We have confirmation. E’s adoption will be finalized on National Adoption Day, November 21. We may even be a “media family,” set to speak at the opening ceremonies and practically guaranteed a good deal of media attention (which E is thrilled about).
This weekend, out of the blue, E asked about going to see his birth family before Thanksgiving to celebrate with them. I was caught of guard, so I told him I’d think about it.
My mind immediately began racing. It would be just days after finalization, and right around the anniversary of the day he moved in with me. The last visited ended in the threat of disruption. I have big news to share that week, so he’s going to be unsettled anyway.
No, my brain and heart and gut repeated. Not a good idea. Don’t do it. Terrible.
Then, I started worrying about his reaction to my decision. Anger? Rebellion? Questioning?
I thought about how long I could think about it, put off giving him my answer, figure out exactly how it could play out in my head. And, of course, stress about it the entire time.
No, I decided. I knew my answer. I knew it would not change with more consideration. I knew what the recommendation of the social worker would be if I checked in with her first. I knew that putting off telling him would just lead to anxiety for me.
So, about 30 minutes after he asked, while I was putting the laundry on the rack to dry and he was hanging out chatting, I told him.
“So, I think the answer to that question you asked me earlier is going to be no. Right after your adoption isn’t a good time to go, and I don’t think we’re doing overnight visits again anytime soon anyway. We’ll probably start back with supervised and go from there.”
Pause. Holding my breath, waiting for the fallout…
Maybe an “ok” or some other kind of acknowledgement, but then right back to the other topics he was chatting about with me and The Dude.
I felt proud of myself, for dealing with it promptly, for sticking to my gut (and, let’s be honest, all logical reasoning as well).
I’m sure all requests and denials will not be met with the same reaction, but I think each time I’m better prepared to stay calm and stick to my decision no matter the response. Sometimes I get down on myself when I agonize and worry about his reactions to me saying “no,” telling myself that plenty of parents do it and deal with the fallout and it’s no big deal. But then I start thinking about all the practice other parents get doing that during the toddler years–that I didn’t get. I have to constantly remind myself that as many years of experience as I’ve had dealing with other people’s children, I’ve only been parenting for three years, and like so many others, and am still just trying to figure it all out!