How weird must it be, to talk to your kid’s new mom about what she was like as a baby? Is it akin to giving your husband’s new wife a call to tell her what he likes in bed? Only Rory’s other mother knows, and she’s not telling. Because she is a kind person, and because, I suppose, we both know it would change nothing. The way it is is the way it is. She belonged with her first family once, now she belongs with us. Inexplicable but true. (Her second family? She was somewhere, once, for a few days…but because of the circumstances, it’s her foster mother I think of, not her birth mother. That will come later.)
Tonight I was finally able to talk with Rory’s foster mother. The family has been traveling in the States but we’ve been unable to connect until now. What I learned told me both that Rory is adjusting even better than we knew, and that we have quite a road ahead. Everything she does here–the tantrums, the waking up very very early in the morning and trying to get up, the testing of every little boundary–ah, everything she does here she did there. The repetitive screaming. The outraged demands for justice. The sneaky slipping off to forbidden things, like my mobile phone, complete with guilty expression when discovered. None of it is adjusting–it’s just Rory.
She talked to them both, her foster mother and her foster father, and she seemed pleased (it has to be said that she loves to talk on the phone) and more animated than she’s been on the phone with anyone else. How she makes sense of it, I don’t know, but she seemed to. They got three whole minutes before she demanded to return to her harmonica. (And what does that feel like–I gave you three years, you prefer a harmonica–but she’s little, she can’t process this, and I know her foster parents know that. It hurts to see, a little.)
“Be a good girl;” they reminded her, and reminded her of bargains they had made in the past, of the way she was supposed to behave, and I saw a glimpse of how much they want this to work out, how much they want all of our happiness, and how it reflects on them, these tiny little children that they send off to new homes.
I loved talking to her, I did. To hear that she’s tried the same things with Rory that I have. To hear that she, too, said “you can’t get up until you can see the sunshine, and no, you cannot wake the others!”. That she’s demanded that the repeated screams stop, or there would be consequences. It was–validating. This is a woman who’s mothered thirty-plus kids, one who’s given up the life most of us live for a much much different one, one who’s mothered my kid, and she too sends two battling children off to work it out. I feel refreshed and ready to re-enter the fray.