Some of you may remember me, many don't I'm sure. Have been away for quite a while due to many circumstances and feelings that are too lengthy to go into.
I am an a-mom in an open adoption. My son is seven. He sees his firstmom a few times a year. His maternal grandfather started a relationship with him when he was four but fades in and out of his life. Mostly out. Missed his last two birthday parties, didn't even call to wish him Merry Christmas, that type of thing. Maternal grandmother has seen him once when he was about three months old, posed for a picture with him but said she "didn't like babies" and I guess she meant it because she has never seen him again.
Paternal grandparents see him about four times a year and call three or four times a month. So he is very attached to them. He spends part of Christmas, Spring and Summer breaks with them and any other visit we can squeeze in. (They live about five hours away from us so we meet halfway and they pick him up.) When he is with his grandparents he also sees his bio-dad and his half-sister and brother, aunt and uncle, and great-grandparents too. It's awesome. Sometimes I've been tempted to pick up and move to be near them. (And if my parents weren't the age they are, I think we might have, but I digress...)
To the best of my ability - since I am neither an adoptee nor a firstmom - I "think" I grasp the range of emotions that my son will go through as he processes what being adopted means to him. I have certainly learned a lot from listening to the adoptees in this group and some other forums.
So I have been expecting anger. I truly have. But I foolishly thought that since he is able to have contact with his family that maybe, just maybe that anger wouldn't be until later on.
I didn't expect it at seven. Know what I mean?
So what do I do?
I'm not against therapy by any means, but I am discouraged because I have seen time and time again in this group how therapists often have NO CLUE about adoption issues - or that they even exist! So many of them have bought into the general public's view of adoption being sunshine and roses.
A few months ago we quit taking him to a therapist for this very reason. We had not and were not even DISCUSSING adoption with her. We were discussing his behavioral issues in school and I mentioned some concerns about his jerk of a teacher and her reply was "not every one is going to like him" and later in the session when I tried to re-visit the subject of his teacher, she looked at me with a very annoyed look on her face and said "are you afraid his issues are because of adoption?" And the look on her face made it clear that she thought I was an idiot if I did. Needless to say we have not been back.
And I have tried to convince myself that he doesn't need therapy but he has such angry outbursts that I think he does. He is very, very smart. Very perceptive. Remembers stuff from when he was three that really surprises me.
We have discussed that he and his second brother were placed for adoption. At three and a half he asked how "J" was his brother? (We were traveling to see "J" for his first birthday so I guess he wondered how he had a brother who didn't live with him...) So I explained to him that his mother asked me and another lady to be their moms because she was not able to take care of them.
He said: "That's dumb." And I could certainly see why he thought so, so how could I disagree? Not to mention that he's entitled to his feelings...
My rambling point is that kids are not stupid. He certainly isn't. So I have tried to be as honest as I possibly could.
I just have no faith in counselors right now. Maybe there is some way to help him on my own? A book that could help me help him? (That is applicable to seven year olds of course...)
Also, I have tried more than once to let his paternal grandparents know that when a visit with them is postponed for whatever reason his behavior gets worse. And when he comes back from seeing them he is so very happy. Talks for days about what a wonderful time he had and what they did, etc. etc. And for several weeks afterwards his behavior is much better. He seems more content and less angry.
But I think they think I am flattering them. They blow me off (politely) when I tell them those things. I truly think he needs to see them at least every two months or more if it could be arranged, but they don't seem to see it that way, even though I know they miss him.
I know they have a lot going on and it's not always easy or convenient for them to drive two and a half hours each way to get him, but I also wonder if they don't want to acknowledge how missing them affects him because it makes them feel guilty?
I have rambled on and on and I am really sorry. So many worries for him and no where to really openly discuss them. Bottom line is should I find a therapist and where??? And should I find a better way to drive home the point to his paternal family that he needs them more and more, not less and less...
Thanks for listening.