Monday, September 14, 2015

A Child's History

When you are parenting children with different backgrounds, you never know when something will come up regarding that background.  You're going along not really thinking about their history, you're driving or looking over homework or spending a day at the zoo, and BAM you're hit with a question or observance of a life that is unknown.  Sometimes these are heartwrenching comments on what might have been or wondering what someone looks like.  Sometimes they are quirky ideas on what their birth parents do as a job (I've heard such things as racecar driver, singer, etc) or where they are originally from (Africa, Ireland, you name it).  Sometimes they just lead to more questions.  Questions that can never really be answered or satisfied.

Every foster and adoptive parent chooses to approach these times differently.  Not necessarily better or worse, right or wrong, but no two people are the same just as no two responses will be the same.  I try to be as honest as I can be, age appropriately, while respecting the fact that the people I discuss are not present to share their side, that no matter what I might feel or think about past events that led my children to need a different family, they are still my children's firsts.  Their first parents.  Their biological ties to this world we live in.  I will not speak harshly of them.  And that's hard at times.  To separate my feelings of anger or disbelief with the fact that my kids will always hold a special place in their heart for them - as well they should.

Today was one of those "out of the blue" days when "stuff" comes up when you're least expecting it.  Olivia had a doctor's appointment in Chicago today.  It was at 2:00 and without knowing what traffic would be like or if we would be in quickly or what tests they may want to run, I decided to take all the kids with instead of trying to find places for them to go after school until I returned.  Driving back toward home, I can't even remember how or why it came up, but Braeden began talking about his story.  He knows more than I had originally planned on telling him until he was older, only because his older biological brother whom we see every now and then told him.  It's not an easy story, and I don't share much negative if I can at all help it when we do talk.  He "misses" them terribly and brings them up from time to time.  More than anything he has a hard time with the void of just not knowing them, not having pictures of them.  We talked a while and I shared a bit more of his story than he had heard before.  He was crying silently and Macy asked why he was sad.  She has become very aware of that in others lately and is growing by leaps and bounds in her vocabulary.  It was sweet, but hard to explain.  I just said he missed someone.  

Liam then wanted to know some of his story.  I told him a little more than has been shared before as well... and he began crying.  Liam is my sensitive guy.  As is Braeden actually.  Liam began crying the other night when Olivia's dog threw up because he didn't want her to be sick.  Then he cried when Macy was in bed watching a movie because we thought she may be sick and again he didn't want her to be.  We quickly took his story from the beginning through to when he joined our family.  He was brought to me by a caseworker while I was working Open House at the middle school I was currently teaching at.  After the Open House we picked up Braeden and Olivia and they ran out and yelled hello to their new "brother".  It was so sweet.  He brightened up as we shared how much we loved and love him and how much he changed in the first few weeks in our home.

Their histories are hard.  They have each been through things, remembered or not, that make them who they are.  Things that many of us can't fathom.  There isn't much sugar coating to do except to share in bits and pieces with as much love as is possible.  I know as Macy gains even more vocabulary that she will share more with us about her past and will have many questions.  The other day I videotaped a conversation she had on her play phone with her former house mom.  It was so bitter sweet to witness.  I taped for 3 and a half minutes before Olivia came upstairs and broke the spell.  I long for the day I can take her back to visit and see the reunion they will have:  Macy and her house mom.  She cared greatly for my girl and I am forever grateful.  It's a positive light in the midst of some not so positive moments.


Kathy C. said...

We send pictures and money to the twin's birth dad each year. We request that he come to the O. to pick it up so they can get a picture for the twins and I also ask that they try to get new information from him each year. This past visit he was much more talkative, so we were able to find out that the twins not only have two older sisters about Jasmine's age, but four half sisters who are much older. Found out the dad used to sing and play (Haitian hand) drums.

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About Me

I am a single mom to four amazing kids; each of whom just happen to have been adopted. The first three were adopted through foster care, and we just completed an international adoption from Haiti. Our family has grown through adoption and I am all the more blessed to know each of my children. I worship a mighty God, teach Special Ed, love bargains, and am inspired by Pinterest... come along with us for the ride!

Olivia - 14

Olivia - 14

Braeden - 11

Braeden - 11

Liam - 9

Liam - 9

Macy - 5

Macy - 5

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