Last week we learned that E's birth mother decided to leave the country, and E is understandably devastated. E is very articulate and has more insight that most six year old kids. Still, no matter how intelligent she is, E is only six. No matter how many times she has been told that she will never return to her birth mother's care, E still hopes that day will come. Not because she is not well cared for, and not because she does not love her grandparents. E simply wants her mother to love her, to want her, to want to change just so they can be together.
The entire family has been affected by this development, but E and her grandmother/Mama, Ms. D, are taking the brunt of the emotional toll. I offered to take SS and E to Chuck E. Cheese for lunch yesterday. The birth mother left Tuesday night, and I though E could use the distraction. As a mother, I also knew that Ms. D was barely holding it together for E's sake. She deserved time to let go, cry, and process. Yesterday morning Ms. D asked me if she could join us. She felt she needed to talk to someone. As it just happens, I am a someone. :)
We gave the girls tokens and turned them loose, at a thankfully not very crowded CEC. I like their stamp system, that is verified before exiting. It is not a substitute for parental supervision, but great for paranoid parents like us. E is even louder than SS, and ten times more hyper. Between E's voice, and SS's maniacal laughter we could easily pinpoint exactly where they were.
The interesting thing about our get together is how cathartic it was to talk to Ms. D. She was also adopted, but has no knowledge about her birth parents. Sadly, her experience as an adoptee was simply awful. But instead of being bitter, she used it as a guide of what not to do as a parent, and especially as the forever parent of a very emotionally hurt child. Our biggest difference is that Ms. D and her husband never thought they would find themselves parenting once their two children reached adulthood. They were looking forward to that time alone, that time without school schedules, homework, and little league. We were shocked to find out Ms. D is four years younger than me. We had guesstimated about six years older. But since they had children so early, we can understand their desire to just be the two of them. Unlike them, we took on this second parenting journey with eyes wide open. We wanted it so much that we waited five years to make it a reality.
Regardless of that difference we have faced some of the same challenges, and have the same parenting values. It was good to talk to someone who had heard the let her cry it out mantra. Someone who had been urged to potty train before E was ready. Sometime who is still told she pays too much attention to her child. E has many of the fears SS has, and they are all rooted in the fear of abandonment. It's painful to watch E struggle with her reality versus her wishes. No child should have that immense weight on their shoulders.
It made me think about SS and how different she is about her adoption. Almost six and has no interest about her birth parents. It is part of her story, the same story I have been telling her since we met. There is always the fact that she has birth parents, and more family by default in China. Not once has SS asked about them. Sometimes I'm selfish and want her to ask. I know I'm selfish because I know I am better equipped to deal with those questions, those emotions with SS as a child. I fear that by repressing those questions, the dam will explode in her teenage years. Adolescence in emotionally charged as it is, adding a Molotov cocktail to that fire is worrisome. But as with everything else, we will deal with this at SS's pace, not ours.
The girls had a blast playing, sharing rides, and getting their pictures together. Ms. D and I had a long talk that was helpful for us both. Even if they are in our lives for just a season, we are grateful.
We love the leg action in the video below.
Avocado sandwich, the breakfast of champions. SS ate every bite.
Our monster after school today.