I've been putting off writing about this, but I will confirm that TJ is in Guam with his bio-dad now. There isn't a sad enough frowny emoticon for this situation. He left on Sunday morning, but the last time we saw him was when he went with his stepmom to the hotel on Saturday night.
I can honestly say that I spent Sunday in a sort of low-grade depression. It was very hard to engage in anything and I felt like just curling up in bed and being hurt. I felt an empty sort of numbness and everything made me miss him like hell. Monday morning I started to feel a bit more alive, but I would say that I'm still not truly myself.
What's worse, though, is that it seems to be deeply impacting Geri. Since he left, she's been having nightmares and tonight she had a crying fit at bedtime. We think she realizes he's gone and perhaps this is far too reminiscent of adoption for her. In her experience she probably saw it several times that someone comes and takes a kid and they are gone forever. In her own experience, we came and took her out of the orphanage (only environment she ever knew) and she hasn't gone back. I don't think she's necessarily worried that TJ won't ever come back... I think she's worried that she might be next. Will someone come for her?
It appears we have to be more active and intentional in explaining to her what is happening. Tonight, during her crying fit, Nick held her hand and told her "TJ will be back soon" and she immediately calmed down a lot. Now I just have to figure out how to talk about biological dad versus Nick. Not in terms of a cage match, but in explaining how her family is structured. What terminology should I use? For moms, there's the "mommy" and "tummy mommy" approach. I could call TJ's bio dad his "biological dad", but what do I call Nick? TJ calls him Nick but the girls call him daddy or papa. Sometimes TJ calls him dad, he does it more often all the time. So in talking to Geri, do I talk about how she has a "bio dad" and "daddy" and TJ has a "bio dad" and "daddy", but TJ goes to visit his "bio dad" and she doesn't see hers anymore? It sounds ok, except we are hesitant to call Nick "daddy" as relates to TJ because his bio dad is still around. We don't want to push a specific name and we let TJ decide. Sigh. It feels like a complicated topic simply because of labeling all the players!