We have a family visit coming up this weekend. I am not sure what this visit will look like; I don’t know if the kids’ baby brother will be along this time.
The oldest of the triple threat (the Captain, age 4) does not come on the visits. He has attachment difficulties, and the therapist thinks we need to wait until he is much older, if ever. Our 3-year-old, Tinker, does not seem to connect with her birth-mother. Tinker is a spunky little kid, so it’s hard to always know what she’s thinking. I think she recognizes her on a deep level but does not see her as a caregiver. She was only 8 months old when removed. The Blitz, our 2-year-old, knows her but is not bonded to her. He was removed at birth to a foster home and has been with us since he was 10 months.
Last time, we changed the format of the visits; previously, their birth-mom had played with them at a park or fast food restaurant while I sat where I could observe but the kids could not see me. Last time we met at a bowling alley and I stayed, along with our two older daughters. This format was much less upsetting to the kids as it seemed like something we were doing together as a family. I was careful to hang back and give her some time with them, but The Blitz just kept firing back to me. If the weather permits, we will probably meet at a public pool this time. It will take both of us because swimming is a hands-on activity with little ones. I know The Captain loves to swim, but I think it really is hard on him to see her. He is definitely a happier, better-adjusted boy now that we have stopped the visits.
People often ask me how I can “stand” the visits. That seems like such a weird question to me. They also ask things like, “Aren’t you jealous of her? ” and “Why should she get to see them? She had her chance to raise them.”
For me, it’s all about keeping my eye on the prize. These kids are adopted and one day, they will have questions about why. They will also have questions about why they are the way they are. They will be curious. They will want to know their origins. I’m hoping that if we can continue visits without detrimental effects on their emotional stability, some of these questions will be answered for them. Pain is part of adoption; I will do what I can to prevent or alleviate some of it!