March 22, 2008

Building Blocks

Today Puppy overheard T talking with Ms B on the phone and so just had to call his birth mom, too. He told K about the egg hunt at church this morning and she told him she loved him, then he went about the rest of his day.

Sometimes I come across parents who are willing to send letters and pictures to their kids' first parents from the start, but want to hold off on direct contact until their child is "old enough" to understand the relationship. Sometimes that means 6 or 7 years old, sometimes 4 or so. They argue that contact before then wouldn't mean anything--the child isn't old enough to even remember. Why bother?

I've struggled to understand this line of thinking, because when I see something like Puppy phoning K, I see the building blocks of a real relationship. He won't remember this conversation twenty years from now. He probably won't even remember it a month from now. But in a few years when those long-term memories start to form, he will be drawing on these early years. He'll have the head start of familiarity. And at the most basic level he'll already know that his first parents are part of the constellation of people who make up his family. Why pass that up?

8 comments:

Yondalla said...

Yep. Better keep them away from grandparents too, huh? Don't want to confuse the little darlings with too much love and support. I mean, if they know that lots of people love them, and some of them are some sort of "parent" they won't really get attached to the REAL parents, will they?

Sorry, my snarky side is in high drive today.

It's just insecurity. Parents afraid that the children won't love them as much.

Thanksgivingmom said...

This line of thinking has long been one of my biggest frustrations with OA...the whole, let a child decide mentality.

You don't let your child decide what to eat, when to go to bed, whether or not they'll go to school, but we're going to put THIS decision in thier hands?

OR, we could do as you've done. Include birthparents as part of the childs life and it will be something that's THERE. Like school, healthy food, and a decent bedtime. As long as birthparents are a good influence I don't see any valid arguement against it...

Thanks as always for being a voice of reason and a model for such awesome behaviors!

mayhem said...

Yes... How would it be easier or better for the child to form a relationship with first parents when he's six or seven? Then why not 10 or 12? Or 18? The familiarity and basic background of "these are people who care about me" is a great start to a true relationship.

That's so silly to think that the contact doesn't matter before the child will remember it. It doesn't make any sense.

AJS said...

Yes! The foundation blocks are SO important...I agree 10000% and have happily met with Lil Princess' parents monthly since she was born 7 months ago.

Roni said...

Again, you have managed to get me all teary eyed with your beauty!

cynthia said...

I totally agree. And wish we had that- my son is at the age where he definitely could understand (3) but its less concrete because there's less contact. I'm jealous.

Poor_Statue said...

You are so right. I don't get those people either.

I have always been a part of my daughter's family so now that she is old enough to remember and understand some of it, she doesn't also need to wonder about this new person in her life. I know when she gets sad, her parents pull out photos of our visits to show her that I was here. Plus, the extended family had those early years to develop he sense that we are all family while my daughter was still really little.

I'm so glad you are getting these good relationships.

Shawn & Lisa said...

Thanks for this... since we are just starting out our open relationship, we have a lot of nay-sayers in the family. Stories like this make me realize that we are making the right decision for our girl :)

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