Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Roundtable #37: After A Visit

Roundtable #37: After a Visit

Open Adoption Roundtable prompts are from the Open Adoption Bloggers  community and we each offer our varied and personal opinions on these prompts. 

How do you feel after a visit?

Geez, who's writing these prompts?! Are you trying to see inside my soul? Probably- because that's the only way to see different perspectives is to ask and answer honestly.

So, here it goes, I'm not necessarily proud of my answer; but, here it is just the same.

I'm relieved. In the summer, after C leaves, our lives return to our peculiar state of normalcy, and the up and down of the emotional situation levels off again. Bugs comes home, and becomes our son fully again. 

Wow. That sounds worse when I re-read it than I thought it would. Balls.

 But it's what I mean and what I have to explain.

 Last year, when C first got here, Bugs knew she'd arrived. That she was within the same city he was. He also knew that she didn't come see him for the first three days. It was a long weekend, and she went out to party with her friends. The premise she'd given us was that she'd get it out of her way, and be 100% devoted to him for the remainder of the visit if she was able to party on the weekends.

When Bugs came home though, what he remembered, and felt, versus what she described were so diametrically different that I had to take a deep breath and remind myself that those were her choices to make, and all I could do was try to help him process his feelings over the situation. He enumerated every single time she went out with friends during the week, leaving him home with her mom- instead of spending time with him and how it made him feel.

Bugs came home from that visit last summer sad; complaining of feeling worthless and of being tired of visiting her at all. He came home exhausted emotionally. He told me (I am going to go ahead and quote him as best I can),

 "She doesn't want to see that I am angry, or unhappy. She wants me to be happy. So I "be" happy. Even though I'm not happy at all. She wants to know that I am okay if she goes out with her friends, or spends two hours doing her hair. She doesn't want to know if I am angry with her. I'm so tired of pretending to be happy momma. I don't want to be happy, I just want to go swimming."

So we went swimming.  We swam; Monster in my arms; Brat paddling around trying to follow Bugs; and Bugs trying to pretend he'd been home with us all morning- several times I could see him trying not to cry, and several times, I told him if he needed to, he should. That night at bed, Bugs told me how much he loved me, and how glad he was to be home again, where whatever he felt was "allowed".

As much as C and her mother love him, they don't want his REAL feelings getting out. They don't want to hear that he is hurt, that he feels neglected, that he feels he is second best to C. They don't want him to be unhappy- and because he is afraid to be himself around them- he puts on his happy face, sending me emails, telling me in his emails how much he wants to come home. They don't want to hear about his pain- and that makes his pain so much worse.

Since that visit last year, I've told him, in no uncertain terms, HIS feelings are what matter. He is a child. Their feelings are not important in anyway compared to his; nor should he have to take their feelings into account. He should not have to pretend to be someone else, or feel something he doesn't feel in order to receive love. He can go right ahead and tell them if he has a different expectation of the visit for this year- and I dearly, dearly hope they listen this time.

Normally, I am relieved when the two weeks are over, and Bugs can go back to being who he truly is- and feeling whatever he needs to feel. And I have such high hopes for the visit this year. Especially now that Bugs knows he can be angry if he needs to be- and that he can be himself no matter where he is. That no matter how angry he is, we love him just the way he is.

So, with this next visit only a few months away, I guess I'm already tensing up, worrying and scared about how this year might effect my son. How it effects me. And I'm tense right now, just thinking about it and hoping for the best for my boyo.


  1. I love it when the 'hard' feelings are explained.
    Sometimes I wonder if I have that effect on my placed son, that he is 'acting' for me...I doubt it, but I still worry.
    Life is a learning experience, right?

  2. I certainly agree, life is about learning from whatever, and wherever we can. I honestly hope someone could/ can learn from our experience here.

    Our adoption experience is different from most, as I adopted him when he was two, and his birth mother moved away. She came back when he was 4 and left again when he was 6. He has extreme separation anxiety. He is always concerned that if he says or does something she doesn't like, she'll leave again- and that maybe this time she won't come back.

    So, I highly doubt your son feels the need to act to please you- the fact that you might even notice he could be acting is evidence that you care about his feelings- so he doesn't need to act. That's the big difference for my son and his birth mother. She knows he's acting for her benefit- and she accepts that as her due.


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