On a good day, parenting will test the integrity of your character. On a bad day, parenting will test your will to live. Parenting children with trauma histories will cause you to test the integrity of everything and everyone you thought you knew, for the rest of your life.
~J. Skrobisz

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Figuring it out

For the longest time, the kids never talked about nor were interested in discussing their adoptions. I'd try to bring it up. I'd pull out pictures from time to time. Heck, their biological aunt is at the house every morning to work with us! But still, we just couldn't pry open their little minds and get them to talk about what being adopted meant to them.

And then Sissy went to RTC. For some reason, it has opened the floodgates and I am now finding it hard to answer all of their questions adequately. Last night, after reading Chapter One of "Peter Pan", Aspie Boy fired off so many questions I finally said in my exhaustion, "only one more!"

He thought for a long time and then asked, "is it sad for you that I didn't grow in your tummy?"

"yes, Aspie Boy, it makes me very sad but you're still my wonderful son." Satisfied, he flew off the sofa and skipped down the hall to his room, making sure to tap both walls of the hallway first. Then I heard him dive onto his bed.

I'd like to ask Aspie Boy some questions too, one day. I'll start with "Hey, son. Why do you have to skip, jump, fly, tap and dive instead of just walk?!? For cryin' out loud, you're gonna bring down the house!"

Today after homework, Wonder Girl sat at the table with me doing her own thing (matching up situation cards - problem/solution ABA/RDI kind of stuff - because she WANTED to. Seriously, that kid is a world-class wonder) She leaned over my shoulder and spied all of the amazing family pictures of all you RADical families. "HOLY COW! That's a lot of kids!" (because a lot of you have a lot of kids!!! lol) Then she said, "WOW! They all have different skin and faces and," she looked at the mommy and daddy pictures, "and the moms and dads look different!"

"What do you think of that?"

"So, the kids didn't grow in the Mommy's tummy?"


"Then they're adopted like me?"


"and Sissy and Aspie Boy, of course. because they're really my brother and sister." then a pause. "They're really my brother and sister, right?"


"mom? those families are cool."

"Yes they are. What do you think it would be like if we adopted more kids and had a big family like these families do?"

"you mean, kids with brown skin?" (She just finished watching a documentary about Martin Luther King - she picked out the video of her own volition from the library. Really, the kid is amazing. I'm not just making it up because I'm proud of her.)

"Sure. Or different faces, or different hair, or anything. We're all different."

She laughed then sighed with a smile. "That would be weird!"

"Weird in a good way or a bad way?"


We've had so many conversations like this since Sissy left, I'm tickled and pleased. Especially since some of my conversations with Aspie Boy have included discussing the fact that if we adopted a brother, he might look a lot different and Aspie Boy is finally admitting that it would be OK with him.

But all of these questions has confused me too. Why did it take Sissy leaving for them to be ready to talk about it? Is it because Sissy being gone is a disruption to their previous understanding of our family unit? Is it because they are afraid they'll be sent away too and they're actually questioning the limits of adoptive parental love? Is it because they're finally thinking about it on their own and the firestorm of questions is because as one talks, the other thinks of more things to ask?

Thoughts, anyone?


Ashley said...

Great questions from Wonder Girl and Aspie Boy... and also, Peter Pan is a fabulous novel. Maybe with Sissy gone they feel a little bit safer? I think if they were truly afraid of you sending them away, you'd see a lot more anger and fear...Just my two cents

Tudu said...

I am thrilled they are finally starting to talk about it. I wish we could have met up this past weekend, my kids would have talked their ears off about it. LOL

Jennie said...

replying to Ashely's comment:

Yes, I think you're right. If Wonder Girl and Aspie Boy felt unsafe with Sissy being gone, they'd act out in anger.

that means we can figure the opposite to be true. With Sissy gone they finally feel SAFE to talk about their adoption.

Other than her volatile behaviors, that makes me wonder if there was something else about Sissy that made them feel unsure about talking about adoption. Curious, that.

Thanks for commenting!

J. said...

Maybe because the sapce has made them feel more comfortable...
I shared some sunshine with you, head to my blog for the details.

Christine said...

"Is it because they are afraid they'll be sent away too and they're actually questioning the limits of adoptive parental love?"

Bingo. They feel it, whether or not they say it. My kids are healed enough and old enough now, they can actually pinpoint times they have felt this ... and none of them ended up spending time in an RTC. But it was always in their heads. Like always. Breaks my heart to hear now, the things they were thinking at different times.

Even my securely attached adopted daughter asked recently if she'll go live with her birth mom one day. We talk about adoption as often as we do the grocery list, yet it didn't take the question out of her head.