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I Should Have Shut My Mouth

So as I was typing: "So far the summer has been fairly quiet in terms of trauma related issues, and foster care." I actually thought to myself, don't type that. The moment you type that, the Universe is going to send some your way. And sure enough, it did. Ugh.

Shortly after I wrote the July update post, I found out that the kids' older brother was coming to visit Shiela. The kids hadn't seen him in at least 5 years. They literally got on a bus and never saw him again. Smiley was around the age of 3. Simon, who was the only one that had lived with his brothers was 4. He remembers his brothers and has talked the most about missing them in the past. When Solana was returning home, this was a big part of the grief and fear he felt. 

About a week after I found out Big Brother was coming to visit, Sheila sent me a message and asked if we could have a visit with Big Brother and the kids. 

Since we had been helping Solana's Dad "SD" out with childcare, I offered to supervise some visits for Sheila and Solana.  I didn't want any family court drama aimed at SD for lack of visitation since he was being so generous with her spending time with her siblings. This came with a predictable amount of frustration. Lack of planning, cancelling, inconvenient visit times. There was even a message exchange where she was trying to draw me in to the trash talking. So I was slightly nervous about a visit with Big Brother because if it fell through, the kids would be crushed.

There was also a fair amount of worry about how long Big Brother was staying.  Was it 2 weeks, a month? Forever? Was I going to get a call because something happened and now The Department was involved? Could we take on a 14 year old if we had to? How did Big Brother feel about a visit? Was he supportive of the adoption? Jealous? Did he have enough emotional support for reuniting with his siblings? 

Hubby and I also felt we needed to prepare the kids for such a big visit so it wasn't as if we could tell them on the way to the visit. we met with our amazing therapist and came up with a "talk track" and canned answers to anticipated questions.  

The kids were excited and very nervous.  Mostly, they were nervous about what to say to Big Brother. We came up with a list of questions of things they wanted to know about him and decided on the zoo as the best place for a visit.  Thank you to everyone who gave us suggestions! They were helpful for planning this visit and future ones!

What was interesting was that they seemed very indifferent to Sheila.  It was a "I could take her or leave her" vibe.  We've seen her more than I expected we would but it is mainly because of Solana.  I think this is fine, but I also try to be cautious as some of the conversations her and I have had were very reminiscent of "your just their foster parent".  It's so hard to know what the right balance is.

Overall, the visit went well.  We spent a good part of the day at the zoo.  We sought shelter during a rain storm and played Heads Up on my phone.  Ice Cream and Sarah broke the ice.  Simon struggled and I don't think he ever worked up the nerve to say more than a few words to Big Brother.  At one point I confided in Big Brother that Simon really wanted to talk with him but was so nervous and had no idea what to say.  And Big Brother replied that he felt the same way.  It was sweet and heartbreaking at the same time. We ended up having dinner together and I was able to exchange phone numbers with him so hopefully the kids will be able to chat and keep in touch.  There were a few mannerisms he and Simon shared and him and Sarah have the same sense of humor. I'm glad we had the opportunity to see him and I am appreciative that Sheila gave us the opportunity.


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