sees as Daddy because he has been there. The ex hasn't and like you said, Chase hasn't exactly been his number 1 priority so he has no right to dump this on Chase's shoulders. That made me most mad reading he had told Chase that. He shouldn't be talking to your son about things that are adult issues not kid issues.

    What matters most, at the end of the day, is that your son is in a safe and protected environment and where he is happy and loved. If that means calling Steven Daddy then hey, I don't see the issue. Its not like Steven came along and took you both, and forced himself as Chase's Daddy. It is a natural relationship that has unfolded and given Chase security. His "father" should be happy for him; not trying to take the only security he has known away from him.

    Hugs to you Christina... you are NOT a bad Mommy.

    Myst xxx

  2. Whether you were right or wrong w/ regard to the Daddy thing is pretty superfluous to me so don't beat yourself up. --bio dad is a jerk for making his son feel badly like this. I totally agree that our kids can *never* have too many people to love them and support them.

  3. What I'm torn about is the fact that, after many years of being angry and bitter, I'm GLAD that my ex is back. In most ways, he's a great dad..and I'm happy that Chase will get to experience that.

    My feeling is that Chase is only seven years old..and can only think in 'black and white'..there is no gray area. He knows that his dad, stepmother and two sisters love him..and that they are his family..and he knows that Steven, Madelyn and I are his family as well. I don't really see the point of causing such angst over this.

    I know I'm preaching to the I had to say it.

    Thanks ladies. You pretty much just said the same things that my therapist said today...and what she believes a child therapist will say. We've actually talked about all this before in previous sessions and it became a wait and see thing..but now, it's become a huge issue for Chase. And that's what hurts me most.

  4. You did right!It's not considering Chase to make a big issue of this and his biological father is wrong.Period.

  5. Aww...So sorry to hear. Seeing your child hurt and confused is the worst!I think you did the right thing. His dad should definitely address this issue with you and not put poor Chase in the middle. Just out of curiosity...What does Steven think about it?

  6. As always I think that what is in the best interest of the child - Chase - is what should prevail here. So I agree your ex making an issue of this is not right. What I find intersting though - is that when an adoptive parent makes a statement like "I did not know what the situation with the Birth parents was so I made the best call I could for my child at the time" they are excoriated for NOT knowing, for calling the first parent a "biological", for DARING to assert that putting in the face time entitles them to the title of mom or dad, for calling the child in question "theirs", etc.

    I'm not trying to give christina a hard time here (although I do that sometimes too LOL) but it does strike me as odd that the two situations provoke such different responses.

  7. I rarely comment but had to jump on this one.

    A very similiar situation happened with my daughter. Her father was barely around (but a bit more than your ex) from birth to....well to be honest until he died when she was 17 yrs old. In the beginning she would spend "his" weekends with her grandmother (his mom) and I suppose he would occasionally stop by. He would often say he was coming over and she would wait for HOURS - for him not to show. Meanwhile my husband had been around since she was 18 months old and we were married by the time she was 3. Also, like in your case, my husband was the one that was THERE constantly.

    Around her bdad she would refer to my husband as Daddy First Name, and her bdad was Dad. Bdad did not like that anymore than you can imagine - but she continued to do it (she always was one to push buttons - LOL). Eventually as she got older she learned to not call my husband dad in front of her bdad.

    It's a sad situation, I think it's more common than you think, and I agree that this is an ADULT conversation. But either way, your hands are tied, this is how your son feels about your boyfriend and I'm glad he has such a good male role model in his life.

    I'm sorry I couldn't offer any more advice, but just wanted you to know that your not alone in this area.

  8. I figure your ex is so offended because he has a guilty conscience. If he had been there, he wouldn't have to worry about someone else taking his place, he's jealous and he knows the only one he can blame is himself, so the next logical place to lay blame is with Steven. Don't lose sleep over it.

  9. Hi Christina,
    I don't know if you remember me...I'm the mom who hates that pets get "adopted"??? Anyways, I always read your blog and am therefore obviously terrified to comment...please be gentle...I am going through a rough time right now.
    Help me understand how this post is fair? I am being totally sincere, no snark or sarcasm. How come you can say certain mis-leading things to your son about his bio dad and justify it, but then be so unforgiving to AP's who do similar things. Every case is different, but sometimes we do what we think is best for the child...later it may hurt them...but how can we ever know? And Myst...I love you too so please don't hate on me, if this blog post had been an adoptive situation, you would have been all over it. I'm confused and it's late and I'm tired and overwhelmed. Help me understand.

  10. No worries Shannan..I know that it would probably sound hypocritical when I wrote it...

    I honestly don't think I ever said any misleading things to Chase. He knows that his father and I "made him" together..and that, for all intents and purposes, Steven is his stepfather. My point is, Chase has two daddies. It would be the same thing for me if I chose to call both of my mothers "Mom". It would be okay. I do have two moms, after all. It's what is comfortable for Chase. If my natural mother had come back into my life and told me, "Stop calling your adoptive mother Mom because I'm back.." I would have laughed in her face because, regardless of the abuse and the sucky childhood, she is my mother..even though I do wish I hadn't been adopted.

    I wish that my ex and I had been able to stay Steven wouldn't have had to step in and help me. And I wish that my natural mother and I had been able to stay together as my adoptive parents wouldn't have had to adopt me..

    I'm not dogging adoptive parents here..nor am I dogging natural parents here.


Share your words of wisdom with the rest of the class. :)