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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

An Adoption Zinger

Over the weekend, while we were driving in the car, the Tongginator began talking about her future mei mei. (HUGE surprise, I know!) On this particular occasion, the Tongginator triple-checked with the Husband and me that we would have enough love for two children.

Because this is a valid concern, y'all.

Especially when you've been an only child for six years.

After we finished reassuring her for the moment (because it's a constant dialog, y'all), the Tongginator came back with a zinger. To be honest, I usually have a response for the many adoption comments the Tongginator makes. I'm not perfect with my words, by any means, but I do manage to stumble through some sort of a dialog with her. She tends to open up rather than shutting down, so I'm guessing I don't mess up too terribly, for the most part.

But this time?

This time I had no words. And neither did the Husband.

This time, after the Husband and I reassured her again that we would have enough love for two children, she replied, "Yep. Because you and Daddy can love more than two children at the same time. You have lots of love to share. But some mommies and daddies don't. Some mommies and daddies have one baby, and then when they have another baby, they throw the second one away."

...stunned silence...

...and no, the Husband did not drive off the road, thank goodness...

Then the Tongginator's favorite song came on and she started to sing. But the moment has far from past.

{HELP}

37 comments:

Kerrie (and Jason) said...

wow.

I think all I would have been able to say would be something along the lines of 'what makes you think that?' and even that response is probably wrong...

Sunday Koffron Taylor said...

GULP! I don’t know what you can possibly say to that. I’d say hug that girl for me…but I know.

My oldest had 7 years alone. After 2 weeks she asked when was I planning to take the baby back to the hospital.

3cmum said...

Oh boy...

That's two things in one.

Maybe throw some proverbial pebbles out to her to get her to bring it up again before referral?

Number 6 and no more counting! said...

wow, that would stop you dead in your tracks. oh my, oh my.

extra thought is needed. and a big hug to you all.

lea
xo

Tonggu Grammy said...

One thing that I would make certain to tell her is that sometimes it doesn't have anything to do with not having enough love. Sometimes they just can't afford to feed or care for another child the way that they would like to. And out of love they seek another home for the baby so that he/she will have all that they need. Then I don't know where you go from there. Hoping she doesn't say anything to me about it, especially when I'm driving. I just might run off the road!

Foxxy One said...

~faint~ Kudos to Dad for not going off the road. I sure would have. Gram has the right idea. I'll tuck that away in the back of my mind in case I ever need it. I also like Kerry & Jason's response as well.

Girly Girl Mommy said...

Tonggu Grammy hit the nail on the head as far as my wee brain could wrap around this one. I'd reply that when that sad event happens, it doesn't occur because of a lack of love, but because of the love that arises in a terrible situation. Wow.

Aus said...

Try this one "Well sweetheart - you can think of it as throwing them away....or you can think of it as loving them enough....more than anything enough....to do the hardest thing a parent can by letting them go to a mom and dad that can provide for them all those things that they can't. And if they hadn't let you go we'd never have had a chance to love each other. I love them too - for letting you be my (insert pet name of endearment here!)"

Just a though YMMV - but hugs - big ones to all of you!

aus and co.

The Gang's Momma! said...

Wowza.

I can't wait to hear how you handle this one.... knowing how Li'l E's brain works, I am CERTAIN I will be facing similar precociousness and verbosity that the T displays. She catches me off guard now with her observations and connections.... Not sure what's gonna happen when the adoption of our own mei-mei is more imminent.

On that note, I'M not sure what I'll do when the next adoption is actually truly really gonna happen. UGH.... it feels like a far-off dream most days.

The Gang's Momma! said...

Yeah, what Aus said. :)

lmgnyc said...

Uh...that's a comment worth revisiting. Do you think she was referring back to her own story?

LucisMomma said...

Tonggu Grammy and Girly Girl have the same thoughts I do on this one. With all respect to Aus (I agree with him most of the time)...if you use that reasoning the thought might occur to Miss T that someday *you* might "love me so much" that you'd give me away, too.

I think I would cuddle my little one, and tell her, "you said something the other day I want us to talk about." And then tell her that "I don't know why your China-momma couldn't hold on to you. I am so sorry she couldn't. Daddy and I are here to help you carry this burden, and we will always be your momma and daddy here. No more letting go." And if you've watched Lilo and Stitch, tell her Ohana is your word--it means family, never letting go (according to Lilo, I'm no expert on language).

We've had this conversation at our house. :( It hurts every time.

the meaklims said...

Wow, indeed. I'm stunned myself, but the comments here are great.

Bookmarking this page.

Jill

Johnny said...

Yup, heard the equivalent of that from ours. On one hand, you understand that your explanations of "why was I adopted" is understood. However, in the typically innocent, brutal way kids have of phrasing things, that's how the replay their understand to others.

Shocking, but true for them.

At this time.

For now.

mama2roo said...

No help from me! OMGoodness! Sending you blessings that you'll be able to find the right words and reassurances. Makes my heart hurt.

my3 kids said...

Oh my....I worry about being at a loss for words with our kids too but so far they have not said anything like this...our Emma is 6 and she is trying to figure out what "Adoption" really means. Last night at dinner we were talking about what the girls wanted to be when they grow up and Kira said she wanted to be a delivery Dr. Emma pipes up and says "Oh I know what that means..you want to deliver babies to houses for the parents" Kira started laughing and said "no silly I want to help mom's when they give birth" I then asked Emma where she would have gotten the babies from and she said "hmmm I don't know and started laughing" You just never know what they might say or be thinking....

Cedar said...

Wow. That is intense. It's a good thing others have some advice, because as usual, I don't.

Mahmee said...

Holy crap. Your husband is clearly a stellar driver.
If anyone can revive that conversation and start up a proper 'what's love got to do with it?' dialog, it's you. Sending good vibrations your way. Adoptive Moms unite! (I wonder if there's a special super hero ring we should all be wearing...hmmm.)
M.

Mer (Lulu's Mommy) said...

I felt that in MY gut, and I dont even know you guys IRL!!!!

I am supposed to be reading a book called, "How to Talk so your children will listen"

it would say that your response should be something like, "Oh?" and try to let the kid go on.

But, I think, I would in reality sit there lik OH SHIT. and then be glad she started singing, and then post about it and hop someone had the right way to go in the next time, or even an activity that would help... somehow??

GOOD LUCK, I do not envy you, but I do hope you will share results, whether good or bad bc , you know, I have a kid, too!!!

sara said...

Wow...wow. Ummm...that's a big one. I'm so curious what the motivation behind it was. Is it a reflection of her own journey, or fear about the changes coming in her family. I think that would be what determined my response. Seriously...wow.

Anonymous said...

I think LucisMomma has it right. It's not a "they loved you so much" situation (because WE love our kids as well ... don't want them thinking it's a possibility they'll have to leave our family down the road). Our kids joined our families as a result of an impossible situation. I'm sure you will bring up her comment soon, to keep talking about her thoughts. If/when I hear that particular thought from my daughter, I hope I'm not driving at the time! That would just kill me. Your husband should earn some sort of medal for not driving off the road! :)

Dana@AdoptionJourney said...

I'm new to the China Adoption Scene - my son (age 8) has only been home 6 months. It seems to me that whatever you say, you have to avoid making up a fairy tale answer. I know there's always going to be a giant question mark in my son's story - and some of the particulars we do know about his story only create more questions. Right now, I lean toward not making up things I don't know (like your mom loved you so much . . .) to fill in the gaps.

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

Yep, there would have been crickets chirping in my car had one of the girls come out with that one!!

OH GOSH... how do you address that one?

BTW, I have no doubt that T will slide into her role as big sis with ease:)

xoxo,

Lisa

prechrswife said...

I like Tonggu Grammy's answer. I would have been right there with you, though.

Andrea said...

The "throw way" part has me in tears. You know in your heart that at some point in their lives, no matter what we do our say, they are going to feel this way.
I am so thankful that your litle one will say these things NOW, so that you and your husband can address them and reassure her that THAT was certainly not the case.
I am also thankful that parents like you will share these things with us so that we can all "learn together". Our children will be blessed by it.

Andrea said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mamatini said...

We always seem to go in cycles with you. Ina's been doing a lot of processing this week, too.

As always, TongguGrammy has the best answer, and I also agree with LucisMomma about the dangers of framing it as "they loved you so much they gave you up."

Whenever I am thrown a curveball, and don't know how to answer, I try the ol' "why do you say that?" or "tell me more." Often I get a little more context and explanation and for me, more time to formulate a response.

Hang in there, TM.

DawnS said...

WOW tears just welled up when she the throw away part. Kids can be so frank and matter of fact about things. I too would have been stunned into silence. My girl has just started to inch around this subject a little bit. She just told me yesterday that some people have too many kids and then they have to give some away. And sometimes there are too many people in one place that they just can't keep more kids. I asked her if she was talking about China. She said yes because they have too many people there so they (the parents) want to give away their babies. This is something we have never talked about. I asked her where she heard this from and she said "I just know about it." She then changed the subject, but I know this is just the beginning. I am hoping I find the right words. Right now, I'm not exactly sure what I will say. Good responses so far, I will be waiting anxiously to see how this goes for you!

Lisa said...

TM, I'm going to have to come back after processing a bit more...or maybe an email. I do appreciate many of the responses here.

BUT I have goosebumps because just yesterday a stranger referred to our precious guy as one of those babies "tossed away or left on the streets."

Wildly inaccurate and wildly offensive!

I was so red faced, stunned and frankly incensed that I only remember snippets of how I responded. Our sweet boy was standing RIGHT beside me.

But how I handled that won't be the same as you handling this.

I am wondering if she has heard that from someone? Another child?? I know in some ways the "where" it comes from matters not....but it might help you get a handle on her thought process and if in fact she really believes that to be true.

Much luck my friend!

Sharie said...

Tears - literally. Not sure if from sadness, or out of fear that Amelia processes things so similarly that it won't be long before I hear something like it.

I agree...it's not love...it's a situation, although you don't know what it was - money, 1 child policy, in-laws wanting a boy, a single mother. China doesn't allow the freedoms we have in the U.S. it's not bad, it's just different.

Lindy said...

I, too, believe Grammy T is on the right track. In China, people don't throw children away, but leave them near an ophanage or hospital so they will be found and well cared for. They do this when a child is sick and they can not afford health care. Or, they do this because China is very crowded and has a one child policy. To have a second child involves serious consequences.

I think it is important for TT to understand that parents don't "throw babies away." Instead, because of the way the government is run, they are forced to leave them [near an orphanage?], something that you imagine is very heartbreaking for the mommies and daddies. (I don't think this is a fairy tale. I believe it is the most likely scenario.)

Michal said...

Once again T. Grammy gets things said just the right way. I need me a T. grammy in my life....

Well, this hits right in the gut doesn't it? I think it's telling that she picked that moment in the car with both of you to lob that grenade. It tells me she's been doing some thinking. And that quick change afterwards is exactly what Ev does when she has revealed something deep and dark and painful. I have no concrete advice- except to listen to that T. Grammy. Take it slow. And let the Tongginator guide you.
That is unless you have the unpleasant job of having to force it out. I have had to do that for Ev once. I hope I never have to again. I literally had to beg her to say one thing about how she felt about baby Evelyn in China. It was a horrible, horrible afternoon. But since then I have seen more healing and trust in her. She was able to choke sob out once single word. It was the hardest word I have ever had to hear.
Once she stated how it would be ok to take a little Chinese girl from her Mama because the Mama was Chinese and "not like your kind of Mama". Dear GOD!!! I nearly hit the flipping floor! We did some serious talking about things after that. A little bit here and a little bit there. What I said at the time was....? I have no idea how I made it through that moment. I think I must have said something like "it's never ok to take a baby from a mother or a father. That's not adoption. Adoption is different." How lame, I know but it was all I had.
Good luck with this one.

Wendy said...

Yowza!!! I'm not going to pretend I have an answer for you, but I am in agreement with Lucismomma and Mamatini. I would hesitate to make any association with "loving someone enough to find her another home." Because, as they said, if that's the ultimate act of love...well, doesn't that mean YOU could find another home for her, too? I mean, you love her, right?

I've never been a fan of the "Your birthparents relinquished you because they loved you so much" line of thinking.

I think it's perfectly developmentally appropriate to discuss China's policies on family size (which I'm sure you've done already). You have a smart little cookie.

I also think your mother has the best answer thus far...if there can be ANY adequate response to such a heartwrenching question.

Brooke-Randolph, LMHC said...

I too think Tonggu Grammy is right on! If this is her first comment, I thinks he needs that explanation before we start into the "policies and laws" aspect. It also depends on what you do know about her story, if it's more about policies and laws or resources or both... Good luck - you have a smart cookie!

oneinchofgrace said...

That is really tough. I have no idea what I would say.

Kristi said...

Heart stopping along with yours. I have a similar story from my big girl that I'm trying to process right now. I need to write it down before I forget it all, even if I never post it.

Kerrie said...

I know that, with my girls, whenever I blow it on an answer, the question eventually comes back. And KEEPS coming back until they get a satisfying answer. I am fortunate to know quite a bit about their first mom, but if I don't know the answer, I TELL them I don't know the answer, or I don't understand. I am very careful to separate my feelings out of it, but I also never give them platitudes that I don't know are true. Those will bite you in the butt later, guaranteed.