Tuesday, January 28, 2014

"Take good care of them"


Not too long ago we were on a family vacation.  Seemingly out of nowhere CD asked, "did R (CD's birthmother) bring me to you in a bag?"

In the last few months CD has been asking many questions and telling many fantasy tales about R. She went to Disney with R and met aliens.  R lives across the street (where there is an assisted living facility). R fed her doughnuts when she was a baby.

She tells us that she wishes that she was born into our family.  She watched The Sound of Music and asked if we would send her away if she is bad like the Mother (Superior) did with Maria.

We listen attentively to her fantasies.  We read age appropriate adoption themed books with her.  We take every opportunity to answer questions and reassure CD as often as she needs that we love her even when she does something wrong, that we love her even when we get frustrated, we tell her over and over that she is our daughter forever and that means today and the day after and the day after. . .I am not sure that CD comprehends the word "forever."

Back before the 70s these very normal questions and worries that are experienced by the majority of adoptees is in part what led society to keep adoptions secret from their adopted children.  Parents wanted to save their children from feeling abandoned, unloved, or unwanted.  Parents didn't want their adopted children to ask them questions for which they had no answers.  I imagine some didn't want to deal with hearing that their children thought about their birth parents and for many, that their birth parents were on their minds so much of the time.

It is very difficult to keep composed when your daughter asks if she was brought in a bag.  It is even more difficult to answer the question as to how she was brought to us as though we are not thinking, my god, how we wish no child would ever have to ask a question like this.

Today I watched as my daughter played out the day that she arrived at our home right in the play therapy room.  Two women pushed two babies to a dollhouse with a mommy and daddy waiting.  The women say, "here, take the babies."  then they tack on, "take good care of them" and the women walk away.  The therapist asked, "that's it? you are just going to leave the babies like a package?"  CD responded, "yeah."  The therapist then said, "you know what? It's a really good thing that this mommy and daddy really want the babies."





2 comments:

  1. "We reassure CD as often as she needs that we love her even when she does something wrong, that we love her even when we get frustrated, we tell her over and over that she is our daughter forever and that means today and the day after and the day after. . .I am not sure that CD comprehends the word "forever.""

    But could this not have the inverse effect? Bioparents will not reassure their children that they are "forever", because that's a given.

    So could not your insistence on "forever" draw CD's attention to the fact that something is not "normal"?

    Thank you very much for your blog and I am very impressed with the way you deal with your children, all of them.

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  2. If I had a bio child who asked if we would send her away or ask if she will still be my baby as an adult (as CD does) then I would give that reassurance to them too. But as you noted, that is not generally a concern for bio kids. Leaving one mother to live with a new family is not the experience of bio kids who have not had those disruptions in their lives. In CD's reality, children can be taken from one parent and go to a whole new family. In her child's mind, she can wonder if she has a second mom, why wouldn't she have a third? And since children are by nature self-centered, she wonders if she was sent away because she did something bad and wonders if we think she is a bad daughter and shouldn't be a part of our family. Her experience has not been "normal." She knows that she is adopted and she knows she once lived with her bio mom. Her fears are based on her experience of life and they need to be addressed. Take an even minor example, a child gets bitten by a dog and then becomes scared of all passing dogs and going to dog owner's homes. You don't tell them that they are being silly, dogs are friendly as that child has already learned that not ALL dogs won't harm them. Their fears are based on their experiences.

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