21 Nov

Sweet Pea is adopted. 

We saw her at the hospital the day she was born.  We brought her home two days later.  She has always been ours.

She knows about her birthmother.  She has always known.  We’ve talked about her adoption from the beginning.  We’ve shown her pictures, and told her the story over and over again.

And yet we knew that she would have to grieve at some point.   And she is.  On the eve of her tenth birthday, she’s grieving.  And it hurts.

A week ago she said “I don’t know where I belong.  Do I belong in your hands, or in my birthmother’s hands?”   Gulp.  Sweetness, you’re always in your birthmother’s heart.  And you’re here in our hands.  God has a plan for you, and you belong here.

Then a couple of nights ago she said “Tell me about when I was born”. 

Me:  Sure, sweetie, where should I start?

Sweet Pea:  Start before you met Daddy. 

So I went waaaay back to the olden days and told her about when Daddy and I were kids and we met, and fell in love, and got married, and wanted a baby, and decided to adopt, and you were born, and we went to the hospital to visit you…

Sweet Pea:  When I was in the hospital I looked at you and I thought “These are NOT my parents.”

Me:  That’s probably true.  We had to get to know each other.

And then two days later we went to the adoption agency to sign all the papers and your birthmother was there, and we gave her flowers and a necklace…

Sweet Pea:  So she had already broken up with me?  (Starts to cry.)

Me:  Yes, she had already told you goodbye.  She spent lots of time with you during those two days, and then she had to say goodbye. 

Sweet Pea:  Why did she have to do that?  She didn’t love me.  She couldn’t have loved me.

Me:  Oh, sweetheart, she loved you so much that she knew she couldn’t take care of you like she wanted to.  Every mommy wants to keep her baby with her.  But she knew things would be too hard for you at her house.  She asked us to take care of you, and we promised that we would. 

Sweet Pea:  It would have been okay there.  I could’ve lived there.  It would’ve been fine.

Me:  I know it hurts, honey.  I know you miss her.  And she misses you.  She loves you very much.

Sweet Pea:  She does? 

Me:  Yes, baby.  She absolutely loves you.  And so do we. 

Why does it have to be so hard?  Isn’t it enough to be hearing impaired?  Isn’t it enough to have attention deficit and a mood disorder?  Does she have to feel unloved, too?  I ache for her.  I pour my love on her and it feels like she rejects it most of the time.  I know she’s in pain.  I want to make it better.  And yet it feels like I’ll never succeed.

And then?  Hope.

She came home from school yesterday with the typical “I’m thankful for…” sheet.  And here’s what she wrote:

I am thankful for:  God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.  My puppy Maggie.  My aunts and uncles, and my mom and dad.  My birthparents who want what’s best for me.  And my friends who play with me and like me.  And I’m also thankful for all my toys and all my games. 

Somehow it’s sinking in.  She must know we love her, even if she rejects our attempts at showing it.  And she must be listening when I tell her how much her birthmother loves her too.

And for that, I’m thankful.


12 Responses to “Belonging”

  1. meg November 21, 2008 at 7:13 pm #

    Wow Katy. What an amazing job you guys are doing! I would keep that piece of paper to remind yourself on those hard days.
    Love and hugs to you and yours!

  2. Julie November 21, 2008 at 8:42 pm #

    I’m sitting here with tears. You are so right…even when we think our words are just rolling off our tongues and out our little ones ears, they are sinking in. You are an amazing mom. Abigail is so blessed. Even when it’s hard.

  3. Barb November 21, 2008 at 11:37 pm #

    She does know that you love her, even when she appears to be rejecting it. Just keep telling her. You are a wonderful mom! Hang in there!

  4. anymommy November 22, 2008 at 5:04 am #

    Precious girl, precious you. You are amazing. She is amazing. She truly is taking it all in and processing it and healing every day. I am so inspired by your courage.

  5. Allison November 23, 2008 at 9:28 am #

    Sounds like you are giving her amazing answers to her VERY difficult questions!

    p.s. I left you some bloggy love over on my post today 🙂

  6. karen November 23, 2008 at 9:58 pm #

    As the mother of an adopted daughter myself, your post left me in tears.

  7. Erin November 24, 2008 at 8:30 am #

    Damn you for making me cry this early in the morning.

  8. Patrick November 24, 2008 at 6:12 pm #

    I want to reiterate what Barb said. She does know that you love her very much, but she may not reciprocate that all of the time. She NEEDS to hear it often and you can tell by her Thankful Sheet that she is hearing and believing you. When she is an adult, this will make a huge difference in her adult relationships. Keep doing what you know if right even if you don’t see the payoff. You will see the payoff when it matters. She will be a healthy adult in the matters of love because of what you are doing now. Always remember that you are teaching and training her how to love as an adult with each passing day. These childhood moments will transfer to her adult relationships. You are doing the right thing – as always. You are a great mother!

  9. Jenny November 24, 2008 at 7:49 pm #

    You are one fantastic mother! It sounds like you’re doing a great job of handling a very delicate matter.

  10. Spring November 24, 2008 at 8:57 pm #

    It’s something we all go through and we all know it’s coming, and still…it kills me. You have brought me to tears. Lovely words, tough, tough thing to think about. My youngest goes back and forth with this a bit. She misses the birthmother she never knew and the orphanage director she loved with all her heart. Sometimes being a mommy is hard.


  11. T. November 24, 2008 at 11:53 pm #

    You are so totally courageous and gifted and amazing. She WILL know how blessed she is to have you, and on some level already does.

  12. debcny November 30, 2008 at 10:50 pm #

    You know, for some reason the bad things about one’s self are always easier to believe… so, we must tell our children the good things over and over…. much more than any negative things they hear… until it gets through… and really sticks.

    You are obviously getting through to her… Keep up the good work, Mom! =)


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