Sunday, February 24, 2013

Homecoming

Today was a day of homecoming.

Brewster came home to his beloved Ms. D.  He did great at our friend's home and made the transition back to us well. Hal did well too, even though he was still pretty young. He really calmed down after the first day. It was good for him to get used to lots of kids and excitement.

Ms. D even played dress-up with Hal.

Hal in a Hoody

I wish Mr. I was able to make such good transitions.

Mr. I had spent a good part of the weekend at a friend's house. They went bowling, practiced break dancing, and more. I picked Mr. I up this evening and the first thing he said to me was, "I wish I could stay at their house. The mom cooks better than you. We had ribs and chocolate chip pancakes and... I wish I lived with them. I can sleep better there." Of course this line of conversation didn't surprise me a bit. I expected him to be unattached at the end of a school break, especially when he spent so much time away from our family. Many adoptive parents hear the same kind of thing. I recently talked to another mom who is dealing with something similar. I have to admit that it hurts a little, but I can't let him know that. So I just said things like, "Is that right? Oh, that's too bad, because I missed you." I tried to keep the emotional temperature really calm. We drove the half hour home in silence, which is a rarity with Mr. I.  He normally sits in the passenger seat to play music he likes. When we were almost home, I asked him why he wasn't listening to the radio. He said he just doesn't want to go home and he wishes he could live with his friend. "Oh yeah? You must have had a pretty fun time there this weekend. What did you do?" It was so hard not to get upset, and I listened to how much better off he would be if he lived with the other family.

This evening he vacillated between being a part of the family and pushing us away. What is interesting is that he never really had a meltdown. So even though he expressed displeasure at being a part of our family, he did it in a fairly quiet, somewhat respectful way. He made a smoothie instead of eating the dinner I made for the family, but he gave us a taste of his creation. We sat next to each other and watched a TV program. He asked me to pray for him.

I need to remind myself that transitions are very difficult for kids who have been traumatized. I also need to remind myself to not be insecure when the kids say things like they hate me, they don't want to live with us, or they want to move in with the birth family the day they turn eighteen. Many teens go through a stage when they wish they lived with a different family. It's just our kids have had the experience of living in many families, and aren't as well attached. But like it or not, I am their mom. I won't stop being their mom.

So this week, as we start school and establish a routine after a break, I'll work on attachment also. I'm so glad that we had a great therapist that taught me how to do that. It will be hard work. But it will be worth it.

Sometimes, though, I wish that my kids were as well attached as the guide dog puppies and could make easier transitions. It's kind of sad when puppies handle sleepovers and homecomings better than a teenaged boy.

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