Monday, 11 February 2013

Abandoned...

Today, upon phoning my GP surgery to make an appointment with my lovely GP, I discovered she had retired just after Christmas.  I then had to make an appointment to see an unnamed locum tomorrow (the surgery don't know who they will have with them tomorrow).  I felt a variety of different emotions:

I immediately felt sad and a bit cheesed off for myself.  My GP was a wonderful lady who knew so much about my background.  Lengthy explanations were no necessary.  She had supported us through our first adoption and through our current one.  She knew why I experienced certain medical issues. I felt safe and understood with her.  She was interested in how things were going with Katie. I trusted her.  How dare she retire and leave me the child inside me whinged!

I also felt a bit annoyed that I wasn't informed that she had retired.  I would have liked to have given her a card to wish her well, for I do wish her well. I may well still send one via the practice.

I felt annoyed that I have to see a locum who isn't even known to the practice.  There will potentially be no continuity of care with this outcome.

I felt sorry for the poor receptionist who probably gets it in the neck from patients who aren't as polite as I am who are also fed up at the concept of seeing an unnamed locum and all the other changes currently happening within our practice.

I'm mature enough to understand that changes aren't always a bad thing though. I might have an even better meeting with the locum without all the history attached. The changes at my practice may well be beneficial to all the patients.

As I pondered on my forthcoming appointment I was struck by the various feelings that arose.  How the loss of that familiarity could make me feel anxious and it reminded me of how a child must feel when either being placed into care or leaving care to live with their adoptive family (this is merely showing empathy and not making a direct comparison before anyone jumps on me!).  Whatever the circumstances there is safety in familiarity.  You know what to expect. You can predict the outcome of certain events.  How scary and unsafe it must feel for a child to be ripped away from the safety of a happy foster home.  I often wonder if this is how Katie felt.  She had lived with her foster carers from her birth.  Grandma (her foster carer) was really the only constant mother she had known at that time.  Katie was perfectly happy there.  She loved Grandma and all the family that were a  part of her life, and they loved her.  How must it have felt to have all that taken away?  Did she wonder if Grandma didn't want her, or love her, any more?  Did it bring up emotions in her from when her birth mother left?  She was too young to articulate any of those emotions.  I do remember her breaking her heart when Grandma came to visit us not longer after she moved in.  Those emotions will be stored in her though as will the emotions linked to her birth mother.

We've kept in constant touch with Grandma.  Visiting often and asking Grandma to become an official Grandma so that Katie, hopefully, doesn't feel rejected for a second/third time and so that Grandma is on hand to fill in some of the gaps for her.  Nowadays she visits Grandma's and leaves with me very happily.  She seems safe and secure and happy.

I wonder if she will always feel that way or will she carry a feeling of abandonment with her? We're are doing all we can to keep the channels of communication open with her birth family as well as with her foster family. I know we can only do what we can do and I also know that Katie may well have feelings of abandonment because she is adopted.  I have experienced tremendous feelings of abandonment because my mother has chosen to stay with the step-father who abused me.  I cannot change the situation but I can understand and accept where those feelings originate from and know that it's OK to have those feelings.  I can also see all the people in my life who have not abandoned me and I draw strength from those relationships.  I cannot, and will not, give Katie a fantasy life or try and encourage her to push down any worrying feelings she might have about being adopted.  Any feelings she might experience will be part of her and her life experiences.  They will shape the person she will become.  I encourage her to talk about how she is feeling, even when that also makes me feel uncomfortable or a failure.  That is the job of a parent, and mostly particularly the job of an adoptive parent.  Today Katie and I discussed that it was OK for her to love her Birth Mother and me.  I have reassured her that she doesn't have to love one more than the other and that she can have room in her heart for anyone she wants to love.  I hope that she will grow up feeling safe enough to discuss all those feelings with me and know that there is love and support for her regardless of what she is feeling.  It took me a great many years to feel safe within myself and I'm now in my 40s. I know that it may take Katie equally as long although I hope that I can give her a strong foundation from which to work.

(This post was edited and updated on 12th February 2013 to add some additional thinking from it's original publication date of 11th February 2013)

P.S. The appointment with my locum GP went really, really, well.  She was helpful and insightful and has referred me for physiotherapy for my dodgy hip and changed some medication for me.  All those anxieties were unfounded (although the jury is still out on the continuity of care issue)!





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12 comments:

  1. I guess whatever else happens, she will always have lost her birth mother. As I understand it, that can leave quite a deep impression, no matter how wonderful the life otherwise lived. We all want to know where we came from, for better or for worse, but with the good parenting she's receiving, I can't imagine she won't be able to tackle those feelings appropriately when it comes to it.

    On that note, do you know if there are any counseling/therapy services for adopted kids to deal with that kind of issue when it arises? I ask long in advance of needing any, just to be informed.

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    1. Hi there. Yes she will have lost the relationship she might have had with her Birth Mother. The difficult thing is that we will never know what that might have been like. I can only try and keep the door open for them both to meet when Katie is older and see where that leads.

      There is a new agency called Evolving Families that I'm going to do a little write up on soon that offers support for adopted children. There is also the route through the Post Adoption Team; GP and school etc but these can take time to access from the experiences I've heard from other adopters.

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  2. I remember losing my dentists like this, and I was beside myself. She said I had perfect teeth.
    I think the foster carer visit(s) are tricky to deal with. Our first one is coming up, and it is a concern, even though we love our son's FC to bits. Time will tell I guess.

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    1. Oh I'd be devasted if I lost a dentist who told me I had perfect teeth. In fact I'd be devastated to lose my dentist because she specialises in nervous nellies like myself. I even followed her from the NHS into the private sector so as not to lose her.

      Good luck with your FC visit. Ours have been really wonderful and I'm glad we've kept them going. Katie's FC has been adopted by us as her Grandma and she is wonderful in that role. In fact she's taken us all into the family so we've gained a family as well.

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  3. Very interesting and possibly important for you feel this way in order to have that empathy with Katie, although I'm sorry you lost your trusted doctor.

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    1. Yes I think the empathy is important. Of course I will never be able to feel her emotions or know how it feels to be adopted. I have met various adoptees, both in my personal life and here online, and they have all had very different experiences and very different resulting emotions. I am keen not to label Katie with any emotions but try and support her through any emotions that she feels. It would be easy to become overly anxious after reading some of the stories and hearing some of the expressions of anger and pain but that would be giving Katie someone elses feelings and experiences. It has made me even more aware of ensuring that she knows it is safe to open up to me and know that she can talk about her birth family with me, free of anxiety that it will damage our relationship. At least I hope so!!!!

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  4. glad the GP visit went well - change is a pain isn't it! I am certain your continued openness with katie and the elastic within which you encompass her will support and release her - and her emotions to work through any issues she may - or may not have - surrounding her adoption.

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    1. I love that term "the elastic within which you encompass her". I love the safety and expansion within it. Better than "the ties that bind". I will think on that some more.

      I very much hope that this approach is right for her. I know that my role as a parent is to enable Katie to live her life, even when I'm not here any more. I worry about her leaving me but the reality is that I will also leave her at some point and I hope that she will be grounded and emotionally stable enough to live a happy life. That is my aim. Maybe I need to write a manifesto LOL!

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  5. I can completely understand your feelings about your GP and really clever of you to link them with Katie's emotions. Even us adults get thrown by change so just imagine what it does to our children. So good that you are able to keep contact with FC, it wasn't considered a good idea for us. The FC had considered adopting the boys and it was thought that it might be hard for everyone involved. Sounds like for Katie it really helps.

    Thanks for linking up with the Weekly Adoption Shout Out

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    1. Totally Sarah. I struggle to understand my own emotions at times and yet we want our little ones to tell us how they feel. Katie is great at naming an emotion i.e. angry or sad or happy but not necessarily why she feels that way. Me neither tbh!! I just blame it all on hormones!!

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  6. Felt this post deep inside. These deep and meaningful conversations are so important - as well as those everyday lighthearted references to 'the missing people'.

    I often notice that however hard and tormenting the aftershock of these conversations can be, in the greater scheme of things they create a deeper bond and trust, and level things out to come out better than they were before.

    Your blog helps me so much - thank you so much for sharing x

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    1. Hi Mumdrah. I'm so glad that what I'm writing resonates with you and helps in some way. I hope that by allowing the day to day conversations that Katie will feel comfortable having the bigger conversations with me as well and know that it's safe to do so. I talk about how much I miss my nan and grandad with her so she sees that I miss people as well and knows that it's normal to miss people. I know that I have to ne honest about, and combat, my fears in order to help her do the same. Seeing as I don't know how I feel half the time that's quite a tall order. I find writing here helps me order my thoughts and articulate things with Katie in a better way. x

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