Thursday, May 08, 2008

You Will Not Be My Forever Mommy

Nicki wrote an interesting post the other day about attachment being a journey, and journey through, not necessarily a journey to. I'm trying to keep that in mind when our own attachment dance gets off kilter.

I spend a lot of time feeling like we take two steps forward and one step back. Which is an improvement over the first few months of parenting Lana, which often felt like taking one step forward and two steps back.

It is not always easy to parent a child who is old enough to know that she has been given away. More than once.

It is not always easy to parent a child who loved the mother who mothered her, and who knew that mother loved her, even as that mother took her back to the place of her original abandonment and then walked away.

I cannot imagine how unbelievably painful that must have been for Lana's foster mother. I met her. I believe she was well-loved and well-cared for. I know it hurt her to hand her to us.

Last night Lana had a very rough night. She was over-tired (she had spent the night before with my sister and brother-in-law and their kids, which meant she was up late and woke up early). She threw an extremely impressive fit. Several in fact, one after the other.

She was upset, legitimately so, because Gabriel has a ton of friends in the neighborhood and Lana doesn't really have any. I understand her distress about this, I do, but, I cannot waive a wand and create a posse of 4-to-6-year-old-girls out of thin air. There is a five-year-old girl next door, but, she has rebuffed Lana's efforts to make friends. (The child is a twin, and I've never heard her speak to anyone but her twin brother. The twins play with each other almost always, and rarely with other kids. Which kind of sucks, because it would be nice if they would play with my kids, but, they don't.)

Anyway, the point is, Lana doesn't have any friends in our immediate neighborhood, and Gabe has lots, and last night she was really really upset about that, because Gabe was playing with his friends and Lana was wailing, "I don't got no one to play with," over and over.

Then there was fighting over who could be with me in the TV room, and Lana wanted to have, "mommy all to myself" - and a fight ensued and there was screaming and wailing and gnashing of teeth and it just. wasn't. pretty.

She curled up next to me as I was putting her to bed, and I rubbed her back for a while, and sang "Clementine" and "Five Little Ducks" and I said, "I love you," and she said,

"You will not be my forever mommy."

"I will be your forever mommy," I said. "I will be."

"No," she said. "You will not be. Not forever and ever. Not for always and always."

"Forever and forever, for always and always, I'm your mommy."

"I don't like you," she said.

That broke my heart a little bit, but I said, "But I still love you."

"Goodnight mommy," she said.

Before I closed the door, I told her again, "I am your forever mommy, Lana." She didn't answer.

She cried in her sleep, a lot, last night. She does that when she is overtired, and when she has had a bad fit. It's like she continues the argument in her dreams.

This morning she gave me a bunch of kisses and said, "I love you mommy." And before I walked out the door she ran to me and said, "one more kiss, mommy, one more hug." So I gave her one more kiss and one more hug, and she was in a good mood.

But I still don't know if she believes, deep down, that I am her forever mommy.



Blogger KelleyO said...

When I tell the boys in Vietnamese that I love them and will never leave them they always look so surprised and small. It's like I've opened the door to their little hearts and I can see their sadness,they want believe me. It's all just so hard. Keep up the good work Gretchen you are a wonderful mother.

Thursday, May 08, 2008 5:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Elaine said...

Oh, ouch. Poor Lana. I can't imagine what she has been through and how it all feels, but I'm sure that someday, deep down, she will believe you are her forever mommy.

Thursday, May 08, 2008 5:59:00 PM  
Anonymous stacy said...

Oh my, that got me crying. How sad for Lana to not be where she can know that in her heart always, and how sad for you that you can't just magically make her believe it. I'm glad she woke up feeling so much better. Hopefully day by day life will seem more solid for her and she can grow the confidence in friends and family being there for her always.

Thursday, May 08, 2008 6:26:00 PM  
Blogger LaLa said...

{{HUGS}} So sorry for both of you...I know it makes you so sad to see her in distress. Hopefully things will continue to progress and her heart can believe : )

Thursday, May 08, 2008 6:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Christina said...

Oh ouch. That would hurt my heart to hear R or Zeeb say that. R, being 6 going on 16 does like to say "You hate me! You ALL hate me!" when she is having a good raging fit (just last night in fact) and that hurts me because I love her SO much. And I really don't know what Zeeb thinks... between his delayed language and the fact that he's a boy, I don't get too many insights. But anyway, I think you handled that very very well and God-willing, over time, Lana will come to believe deep in her heart that you truly ARE her forever mommy.

Thursday, May 08, 2008 7:31:00 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

What a hard situation for both of you. One day she will believe. I guess it is still too new for her to be 100% trusting at this point. I do believe that she will get there.

Thursday, May 08, 2008 9:31:00 PM  
Blogger Law Student Hot Mama said...

I bet she does think you're her forever mommy.

We adopted kids? We know how to push buttons. I should know. I'm one. I used to say stuff to my mom all teh time but I didn't really know how it affected her. I'm sure she just doesn't realize the impact of what she's saying and while she's saying it for effect, she doesn't understand that you're hurt.

Thursday, May 08, 2008 10:18:00 PM  
Blogger Leslie & Shaune said...

reading that ripped my heart out. you are doing a wonderful job as a mommy... a forever mommy. keep up the great work.

Thursday, May 08, 2008 11:30:00 PM  
Blogger Terynn said...

Man, I sure do "love" your Lana. What a nifty girl. A cool kid.
I love that she can put her feelings in to words (no-one to play with; the forever mommy comment, etc.), but my heart hurts for both you and Lana. Thank you for honestly sharing your story with us. It cannot be easy, but I know you love Lana fiercely. I know you will be/already are her forever and ever mommy.

Friday, May 09, 2008 8:02:00 AM  
Blogger Jenny said...

breaking my heart. but getting there. And like nicki said, it is a journey, not a hard stop.

(oh my god also, I am soo worried my girls will be the weird twins that only play with each other, they need to go to school asap!)

Friday, May 09, 2008 8:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read her "The Run Away Bunny". Tell her you are like the mommy bunny and will always be there for her.

She was tired and cranky, stressed at the seperation from you, after playing with cousins now she was alone.

Our kids do have issues that need to be addressed, but kids will be kids. I think she was looking for a button to push. She knows there is something a little different about her situation, and she was fishing around to get a reaction, in addition to it being a real concern to her.

When my little girl, around the same age, says things like this. I never show it is hurtful or that I feel bad for her. I say to her in a teasing way, no you can never never, never, leave me. I will never let you go. You must always take care of your mommy and be there for me. Sometimes I will pull her on my lap and not let her go and tickle her.

Make a funny game of it like the Run Away Bunny book. I will say fantastic and silly things. You can never marry, I will hide your wedding dress and you will have to climb out a window at night and get married naked. If you marry your husband will have to live in the attic. You can't go away to college. When you go to class you will have to sit on my lap. If you get an apartment I will sleep in your bathtub. I will take all your shoes and hide them so you can't go to work. It has become a funny game with us and we like the Run Away Bunny story. No matter what the bad bunny does the mommy always comes after him.

Friday, May 09, 2008 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Tough situation. Thank you for writing about it. I wouldn't even know what to say. I've been thinking about Nicki's post for a few days now, too.

Sunday, May 11, 2008 4:09:00 AM  
Blogger niobe said...

This is heartbreaking. For both of you.

Monday, May 12, 2008 10:38:00 AM  

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