Thursday, January 24, 2008

The fallout from visits

When we did our preservice training, they told us all about the fallout of visits for our children. They told us about how older kids will be confused, will be angry, and will act out, some in dramatic ways. They even told us that babies might react (which I think Lily does, BTW, mostly with an increased anxiety about strangers). PB and I talked about this a lot, and we thought that we could intellectually understand that it was not about us, and try to remove the personal aspect from the situation. I think that worked pretty well for us when BeBe was here.

But I never thought about what the fallout would be like for me.

If you remember, Lily's mom visited for a while, went to jail, visited for another short while and then kind of diappeared. At that time, I was really assumiing she would go home, either to Mom or to her aunt, and the visits didn't bother me too much because I saw them as necessary for everyone - Lily, her mom, and her aunt. Lily continues to visit with her aunt all day long every Friday. And I love that she gets that time with her family - they love her, and she loves them and they all clearly enjoy their day.

Lily's dad had his first visit three weeks ago yesterday. Last week he called to cancel and didn't have a visit. This week he did visit. And frankly, it has rocked my world. I came home in a foul mood last night. I snapped at PB repeatedly, which luckily he called me on, and he's the one who actually made the link to the visit. I had a gnawing sensation in the pit of my stomach whenever I looked at Lily.

It's because I'm threatened. I'm scared to death that he will get her back. In fact, I can't even imagine anything that is more terrifying to me right now, and believe me when I tell you that I'm a big, fat scaredy cat. It's just interesting that I'm having a stronger, almost visceral reaction to dad's visits compared to mom's visits. I think it's partially because I realized very early on that Lily's mom and her aunt loved and would do the right thing for her, whether that meant taking care of her or letting her stay with us.

But it's not like I've met Dad or really have any impression of him. I have his mom's cell phone number but haven't called her yet. I don't know why that is - partially I think I'm afraid to and partially it's because I have no idea what to say to them. It's probably because somewhere during the last 9 months I let myself assume she would stay.

You know, either that or I secretly have issues with men. But I don't think that's it.


rae said...

i always thought she would stay too amanda. this isn't fair to your heart at all, as someone who has loved her and protected her since birth. its not fair. you are her mommy in every sense of the word. this is where the system fails.....she's your baby. i don't get it.
love you

Susan said...

You don't have to call them ever. It is up to them to establish and maintain a relationship with you (and by extension, her)

I rarely call any of my birth families (except to say I'm running late, baby is too sick to visit, etc.) if they want to know how she is or what she is doing, they can call me. It's one of those things that goes into my caregiver report, how much contact they have initiated. The "dad" man may not be interested for very long. Don't offer to help make up missed visits. Just wait and see what he does. Keep taking deep breaths and ask PB to call you on the anxiety.

I will email you about cloth diapers, we use them exclusively.

Steph said...

Again, I feel you on this....
Maybe with mom, it was a bit obvious she wasn't going to make it. That she loved her baby, but didn't pose a threat at actually taking her back or away from you.
Now with Dad, you're on shaky ground. There's that chance. Even if you meet him and he's wonderful, it's still gonna suck ass... let me tell ya.
You do what you can for the baby, but not for the family. At some point they might intersect and you'll have to find a way to address all that when it happens. In the meantime it's the CM's job. And I don't think at this stage you need to go out of your way to call the PGM. You haven't even met the Dad yet.

But I really and truly feel you on this one. I react more to visits then baby boy. And, as with you, hubs was the one to point it out to me. Us crazy mommies (0:

MommyNay said...

BTDT, be gentle with yourself. I know that fear, in my case biodad was the catalyst in our lossing Alexander. He signed his right's away to his 3rd cousin who he hadnt seen since he was younger than age 5. Oh wait are comments here supposed to be encouraging and full of hope? Sorry. *********hugs***********

FosterMommy said...

I know my story doesn't help much, but I sure know how you feel.

Really, before Niblet went home, we were pretty sure that her dad was an okay guy, just clueless. We thought he loved her. Even so, we were a wreck every visit and every case meeting.

The best decision we made was to stay in touch with Niblet when she went home. We didn't have to, and it was certainly all up to the dad as to whether he allowed it, but he did, for whatever reason, and that has helped *us* immeasurably. (And it's been great for her, too.)

If you can stay in Lily's life if/when she goes home (to whomever), it will likely help YOU to move on. We were able to see Niblet continue to grow and become the person she is without us parenting her. It's a weird kind of reality check that helps my brain process the loss. I can't explain it, but our social worker friend gave us the advice to stay in her life and it's the best advice ever.

JUST A MOM said...

catching up,,,,,,,,, hang in there I know I say that alot sorry,,, I so know this feeling it sucks hang on