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Monday, March 1, 2010

Adoption Month

So... I know National Adoption Month is in November (and... umm... to be honest... I'm not a huge fan), but our family's adoption month happens to span late February through mid-March. Because every year around this time the Tongginator starts to process a ton about her life story. Chinese New Year kicks it off and then it continues through the Tongginator's adoption day, her birthday and, finally, the anniversary of the day she was found.

It's not a fun time for any of us, but it's important.

Most of our adoption picture and chapter books sit on shelves, collecting dust, for most of the year. But they see a lot of action at around this time every year. Lately the Tongginator has focused on her first parents or China parents, whom she calls her birthparents, although she always focused on her foster family in years past. The Tongginator is missing her birthparents this year, in a huge way. She's gravitating to the books Motherbridge of Love and Star of the Week. She wants to know what her first parents look like... if they live in a house... why they couldn't raise her... if they know she's alright.

It's tough to navigate the line between "I don't know" and possibilities.

Last week, for the first time, the Tongginator prayed to God about her birthparents. She asked Him to take care of them and to help her feel less angry that they couldn't keep her. After her sweet little voice said "Amen," she cautiously opened her eyes to look at me. We talked for a few minutes, about her emotions and loss and adoption stuff too personal to mention, and then...

TONGGINATOR: Momma, is it okay that sometimes I wish I lived with my birthparents?

TONGGU MOMMA: Of course it's okay, honey bear. I know you miss them.

TONGGINATOR: Okay... but what I really wish is if they could live here with us. Do you think that could ever happen?

TONGGU MOMMA: I don't think so, Tongginator. We don't know who they are.

TONGGINATOR: But if I lived with them, and was never adopted, I would miss you.

TONGGU MOMMA: (laughing) Honey bear, if you lived with your China mom and dad, you wouldn't have been adopted and you would never have even met me. You wouldn't miss me because you wouldn't even know me!

TONGGINATOR: No, Mommy. I would miss you. I would miss you even if I hadn't ever met you.

So not true. But oh-so-heart-stoppingly-touching. And so it goes... we'll probably have lots of conversations like this over the course of the next few weeks. And that's okay. Because it's what she needs.

And because I love her.

29 comments:

Aus said...

And such is one of the feelings / joys / sorrows that only adoptive parents know! These feelings are the ones that all our kids have in common - and what kind of makes all our kids 'family'. While I'm sorry that ya'll have to 'go through' this (life would be simpler w/o it eh?) - I'm still really glad that you are (heaven forbid these feelings linger unprocessed by our kids!!)

And ya know - you can't read that dialog and not know that she loves you right back!

hugs - aus and co.

Buckeroomama said...

Every child needs a momma like you. :)

bbmomof2boys said...

Little T will be 4 next month. I wonder if she is processing these things. Then I wonder if I'll be ready when she does start to talk about them.

Hugs,
Carla

Aunt LoLo said...

Such a roller coaster.....

autumnesf said...

I'm SO living this more than usual this year. And its lasting a lot longer. I think maybe this is the first year A truly really thought about all of this. Before it was more of an emotional upheaval that she didn't connect the dots on.

And I have to admit...there are times when she is grieving so hard that I get so MAD at her parents. She is so amazing...how could they leave her?

I never expected to have such a bleedover in emotions.

What a journey this is.

Dawn said...

This post made me cry... for both of you. For the loss T feels, and for the range of emotions that your heart must flip flop through during these conversations. You are a great mom... and T knows it, too!

Be blessed!

Sherri said...

I'm impressed that your 5 year old is so in touch with her emotions that she can identify that she feels angry about her birthparents not keeping her. Wow. She's one smart cookie.

My 5 year old picks her nose. I'm just sayin......

Judy said...

Oh my. *tears* It's so hard, and so vitally important, these conversations with our children. Kudos to you for navigating through it with love and truthfulness.

Logical Libby said...

Wow. What a grown up little girl. How great that she can process like that.

Patricia/NYC said...

Whew...big ol' tears here, my friend. These discussions can be heart-wrenching, can't they? But oh so important & necessary...Kiara's got lots going on in this department too...I'm contemplating a blog post now...she is resisting *everything* Chinese these days...REALLY resisting...

Chris said...

Shea and I have conversations like this as well.

It's so hard yet so healthy...
I have always told her that she can share and talk about anything with me....

She, too, has been praying for her first parents...

She is hoping to meet them someday in heaven....

Lately, we have been talking a lot about what Avery's situation was like while she was in China.

Especially the fact that Avery had nannies, lived in an orphanage...
while Shea had foster parents and lived with them....

Sometimes I just wonder how these little ones can process all of this....
It's got to be difficult...
Heck, it's hard for me to process..

I just pray I can be the mother they need....

That's why this adoption community is so vital...

We can learn so much...

...and can help, support, and encourage each other as we try our best to help, support, and encourage our kids!!!

Thanks again for all you do...
You are indeed a blessing!!!!

Debra said...

This is so huge. She must be an old soul in a very young body. Such depth for her age. You amaze me. When she asked if it was ok to sometimes wish she lived with her birthparents, my heart just stopped. This is so hard. You are the mommy she was meant to have. You are so good with your answers. I pray to be as strong as you when my two ask the tough questions.
Right now it is the fact that I am single and they don't have dad. They go to Catholic school and ALL of their friends have dads. Tough stuff.
Bless you,

Sheri said...

QQ (who will turn 6 in May) cries for her birthparents regularly. She draws pictures of them, and misses them and asks questions. LL (7.5 years old) never does any of these things. I'm worried that some day it's gonna hit her - HARD. Our kids are all so different!! BTW: QQ went to school today with beef with Chinese broccoli and rice in her thermos. I gently suggested that if anyone makes a comment about her lunch that she doesn't like, she's to tell her teacher, and me. Frankly, it looked (and smelled!) better than the oatmeal I'm eating as I type this... but not by much!! Crossing my fingers for her!!

LucisMomma said...

I've had those conversations here with our DD. Your T is about 6 months older than our DD. I've found that the biggest fears/angst/conversations/growth are during my DD's birth/abandonment and adoption times as well. The CNY brought up some, but not as much as birth/abandonment/adoption times.

mumma to many said...

Hi
We are meeting with Xinran the creator of Mother Bridge of love Org. in England on Thursday!
I am so excited and Emily is too!
Off to do some work fill you in more later!
Hugs Ruth in NZ

The Gang's Momma! said...

What a mind and spirit that child of yours has! What a testament to the safety and security that she must feel in your home!

I am so looking forward to this kind of discourse with my Li'l Empress. And NOT just because we are currently ensconced in that obnoxious stage of toddler-single-minded-repetition of a singular pressing thought or word.

Repetitive till I want to pull out my eyelashes. One by one.

Really, not just because of that :)

Jean said...

That is so touching! What a sweetheart! We are doing zero processing here at our house. When will it happen? Sarah mourned the loss of her previous life but never talks about a birth Mommy. I have brought it up but she doesn't continue the conversation. Hmmmm I think I have a blog post here!

Sharie said...

Amelia and I have many similar conversations. I have never felt bad about her missing her Chinese parents; only that I don't have the answers to her questions.

thegypsymama said...

Ouch and beautiful all at the same time. This especially, "I would miss you even if I hadn't met you."

Super Mommy said...

T is thinking and dealing, which is great! Jade really doesn't say much about it, but Jasmine has. She told her pre-K teacher last year she has two mommys (didn't mention the daddy) and as you know I am single....her teacher raised her eye brow at me (we are in a Christian school)...until I piped in yes her other mommy is in China! T is sweet to ask you if it's okay to grief her parents, she wants your approval for her feelings. Side note, I just got the Star of the Week book on Saturday from our FCC CNY party!

Mei Ling said...

"TONGGINATOR: Momma, is it okay that sometimes I wish I lived with my birthparents?"

Wow. I'm impressed your daughter had the courage to ask that.

She just voiced what the adult me has been thinking for the past 7 months since coming "home" from Taiwan.

Annie said...

Will you adopt me:)

Myrnie said...

Good luck. I think with luck and a lot of prayer we'll make it through raising these wonder-children :)

BTW- I need to talk to you about reading stuff. I looked up a few of E's favorite books, and they're 2nd and 3rd grade level. The 4th grade ones stretch her a bit too much. Umm...she STARTS kindergarten in September (at home.) Any favorite chapter books I can graduate her to? :)

Wanda said...

OH, my heart aches and rejoices - all at once!

xo

The Source said...

I don't even know what to say. Because these topics never once crossed my mind until I "met" adoptive families online...I never realized all of the feelings and emotions involved. I think you're handling each situation, feeling and experience very well.

We've had our share of "what-if" conversations here, always centered on "what if I were born this way instead of that." It's a good thing...when children are comfortable enough to open up and share all of what's in their hearts. So many kids don't feel like they can do that.

Briana's Mom said...

I'm so glad that T is so comfortable talking to you about all of this. I want B to be just as comfortable talking to me about her adoption. I'm going to do everything in my power to let her know that she can talk to me about everything. Good job TM...

Alyson and Ford said...

We have a photo album with China pitures and several Storybooks about China adoption/Red Thread. AA loves to hear the story of her being a good girl waiting in China for her Mommy and Daddy. She loves to look at the China photos. How and when will birth parents come up? I am not sure. She is beginning to understand where babies come from so it will be soon... oh I hope I can do as well as you do with these topics!

Alyzabeth's Mommy

Michelle said...

I think you do such a great job having this open dialogue with her at such a young age. She is wise beyond her years, too!

Patty O. said...

Wow, so heartwarming and heartbreaking all at the same time! Your daughter is so perceptive and caring. It can't be easy to handle all these questions and emotions, but it sounds like you are doing an amazing job!