Last Wednesday the girls had their ‘goodbye visit’ with their mother. Ever since the hearing we’ve been debating how to go about all of this. Do we prepare them ahead of time? Do we wait until after the visit so that we can be the comforters vs. the bearers of bad news? How do we talk about something so traumatic?
Well, it turned out we didn’t have much say in the matter, because they called us Tuesday night to let us know the visit was on Wednesday. Well then. So much for preparation.
Brian took the girls to the visit (an hour and a half away) so that one of us could be there for them afterward. Also, I had recently e-mailed their birth mom a bunch of pictures from Disney and never heard back, so I wanted him to ask and make sure I had the right e-mail.
The visit actually went relatively well. Mom didn’t even discuss it being the final visit, but did give the girls some pictures of the family before leaving. I have a lot of respect for her ability to not make it an emotional blood bath – because, really? I can’t even imagine. The only thing that could have gone better is if Mom would have taken some time to verbally give the girls permission for us to be their family, for them to love us and move on. But, having been in this field for a while, none of us were really expecting that.
When they got home from the visit, we went ahead with bedtime. Bella was clearly contemplative and a little quiet. Then she asked it,
“Was that my very last visit with my Mom ever?”
I’ve been thinking about, praying about, preparing for this conversation for so long, and still it was like a punch in the gut.
“Yes sweetheart. Yes, it was.”
Knowing that if at any point it is appropriate for the girls to have contact with their mom that we would be all for it – it was difficult not to want to comfort her with that. But, from what we’ve learned (purvis, purvis, purvis) it is better to be straightforward and not give hope for what might not happen, at the risk of implanting a hope in a child that they could hang on to for years without any resolution.
She went on to ask all the questions. Why? How long is forever? What is adoption? Will I ever see them again? Are they dead?
Tootaw doesn’t understand what is happening at all. Not at all.
Lots and lots of questions. Lots of tears. Some obvious relief for having some concrete answers. Some relief that she does not have to say goodbye to us. Lots of heartbreak.
Since then we’ve seen a huge resurgence of trauma behaviors. Trauma tantrums with hitting, kicking, spitting, biting. The difference between a year and a half ago and now is that she trusts us, so with lots of help from Empowered to Connect, we are able to work through it. We are able to provide comfort. We can love her through it and connect through the pain.
But jeez, what I wouldn’t give to not have to go through all this trauma again. We had worked through so much. So. Much. And now here we go again. But this time around we are investing in forever.
Thank you Lord.
Prayers for the hearts of our sweet girls are coveted. Healing will come. It will.