The boy’s biological grandfather came to visit over the weekend, as I mentioned, and they were all happy to see him and spend some time together. This time around, Maymo was able to better understand the whole “grampa” concept which was nice for all involved. Today he’s been talking about the whole thing much more excitedly than he did last year.
The flip side, of course, is that having Grampa here on Saturday and again on Mother’s Day meant that the two older boys were very much focused on their biological mom. Grampa mentioned bio-mom a few times and that got Middle One’s attention. He made some small comments and, finally at one point, he flat-out asked when he could see her.
We have been very open with the boys in age-appropriate ways. We have told them on many occasions that they cannot see her until they are 18 years old – legally adults – and why.
But Middle one is 9 and has memory problems. And he misses his biological mom.
They know about the problems she has and why they were brought into foster care and why they were adopted instead of being returned to their biological mother.
They know that legally not a single member of their family – including Grampa – have any rights to even know where the boys are living let alone their new names or visiting with them.
We have explained that we are doing the best we can to keep them in touch with their family of origin, while following the law, in ways that are safe and secure. Auntie Em’s visit, for example, was an amazing thing for them on so many levels! But visiting their biological mom is not an option because it’s not safe or healthy for them to be around her.
After Maymo went to bed last night, Coffee and I spent a few hours of Mother’s Day explaining, again, why Middle One and Oldest One can’t see her. Explaining the laws. Explaining the chances she was given to fix her mistakes. Explaining the mistakes themselves.
We talked about how we know that she loves them and misses them but that there is absolutely, positively, no way we can put her in touch with them until they’re 18 years old. By law, not because we feel like being mean or we hate her or we want to make their lives (and hers) miserable.
This is far bigger than us.
Explaining “crown wardship” and “termination of parental rights” was not quite part of the plan for this weekend, obviously. I had planned to spend at least 2 hours reading a book.. instead, I folded laundry because our schedule was tossed off kilter by a late-afternoon visit on Sunday.
Before you think I’m whining, though, one thing I’ve said about parenting adopted older kids is that you have to be willing to forgo ‘normal’ holidays in a lot of cases – and that includes Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day and even the kids’ birthdays. I knew that going into this and I knew that, by adopting older kids, I’d have to suck it up sometimes.
In this case, I skipped parts of Mothers Day to let my boys be with their “other mother’s” father and then worked to clean up the squishy emotional mess of it. There will be more of it to clean up this week, without question, as they process it all over again.
I’m not telling you this so you’ll pat me on the back and tell me how awesome I am (though, of course, you can feel free! Any time! Go ahead!) I’m telling you this because.. Adoption is complicated.
There are so many emotions that run below the surface for all of us on even the most ‘average’ of days; the important part is to focus on the kids and sometimes it’s hard to do that. It’s hard to spend “happy occasions” comforting someone else while (seemingly) the rest of the world celebrates.
It’s hard to feel like “less than Mom” sometimes – like a place holder for someone else who isn’t returning for at least 6 more years for one kid and 9 years for another.