Context

We’ve been working with Woob on learning his address other helpful facts lately. On the way to the amusement park Saturday, we were talking about what to do if he got separated from us, and “drilled” him on his name, address, etc.

Us:  If you get lost, find a grownup, and tell them that you’re lost.  Tell them your name–what is your name?

Woob:   (states first, middle, and last names)

Us:  What is your address?

Woob:  (perfectly states our address, all the way down to city and state, though those are interchanged)

Us:  What are your parents’ names?

Woob:  (states N.’s name)

We weren’t expecting that one!  Of course, he’s right–it was just interesting trying to help him understand why she IS his parent/mother, but why that was the “wrong answer” so to speak to that particular question.  We work so hard to get him to understand the adoption stuff, even though he’s just three, yet we’re surprised that it bleeds over into other parts of life, too. 

We go over the “you have two mothers” thing fairly regularly.  I do think he’s a little confused about it now, but have faith that it will work itself out at some point as he grows older.  We talk about having two moms who love you–Mama N. who grew you in her belly before you were born and loves you from far away, and me, who gets to live with you and take care of you everyday.  Just last week, he asked again, “where’s my mom?” and I fully knew he was speaking of N. so I explained again how she lives a little bit far away so we don’t see her as much as we want to.  A while back we had a similar conversation and I asked if he would like to talk to her on the phone, and he said “yeah!” so I dialed but she wasn’t there and we left a voice mail message…and never got a call back.  So I decided not to just call on the fly like that anymore so as not to have him all disappointed.  He told me the other day that he wanted to go swimming with his sisters and N. and that G’pa G. could come too.  So we got on the myspace and he “dictated” an email to her. 

Heather challenged writers a few weeks ago, through the Open Adoption Round Table, to share their Open Adoption Wish List.  I think my wish list would start with the following three things:

  1. That the explanations would come simply, whatever it is that they’re for,
  2. That our communication was more fluid, consistent, reliable–that I could know that a phone call or an email would be responded to directly, and
  3. that sometime soon, IF we start having more consistency, N. takes more time to respond or connect directly with Woob–send him a card, call him on the phone, write him a letter or email instead of us.
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6 Comments

Filed under adoption, birthparents, growing up, open adoption

6 responses to “Context

  1. I really enjoy reading your blog. Thanks for being so open.

  2. I think it’s incredibly healthy that Woob provided N’s name. He knows well who you are, and it speaks volumes for how comfortable he feels sharing that information. Very cool.

    But I do hear you about knowing when it’s the right answer. It’s a problem I wish we’d had, though 🙂

  3. Marci

    I hate to admit this… We don’t talk about it. We have no contact with any birth mothers at this point, so I don’t know how we go about bringing this up. Do I want to talk about it all the time when he has no way to reference who she is? Will it just make his loss so much more apparent?

    (We do not hide the fact that our children are adopted. There is a picture of Cameron’s birth mom hanging in his room. It is the most recent picture we have and it is more than 3 years old.)

    • M.

      I don’t know that you have to talk about it all the time, but i think talking about it regularly when they are little makes it easier to talk about it later when they start asking…gives you both a head start so to speak. Your kids’ context with their parents will be different from Woob’s. Actually, it is different with eachof their parents given each of their independent situations. I think the loss will be apparent to them regardless…its just that when we don’t talk about it, then they don’t think they can bring it up (that’s just my opinion…)

  4. tk91

    I know, for me, in the first ten/twelve years I did not initiate the majority of the contact. I’m not trying to excuse “N” for not returning calls or emails, but (and I can only speak for myself here) the ongoing contact can be excruciating! Prior to each and every visit/contact (even today) I experience so many contrasting and conflicting feelings and anxiety! I don’t think your desires for #3 are unrealistic, but unfortunately I believe birthmothers may often come across as being ambivalent or insensitive regarding the ongoing contact because of the intense feelings they are battling. Of course, I do not know “N” and so I am mainly speaking from my own experience. The other thing that happens is we (birthmoms) struggle and repeatedly question our “big decisions” after the relinquishment, and so it is possible that “N” has so much on her plate emotionally with the upcoming marriage/commitment that to grapple with the “adoption” portion is more than she can handle.

    • M.

      I appreciate your perspective, TK91. Yeah, I can’t even imagine what that’s like for her emotionally, and try to keep that in mind. Just “wishing” eveyrthing could be easier.

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