Bella is doing better with processing and dealing with visits than she did the first time around. Thank goodness. We’ve had a couple of vomit issues and definitely some behavior driven by confusion and anxiety – but overall much better than before.
I think that this is mostly due to her feeling much more stable and attached in our family. I think she has decided that this is where she wants to belong, and she knows that we aren’t going anywhere.
They have visits on Fridays, and every week I get a little nervous about what the repercussions are going to be when they return and how it will effect this new sense of normal that we have worked so hard to build for the girls.
Last week, when they got home, Sylvia was drawing and Bella and Tootaw joined her. As they sat down to draw, Bella said, “I’m going to draw a picture of my family,” and made sure that Brian and I both heard her. I had no idea what to expect, especially since she had just returned from a visit with Mom.
A few minutes later she brought me her picture, declaring that it was her family. The picture was of all of us, Brian, Sylvia, Naomi, Tootaw, Bella, and me, with our names next to each of the people.
I think, in the only way a five year old knows how, she was making a statement.
This is my family.
This is who is here for me.
This is who makes me feel safe.
And she was also asking for reassurance.
This is where I belong, right?
Yes, sweet girl. You belong. And no matter what happens, no matter what any court decides, no matter where you are, no matter where else you also belong – we will always be here for you. You will always have a piece of my heart. You will always be safe here. You will always have a Bella shaped spot in our family. And you have no idea the way you made my heart feel by drawing me as a part of ‘your family’. Love you, love you, love you.