We found out that the kids were in contact with their birth family without our knowledge, but now we had to find out what kind of contact, do they know where we live, and is the family safer than when we last saw them. The way they found each other had to be a God thing. The kids had recently been allowed to play with friends in a nearby park. Our neighbors were tired of the kids playing at the end of our street and were starting to chase the kids away. So after a few times of checking up on the kids and seeing that they were playing baseball, frisbee, or walking dogs like they said they would be doing, I let them have my phone and play away, occasionally checking on them.
One day, Ms. D was talking to a neighbor girl. The girl got a call from her boyfriend from another part of town. The boy asked the neighbor girl what she was doing, and the girl answered that she was talking to a girl named D. Now Ms. D has a very unusual name. I've heard it only a few times in the Hispanic community, but it doesn't show up on your average 80,000 baby names site. The girl told her Ms. D has a brother named I. and the boyfriend realized that Ms. D. and Mr. I were his little brother and sister. So anyway they talked, and over the next few weeks, met a couple of times at the park with the kids and their birth sister. Mr. I wanted to tell us, but Ms. D threatened him to not say anything. She also was making plans to run away and live with the birth family. Only after this happened did we find out.
Within a few days, we talked to the birth mom and arranged for a meeting in the park. The visit went really well. And so began a really interesting relationship with a group of people that we would never be in contact with unless we had our kids. We had two of the birth siblings, mom, and an uncle and his family over to our house for Ms. D's birthday. Some have come to church with us. We've had a brother and some cousins stay at our house overnight.
Here are a couple of pictures from Ms. D's birthday party with the relatives at our house. Mr. I is opening the present. Ms. D is holding her birth cousin. The kids' brother, H, is on the right. The young woman in blue is my oldest daughter, and the curly haired guy is another cousin. My hubby is peaking out behind H.
This picture is Ms. D's birth mom giving her a big hug. This was Birth Mom's first time at our house and the second or third time to see Ms. D in about 7 years. They are so happy!
All this is faster than what I would have liked. I am pretty cautious because of the history of the family, and also because of things that are occurring now. One brother is in the midst of a trial. Another looks like he is in a gang pretty heavily and the 15 yo dresses the part. They all live in a bad part of town in a small duplex. It's pretty scary to hang out over there, though my hubby enjoys it. We are concerned about negative influences, encouragement to join a gang, attitudes, and faith. The kids are in a pretty rocky age, even without the influence of a family with police records, teen pregnancies, dependence on welfare, etc.
On the other hand, birth mom is working on getting her life together and is supportive of us raising Ms. D and Mr. I. Now that she realizes that we want her to keep in contact with the kids, she has relaxed and can focus on other areas of her life. The kids are more attached to us and Ms. D, after really looking at the lifestyle of the birth family, realizes that she is better off here. I explained to her that just like I have enough room in my heart for all six kids, she has room in her heart for two mommies. After that, Ms. D started to be able to understand that her loyalties don't have to go one way or the other, but she can love both families. And as long as people behave themselves and the kids are safe, I really think that contact with the birth family will be a good thing.
It is a real faith walk for me. I've been stretched. We all have been stretched. But God is in this.