Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Visit Backlash, Part Two

I want to share a bit more about what happened here this weekend, because it was difficult, but it wasn't, and isn't, all bad. In fact, all in all, it was probably an important step in Ashley's development and healing.

Erica and Ashley had a visit on Saturday, and during that visit Ashley asked some difficult questions about why Ashley and her siblings had been removed from Erica and why they didn't go back. Erica answered honestly, in age appropriate language, and an important conversation about addiction and recovery ensued. Ashley was reassured that nothing that had happened was her fault. She got to hear that Erica had always wanted her but just hadn't been able to get well in time.

It was a good conversation. As Ashley's other mother, I am OK with everything that Erica shared. More than OK, in fact. These are all things that I wanted Ashley to hear from her.

But it was a lot to process. And when an adopted child is processing difficult stuff, guess who usually bears the brunt of it? You guessed it -- the adoptive mom. So Ashley pushed me away, and then she reconnected. For whatever reason, that was something that she needed to do as she walked through this.

She needed me to be her punching bag for a while, and to see that I loved her anyway. She needed to push, and see that I respected her boundaries but wasn't going to disappear. She needed to take out her emotions on someone, and I was the safest person to be the recipient.

And then, bit by bit, she made her way back to me. She sought me out and found little ways of reconnecting. We are back on track ... for now. It seems inevitable that more stuff will come up for her through the years as she makes sense of her journey through foster care to adoption. When that happens, her dad and I and Erica will all do our best to guide her through.


  1. Thank you for sharing this. As an a-mom I appreciate all the honesty and education you share so I can be prepared. My little ones are 19 mos and 26 mos and don't have any backlash yet, but I'll be prepared for it now. Honestly, I didn't know it existed. I would have been blindsided.

  2. I wish we had this. The BM in our family will not take any responsibility and requires the children to prove their love to her. It's all too much. She writes in letters things like, "too bad you don't love your mother like a child should". I don't know how to help her.

  3. That's heartbreaking; I am so sorry to hear that.
    I do truly consider myself lucky to have been paired with Erica for this journey. She is amazing.

  4. Thank you for this feedback, Kristine!
    I think a lot of adoptive parents are caught off guard, and then there can be a tendency to think the visits are harmful. But I really do believe it is part of the process and adoptive parents can help their children heal by walking through it with them.

  5. We're going through some of that "take it out on Mom" stuff right now with big birthday feelings. I get it, but it is tough sometimes to be the punching bag. ((hugs))

  6. Rebecca: I am in awe of your mothering savoir-faire!
    You are giving both your children the love and role modeling in both words and deeds.
    What a gift.

  7. Thanks!
    And any friend of BJW is a friend of mine. :-)


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