Life is moving at warp speed these days. I should probably be running alongside, trying to keep up, instead of blogging. I should probably be doing the dishes or installing child proof latches on our valuables (by valuables I mean 23 Wiggles DVDs and 14 lbs of scrapbooking supplies I may never use again). I should probably try to catch up on sleep. I should probably be siphoning gas from our neighbours’ cars (driving 2-3 hours per day, often in two separate cars, is pricey).
But instead, I’m going to introduce you to the cast of a little show I like to call “Adoption Transition: Awkward is an Understatement.”
First up, Stranger Mommy
Not my favourite role, I’ll be honest, but a necessary part of the process. My son’s initial reaction to me was the same as to any stranger in his life. For a shy little boy with stranger anxiety, this means a few smiles and tolerating the briefest of touches. He doesn’t mind me, but he doesn’t welcome me either.
This is actually a good sign. He is very securely attached to his foster mom and caregiver. One day he will transfer that complete trust and reliance to me, which is infinitely easier than creating attachment where none has been before.
This is a test. I am not Mommy to meet my needs, but his.
The Other Women
Fortunately, I’m not the only one who feels this way. The other women in his life (foster mom, foster-sister and caregiver) are going against all their natural instincts: backing off so we can step in; spending time away so we can grow closer; letting him go so he can be part of our family. It is no small sacrifice, and they are grieving.
People who work in foster care have a bad rap. Some rightly so. But there are many others who are better than saints. Better because they are flesh and blood people who struggle and hurt and do their best and sign up to do it over and over again. All so children like my son can have what they need.
The Other Other Women
Three big sisters. An embarrassment of riches for any boy. They are getting a bit sick of playing the bit parts. The dialogue is repetitive “When do we get to see him? It’s not fair. You get to see him all the time… She took my iPod! It was just lying there. Moooooooom!”
The past 2 Saturdays have been spent with foster family, having a great time, sad to leave… B has decided her brother is okay, which is good since he is fascinated by her. L is angling for the role of second Mommy. C completely overlooked a TRAMPOLINE she was so focused on playing with her new brother. Now that’s love!
Which brings us to the real star of our show – my son. He is charming. He is ridiculously cute. And he knows it. He can handle an adoring public, but he likes to stick close to home base.
Suddenly, we are changing the rules on him. And he’s not impressed, but he is beginning to rally.
Our first night alone got off to a rocky start: screaming and reaching for the door, then crying in heartbreak. But we both calmed down after about 15 minutes. He let me comfort him and there was some definite snuggle-age. We played and read books and sang songs until bedtime. After a brief protest, he cuddled with me and his bottle. And I rocked my boy to sleep in my arms! I can’t say that enough – I rocked him to sleep in my arms! And in fact I rocked this sleeping boy in my arms, long past him falling asleep.
Our final cast member is the hero of our story. On his second visit, his son went up to him, lifted up his arms and proceeded to snuggle with his new Daddy. That’s right, on day two! He still flinches away from me, but he LOVES his Daddy.
He runs to him when we arrive. He chooses him above everyone else. He climbs all over him. He plays “hockey” with the mini-sticks. He recruits him to swing him around in a big, green Rubbermaid. He rubs his scruffy face with his hands. Yesterday, he found a hairy belly under Daddy’s t-shirt and found that endlessly fascinating. This is the only Daddy he has ever known.
There are moments when I’m slightly envious, but altogether, I am thrilled! Glen was worried about bonding. He wondered if he would love this child the same as the others. He wondered if this child would love him.
When will he learn that I am ALWAYS right?
So here’s me, at the end of our second week “visiting” S at his foster home. On Saturday, the whole family is coming to our house. The next two weeks, he will come home for increasing visits: 2 hours, 4, 7, overnight, 2 nights… until he comes home for good.
P.S. Sandra and John – I’m totally kidding about the siphoning gas thing, especially since I know you’re reading this. A dark parking lot where no one knows me is much more my style.