I was having the hardest time getting to sleep last Tuesday night when I began to wonder–What would be so bad about reaching out and making contact with my bonus daughter’s Mom? Why, I asked myself, have I been so intimidated by the thought of communicating with her?
As a bonus parent, we are placed in a troubling position. We are not only responsible for the relationship with our significant other, but also responsible for fostering a relationship with their children. During the course of these relationships, we are bound to be informed about the faults and shortcomings of the person that our partner created those little miracles with. Therein lies the problem– It is difficult to reach out and be friendly with someone when often times most of what we know about them is negative.
I decided not to let that negatively impact me any longer. I decided that it made no difference in my life what went wrong in my husband’s previous marriage. All that matters now is that we are happily married and that I have a great relationship with his daughter. Suddenly, it became important to me that I begin to feel comfortable with the idea of reaching out to her mother.
Biomom and I have never had any kind of a relationship. We’ve never even been formally introduced. We used to see each other at a distance, during pick-ups and drop-offs when Maddy was younger, but neither of us ever made the decision to make a formal introduction. Last year, she and Maddy moved several states away, therefore making it even more difficult to foster a relationship.
Recently, it occurred to me just how important it is to begin to bridge the gap that so clearly existed between her and I. I want her to know that I am here for her daughter and that I welcome any opportunity to be as involved as I can be at the distance away that I am. Maddy is beginning to reach the age where she may not always feel comfortable talking to her dad about certain things during her visits with us. I want her mom to feel secure knowing that I am here for Maddy in those times of maternal need. I want her to have my contact information should there ever be an emergency and she isn’t able to get a hold of my husband.
You get the idea. There are any number of reasons why being able to communicate with the other biological parent in the equation makes sense!
So I did it…
I asked my husband, “What would you think about me sending BM an email?” And we went from there; Discussing the possible outcomes, discussing what I was feeling and what I would include in my first communication. Once I had received his opinion and encouragement, I took the leap!
I kept it short and endearing- Thanking her for sending along some school pictures during the last visit. I explained my desire to bridge the gap between us and open the door for communication. And then, I waited. A full hour before I hit the Send button. Once I clicked the mouse over that button, it was as if an elephant stood and removed himself from my shoulders. Phew!
Next came the hard part- waiting and wondering all night if I would even get a response.
The following afternoon I texted my husband to express my disappointment, having decided it was unlikely that I would get a response. Within twenty minutes of that text, my phone alerted me of a new email and I found her response waiting for me.
It too, was short and endearing– She let me know that she was certainly open to communication and that her daughter was quite fond of me, and she was glad. She truly put things into perspective for me by saying, “The more loving adults Maddy has in her corner as she grows up, the better off she will be.”
I could not agree more, and I am incredibly blessed that I get to be one of those loving adults.
Tell me about how you bridged the gaps in your relationship with the other parents in your children’s lives.
Amanda is a newlywed and the new bonus mom to Maddy, her ten-year old bonus daughter. She lives in Richmond, Virginia, while Maddy lives with her mom in Atlanta, Georgia. Everyone is still adjusting to co-parenting from different states, as this is still a new development with plenty of teachable moments. When she isn’t working, Amanda enjoys writing, cooking, and Photography. Learn more about Amanda: www.FromBonusMomtoBioMom.com and follow her on Twitter: @BonusMom2BioMom