The latest Roundtable prompt at Open Adoption Bloggers is "How do you feel after a visit?" Here's my response:
My feelings after a visit are mainly a response to whatever is going on for Ashley. They are secondary to hers, which is as it should be, because it's not really about me. My role, post visit, is one of support.
We've had times when the post-visit period has been difficult. I've written about that here and here and here. But even when it's difficult, I recognize that it's all just part of the process for Ashley. I strongly believe that when adoptive parents walk through a difficult post-visit period with their adopted child, following the child's lead and being present and available to offer whatever support is needed, they participate in the child's healing process in an important way.
We've also experienced the opposite end of the spectrum -- times when visits were followed by important breakthroughs in our relationship and bonding with Ashley, as I wrote about here. For the most part, these days, Ashley tends to move toward me rather than away from me following a visit. For example, after Erica left the Seder dinner, Ashley immediately asked me to come and sit by her. This is a fairly typical response. Because our visits are frequent, the post-visit response is now minor — almost unnoticeable — except that she seems to want about 10 or 15 minutes of direct attention from me to help re-regulate herself. After that, she happily slips back into her usual favorite activities: hanging with her sister, FaceTiming her school friends on her iPod, planning her next outfit, etc. So, my primary feelings are ease and peacefulness. I experience a sense of satisfaction seeing her positive adjustment.
Please stop by Open Adoption Bloggers for links to other responses to this prompt.