Separation Anxiety

20 Mar Separation Anxiety

The hearing that will most likely decide placement is coming at the end of this week, so this is probably the last little bit of time that we have with LAD. In spite of the relatively long notice and all of our deliberate and extensive preparations, I am nonetheless caught off-guard by the torrent of conflicting emotions I feel.

I have thought this through, up and down and every direction, six ways to Sunday. I can name the feelings and why I feel them. I have given myself permission to lean into all of these feelings whenever they come. And still they surprise me, both in their content as well as their force. To cope, I picture myself riding them out like a surfer rides the ocean wave– sometimes staying above water, sometimes wiping out– but occasionally I find myself getting frustrated with the repetition: “Gah, I thought I dealt with this already! Why am I here again?”

The calendar says we have had him less than four months. This seems impossible, given how close I feel to him, how much change he has wrought in my heart and in my household, not to mention my extended family and circle of friends. I want to explain it to him, so, sitting on the couch, holding LAD in my lap, I look this bright-eyed baby in the eye and try to tell him what it has meant to me to have him here, to help him grow, and to work for his best. I am a better person for having loved him, different even from who and how I imagined I would be when I began. He listens, smiles, and coos; I choke, run out of words, and dissolve in tears.

Many of my ambitions suddenly seem harder to achieve given the time allotted. A few weeks ago, I started reading aloud One Hundred Years of Solitude to him. What if I can’t finish? I wanted to take him to the beach so I could be the one to let him experience the Pacific Ocean. If I can’t make that happen while he is in my care, will I be able to arrange an outing with Bio-Mom after placement some time? How hard should I try, and how soon should I start asking? I have already begun to practice a speech to give Bio-Mom about my expectations post-reunification. I want pictures and updates, of course, but the equivalent to winning the Olympic Gold would be receiving an invitation to LAD’s first birthday party.

When I look through the photos we have taken and the albums we have filled, I see all this growth and change and think to myself: Oh! I need to remember to include thus-and-such detail and this-or-that anecdote in his Life Book. Then it hits me: Ack! Better do it now. Only a few days left!

I find myself wondering: Will he even see his Life Book? He’s so young; keeping up with it might be asking too much, more than circumstances will allow. Hmm. Maybe we should make a second copy to keep with us… at the house or in a safe-deposit box… at Fort Knox… to pass on to him once he grows up and becomes curious about this part of his life… ten, fifteen, twenty years from now? The further I go down this road of potential pre-emptive measures, the crazier my thoughts become.

The truth is, we just have to trust. Trust Bio-Mom to do a good job with LAD and to keep us in the loop ever after. Trust that our work with LAD was sufficient. Trust that the next child who is placed with us needs us more than the one who is leaving.

Angels Foster
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