Almost unbelievably it's two and a half years since NB went off to start his life with his forever mummy. It's a whole year since Baby Girl moved in with her forever family. I'm collecting anniversaries like charms on a bracelet. Recently, we were able to meet up with both of them - two lovely, but very different experiences.
As Baby Girl's adoption has recently been finalised, we were invited to her Christening and Adoption Party. We haven't seen her in person since introductions all that long time ago, so it was amazing to see her again, and see the gorgeous toddler she has become. Obviously she had no idea who I was at all, and she was so different, running around with all her lovely curls and teeth (finally!) that she hardly seemed the same beautiful baby I handed over last year. And yet she is fearless, tiny, bubbly, full of smiles and giggles, and in some ways very much the Baby Girl we knew and loved. A strange experience, but I'm glad to have seen her again, and hope it won't be the last time.
Seeing NB was quite different. He lived with us for 18 months before moving on to K, his new mummy, at the age of 3 and a half. He and OB were like brothers, barely 9 months apart in age. I have written before about how grateful I am to K for continuing to include us in NB's life as it means so much to OB, and to me too. NB has some very clear memories of us.
K is very good with NB's life story work, and has always talked openly to him about his birth family and his foster family. We sent a handmade scrapbook of photos and other memory items with him and they would look at it together whenever he was feeling sad in the early months. When we visited, he got it out of the cupboard and brought it to me to look through with him, which was very sweet and not a little moving.
The boys played well with each other and really enjoyed each others company - even the addition of Twinkle and Birdy to the party didn't cramp their style. It clearly raised a lot of emotions though. NB had a couple of full-on meltdowns during the weekend, and K and I talked a lot about what we were doing and why. She spoke of wanting to hold together the threads of his past and his present so that he doesn't have to untangle it all himself in the future. She wants to maintain contact unless she feels that it is just pain with no gain for him. She called us part of their family. These are tricky paths to walk, but I take her lead on it - not only is she his parent, the one who knows him best, but also she is a therapist herself with extensive theoretical and now practical experience in childhood trauma.
As for OB, well he was impeccably-behaved throughout the trip, but we did have a tricky 2 or 3 days after we returned home. So many memories, so much emotion stirred up for both of them. We need wisdom indeed to choose the paths we take them along.