I had not seen 3 of my kids in about 10 years. The oldest currently lives with me. I received updates through their adoptive mom, Sandra and pictures throughout the years.
I watched them grow from a distance, yearning for more connection.
I wanted to know how much they knew of me, what did they call me?
I was allowed to send a birthday card to each child on their birthday. I consistently sent each child a birthday card every year. I dreamt of seeing them, hugging them, telling them I love them.
I had settled with the fact that the children would likely each be 18 when they came to find me, if they were going to.
Our oldest moved here when she was 19. I felt as happy as the day that I gave birth to her but in a much different way. It is truly a blessing to have her here and witness her beauty and strength. Our reunion has been amazing.
It is really almost picture perfect. That is not to say that we don’t struggle sometimes. We do. We both have our own individual struggles and we have joint struggles. But, we work it out. I have realized since reconnecting with her that her “upset face” reminds me of her abusive birth-father. It really triggers me. I noticed my body getting really anxious, my blood pressure went up, I felt hot and angry and it hit hard. I walked away and started evaluating. I was being triggered. I processed this with my therapist and then with my daughter.
We both grew from that conversation.
This last summer, unexpectedly the adoptive parents let all of the kids come here for a week long visit. I felt a whirlwind of emotions. I was really excited but I was also terrified. I had never been a “mom” to all 6 of my kids at once. I didn’t know what to expect from them. They didn’t know what to expect from me. I was nervous for them. I was nervous for the 7 year old that we parent.
Would they even like me?
I stayed very active in therapy. For me, cognitive therapy is key. It really helps me stay balanced. I also try to take care of myself. I have a consistent sleep routine, I eat a fairly balanced diet and drink plenty of water. I try to take time for myself once in awhile. Even if it is just an extra long shower. Life is super demanding and most days it’s a quick in and out. But, I have learned that self care can be a few extra minutes in the shower or even as easy as cleaning my glasses.
So I do!
The week of the visit came and went. It was truly amazing. We cooked good food, played games, went swimming, smiled a lot and just had a good visit. There was also arguments between kids, some tears and a whole lot of annoyed teenagers.
But, it was still perfect.
My husband was my biggest support through all of it. When I felt anxious, he would talk with me and calm me. When I felt stressed, he helped me to see the blessings. When I felt weak, he pointed out my strengths.
I even reached out to Sandra at one point because our 17 year old said she didn’t want to be here anymore. It hurt. It broke my heart. I didn’t know what to do. I tried very hard to not take it personal but that was nearly impossible. When I messaged Sandra, she was very supportive and gave me ideas to help the situation.
Everyday is a work in progress. What I know is if I keep putting one foot in front of the other and doing right, right things will happen.
I feel absolutely blessed that we (Sandra and I) have evolved enough to be able to communicate together about the best interests of the kids.
What an amazing gift.
–Cassie– Loving Birth Mom