Thursday, April 16, 2009

Interesting Bedtime Conversation

I found a book on amazon about adoption, Adoption Is For Always, by Linda Walvoord Girard. It is the story of Celia who is adopted and has been told this all of her life by her adoptive parents. One day though the word adoption stuck in her mind and she realized what it meant. She definitely didn't like it.

Celia starts talking to her parents about it. She acts out and tells her A-mom that her real mom (bio-mom) is prettier and her real dad is a movie star or something like that to hurt her A-mom's feelings. Her A-mom is patient and explains that even though she is sad she doesn't have the right to hurt people.

Her A-mom picks up a book in the library about adoption but Celia doesn't want to read it. Then she talks to her babysitter about the book and her teacher about adoption as she wonders if her bio mom loved her. The teacher explains that the first family made the choice to let her go based on love. She wonders if she was a bad baby not to be kept. She is told that babies never do anything wrong to be adopted.

I really like the book except for a couple of things. I try not to use birthmother. I try not to say the first mom loved G in the same context as abandoning G. It is not exactly like G's story and I told G that but that I would tell her the different parts which works fine.

What I like about it is the parents give Celia the opportunity to talk about her adoption on her terms. When Celia wants to process something they move on and drop it until she is ready to process more bits of information. The parents also acknowledge her loss as the sad part of the story. They tell her what they know and affirm her feelings about the adoption. It also reaffirms several places that Celia did nothing wrong to be adopted and that babies NEVER do anything wrong.

While I was reading the book to G she said, "Why is she mattering about adoption? I don't."

I said, "You don't matter about your adoption? Do you want me to quit reading this book then?" I was totally not going to open up anything if she wasn't ready. She wanted me to finish it, though. Then I asked her again if she really didn't "matter about her adoption" and she affirmed that she didn't.

Then I said, "Do you matter or think about your first family? Your China family?"

She said, "Yes."

I said, "What do you matter or think about them?"

She said, "I hate them." Wha???

I said, "Did you just say you hate them? Why?"

She said, "Well, I don't wike them. What if my foster daddy had a mustack? Did grandaddy have a mustack?"

I said, "Well once he had a mustache and a beard."

She said, "What's a beard?"

I said, "Like what Santa clause has. But I doubt your China dad had a mustack, he could have but I don't know and I don't think you had a foster dad in China."

She said, "But you told me I did."

I said, "I told you you had a foster mom and a China dad and a China mom but I don't think you had a foster dad."

She said, "Well I don't wike her hair, it's fuzzy brown."

So I got her picture with the foster mom to show her that it wasn't fuzzy or brown. We talked more about the time before her foster mom. I told her that she was left in a busy place like all of the babies in an orphanage in China. I don't know what she wore or in what she was placed, though she asked. I told her that she may have been placed in a box while she was asleep, but that she was found quickly.

She said, "When my fambly put me in the box and closed the top and threw me out...." I cut her off to explain that the lid wouldn't have been put on her and that they wouldn't have thrown her anywhere. She continued, "Well when they placed me in a box why did they want me to be found fast?" I told her a bit more about the information I know and what I suspect (based on compilation of information from others and books) that I won't share here because it really is her story and then she fell asleep.

It is very interesting to hear back how G interpreted my words in telling her story. She asked me why her first fambly made her walk away by her self. I explained that she was too little to walk. We may put this adoption book away for a bit. I told her that it is okay to talk to me about her adoption and that she can love her first "fambly", foster "fambly" and me all at once. Yes I use her words sometimes and sometimes I say the words the correct way. She won't always say fambly!

This morning I asked her if she didn't go to sleep because she was afraid that I wouldn't be there in the morning. She said that was the reason. I know I put the thought in her head but I really need to find the reason so she will start going to sleep and not staying awake for an hour or more every night.


Ryan Ashley Scott said...

It's amazing what they pick up and put together. Her mind is working overtime trying to figure it all out, huh? You know the most important thing is that she knows how much you love her and how much you wanted to be her mother.

Her words like "matter about..." are so funny. I love how kids talk.

Marla said...

Thanks for sharing this. Adalyn hasn't ask alot of questions yet but it good to know there are books out there like this.

Kristy said...

These conversations are the hard ones aren't they. My Astrud is 16 now and she has really not ever cared to know anything, and now that she is older I know there is curiosity, but she is adamant about not being interested because she has her family, but I know it is something there in her head. I think you did a great job, as parents to children that we did not give birth to (I hate the term "adoptive mom, adoptive dad, etc.), these are just the trials that we will go through. We have to appreciate the curiosity, because that means we are teaching our children compassion. You did great!
Love, Kristy

Kay Bratt said...

Very interesting conversation, one that can help other moms and dads. I'd love to link it, if you don't mind. I get a lot of AP's lurking on my site.