The decision to go visit and then not visit Sam’s first family last summer, is one I am working through today.
We’re all still working out way through this one. Perhaps the hardest part for me is the not knowing how this impacted Tea*, and her relationship with him. I sense she may still feel angry at me–hurt–frustrated? I did not tend to our relationship in the aftermath in the way I should have. I retreated so hard and so fast after it happened, because I felt like I had done something so wrong–publicly and privately by putting so much energy into that trip. And, although I am certain (because of things I have chosen not to talk about here-those moments in our childrens lives we must protect) that I made the right choice for Sammy**-I sense I made a very wrong choice for her and her other kids, and her parents. All of this wondering is coming up for me so hard because for the first year in Sam’s life we have not heard from her at his birthday or Christmas. Everyday I race to the mailbox and feel my heart sink when there is nothing there.
I have no control over her actions.
This is one of the most desperately difficult parts of being an adoptive parent in my opinion. I do all that I can imagine to care take this relationship between them–and this may or may not “work” or have the desired impact. I have written to her (about a month ago) trying to explain how things unfolded so abruptly. Trying to find the balance between an apology for how this might have been such a crushing disappointment to her and her kids to have us cancel a week out, and to share how Sam was just not ready at this moment for any number of reasons to make the trip. And, how I wasn’t either. How I have every intention of trying again as soon as everyone is. What didn’t I say in that letter that she really needed to hear? Where can her and I find space to repair and build? Of course this leads to bigger questions–what is our relationship–and did it ever get off to the start it needed? Can it now?
Then I sent I photo book at Christmas, and a couple of texts. I have heard nothing. Is there anything else I can do but wait?
Friends who I have been sharing this sadness with who are adoptive parents, or adoptees are all asking me how Sam is doing. I say I know he feels it. Sam is not my talker. He is a deep little dude who holds things so powerfully inside his heart. He doesn’t bring it up, but that doesn’t mean anything. He asks me daily if I think that his birth father has received the photobook we sent him ten days back. We wonder together if he has, and how much he must love seeing all these pictures of Sam. How the hell does Sam hold all of this in his seven year old self? Today he has a piano lesson, and we have a date to go whack the hell out of some baseballs down at the park. He pours a lot of it out that way–music-sports- running-wrestling and not hearing his name the first ten times I ask him to do something….
I had a few other aches and pains to share this morning–a kind of let it all out and leave it behind post. But clearly this is what I needed to share out, and ask for help on today. I’d love to hear from the first /birth parents out there who might have some wisdom for me on this one. Or also to hear from adoptive parents, or adoptees who worked through peices like this, or who felt like they were caught in the middle of it. Share your wisdom–we’d all love to hear it. Yes, of course I realize that Tea’s choice to not connect this week may have NOTHING to do with us. She may have fifteen other very big things going on… But putting all that aside–what else can I do–other than pray and wait?
*Tea is the name for Sam’s first mom. She has three kids who are all older than Sam. I had planned to visit her this summer with the boys, and then ended up cancelling the trip about a week prior to going when Sam made it clear to me that this was not something he was able to take on just yet. She lives on the other end of the country.
** For weeks afterwords he and I enjoyed this uncanny connect, the likes of which I had never before had with him. A kind of–we made it through and survuved together-experience that I imagine people experience after a natural disaster? The disaster in this case was what was manifesting for Sammy emotionally. So our journey closer to each other was allowed to happen–while hers was not.