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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