Why do we have to wait?
It was heartbreaking to watch. Katie summed up how we are all feeling. The little fella needs to be home now. Katie was already overtired after a long day and was late having dinner because we needed to drop Pip back to his FC. Seeing his play mat on the lounge floor was one emotion too many for this already over-emotionally charged 5 year old. Two days is forever for a child of Katie's age. Two more sleeps is an age. She doesn't understand about the protocols and the paperwork and the fact that a review meeting has to happen before Pip can officially move in. She doesn't understand that his FC would like to have a farewell tea for him. She just wants him here....NOW!
As do we all.
It took a lot to get her settled and into bed tonight. A nice, deep, warm, bath helped things along but she has been finding excuses to get up. Katie would take a mile if we gave her an inch so tight boundaries are in force. We can't afford to give too much because she needs those familiar rules to feel safe - even if it's only for her to kick against them. I'd like to snuggle up on her bed and hold her close but then she would want me to do that every night and then we'd get tantrums every night. I hate having to be tough on her but I know her too well.
So it's been a tough end to the day but also a wonderful day. Pip has been at our house since 10am when his FC and all her family arrived to drop him off. They stayed for a cup of tea and a play and had a lovely time. The visit to our house will hopefully help the FCs children manage their feelings about Pip leaving their family and help them to visualise where he will be living. We have said that they can visit once he is placed with us though. The day was also wonderful because Katie was simply delightful with Pip today and was the greatest little helper a Mummy could ask for. We sat together at the top of the stairs, outside Pip's bedroom, listening whilst he had his first nap in his cot and chatting about how strange it was having a baby in our house. Katie said "I never believed we would get a baby!" I totally agreed with her.
Pip loved the pictures on the wall in his bedroom. It took us two attempts to get him to sleep. Once
before lunch at his normal sleep time, which resulted in him playing for a while but refusing to sleep, and once after lunch. He had an hour and a half after lunch and awoke very happy and gurgling to himself in his cot. I received a lovely smile when I went in to get him up.
After naptime I gave him his bottle and then let Daddy have a cuddle whilst I got the pram and bag ready to go up to the park. Pip decided to christen Daddy by throwing up a nice milky up-chuck on his top. Katie is obsessed with Pip being sick so there was lots of excitement in the house after that little event! After a quick clothing change we headed up to the park for a play on the swings although Daddy and I were actually quite happy to just sit and watch our little boy and just "be". We're all fighting colds and feeling exhausted. It was nice to just sit quietly for a while.
Pip had another little sleep in the car but was tired and fretful when we took him back. We got him some tea as quickly as possible but he didn't really know what to do with himself. I think it's getting tough for him now and he's getting confused. He looked at the FC and me as if to say "Who's looking after me then?" I also don't think he wanted us to leave.
It's all getting tough. We have our Review Meeting in the morning and then Pip will be coming back to ours for part of the day before heading back for a farewell tea with his FC family. I'm taking him back whilst Daddy takes Leo to the vet for his consultation and surgery. Katie is regressing a lot at the moment. We expected it but it's still difficult to experience. She is babbling like a baby and squealing in the car like Pip does. It will pass and we're trying to ignore the baby behaviour and praise the 5 year old behaviour. She is getting lots of cuddles and kisses but is quite often resisting them at the moment. When she was sobbing earlier on tonight she wouldn't let me cuddle her for ages. I felt so powerless. She eventually came to me when it all got too big and too much to handle alone. I'm glad that she did come to me, albeit eventually. Poor little thing doesn't know which way is up at the moment. I wonder if this process is triggering some memories in her that she cannot fully remember or articulate. Tonight at bedtime we read our old favourite Todd Parr's "We Belong Together". I hoped it will soothe her soul a little bit.
We've been talking about when we were doing introductions with her as well so she can see how similar it was for her. I have no doubt that the long term will be very beneficial for Katie and Pip but it's hard putting them through all this in the shorter term. Some might say we worry about it all too much and they are just children and children are adaptable. That might be true to a certain extent but children who are adopted have scars that cannot always be seen. Memories and emotions that they cannot articulate or understand. As adoptive parents we are usually left with a behavioural and emotional mess to work out how to clear up. These aren't bog standard circumstances that most parents have to manage. I have to grit my teeth with the (thankfully few) people in my life who just expect it to be like having a baby. Even birth children can struggle when a sibling comes along and that can be a challenge for any parent but for adopted children there is more to it. It's deeper and it links into their sense of security and self-esteem.
So a bit of a mixed bag today. We will limp through the next 36 or so hours and hold the fort until our little man is home, where he belongs.