Today was the big day… the day Daffy received the long awaited letter back from her biological Mom… their first contact in 3 years. Daffy responded so emotionally to receiving a photo of her birth mom from her Fairy Godmother that I was sure that today would overwhelm her. I was wrong.
This morning we met with our social worker before Daffy’s therapy appointment. Daffy was her usual fidgety self, but nothing out of the ordinary. We arrived at therapy and I went in first so I could sum up the week and review the letter with her therapist. I could not ask for a more appropriate letter. Her birth Mom answered all her questions and provided many subtle clues that it was okay for Daffy to move on, including that she was happy Daffy was safe & in a new family and that she wants to meet us. She even signed the letter with her first name.
Daffy came into the office to join us. As she slowly read the letter, she smiled a few times. She commented that her birth mom said she no longer had the family cat from years ago. And then she folded the letter, put it back in the envelope and was ready to know what was next. Next she was given 3 cards that we recently found in the files at the state office. Her therapist explained that someone in the past made a poor decision by not passing on the cards at the time they were received and that the current team was correcting that by giving them to her now. She further explained that clearly her birth mother had thought of her over the past 3 years. The cards included birthday and holiday cards with notes written inside. Daffy read each one, again with little response, other than to note that her mother must have remembered her birth date. Her therapist asked her how she felt about finally hearing from her birth mom and she replied with short answers like “happy.” Oddly, she barely even commented on the fact that her birth mom had included a picture with the letter!
I know that she must have been feeling a thousand feelings on the inside, but one of Daffy’s issues is that she does NOT like to show emotion, particularly sadness or crying. As emotional things have come up, Daffy often asks if I cried or will cry about them. She is almost to the point of obsessed. Unfortunately for Daffy, I am much like her in that way. I *hate* crying. I feel like its a sign of my weakness when I cry, so I avoid it all costs and feel very embarrassed if others see me cry for any reason. This is something I am definitely going to have to work on so that I can help Daffy deal with her strong emotions.
This afternoon our case worker came for her monthly visit. She asked Daffy about her experience receiving the letter this morning. Daffy was happy to get the letter and show it to her, but again, quickly moved on to other subjects.
Had this happened in January, I would easily have attributed this to her diagnosis of Reactive Attachment Disorder. At this point, though, her therapist disputes that diagnosis and seeing her in our home (& with our family) and how she recently reacted to reconnecting with her former foster (pre-adoptive) family, I don’t think that is the case. I think she is fully capable of attaching and I am wondering if she is simply not attached to her biological mother.
I am definitely ending this day in a much different place than I expected. I guess thats the name of the game in foster care.
Expect the unexpected.