Sibling Separation

We had the sibling separation hearing today.  It was appallingly anti-climatic.  I honestly felt like standing up and screaming.  How can these people act like this is not a big deal?!  How insanely disrespectful to every last one of us…but especially the siblings.  Who are “we” to say they are no longer legally siblings?  I know it doesn’t change their blood or their relationship, but to hear them declared no longer siblings made me feel like throwing up all over the court room.  The judge really messed this up from the beginning, and he was clearly trying to talk himself into thinking it was the right decision.  He went on and on about how this was in T’s best interest,  and then asked everyone in the court room to say they didn’t have objections.  “I have no objections,” said T’s attorney.  “I have no objections,” said the defeated social worker.  “I have no objections,” said the guardian to the floor.  “I have no objections,” said T’s foster Mom, who periodically gave us dirty looks.  The judge looked at us – well?  In a small act of defiance, I shrugged my shoulders and rolled my eyes.  I refused to utter those words.  The judge let it go…I’m pretty sure he didn’t want me to open my mouth, anyway.  I knew we couldn’t stop it from happening, but I refuse to participate in pretending this is the right decision.  And so then it was over. 

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All of that emotion aside, we were able to walk straight out of court into human services and get our APA signed for J and A.  If things go well (ha ha), we should be finalizing with them in June or July (3-4 months).  I. Can’t. Wait.  I know lots of people get cold feet at this point in the game, but we literally couldn’t sign the papers fast enough.  They couldn’t be anymore “ours,” and we are beyond anxious to make that legal.  I am reminded how ours they are by the ease in which they say “Mom and Dad” now.  By the way my eyes tear up just thinking about finalizing in court.  By the way my heart completely melts when J looks up after every single karate move to give me the world’s biggest toothless grin. By A  unconsciously slipping her hand into mine when she’s nervous. 

A few nights ago I told J at bedtime that I am so proud to be his Mom.  After I was upstairs, I heard him yelling for me.  Yeah, buddy?  “Umm…thanks for saying that thing about being my Mom.”  Tonight, during in-home therapy, they did a project about what makes them special.  The first thing both of them said was that their Mom and Dad love them.  “Fake it til we make it” was our motto going in…but I’m telling you, there is no faking going on these days!  Onward.

 

 

I love you, my ferocious alligator(s)

The last few days have been a bit of a rough patch.  Jax turned 4 over the weekend, and his birthday was hard on J and A.  The combination of the day/weekend being “all about Jax” with the concept of his actual birth (being a “tummy baby”) made for more challenges than we anticipated.  They asked a lot of questions about his pregnancy/birth and wanted to look through his baby books.  They both expressed wishing they came from my tummy, too, and we are trying really hard to be positive and help them see that adoption is just as special and amazing.  I’m not sure if it’s about wanting the connection with us biologically or if they understand that we would have kept them safe in their early years or what…but it’s pretty heart-breaking.  I sometimes feel curious about how they would be different had they been with us from the beginning.   Anyway, the moral of the story is that the last few days have been challenging, and I’m uber crabby.

A friend/coworker recommended the book “I Love You Stinky Face” as a way to show unconditional love to them based on some of their recent comments, and it came yesterday.  Tonight got topped off with Jax (AKA Rapunzel, as he is currently only responding to) getting a giant coffee table set down on his foot after I asked one of my other cherubs not to pick it up.  Did I mention the uber crabbiness?   So…we all stomped down the stairs to begrudgingly read our good night book, and I busted out the “I love you stinky face” book.  Felt like a good choice, given my mood.

Turns out, the book is kind of amazing.  A quick excerpt:

But, Mama, but, Mama, what if I were an alligator with big, sharp teeth that could bite your head off?

Then I would buy you a bigger toothbrush for your big teeth and make sure that you brushed them every night so they’d stay healthy and strong.  And if you had a sore throat, I would stick my head right inside your enormous jaws to make sure you were okay, and I would say, “I love you, my ferocious alligator.”

By the end of the book, I am almost crying, which seems a little ridiculous when we consider we are reading a book with “stinky face” in the title.  It really is a beautiful message, though, and it’s sometimes easier to hear in the form of a book because it’s less vulnerable.  Afterwards, I explained what the book was about and why I read it to them.  I asked them if they understood, and J responds with – “Yeah, Mom.  Kinda like I used to do bad stuff and you still, like, love me.  A lot.”  Kinda like that, my ferocious alligator 🙂

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http://www.amazon.com/I-Love-You-Stinky-Face/dp/0439634695/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1393984292&sr=8-1&keywords=i+love+you+stinky+face

sometimes you feel like mommy

I have been thinking about attachment and bonding a lot lately.  It’s what I’m studying, it’s what I’m doing in my work, and it’s what we are working on in therapy.  Really, it’s everywhere, and it’s hard NOT to think about.  Prior to this week, I mostly thought about it in an academic/up-in-my-head kind of way vs. a feeling way.  That’s sort of how I manage stress.  (Aside from “not coffee,” of course).  A new diagnosis or condition?  No problem, I will just order 800 books about it and all will be well!

So…it turns out, that’s not how it works.  While I can spout off all kinds of facts about attachment and what it looks like from a biochemical perspective, sometimes it can be hard to actually just FEEL it.  Interestingly enough, I actually struggled with attaching to Jax at the beginning.  I don’t know if it was his traumatic birth (I know that definitely wasn’t helpful) or personality or my own attachment style or what…but it’s the truth.  I remember feeling really ashamed of this, but I speak openly about it now because I think it’s an important message people hear.   Attachment is a process that varies for every single pairing of people.  Having it be delayed Is normal, it happens, and it’s not the end of the world.  Biological, adoptive, or otherwise.  While I believe some people experience true love/attachment at first sight, I do not believe I am one of them.

Now I have this grab bag of kids with varied attachment.  One that we are fully bonded with, one we are getting quite close, and one that is a challenge.  To me, love and attachment are different.  I love them so very, very much.  All of them.  But…attachment is a process.  A coworker sent out this quote yesterday from a book (Joy-Filled Relationships, by Barbara Moon):

“Bonds are more important than healing.  We want to be seen and loved as a person, not a project.  Relationships are more important than problems.  Staying relational is more important than solving problems.”
This really stopped me in my tracks.  I think I have been approaching this all wrong, and I’m vowing to get out of my head and into my heart, as corny as that sounds.  “A” told me tonight, “You are always my Mom, but sometimes you feel like Mommy.”  What a profound statement…and it really gave words to the push and pull of attachment I feel.  Here is to being her Mommy all the time…when we are both ready.
Infant Grasping Mother's Finger