Have you ever had one of those days where you had two random conversations about the same subject, but from entirely different perspectives? That was me this morning, the second of which I am still trying to wrap my head around.
When Little-Flower was born we went to Build-A-Bear and made two pink bears, one for Mama-D and one for Little-Flower. The bear we gave to Mama-D was named Little-Flower and the one for Little-Flower was named Mama-D. I wanted something tangible that they could each hold and remember how much the other loved them.
With Little-Flower being only two, we have not had many adoption conversations with her. We touch on it every now and then, but she really has no concept of where babies even come from so to explain that she grew in Mama-D’s belly really does not mean much in her world. I cannot remember a time where she ever brought up Mama-D or Mama-A (Turkey-Man’s birth mother), which made this morning’s conversation that much more strange.
She came bopping out of her room with her pink bear in tow. She pressed it up to me like it was giving me a kiss and said, “Mama-A loves you!” I responded, “Yes, Mama-A loves us, and that bear is Mama-D, who loves you very much!” We talked very briefly about Mama-A is whose belly that Turkey-Man grew in and it was Mama-D’s belly that she grew in. Then she was onto whether she slept in a crib as a baby and down an entirely different tangent.
I kind of stood there for a moment slightly stunned that she paired her pink bear up with adoption. Somewhere in our talks with her she understood that the bear had special significance. She may have had the details slightly confused, but she knew more than I would have ever given her credit for.
Two hours later I was engaged in a conversation with my sister. She was relaying a story about a mom she had run into earlier this week who was trying to figure out the best way to explain to her pre-teen daughter that she was adopted.
My hand immediately covered my mouth. That judgmental voice inside wanted to berate that mother for waiting this long! I had to hold back a bit, knowing that I do not know the circumstances and it is not my place to criticize another person’s situation.
In my experience and from what I have read, there really is not a time to break the news. We have always made it known to our children that they are adopted. With an open adoptive situation, it is a little easier for us to be able to point to their birth mothers, who they have a relationship with, and explain that they play a special role in their life.
At four, Turkey-Man gets it a little more. I bring it up on occasion and randomly he will talk about it as well, like the day he walked up to me and said, “Mama-A is my mama.” and then simply walked away as if he had remarked that they sky is blue.
In having it out in the open my hope is that our children will feel comfortable talking about their adoptions. I will never be able to understand what it is truly like to be adopted, but that does not mean I cannot be open to listening to my children explore their feelings about it. I know that it is not all happy thoughts. In fact, there might be quite a few negative feelings about it. I need them to understand that it is okay to have those feelings and talk about them.
Hearing Little-Flower pair up adoption related topics this morning really made me realize that they are never too young to have the conversations. It did not seem like anything had really stuck with her, but apparently it did. I look forward to seeing her grasp more and more of her story.
Our family’s foundation is unique. It was founded on both overwhelming joy and immense grief. In honoring their roots from day one, I hope that they can work toward acceptance of their circumstances at birth and find beauty in their story. I certainly know I do!