We had our visit with our social worker from our adoption agency on Saturday. As a part of that visit we talked to her about how Samuel has been grieving a lot more lately and how we have had several hard days with him. As we were talking the social worker asked if we had showed him any photos of his foster family as a part of the grieving process, we had not. Then she encouraged us to go ahead and share those photos with him commenting that it will be hard for him to see them at any point, so better to show him now and make sure they are a part of his life and memory rather than hiding them.
That night Samuel got sad again around bed time, so after getting the other kids down we decided to show him the photos. We were both expecting him to go from sad to hysterical once we saw the photo of his foster mama, but the opposite happened instead. He would point at each person in the photos and name them, Wang Jain-Lin, baba, gege, and mama. He smiled looking at the photos.
Jess took the photos and put them in the photo album that we had created for him and brought with us to China. Its an album of his family (us) with lots of pictures of the kids and our house. And now that album contains all of his family, both his foster family and his new family. That night he looked at that album many times, not to much with sadness, but with remembrance and love.
It would have been easy to try to hide these photos from Samuel for the next month, year, or ten years, but I’m so thankful that we didn’t. We want to help him to grieve and grieve with him. We want his foster family to be remembered and celebrated, not forgotten. I’m thankful to our social worker for her wisdom, Samuel is doing that much better today because of it.