Archive | July 2017

Challenges in adoptive parenting

I am grateful that Boo’s birthmother asked about sending a gift.  I wasn’t sure if the gift was from her or her other son.  And that’s my soft spot.  Boo would love to have a sibling, I think.  (He reminds me of what I remember of her, that she didn’t like to be alone.) I just sensed a desire for more contact, however veiled.  Notwithstanding what that would be, it really opened up conversation between my husband and I about open adoption.  I also called up a fellow adoptive parent who is in a open adoption and asked for her input.  I think it made it easier for me to understand my feelings.  I knew I could not fully control things and I think that was bit of an issue for me.  It reminded me of opening up my life to infertility doctors and social workers.  It was really tough having to prove your worthiness, but now I have to open up in a way that risks my son’s heart and that frightens me.  And it’s not that he’s asking any questions, it came from his birthmother.  It’s been years of emails and flowers and photobooks but nothing else.  And now something has changed.  I know this is true in my gut.

My husband is very protective over our son, he’s just that kind of person in general. You’re either in his circle or you’re not.   If I ask him to go out to a gathering, he wants to know who is going to be there.  Me? I couldn’t care less.   If I get invited by a friend, I just go.   Even when we were doing our homestudy he was quite open about his feelings about not being open to possible “wingnuts”.  (Yeah, that did not go over well with the social worker.)  Yet he does want the best for his son and so I proposed we go to an Adoption and Trauma seminar being held by the adoption agency we used in the past.  I thought it would help us learn more and spur conversation.

Now I have to say we didn’t have the best feelings about our agency.  Not that they didn’t act ethically or do anything wrong, but I feel they could have done much more in terms of adoptive parent education.  They were great about hosting birthmother panels for prospective adoptive parents (which were mandatory by the way) but there was very little information from actual adoptive parents in how to navigate the emotional landmines we faced along the way.  Everyone assumes that just being you’re the one “who gets the kid in the end” so you’re happy, but navigating adoptive parenting can be complex because you are now a “triad” with someone you barely know.    I am grateful that I did get together with other adoptive parents just to talk (we made our own group) and it is because of those connections that I have someone to talk to who understands the complexities of adoptive parenting.

So the seminar was being led by a therapist who was an adoptee herself.  She talked about a number of things about trauma and loss, the brain’s neuroplasticity and how trauma affects the brain,  what she went through with her adoptive mother in particular (not ideal) and how she dealt with her trauma.  I’d have to say that what she said also applied to other scenarios of trauma, not just through adoption.  A lot of the symptoms would also be relevant for children of divorce or alcoholics or domestic violence.  Yes, the Primal Wound was also mentioned.  None of it is easy to listen to.   Someone wanted to know if that trauma was the reason their child was undergoing struggles with school and/or educational delays.  That got my attention, but of course, any child can have a learning disability whether they’re biologically related to you or not.  At least she acknowledged that she couldn’t answer or affirm that suspicion.  I actually knew two parents there, one of which is my naturopath by the way.  I’d love to talk to them about it at some point.

I did write an email back to Boo’s birthmother to fill in her in on the changes that have been going on in her son’s life.  Perhaps I wrote too much, but really, I was just being honest.  I let her know what we’re all growing together in this experience and that we had to consider how our actions would impact his life.  There’s more to it than that, but I’d have to password protect. Good news is that I’m glad this is all happening now while he is still young.  7 year olds can digest things in an easier way than grownups can.  They just want the facts, no fears, no doubts, no overthinking involved.

I can’t control what he will feel or won’t feel, I can’t protect him from feeling of sadness, I know that.  But we are the ones who are in charge of parenting him through life’s difficulties and surprises.  And it’s up to us to do with as much grace as possible.  Lord knows we’ll get the blame if we fuck up.  Ah, welcome to parenthood, eh?

 

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A woman my age is damn busy

Oh, gack it’s been a while.  That’s an understatement.  I’ve also switched to using a tablet for all things non business( instead of my trusty full to the brim laptop ) so I don’t write very much.  I can’t touch type on my phone or my tablet.  But this morning, hubby is away for a couple of days for a work and the kid is on summer holiday and is currently asleep (pretty sure it will be for 30 more seconds because I have started this) and so now I feel compelled to write.

Here’s life in bullet points.

  • I quit Weight watchers in June.  Honestly, I just couldn’t stand the slow weight loss.  It’s not their fault, of course, I just got tired of eating frozen Weight Watchers food and counting points.  I have neither the planning skills or the patience to make up an interesting menu for myself while trying to cook for husband and a picky eater.   I lost 5 lbs after months of counting points and starving only to see the scale creep back up.  Now of course, I’m back to the weight that got me going there in the first place.
  • Around Mother’s Day I heard from Boo’s bio mom and she wanted to get our address (that she had but misplaced) so she could send a gift.  Of course, this necessitated a long conversation with my husband who wanted to know what the gift was and all the while I’m thinking it’s not about the gift it’s about wanting more contact and what does that mean when we’ve never actually had much contact.  I actually got husband to go to a seminar about Adoption and Trauma.  I felt it was really important that we be on the same page about how we navigate forward with our son.  I also talked to a friend about what her open adoption looks like.
  • Then not long after, we had a psycho-educational assessment done with Boo for his educational delays.  We waited months for this (through the school system as we would not have to pay for it then) and shockingly we got it before the school year was out.  That saved us a couple thousand if not more had we had paid privately.  He has a learning disability, mild dyslexia with low scores in the visual spatial area and fine motor skills.  Great scores for vocabulary.  Though he has come a long way with his reading, there was scant time to work with him at home with math and writing.  He will be going to a new school for 3 months this coming fall for intensive learning before rejoining his classmates at his present school.
  • Oh, yeah, did I mention Boo asked us what the “N” word was?
  • I’ve been auditioning like crazy, got 2 days on a gig (one night away out of town – yay!) and on a short list for a project I really want to do.
  • oh, yeah, and I’m also the coordinator for my Buddhist group, a vice chair on a diversity and inclusion committee at the actor’s union and possibly more….

I have a lot more to say on the above but got to get moving….