his story to tell

Overheard under the Big Top:

You know when I was born I was so, so tiny and so, so sick and all alone. The doctors said I needed a family and they asked, “who will be a family for this sick, tiny baby?” and my mom raised up her hand and said, “I will!”.

And then my heart exploded into confetti and glitter and mini hearts when I walked in on that conversation my son was having with one of his sister’s friends.

Daniel is indeed beginning to really consider the fact that he is adopted and has been asking a lot of thoughtful questions about who he is and where did he come from. Sometimes it is hard having those conversations with him…sometimes even harder than talking about sex and personal boy hygiene. Still these are important conversations…conversations that Bill and I both knew we would be having someday answering his questions. And just like the sex talks, we have to just take a deep breath, swallow and just do it because it’s his life, his story…his story to tell.

So far he tells it pretty well.

family history

More than usual, my darling husband and I have had conversations with Daniel about adoption not unlike that conversation this past January. Some of it can be attributed to natural curiosity about who he is and where did he come from that comes with growing up and entering…

DUN DUN DUN…

Adolescence.

But given the conversations about real parents and real sisters…as opposed to the fake parents and fake sisters…I am thinking Daniel is having to endure the shiny, happy stupid that is some people’s perception of what adoption is all about. No, not his peers. It’s the shiny, happy and stupid that is their parents and other adults who influence their thinking.

Thank you shiny, happy people!

You’re welcome for the ear worm, too.

Don’t worry. Daniel is assured of the fact that I am really his mother, Bill is really his father and Hollie, Zoë, Abby, and Jodie are really his real sisters…in spite of the fact that he is adopted and in spite of what shiny, happy, stupid comes out of people’s mouths when they speak of adoption.

Which brings us to Multi-Cultural Week at Daniel’s school this week and what would he like to do for his family culture project. We could talk about Russia and all the things we learned about his biological ethnic origins thanks to Winter Games being held in Sochi, Russia this year.

“Why can’t I talk about my REAL family?”, he asks.

Truth be told, mom, his real mom, is far more interested in his biological cultural and ethnic roots than he is right now. So we begin to discuss the ethnic and cultural history of his real family. Daniel decides that he wants to talk about the origin of the Scarborough name and the Scarborough Castle because it’s kind of cool to have a real castle in your family’s history even if it isn’t really our castle.

Really!

 

car rides, spicy foods and serious conversations

I shared this on Facebook a couple of days ago because, wow, I had to! Daniel’s caregivers at Good Samaritan Hospital’s NICU, my colleagues, know too well how his story began so I had to share with them all…and everyone else. This child of mine, my son, is so amazing. Truly I am one blessed mama!

I love the chauffeuring of my clowns that is part of this juggling act of mine. No really, I do. If only because I get the added bonus of some of the best conversations with them. There is something about the being confined in the mom-car, staring out the window that makes it a safe place to talk about anything…really anything….OMG!…yes, anything and everything. Just the other day there was such a conversation between Daniel and me.

I really like super spicy food, don’t I?

Yes, you do.

I love Sriracha so much…and jalapeños…and lemons…and pesto…and…I just love spicy and sour food so much. Is that weird?

No, I don’t think so. You’re a man with very selective tastes.

Mrs. B. tells me most kids don’t like super spicy or sour foods. But it’s not weird that I do? Really?

Not weird at all.

But other kids don’t like foods like that?

Well, you are not other kids…

I go on to explain just a little about the years he was learning how to eat and his sensory processing issues. Oddly enough, I learned that someone with oral defensiveness like he had as a g-tube fed infant, toddler and preschooler is they learn to need foods with strong tastes and smells. The stronger the taste, the easier it seemed to be for them to put them in their mouth, chew and swallow. Lucky for him his mama loves to serve spicy, savory, tasty food.

The conversation flows through the explanation of how his need for strong tastes and dislike of loud noises and bright lights comes from his extreme premature birth. We talk about his five senses: touch, taste, sight, smell, sound are processed through his brain and how because he was born 4 months too soon, his brain really was not ready to process all the touches, tastes, sights, smells and sounds.

He interrupts me telling me that it was hard for him to be born much too soon but before I can answer he continues telling me that it was good that his Dad and I adopted him because he doesn’t think that his biological parents could love him the way that he is.

Oh if he only knew…maybe he does…even if we have never spoke of this part of his story with him or around him.

Daniel, you know I am pretty certain that your biological mother and father did love you very much before you were born.

Yeah?…

Oh yes. I imagine they were so happy knowing that you were going to be born and were very happy waiting for that day.

But you and Dad adopted me…

Yes we did. Daniel, when you were born you were so, so very tiny and honestly the doctors weren’t even sure that you would live. The doctors told me that they, your bio parents, were so afraid and they didn’t know if they could do what you needed for them to do to help you.

You have to be brave when your baby is tiny, huh?

Oh yes. Yes you do. The mommies and daddies I know at work in the NICU have to be fearlessly brave and strong for their baby in the NICU and after they leave the NICU. And they are.

Like you and Dad?

Yes. Just like that…

Well that’s why you and Dad are my mom and dad.

Yeah?…

Yeah! I’m glad you are my mom and dad!

Oh!

Right?!

Truth be told this is the first serious, lengthy conversation we have had about his adoption. The last time was maybe 3 or 4 years ago when he told me that he had to be born early to meet me, his mommy. Then he asked what was his bio mother’s name. Irina, I answered. He then declared that that was a pretty name and hugged me before he ran off to play. Daniel has always known that he is adopted and that I met him the night he was born as his nurse and while Bill and I had always resolved to be honest about our beginnings as a family, we also knew that it would be a very hard conversation to have. Truly his perception of it all could have gone any way. What we wish for, hope and pray for is that he will always know that he has always, always been cherished, wanted and loved today and every single day of his amazing, miraculous life. Meanwhile I am overwhelmed with the wisdom and the insight of this boy, my son. Oh, and I am thankful opportunity for another mom-car conversation…especially because it was in the car…while I was driving.

play it again: just like that

I know I say it all the time but I can’t believe how blessed I am to say that I am this boy’s mom.

Originally published March 16, 2013

Watching Juno together here under the Big Top. A favorite movie here for so many reasons…the music, the humor, the family, the story and so much more. So yeah, we watched Juno here under the Big Top for the umpteenth time tonight.  Then comes that scene…

that scene where Vanessa holds her baby boy for the very first time.

:::sniff:::

I KNOW!

Daniel looks over at me. I look back at him and smile trying to blink back tears and quickly look back at the television.

Daniel: Was that what it was like, Mom? You know, when you held me when I was a baby?

:::sniff-sniff:::

Mom: That is exactly how it was, son. It was just like that.

I KNOW!!

I can’t believe how blessed I am to say that I am this boy’s mom.