It's been an emotional week. We celebrated our son's 7th birthday with a cute Angry Birds themed party (since all three of us are big fans of the game.)
Until now, I would have said that our son, adopted at 13mos. from Russia, seemed well-adjusted and secure in our family, even though I know he's too young yet to process the loss he’s experienced as a child placed for adoption. I’ve noticed that he’s very attached to items, from his own toys to miscellaneous items like paperclips he finds at school. More recently, when a “special balloon” (that he only had for a few minutes) popped, it brought him to tears for a good 30 minutes. He asked to speak to me alone, expressing that he didn’t know whether to “forget about the special balloon or not.” A few days prior on his birthday, he told us that he’d like our family to return to Russia when he gets older to meet his “real mom” (his words; After all, I wasn't prepared to hear the "R" word so soon.) Whether there’s an actual connection or not, I couldn’t help but link the “special balloon” to his birth mom, explaining that someone or something can always be special to us even if we aren’t with them anymore. When he “adopted” a new special balloon, he invited me to talk to it. I told it how happy we are that it’s in our family and that I thought he would like it here – my mind again returning to his adoption and how happy we are to have him as our son. When the second balloon popped, we were both crying. All I could do was tell him I was sorry it happened and that he was hurt.
I’m seeing for the first time how “adoption and loss” may be affecting our son. It’s unchartered territory for us. But as author Margot Starbuck (an adoptee and adoptive mom) shared in my book, "We fail our children when we don't make room for them to acknowledge and grieve about what they lost prior to being enfolded into their forever family." I can only ask God for wisdom while gathering information from experts and other families to support him (and us) the best I can.