In many ways I think that kinship adoption is much more challenging than typical adoption - for everyone concerned. One of the big things is that we weren't looking to be parents, at least not of this child. I wouldn't trade her for anything in the world, but the lack of intention really has completely shaped the way we've grown into being parents, a family. I joke that we had a three week gestation period, but, really that's pretty much what happened.
I am frequently told that I "saved" my child; and it is suggested that K and I are some kind of heroes. I am most definitely not a "hero" or a "savior," and, while I am so glad that I have VeeGee and she me, I would much rather have had her have a happy and safe home-life with her birthmother. I refuse to buy in to any "meant to be" stuff because that means that VeeGee's suffering was "meant to be." In my heart, somehow, there was a place that VeeGee definitely moved - way before she became my daughter or was taken from her mother - and I can't explain that except to say that, maybe, the mom in me was already clued in to what was happening to her and was preparing me to be ready. I did know, somehow, that she would end up with us. But that did not make me happy because it was a result of suffering.
As to her birthmother: I have known this young woman since she was six years old, loved her as a sister. She is, and always has been, a very sweet person. She's had a VERY fucked up life. She was WAY too young to be a mother to any child, and VeeGee's severe and multiple disabilities made it even more difficult. Her and K's mother, who died last October, had very very involved multiple sclerosis and was completely bedridden and needed as much involved care as VeeGee did. Her father, who hasn't worked since she was born, has the worst raging temper of anyone I've seen. They lived in the grossest squalor I've ever personally witnessed.
Birthmom's biggest "crime" was that she refused to accept help when it was offered to her, she let her pride get in the way. It was very costly, almost to the point of VeeGee's death. I call it abuse because that is what DCS called it, because that is how I "read" allowing your child to suffer the way that VeeGee suffered, though I understand that many would call this neglect - I guess, for me, for now, "abuse" is a semantic coping tool. I also call it abuse because I know, from witnessing it firsthand, that Bmom's father was very rough with VeeGee (and his wife) when attending to her needs, and that she allowed that to happen and continue. Still, in my calmest moments, I know that Bmom really does love her and just was, herself, disabled.
I got an e-mail this morning from Bmom thanking me for allowing the visit last week. She apologized for the short notice and promised to be more consistent with her contact. She also sent me, per our request, a picture of VeeGee's bdad. Zoiks! He could be K's brother, which explains why VeeGee looks more like K (her half-uncle) than Bmom.
In the end I know beyond everything else that I need to work on being as peaceful and generous as I can within the bounds of keeping VeeGee safe. Anger does not a good mother make. I'm hopeful that we can grow into a peaceful relationship. I am not going to co-parent with Bmom, but I do want VeeGee to have as many people around her that love her as she can.