Thursday, October 11, 2012

My mom isn't coming

This post doesn't have much of a specific point. It's just a glimpse into a conversation I had this evening with TT. I'm doing most of the talking but that's only because it's so incredibly difficult for TT to fully open up about this topic. He's still trying to understand his own emotions. But we've been processing this for years so I'm pretty comfortable doing the talking while he does the listening and nodding in agreement.

The back story -- TT's birthday is October 14. He is turning nine years old. Birthdays can be very, very difficult times for adopted kids. For children relinquished at birth, it's an exact reminder of the time they were rejected. For kids that were adopted when they were older, it's a reminder of years past and their first family. There is no denying that a birthday makes us think of family. At its very root our birthday is a celebration of the day we were welcomed into the world. And at every single birth a mother was there. We all think of our mothers on our birthdays.

My family is also on their way here for a visit. TT struggles with extreme anxiety. Disruptions in his typical routine are very difficult for him. As much as he desperately wants to see his extended family, he's nervous about it all.

Being a foster family adds to TT's personal struggles as well. Each time Dude and Dolly have contact with their bio family it reminds TT of his own story and his own lack of contact. Dude and Dolly had a visit yesterday. They are leaving for Dallas tomorrow. This is difficult for all of us to process and handle sometimes – but it's especially difficult for TT.

Today was a good day though. TT started off the morning by dusting the living room. He knew that our goal today, after school was done, was to clean the house. He didn't even look at the "to do" list. He simply saw the dust and started cleaning. Then, after breakfast, TT and Bart both got done with their school in a very timely fashion. TT did really well on a couple assessments too and was very proud of himself. As soon as school was done, TT got busy cleaning again. He was in a good mood and really seemed to go with the flow all day long.

After I got Dude and Dolly down for bed tonight I left to go grocery shopping. Typically this doesn't phase TT anymore. (He used to be stressed if I wasn't home at bedtime but he's past that level of separation anxiety now.)

However, when I got home, Mr. Amazing told me I should go up to see TT. He told me that TT had been downstairs twice already. I went upstairs to see what was bothering TT. The relief on his face when I walked in the room both made me feel good to see him and broke my heart all at the same time. It's never easy to see your kid suffering.

I crawled in bed with TT to cuddle with him and talk to him. I jumped in with both feet and asked him what was wrong.

TT just shook his head. He was so visibly upset though.

I scooped him up and reminded him that he can talk to me. I reminded him that he can tell me anything. I told him, "You won't hurt my feelings. What's bothering you TT?"

He timidly said, "Granny and Papa coming."

Somehow I just knew this wasn't exactly it. I pushed. I said, "Are you sure? Is there anything else bothering you?"

He broke down sobbing and managed to mutter out, "My mom isn't coming."

Here he is trying to reconcile so many big emotions. People that claim him as family are willing to drive 1255 miles to see him on his birthday. Yet, his own mother, who IS his family, has no contact with him whatsoever.

Being adopted is hard!!

As soon as he started crying, he immediately tried to stop. I hugged him close. I told him to let it out. I asked him if he wanted to talk. He shook his head no. I then asked him if he wanted me to do the talking. He said yes.

Snippets of my monolog included things like this:
Of course you miss your first mom TT. It's normal. You have so many conflicting emotions. You love me. You love Daddy. You want us in your life. But you miss your first mom and first dad. Even though you never got to know them, you are drawn to them. You want them in your life. And as you feel both of those emotions you know that you can never go back to just your first mom and dad. And even though you're part of our family forever, you still miss your first mom and dad. More than anything I bet you want all of us together and it's so hard knowing that right now, that's not possible.
TT just snuggled in and nodded in agreement. He cried softly in my arms. I prayed for his first mom and for him. I prayed that she would come to know Jesus if she doesn't already. I prayed that TT's pain would be taken away. I prayed for peace and rest in his spirit.

I talked "for" TT some more. He struggles so much to say what he's feeling concerning all of this. He's scared that he's going to hurt my feelings. I think he's scared of what he's feeling sometimes. I remind him over and over that his feelings are normal. It's OK if he's angry. It's OK if he's sad. It's OK if he wants to be with his first mom.

I asked TT if he's still afraid I'm not going to come back sometimes. All he could do was nod yes. All I could do was remind him that I will never ever leave him no matter what. I'm quite confident TT will struggle with separation anxiety for the rest of his life. The first person he knew and trusted left him. It made a permanent scar on his brain. He doesn't fully trust anyone else to stick around either.

We talked about my feelings too. (OK...I talked, he listened.) I told him, as much as I can't imagine my life without him, I know that he had to suffer in order to become part of our family. I wish he could have grown in my tummy. But that's not possible. And I wish he could be with his first mom and first dad so he wouldn't have the emotional pain he does. But then he wouldn't be in my life. I'm just as conflicted. We cried together.

By now we had been cuddling for quite awhile. He had completely relaxed and was ready to go to sleep. Just hearing his feelings being validated, and seeing me in person, was enough to help him finally settle in and go to sleep. I prayed for him once more and I came downstairs to put away groceries.

Mr. Amazing looked up at me and got a puzzled look on his face. Then he asked if I was OK. All I could do was smile and answer yes. I'm just fine. Like any mother, I just wish I could take the pain away.


MamaFoster said...

you talking FOR him is such a great idea. kids often need that. even my bio son has needed me to do that.

it really is a great technique for parenting

MrsFosterAdoptionMommy said...

The come to know Jesus part just made me burst into tears...I've never felt so close to another foster mother that I've never met through the computer than I have with you.
I know it sounds silly...but I love you and your family and pray for them daily!

CherubMamma said...

@MamaFoster - that whole talking "for" them is tricky. I never want to put words or thoughts into his mouth. But if he can't come up with what it is that's bothering him, wow, I feel like I have to help him. It works wonders for us with TT and is so valuable of a parenting technique. But it does frighten me sometimes as I always pray I'm saying the right things.

@MrsFosterAdoptionMommy - The prayer for his first mom was actually very long. I do believe that eventually, when TT is old enough, he will seek reunion on this side of Heaven. But last night as I was praying, I assured TT that if his first mom knows Jesus, they WILL see each other eventually. Granted, our focus will be on praising God not each other. But the Bible says we will see other believers in Heaven and that we will recognize them. I hold fast to that hope and pray for both of his parents.

CherubMamma said...

Oh yeah - and thank you for your prayers!!! I covet them more than you know. I don't think I could manage this whole adventure without the support of my internet friends. I'm now off to go through your blog. :)

Lizzie said...

I haven't commented here before, but this just broke my heart, for you and your family and for all the children out there.

Thoughts and prayers. <3

Our Journey said...

Your TT and our "A" are very much alike. I can empathize with you so much...the not wanting to separate, the anxiety over any changes, the "special" days, etc! Praying with you and if you ever need anyone to vent to who "knows" please email me! We've been having hard days recently with court coming up...foster care definitely adds another level in "forcing" them to look at their own adoption stories more regularly. Prayers for TT as his b-day approaches!!

Rhonda said...

TT is so fortunate to have such a loving, insightful mother. Thank you for sharing your touching account of a mother's love for her son. It brought tears to my eyes.

C Dawn's bucket said...

I miss hearing from you. Yours is one of the few blogs that I read these days. I pray that the silence means you are enjoying your family and everyone is coasting along enjoying one anothers company.