The roundtable question for this post is: How do you feel after a visit?
My adoption is a semi-open adoption. I have only had a few visits with B, but they all have been great and I loved each one. The first two visits were within the first two years after placement. The other two visits were just last year. There was a distinct difference between my reactions from the first two and the second two.
B was one year old for our first visit. My grandpa and I met him and his parents for dinner at a near by restaurant. I loved seeing them and catching up. I was amazed at how completely ok I was being there with him and his parents. Then we said our goodbyes. My grandpa is more of the "walk it off" type of comforter, so I held back the tears until I was safe inside my own room. I was glad none of my roommates were home because as soon as I closed the door, the tears came. I was absolutely heart broken. I felt like a mother and yet I had no child. My body hurt and my heart hurt even more. I felt like I was starting the grieving I had done all over again. I couldn't breath and wasn't even sure if I wanted to.
The second visit was 7 months later at my sister's wedding. While he was there I did great! It was so wonderful to see him! I felt a little awkward and kept my distance for fear of over stepping my boundaries or seeming like I was too eager to be around him. The result of the visit was similar to the first but a little better. It was a little easier to cope and a little easier to breath. I stopped crying sooner and received more comfort.
The most recent visits happened within the same week. I was very nervous. It is silly because I feel very close to C and L and we have a wonderful relationship! But I was nervous because I had no idea what to expect. I didn't know what was going to happen during the visit. I didn't know if B would know who I was. And I didn't know how I was going to feel afterwards. That was what I was scared of the most. None the less, there was no way I was going to turn down a visit with B. I can't think of a single thing that would keep me from taking the chance to visit with him. Like always, I thoroughly enjoyed both visits while they were happening. And after the visits? I felt absolutely wonderful! Instead of wanting to cry, I wanted to cheer! Instead of my heart feeling heavy, it was light! I was energized and felt great! I was so grateful for the opportunity to be included in the adoptive family's lives for those two evenings.
I've wondered about what caused the two very different reactions after the first and the last visits with B and his family. After months of pondering....I know, it takes me a long time to figure things out. I have decided it is because with the first visits every thing was still so fresh. I was still actively healing from placement. I loved the visits 100% and would never change having them just because I was still "actively healing", but the timing, I feel is the difference. After almost 8 years I feel much more comfortable now with myself, my adoption, and the choices I have made and the way everything has turned out.
So to simply answer that question, I don't know. I am still wandering through this journey called adoption. Sure, I hit bumps or get lost now and then but I am far enough down the road that I don't look back as often. I have much more practice at coping when the memories and feelings from the beginning of my journey come flooding back. Right now I am grateful that I can say I love and enjoy every part of visits! Who knows what the future holds but I sure treasure the memories I have of the visits with B and his fun family.