Since writing about our planned sibling contact we have now had our day meeting up with PJ's siblings. Sadly not everyone made it - which isn't so great - and it has been over a year since PJ has seen some of her siblings. I worry that the longer the time and distance created with contact not happening that contact will not be as easy, as well as the complications with playing diaries between families it isn't easy and we are supposed to do contact a couple of times a year. Frustrating. Aargh. Rant over.
Anyway, the day finally came for our first sibling contact and we met up. It was just us as mums and one of the siblings older adopted sibling came too. They spent the day running around and chasing and the element of competition was there between the siblings other adopted siblings. Big time. There were tears over who was in front, tears over getting in and out of the buggy and then the running off issue. PJ runs off and then the other adopted sibling would run after, to try and catch up with PJ. The problem was, when PJ thinks she is being chased, she runs faster. It didn't matter how many times I tried to explain this to the other adopted sibling, they didn't get it - but at least they tried to help. They really did. My usual trusted strategy when PJ runs off is to run behind with the buggy and then revert to a walking pace when she looks behind, which allows me time and speed to catch up with PJ without a chase ensuing. This strategy wasn't going to work on this day as the other older adopted sibling latched onto me and the buggy from the moment we met up. We had arranged to meet at a central fun park that was very familiar to PJ and closer to us, which lessened the anxiety for PJ in travelling a long journey. I was intrigued to see if PJ would remember her younger sibling and recognise them. I could see the cogs turning as I pointed them out from the crowd and the gradual dawning and beaming smile. She recognised them and knew them deeply. It was a strong connection for PJ.
A precious moment to watch.
They had all had a long journey and so some of the day was spent asleep in the buggy and the other older adopted sibling had her own needs and issues and excitement for the day too. This was her sibling meeting up with their sibling, so emotional for them too.
For us as Mums, perhaps the most fascinating thing was to see the siblings have the almost exact same meltdowns, temper tantrums, tears over the same issues. It was like looking in a mirror. A strong correlation of nature v nurture as well as recognising how the normal developments of tantrums and issues, coupled with some gaps missing or with these children being stuck with some similar issues from past trauma or experiences. It really helped to feel that some of the shared stories, events and issues and reactions are not personal and we are both going through similar.
Peas from the same pod.
Fascinating to watch. First I stood by and watched and then later they stood by and watched. Then we both laughed and said how funny that they are the same. Both of us Mums shared stories of the fight and flight survival instinct kicking in where our children run around like whirling dervishes and seem almost out of control and where they push or bite others at times too. We shared stories of having to bring them home from situations and how they push the boundaries and how they both run off and lack a sense of danger or safety awareness - and how both children love spaghetti bolognese!
Same meltdowns and same determination.
It was really lovely to meet up.
The goodbye was really tough on PJ. She screamed and sobbed in my arms. A big wrench.
Now we have the aftermath. We have had tearful moments over the last few days over very small and trivial incidents and moments of fight where PJ has pushed boundaries and not heeded to a warning and then tried to persist in hitting a biting. Mostly it has been tears and a sense of being overwhelmed and this has gradually lessened over the last few days.
First sibling contact has gone well.
It is just such a shame that it wasn't with all the siblings together.
Hopefully next time.