This weekend Girl went to her cousins for the weekend with her grandparents, I was a bit apprehensive about it, she hasn’t had a sleepover with her grandparents for ages because every time she had one she came home and bullied Boy so we put a stop to it.
Well, The Hubster’s mum and dad kept asking if they could take Girl with them to her cousin’s house for the weekend for a birthday celebration, it’s about 90 minutes drive away. Initially, after the other week’s behaviour I said she could only go if she was behaving herself in the run up. My thoughts were that it probably doesn’t pay to keep saying no to everything, she has to learn to cope with situations but it’s the not coping with it that made me apprehensive not whether she was behaving well enough, Girl does need to be in the right head-space to cope, behaviour is an indication of where she is inside.
Now, I must add that before Christmas the cousins came this way and they all had a sleepover at Girl’s grandparents house. The next day Girl was inconsolable after they went and for a few days after she was snappy and irritable declaring it was because she was missing her cousins.
After much thought I decided to let her go this weekend because above everything else I thought it would be fun for her. Well it was fun by all accounts, they went to see The Lego Movie for her cousin’s Birthday but while they were on the way home the cousins mum commented on Facebook how quiet and well behaved she was and I just thought uh-oh. Quiet is a bad sign. I wasn’t at all surprised at well behaved, just like at school, Girl will behave perfectly appropriately where she is not feeling confident.
Well, they arrived home about 6pm last night, Girl was pale and also very tired from not sleeping well, after milk and toast we sent her to bed at her usual time of 7.15pm, I fought the urge to keep her up, school next day and she looked so tired. Suddenly she was inconsolable again, she said she was missing her cousin and I guess (though she would never say it) probably confused with missing us and the routine of home too.
More than anything I wish these things weren’t so difficult for her, as I guess as many adoptive parents do. It’s always a tough decision, I know she will enjoy herself to a certain extent but sending her somewhere she doesn’t feel confident, feels anxious, is it worth the heartache afterwards? Loss and separation is such a big part of our kid’s lives. Also, I don’t want to be the mum who stopped her from doing and trying stuff, I think it’s a recipe for later resentment.
I think the key is that she might have been upset when she got home but it’s building resilience, she will feel more confident next time she goes and even more so the time after that. We straight away got back into normal routine, however hard that was for her to accept and we know the next few days she might feel a bit sad, fingers crossed that the sadness doesn’t escalate into bigger feelings that we know she feels.
SW Social Woker
PASW Post Adoption Social Worker
SALT Speech & Language Therapy
CP Community Paediatrician