We have had a camping trip planned for quite some time, but got rained out this weekend. None of our kids are extremely flexible with things like that (most flexible kids in the universe with other things), and we were frantically trying to come up with a plan B. We decided on a weekend up at a water park in Brainerd. Since we booked the day we checked in, there weren’t a lot of options for rooms. We ended up with a room that had 2 queens and a pull out couch. That’s a lot of people in one room for a whole weekend! Our first night was a little (a lot?) rough, though we found it pretty hilarious to hear “J” yell – “GOSH, you two! Can you start making good choices so we don’t have to leave?!” He is not typically the one preaching about good choices, just sayin’. Aside from that night, it was a really amazing weekend that was pretty phenomenal for attachment purposes.
Hotel stays and eating out all weekend = expensive
472 trips up all the stairs to go down slides = exhausting.
Hearing “I love this family!” coming from the inside of a tube slide = priceless!!!
Charlie overheard the kids enter the hot tub by saying, “HI! We’re adopted.” We are struggling with the delicate balance between wanting them to have good boundaries/understanding their story is their own and the fact that there is no shame in adoption. As an adult, I struggle with this balance. Add in the confusion and impulsivity of a child and you have a recipe for spewing your stuff all over the place. We have reeled in the “my mom drinks beer and my dad is in prison” disclosure quite a bit. I feel like we need to know where the need to introduce themselves as adopted is coming from. Are they proud of it? Do they feel like it defines them? I want them to know that it is only one piece of them, like their hair color or name or athletic ability.
“J” told Charlie, “You are the best Dad I have had yet!” this weekend. For the record, this was due to Charlie’s fantastic ability to transform transformers. Speaking of, is there somewhere I can take a class for this? I am weirdly bad. Anyway, this made me sad. This is all so confusing for both of them, but him especially. He asks a lot of sad questions and really has a hard time grasping what’s going on. Last week, he asked “A” when he could meet his birth Mom. She told him when they were 18 they could, and he asked how they would get there. “Our car, duh,” she said. His concern was, “But what if we run out of gas?” “A” is getting irritated at this point – “DUH, we will fill it up. Ugh.” “J” turned to me to say “Don’t worry, we’ll still visit you sometimes.” Thank you for naming my biggest fear, kiddo! I was stuttering around, trying to figure out what to say, when “A” in all of her 7 years of wisdom speaks up. “You have it backwards. We can visit our birth Mom, but Ann and Charlie will always be our parents. This is our forever family.” Pretty sure I could take a few lessons from her in articulation! I let them finish their conversation in “privacy.” I use quotes, because I was really spying. I was grateful to hear “A” repeat my words…”Ann and Charlie will help us find our birth parents when we are old enough if that’s what we want.”
“A” calls me “Mom” about 50% of the time, but today she referred to herself as my daughter. It felt like a very significant milestone. She has had a few “Moms” in the past, but has only been a daughter once before. I just love these kids so much, it’s crazy! I felt a little in awe all weekend at our fun family weekend. I LOVE listening to the kids talk to each other in the back seat. People frequently comment at how impressed they are with Jax and how well he handled the transition…but I just think he’s an old little soul that always knew they were his siblings on some other level. I remember rambling on in a desperate attempt to help his 3 year old brain understand these kids weren’t leaving like all the other kids that have been here…”I KNOW, MOM!” he yelled. Ok, I guess he knows. We knew we had kids out there somewhere, and we can’t really explain why we knew they were in foster care. We aren’t saints who set out to save the world or anything dramatic like that…we wanted to expand our family and knew this was the way we were supposed to do it. We get a lot of “those kids are so lucky” statements, and I want to be clear – Charlie and I are the lucky ones! We have been blessed with three funny, resilient, kind, amazing kids. Sometimes they are all three a whole lot of work, make no mistake, but they teach us more every day than we will ever teach them.