Thursday, October 18, 2007

Okay So This Is Weird...

I have a very opinionated child. I have a child who hangs onto ideas and thoughts like a vice. I have a child who has decided she wants a new mommy. Yes you read that right. She has been talking about getting a new mommy since Monday. So at first I played along with it, and told her we would look for her a new mommy, but we couldn't do it until Tuesday when I picked her up from school (she spent Monday night with the grandparents).

So Tuesday we went to dinner with some of our friends and a visitor from out of state (I will blog on that next), and G announced she wants a new mommy. I told her to pick one from the table. Well she said she wanted one just like me. Then she relented because everyone was looking at her, and said she didn't want one.

So then in bed last night she brings it up again and this time I decide to ask why she wanted a new mommy and where would she get one. She told me we would go in the parking lot, and she would see a young lady and a sister and she would like them. I asked what would this mother do for her. She told me she would let her type on her computer and play with play doh at her house. I asked where would this new mother live. G said, "In a orphange, but not in China. At her home fa fa away." I asked her if she would forget me and she said yes.

So here is the thing, she has done this twice before. She has lost her first mommy and her foster mommy and forgotten them both. She has gone to live far far way from her foster mommy. So I am feeling a little sad about her losses. She tells me she wants a mommy "just wike you." I told her she couldn't have one like me because I am one of a kind. I also reminded her that she wouldn't have her grandad and grammie with a new mommy.

I asked her who else wanted a new mommy thinking maybe she got this at school and she told me M wants a new mommy. Okay so I know this kid doesn't want a new mommy and said so. G said, "Yes I want her to have a new mommy."

She told me she would even sleep in her own bed at her new mommy's house (yea right). She said she wanted all of her stuff at her new mommy's home. I told her it makes me very sad to talk about that and that I wouldn't want another daughter because I want her as my daughter. Then she decided she didn't want a new mommy either. I said, "good lets not talk about this anymore because it makes me too sad."

So this morning she asks me what day it is and I tell her Thursday. She says, "Yay! I get to find a new mommy." I told her I didn't want to talk about it this morning. I mean let me have coffee first.

Now yesterday morning when she wanted to wear her hot pink flip flops to school, and we couldn't find them. She wanted a new mommy because I wouldn't stop what I was doing to find them right then. We found the flops in her floor of blankets last night.

Oh and I so don't mind talking about her foster mom or her first mom or adoption in general or specifically about her story. Those things, although they make me sad, they do not make me sad enough not to discuss it with her. I will never tell her it makes me sad to make her not want to talk about it. I want her to verbalize her experience and how adoption affects her.

Oh and before I get any strange comments let me say, this is still not RAD. I think she is verbalizing what has happened in the past in a not fully understood way. I think she is still trying to figure out all about her differences and alike-nesses to us, her family. I think she is 3 1/5. She also told me she was going to be 6 and 8 then 2 on her next birthday. I think in her 3 year old way she is looking for reasons that we are a family and trying to make sense of it.

I also remember as a child (probably not 3) wanting a new mom and dad and thinking how cool it would be to have my friends parents as mine. So I figure we will have several years of this wanting new mom thing I just didn't want it to start this early.


Susan said...

Wow, that must be so hard. I think you're right that all kids go through this sort of thing from time to time, but when you have adopted a child (and taken her far, far away), it really stabs you in the heart, doesn't it?

I think you're doing the right thing by having her tell you why she wants a new mommy, where she would get one, that sort of thing. Just try to listen to her answers and see if that gives you any clues as to what she's thinking. I also would keep telling her that you're her mommy forever and ever, and you won't allow another mommy to take her. I had a friend whose daughter (not adopted) was doing a similar thing when she was about Glenys' age. One day my friend picked her up at day care, and her daughter angrily told her that she did NOT want to go home with her, that she didn't like her and didn't want to live with her. My friend said, "well, that's too bad because you're my little girl and I love you and I would never let you go live somewhere else." The little girl just started sobbing -- her mother's response apparently was just what she needed to hear.

Now, even though it certainly happens with non-adopted children, I think there are many different layers with adopted kids. She HAS been taken from another mommy (as you said) and she is probably starting to think it's about time she'll get another one so she should be proactive and choose her. She might be feeling insecure in some areas and need reassurance. I think I would just keep emphasizing that you're her forever mommy and that you would never let another mommy take her from you. Keep repeating your family's story, about how much you wanted a child and how long you waited for her and how much you love her. And you could tell her that her foster mother knows she's with you and wanted her to be with you forever and ever.

I have a many kids' books about adoption; I'm sure you do, too. But do you have "Mommy Far, Mommy Near"? My daughter is too young for that one, still, which is probably a good thing because I can't get through it without crying. It might be a good one for Glenys at this age, though.

That's probably WAY more than you wanted to read from a stranger (I don't think you even asked for advice, actually!). But I'm operating on too little sleep this week because my daughter is in just the opposite phase -- clinging to me and shrieking in terror if I try to peel her off me for just a second, especially at night. I know it's a phase and I just need to keep reassuring her and she will not be this way her entire life. But, of course, I worry about it and brood over it and so I can understand how difficult it can be to deal with something so emotional even if you understand it on a clinical level.

Sending good thoughts your way!

Donna said...

I think you're doing the right thing by listening to her and helping her to work through this/reassuring her. She may not be able to articulate herself well but she's doing some pretty sophisticated thinking for a 3 year old. It may also help her to see families that look like hers at FCC or single moms events. First a name change and now this; this one is going to keep you on your toes.

Kerry said...

You are totally handling this in great-mommy way. I went through a phase of wanting new parents when my brother was born (I'm not adopted). It seems to me that Glenys is doing exactly what you said- figuring stuff out.

mommy24treasures said...

I wonder... just me thinking out loud here...if she is testing to see if you would let her go and wanting to hear your feelings about it? Since she knows the other mommys in her life did let her go and you discuss it some.
I think you are a great mom and handle things very instinctivly. YOu have a very wise, deep thinking, as well as beautiful daughter.

K said...

I find that at this age, certain memories begin to surface and the more I read about this issue and adoption, the more I am forming a believe the following:

The memories of primal separations (the memories of the feelings of these events) from birth mother and subsequent caretaker(s) is very near the surface. By this age, children have learned that mommy is "supposed" to be there and "fix" everything for them. In some cases, I believe that the child begins to questions the adoptive mom's love and devotion because they have a subcontious notion that "mommy wasn't there for me when I needed her and these bad things happened."

I think it's great that you talked about the new mommy, but I'd also bring up the past mommies and tell the story of her adoption and mention a few times that you didn't know her when she was first born and when she first went to the orphanage (foster care, whatever her story may be). Remind her that ever since you became your mommy, you've always been there for her and that you always will be and that even though you play and pretend about finding a new mommy and even though she has had other mommies, that you are her forever mommy so there won't be any more mommies except you.

As a birth assistant, I've studied a lot of pre and perinatal psychology and have seen amazing feats of memory in mothers during birth and children, usually 3-5 years old, about their own births. There are several good books out there, possible out of print, but available used. One is called the Primal Connection by Elizabeth Noble and the other is called Babies Remember Birth by David Chamberlain. I recently read China Ghosts by Jeff Gammage which was very insightful, along with The Waiting Child : how the faith and love of one orphan saved the life of another by Cindy Champnella, which gives instances where her daughter's memories are extremely accurate of events from a very early age.

Tasha said...

Wow. Thanks for being open and honest about this. I do not look forward to having to deal with issues like that but know I will have to. So I look to you guys who are already mommies to hear of your experiences and how they were dealt with.

Be sure to be by your computer in 3 year's time at 9am EST when this happens to me. I'll be needed you to give step-by-step instructions!


Lauri said...

I think discussing it with her and letting her talk about it is the healthy thing to do..... it breaks my heart a little and I am sure it does you too.

If I were in that situation I would tell my daughter " your stuck with me kiddo, but sometimes when I was a little girl I sometimes wanted a different Mommy too"... and then open the floor to discuss all that Mommy shopping business.

Eliza2006 said...

That sounds like a stressful conversation! My gut reaction would be to say, "No way! You're mine! You don't get another mommy!".


Melissa said...

Maybe she's testing you? Checking to see if you are going to go away just like the others in her life have done. I'm not sure, but it reminds me of some things we went over when we took foster parenting classes about a year and a half ago.
It sounds like she really does love you and likes you being her mommy, otherwise she wouldn't say she wanted a mommy just like you.
This will probably be one of those you look back on and just kind of smile about later.

The Byrd Family said...

I think this is TOTALLY a three year old thing and has nothing to do with adoption/attachment/bonding etc. I think Connie is right also in that she is testing you. You are doing a wonderful job with her in being so honest about her past and so willing to talk about it with her. They are such smart little stinkers and this too shall pass! Thank God!

Anonymous said...

I so remember planning out who my replacement parents were going to be. I had finally settled on Doug McClure (actor) and Sophia Loren (actress) and I told my parents that I loved them, but it was time for me to go live my my new folks, and we needed to start packing my things. I still remember how hurt I was that they laughed to the point of almost passing out.

I'm sure some of it comes from the first mommy/adoptive mommy talk. But some if it just stems from the fact that kids are weird.

china mum

Kimber said...

Thank you for writing this post. Kate is not that verbal yet but she may utter these words and I need to be armed with how I will handle it. I think you are handling it GREAT but I would agree with the others that she may be testing your reaction to see if you would ever let her go to a new Mommy.