Vignette: From A’s First Year

I wrote this in March of 2015, about six months after A first came to us. When I found it in an old journal recently, it really touched my heart. Things are so hard with T leaving the way he did, it was nice to be reminded of the positive moments in foster adoption.

“It’s not really getting any easier to get A to open up, but there are more unexpected moments where she does it of her own accord. I can see her tentatively starting to trust, and it makes it even sweeter when she opens up and even worse when I fail her.
Last night, we had an unsolicited, unexpected moment of sweetness. As I gave her her medication and said goodnight, she allowed me to give her a hug. That is pretty normal, but, out of some instinct that I am learning to recognize as my “inner mom”, I reflexively kissed her head and hugged her tighter. Just for a split second, I felt her soften, and got a glimpse of what she must have been like as a little girl. For that split second, she was small and vulnerable and trusting, and I was her Mama as surely as if she had been born to me. It was over as soon as it had started, but it was the first moment in all our relationship when I felt that she was fully present and herself.

Today, there was another moment of a different bent. We were sitting on the couch, all four of us sitting and giggling together, when out of the blue she says “My mom wants to send me a present for my birthday, but I didn’t know if it was okay with you guys.” R and I shared a look, and then I said “I don’t know, babe. How do you feel about it?” She confessed that she wanted it, but was, to put it mildly, ambivalent. In her exact words “I wouldn’t care if she died”. I asked her to clarify whether she didn’t care, or wanted her biological mom to die, and she gave me a glimpse of her soul. She looked at me, and her eyes were so large and childlike, full of hurt and the confusion of a lost little one. “I don’t want her to die. I used to…but I just wouldn’t care now. I still love her.” We agreed that it would be best if her biological mom sent presents to a PO box instead of our address, but that there would be no problem with her sending a gift.

The fact of her honesty, her expressing her feelings, and her LOOKING ME IN THE EYES, shows just how much progress we’ve made in the eight months she has been with us. The fact that she looked down immediately after and turned away in shame shows how much further we have to go.”

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