Making Friends

Today’s adoption related story –

My 10 yr old daughter (adopted last year from foster care, who has been with us for 2 years) just came home from her first time at church camp today and has been very emotional about all of the “best friends” she made that she will “never see again” (they’re from all over about a 300 mile radius and there’s a chance they’ll see each other at camp again next year but no guarantees). She tends to deem kids her “best friends” VERY quickly and then gets very upset when/if something goes wrong in the relationship or they move away or something. As I was reflecting on the situation tonight it struck me that this could very well be related to her trauma from being removed from her birth mom and being in multiple foster homes—anytime someone “leaves” her, she is devastated…which makes sense given her history.

Some thoughts –

My 14 year old went to a 3 day day camp and it took her two days to get out of the funk of never seeing these kids again.

From what I have been reading regarding trauma and it’s effects on future relationships, that sounds exactly what it is. To which someone else affirmed – Yep. Trauma response. Someone else suggested “family therapy.” Also an adoption competent therapist and/or trauma informed. Trauma impacts brain development and in many ways she might still be developing some skills that other 10 year olds are expected to have. Speech therapy is actually super helpful for working on these skills.

Another person noted – It is very common for kids to say this after an intense camp experience and for her it is tied up with her trauma too. It isn’t either/or. This is yes/and.

And this thought – Being sad you may not see your new friends again is normal. Strongly attaching in a short period of time and being completely devastated when the time ends, is not. This behavior may escalate once she reaches her teens and starts dating. Feeling like you have to do anything possible to keep from losing someone puts one in some pretty terrible situations.

Another adds – the dating part sounds so close to what I did as a teen. I had the hardest time leaving relationships, even if they were abusive. I was so afraid to be alone.

Yet another example – this can happen with changing grades/saying goodbye to teachers and friends as well. We talk a lot about how just because someone’s gone, it doesn’t mean they’re not connected to you; same with when someone dies.

There was also this wise perspective – The children we are parenting have always had bigger and more intense responses to these types of situations than their peers, which we recognize as a response to their big grief and loss. And yes, we’ve had amazing therapists and their responses are more typical now, much of the time, but not always and the trauma will always be with them. And we know to validate this sadness, grief, loss, etc. and validate all the people/situations they may be missing and sad about. 

Complete Moving Forward

It is that end where nothing actually changes but we move forward into the next one which this year also sees the change into a new decade.

I feel a sense of completion this year as I have continued to learn about the impacts of adoption and the wounds of separating children from their mothers.  I have spent the last year reviewing the most significant events of my entire life.  One was being the executor of my deceased parents’ estate.  I have no doubt that it was a blessing that my parents, both adoptees and high school sweethearts who were married for over 60 years, died only 4 months apart.  I had to make arrangements for my mentally ill sister’s support in ways my parents feared to initiate.  Sadly, my lifelong close relationship with her was wrecked by my having to do so as there was no one else who could.

I also finally managed to come full circle in learning who my original grandparents were and because they are all dead, managing to find living descendants with whom I can begin to create new relationships.  I recognize that relationships are not instantaneous and we have lost decades but I do my best to go forward and feel a wholeness and peace that I could not even know I was lacking until I found that.

A year ago, I self-published a limited edition of our family’s true history and genetic cultural roots.  Sadly, it wrecked a relationship with one of my nephews.  Honestly though, there was barely a relationship there.  That he could not see the purpose of my revealing what I did related to his own relationships with his maternal line, I can’t help.  Though I regret his decision to close the door on half his family, I still feel the information was necessary within the family and so I accept the outcome with sadness.

I’ve spent the last year rewriting a commercial version of my story that includes the aspects mentioned above.  I had not gone into my parents’ deaths and the ramifications of those deaths in the previous publication but realized that to tell the story of my discovery of my grandparents, it was necessary to look at that difficult time in my own life to give context to the final miracle that unfolded.

In the coming year, I do hope to acquire a literary agent and find this book commercially published.  May that prove to be so.  Best wishes to all of you who have chosen to read my blog over the last year.  I hope you continue to follow me and if my hopes and dreams come true, will want to buy and review my book.  Happy New Year – soon.  Like in a few hours now.

 

 

Cutting Ties

Ours is not a happy story.  I didn’t fully realize that until I began to finally learn about who my original grandparents were.

I had described the situation though and I had intuitive senses about it before I began to read what others had written about it as well.

I put together everything I knew into book form – a limited edition only meant for direct family and not even all of it.

Knowing it wasn’t a happy story before I sent it off to its recipients, even so I was willing to risk the fallout that might blow back at me.  And it has.  Sadly.

What I regret most was that it appears it will impact several others who had nothing to do with my decision to come fully to face all of the less than happy truths about our family circumstances.

Yet with a heavy heart and deep sadness, I also know it isn’t something that only happened last night.  It has been always at the edge and always unhappy.  The wounds are deep, complicated and hurting.

I wish it wasn’t that way.  I suppose that many families do have less than happy stories.  I have cut off my youngest sister for the time being because she has traumatized me.  My husband and his brother who were once very close are not now.  It happens.  That doesn’t mean I rejoice in it.