Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What It's Really Like Wednesday #1 ... It happens at bath time

I have decided for my sanity and the salvation of yours (ok maybe I am exaggerating just a little) that every Wednesday I will blog about the nitty gritty (aka ugly bits) portions of parenting, and specifically parenting a child with a tragic past. I do not want any of my readers to think that I am downplaying or disregarding the difficult parts of parenting in general, I realize that being a parent, no matter where your child came from, is a difficult job to say the least. I know from experience that raising a child with "special needs" (a term that implies some sort of medical or mental need, actually is used to be all inclusive for any child that has had a difficult past and lives in a family that is not theirs biologically) has some unique qualities.
I have debated what particular story to relate to you, and I think I have decided to start at the beginning, or very nearly there.
Shortly after M moved in with us our happy little bubble was popped.
The hubs and I were still on cloud 9. We were so happy to be parents that we walked around in a glowing haze of giddiness, not realizing that our little boy was scared practically spitless. We were nice, but we were strangers and he missed the people he knew and loved (this unfortunately, did not include us).
M and I watched as the water drained from the tub, swirling and whirling down the small hole. I braced myself for the words I knew were coming. M put as much of his hand as would fit in the drain, "I am going down there and I am NEVER coming back! You will never see me again!" I replied the same way I did every night, "Where would you go? You don't want to go down there it is icky and slimy." "I am going to go live with P, not with you." The words cut. My sweet precious M didn't love me, he wanted P the foster mom he knew and loved, the woman he considered his mom. I grabbed his foot and playfully pulled him towards me, "No! I won't let you. You are mine forever!" He pulled back, less playfully, truly wishing that he could somehow leave his new home and go back. I pulled again, this time pulling him out of the tub, wrapping him in a towel and my arms "You are mine forever. I will never let you!" This time he let me hug him, "I have lived a lot of different places," he said sadly. My heart broke again, this time for him and not for my hurt feelings. "I know bud, I know. It must be so hard." In a small voice he agreed. Then with his usual swiftness he replaced his frown with a smile and asked if he could help with the lotion. The moment was over and we moved on chatting and smiling building on a fragile foundation, building a new foundation really. It was over for the moment, but I knew that tomorrow would be the same. We would repeat again and again the painful conversation, a little differently maybe, but always the same underneath cutting for me and sad for him.

I read once that the adoption relationship is unique because it begins with loss. Loss for the child- they have lost their biological family and the security that most children have of taking for granted that their family is their family forever. Loss for the parent- instead of the idealic dream of little mini me's running around, the parents must come to terms with the fact that they will likely never have biological offspring. Loss for extended family/community- people must let go of their envisioned plan for the people that they know and love and accept a child that may be less than pleasant or not match the parents physically.  I will be honest, when I read the description of adoption as a loss based relationship, I hated it! How dare someone describe my family as something less than wonderful. But as much as I hate to admit it, there is truth in the statement. Our family is different, it is wonderful, but it is different.

My son's relationship with us, his parents, is founded on the loss of people that he knew and loved. It isn't the way I want it to be. This is a hard truth for me to swallow but I have realized that if I can't acknowledge that he did love other "mothers" before me, that they are important, then I can't fully appreciate when he says, "You are my bestest momma ever."

I am linking up here...

1 comment:

  1. Oh my.. I have heard it from a student that her mom fosters. How she opens her heart and loves them. Then they are sent to another home or back to a parent. I have heard from a different foster mom how at Christmas time she gets notes.. please please keep me. Be my mom and dad. There is no good answer to all of the loss and hurt. But we serve a marvelous God who says Love is the greatest. Hugs to you.


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