Friday, October 30, 2009

The questions are getting bigger, and harder

We have never made it a secret that our oldest daughter, Mia, is adopted. In fact, we celebrate it. The way she became a part of our family is nothing but a sheer testimony of God's timing and how He can turn something scary for one young woman into something beautiful for another young woman. All that being said, we have always been open and honest with Mia about her birth story. In the beginning, it was something as simple as showing her a picture of A and saying, "That's your Birth Mother." That, coupled with regular visits, Mia knows who J and A are and will even sometimes refer to them as her Birth Parents, but it wasn't until my recent pregnancy of our third daughter that I think things really began clicking in her head. This time, she understood that there was a baby in Mommy's tummy (as much as a four year old can understand) and the dreaded question finally came.

"Mommy, was I in your tummy?"

Now, I say I dreaded this question not because I am ashamed of her adoption, or that I don't want to talk about it. Far from it! I am such an adoption nut that I have to use restraint in telling everyone our miraculous story. Over the years, I have quit talking about it as much because it's HER story and she is getting to an age where she has a choice whether she wants to share it or not. Ok, so back to the "dreaded" question. I took a deep breath and told her, once again, that she grew in A's tummy and that when she was born, A chose us to be her Mommy and Daddy. That meant we adopted her.

"So, when did we adopt Olivia?"

Oh no! She is beginning to really grasp this. Before, she would just repeat the words but we knew she really had no understanding of them. Our agency told us this would happen and while we have prepared ourselves as best as we can, it doesn't make the pain any easier to deal with. My response:

"Well, Olivia grew in Mommy's tummy and since we decided to keep her here, she did not need to be adopted."

I watch as her little mind tries to process this all the while hoping and praying that the confusion I see on her face is just that, and not hurt. Next question:

"So, what about baby J**?"

Ok, for those that don't know the whole story. J and A had another baby, a boy, 15 months after Mia was born. We had such a hard time when they told us they were expecting again so soon because I KNEW that this question would come one day. When A first told me she was expecting again, I had a quick thought of, "Oh, we're gonna get another baby." But without her ever saying a word, I knew she would not place again. Placing Mia was and is too painful for her. Once I quickly computed all of that, I got very angry because I knew this new baby would create even more questions and pain for Mia. My response regarding baby J**:

"Baby J** grew in April's tummy and he lives with her."

To which she replied:

"Oh. Ok."

End of discussion. Nothing else is said. Oh how I wish I could crawl into her head and see how she is processing all of this. I know as she gets older the confusion will lessen and the pain will grow. It's inevitable. Despite all of our love, attention, name it, she will hurt because her Birth Parents chose to place her for adoption instead of parenting, but chose to parent her little brother instead of placing him.

I wish I could see into the future and see how all of this is going to play out. Will we be glad we chose an open adoption? Or in ten years, will we be kicking ourselves for ever going along with it? I still believe we are doing the best thing for Mia. Every parent has to make difficult choices and forever questions his or herself if the choice they made was the right one. We are no different.