Monday, 14 February 2011
Wednesday 9th February (day 297): Emotions to the surface
I woke up feeling too ill to go to work, so I had to call in sick. Glen took Robbie to school. Robbie's best friend Jonathan gave Robbie a lovely card. It said "Dear Robbie, I am glad that you have your new name and you can stay with your dad and daddy. We can be best buddies forever now”. Have you ever read anything sweeter? His parents had a card for us too, it was really lovely of them.
I spent all day in bed feeling terrible. Glen picked Robbie up, took him to the park and bought him sweets. When they got in, I asked Robbie to get changed and put his clothes in the washing bin. Then I asked him how it went at school with telling everyone about his day in court and his change of name. He said his teacher did most of the talking, and he’d shown the picture he'd brought and answered questions. Then he clammed up and started getting worked up. I don't think he liked being the centre of attention and I suspect his schoolmates didn't understand why he'd changed his name.
While he was having his snack he started to give me attitude and answering back, so first he had a warning and then was given 7 minutes to think about it. He lost it, kicked me in the face and scratched me. I remained calm and talked in a gentle voice, hugged him, empathised with his frustration... and got more abuse.
Glen stepped in. He gave him a choice to behave or go to bed. Robbie was beside himself, so Glen sent him to bed. Robbie got violent with him too, screamed, and got out of bed as soon as he was left alone. He came downstairs yelling that he didn't want to have his new name, took the new label that his teacher had put on his school bag and changed it back to the old one. We did our best to ignore his behaviour until he hit me with his light sabre, which Glen confiscated.
Eventually we got him talking. I he explained that I made him angry by asking him to put his clothes in the washing basket (such cruelty!). He refused to apologise for hitting me, though, because “I'll do it again anyway”.
At dinner time I asked Robbie what he did at school and he refused to answer me. I took myself to the living room and told Robbie I wouldn't say goodnight until he apologised. Eventually he came in to apologise and I accepted his apology. We put him to bed but he was still an angry little boy, annoyed with the world and mostly with himself, I suspect.
I suppose he did behave really well yesterday at the adoption day in court and all the emotions from the day were bottled up, so they had to come out. The more I think about it, the more I feel for him. Yesterday can’t have been easy at all. First of all, he must have been really scared about the judge. Secondly, he said goodbye to Sarah. And finally, even though I believe he’s happy to know that we’re now his forever family and he won’t have to move on to anyone else, I suppose this is also the confirmation that he’ll never live with his birth parents again. We and everybody else familiar with his case knows that he’s better off without them, but I’m not sure he truly understands that. At the end of the day I think every adopted child fantasises about going back to their birth parents. A dreamed-up version of their birth parents who don’t behave the way the real ones did, of course. And inside Robbie may be grieving the loss of that fantasy in which he went back to play happy families with his birth parents and siblings.