Today we enlisted Birthmom's help. We didn't prepare her ahead of time, but she did well. Sometimes help comes from unexpected places.
Ms. D and Mr. I had met an 18 yo young man last week through one of Ms. D's slightly older friends. He said he was a second cousin related to an uncle they didn't know. Ms. D, in her thinking, immediately trusted the guy (family first!) and invited him over to meet me this afternoon. I was on the sofa not feeling well, and Hubby was out delivering bread to some people we know in need. That's when the kids bring in this young man. Mr. I went out to play with his friends and Ms. D busied herself with a little cousin who was here. So I asked the guy to sit down and chat. He seemed nice enough, but there were some red flags. He had parked his car a street down and walked over. He had a bit of a surprised look when I was able to work into the conversation that Ms. D was only 13 and younger than his kid sister. My kids were shooting me odd looks like I'd better accept him or they'd go behind my back again. I couldn't figure out why this 18 year old guy would come alone, unannounced, just to meet some younger kids in the extended family. Was he wanting to go out Ms. D? Was he casing our place out? I don't know. So I pretended like I was doing something on my phone and took his picture. We chatted for a bit. I apologized for not being more hospitable, but I wasn't feeling well. And after about ten minutes, he left.
I couldn't figure out at first what to do. Hubby was gone. The kids are overly trusting and think the birth family would never harm them. They don't know the danger that some of the family members pose, even though a number of them are awaiting trial for murder. The kids continually dismiss our warnings about signs of gang activity in the family. They believe everything people in that family say. I need to at least know who the people are, how I can reach them, and what dangers there are so I can keep the kids safe.
Of course, Hubby and I don't know anything. The kids *know* that they are safe with family. Family First!!!
A little bit later I thought of an idea of how to protect the kids. It was a pretty big chance because the warning needed to come from someone in the birth family in order for Ms. D to believe it. Hubby was going to drop some bread and the little cousin at Birthmom's house a little later in the day. So I asked him to show Birthmom the young man's picture and see if she knew who he was and what he was like. I was a bit concerned because Birthmom has been very stressed lately and Ms. D was already angry with her. Birthmom had a bit of an anxiety attack in church last night and offended Ms. D. She doesn't understand why her birth mom would act the way she did. I wasn't sure if Ms. D would even listen to her if she was still angry. I didn't have a chance to rehearse with or talk to Birthmom before Hubby talked about the situation with the man. But if she could be on our team to help Ms. D to be more cautious with people, even if they say they are family, we will all be ahead.
And that's just what happened! Birthmom didn't really know the man. She thought he could have been related, there are so many people in her family, but she didn't recognize him in the picture. And she and Ms. D's older sister both cautioned Ms. D to not be so trusting of everyone who says they are family. They wanted her to be safe too. They did so well!
I heard it was an emotional time for Ms. D. When she came home I was still on the couch, so Ms. D draped herself on me and started to have seizures.
But I think it worked. Thanks, Birthmom!