In November, we adopted a sibling group of three. The oldest of this group is a boy we call The Captain, and he turned 4 years old just last Monday. The Captain has attachment issues, likely due to the fact that the move to our home a year ago was his sixth move. He was not yet 3 years old.
I met the attachment therapist (finally) last week, and tomorrow the two of us go together. She expressed concern over his impending visit with bio-mom. I have been thinking about it ever since and finally talked to Dear Hubby about it.
We now have quarterly visits, so our last visit was in January. After that visit, he was having outbursts at home and was a real sad-sack at school for at least a week. At the previous visit in September when she was obviously– uhm, expecting– he threw balls at her belly the whole time. We think it is simply too much for him. He can’t reconcile the “Santa Claus” who brings food and presents and plays with him the whole time to the fact that he will never be allowed to live with her. And until September, he had been having supervised weekly visits with her his whole life. Of the three of them, he was the only one who is bonded to her. He lived with her from the age of 8 months until 22 months.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was Monday when we traveled through his home town to go to a family funeral. I knew I saw a glimmer of recognition in his eyes when we passed a few conspicuous landmarks and he was pointing out the window. When we kept on driving, he immediately went to sleep. But he didn’t sleep at all that night, a behavior we frequently saw when we were maintaining weekly visits. After a difficult week and a lot of thought, we made the difficult decision to allow bio-mom to see the younger two, but not to include The Captain in these visits. It is too hard on him.
Back at home yesterday, he had a huge outburst and got corrected several times for picking on his siblings. I pulled him aside, as I have dozens of times, and said, “What is going on, son? Why are you making such poor choices?”
I did not expect an answer as I have never gotten one before. He looked at me with the saddest expression you have ever seen. “I miss him.”
“Who do you miss, son?”
“Your old mama, the one you used to visit?”
I felt heartbroken for him and hopeful at the same time. It was huge for him to express this.
“Darling boy. I am very sorry, but your Mama is not going to be part of your life now. You are in our forever family and we are going to love you and raise you. I know this is hard for you, but this is how it has to be.”
He was quiet and thoughtful a moment. Then said, simply, “Okay Mommy.”
Off he went to play, peacefully, this time. Of course this is not the end of the story. However, it is a hopeful interlude. Stay tuned.