So our SW came by today for the second week in a row to try to get the boys to answer some basic questions as part of the finalization of our adoption and in order to get the adoption order. And by “basic” I mean that the questions are simple, not that the responses are simple.
The two questions they avoided like the plague last week (distract! distract! distract!) were “What do you like about being a part of your new family?” and “What don’t you like about being a part of your new family?” They did *such* a great job at avoiding any questions last week that she had to come back again this week and I got the awesome job of explaining to them that until they answer the questions she just had to keep coming back… again and again and again. So if they could pretty please just tell her anything (positive, negative, deep, superficial – anything!) then she can finish up her part of the paperwork and they’ll never need to see another social worker again!!
If you’ll just answer the stinkin’ questions then you can watch a movie before soccer practice!
So today was lots of behaviour and an obvious desire to avoid seeing her and talking to her. But eventually she sat down with them and went through some customized books which tell their (and most every other kid’s) stories and at the end it talked about words which might describe how a child feels about having been adopted by their new family. They had choices like happy, sad, excited, nervous, angry, calm, etc.
To my surprise our youngest chose the word “calm” when talking about how he feels about becoming part of our family.
Our oldest chose “angry” to describe how he feels.
When the SW asked him to explain what makes him feel angry he responded that he’s angry he couldn’t stay with his birth mom. Which is interesting to me for 2 reasons:
1) It’s been over 5 years now… and that pain is still there. That anger is still there. He doesn’t understand WHY he couldn’t live with her and we he can never live with her again.
2) It’s super duper hard to find the right way to explain and the right amount of information to use when trying to verbalize to a child why their birth parents aren’t allowed to parent them anymore. There are so many euphemisms used in situations like this (often rightfully – these kids don’t need more trauma) but really, they’re kids. They’re not dumb. “They had adult problems” is too simplistic because the response it “Why did they have adult problems?” and “What kind of adult problems?” and these are super tough to answer without getting too detailed – at least in our case they are. And I wonder if our oldest understands the reasons why he was removed, outside of using fluffy language to placate.
So yeah. I’m chewing on this new. Our youngest (who acts out and melts down and can generally be the loud terror of the house) feels calm when he thinks about being part of our family… and our oldest (who pushes everything deep deep deep down into himself and them hums and smiles and says “I’m fine!”) feels angry about being part of our family.
Both encouraging and heartbreaking at the same time. Bittersweet, eh?