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Friday, September 9, 2016

I am ok.

I really am ok. I kind of purge all the feelings and then move on to the next task. It's how I've dealt with grief all my life. I have a much better vantage point of what return home and the possible outcomes related to Solana look like, than I ever did with the Fab Four. And that makes me feel prepared even if I know it will be hard.

I'm less naive this time. And dare I say, a little wiser? While I may have been blind to the possibility that she would go home, I know that keeping her from her birth dad isn't the right thing. (Not that I have that option.) I see with clarity that the right thing is for us to continue building a positive open relationship so that the kids don't lose out. That's what's required of me as their Mom. I dream that one day Solana will sit on my lap and say "Tell me about when I was a baby." A gift I can give to her that I'm unable to give to my other children. (Although, if I could give one piece of advice to people I discuss Solana's leaving with, it would be: Don't tell me it's going to be hard. I know it is. In fact, I know way better than you can possibly imagine it to be. So just say "That really sucks".)

I also recognize that I've joined a new category "adoptive mother" and that my desire to be a responsible mother of adopted children has become more prevalent. This gives me another purpose to focus on and that has been helpful.  I'm trying to listen to adoptee's articulate their experiences to make sure I raise children who 1) don't feel responsible for my emotions about adoption and 2) have a safe space to figure out who their true self is. 

A reader recommended "Closure" by Angela Tucker (Thanks Caitlin!). It's a documentary (available on Netflix) about a black woman who was adopted by white parents and searches for her birth family with the help of her parents and siblings. She also hosts a website that has some great material and episodes on transracial adoption, and adoption generally.

Watching has lead me to the realization that I need to be listening. I have a voice but I also want my kids to have one. I think that's probably a hard switch for parents who adopt from foster care. We spend so much time talking for our kids so that we can get them what they need, that when it comes time to listen, we don't shut our mouths. I really tried to do that this week and I "heard" some pretty amazing things.

Smiley has a journal in her desk at school that I peeked into last night.  Her first sentence in the journal was "I am special because I am adopted."  Then she went on to describe our family that she has a baby sister and 2 sisters and a brother.  She also ended it with "My family is fun."  I'm pleased to learn she thinks being adopted makes her special. But I also think there are so many more things about her that are way more special.

Sarah shared with me tonight that one of her friends at school keeps speaking to her in Spanish, forgetting that Sarah doesn't speak Spanish.  She shared with her friend that she spoke it when she was a baby but forgot it.  It led to a discussion about stereotypes and assumptions that even 10 year olds have. Out of all my kids, Sarah has the darkest skin and is very clearly Hispanic. (I am very clearly Irish.) And also looks Mexican, which she is. I have a feeling she probably looks like she could be a cousin of her friend. She was okay correcting her friend but by listening, I could tell we need to have more frequent discussions about heritage and culture.

I've also been pondering the question of if we will continue to foster. I actually have a draft post that I started about it. Hubby said probably. In fact, he joked that maybe we need to up our skill level a bit and take on a new challenge like a transracial placement. I say "joked" because both he and I recognize the commitment, and responsibility that comes with placement of a child that has a different race than us, that we have not previously felt capable of handling. Nor, do we have a support system that could really help us with those challenges. I am not so certain. I know there are kids who need us, but I think I might need a bit of a time out. I'm sure there will be more to come on that.

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