A life of love

A life of love
Everyone should have a Great Pyrenees

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The strangest bedtime conversation...

Kiley pulled me over as I was shooing the crew up to bed - we have a routine that takes a while, including two kids checking blood sugars and getting shots, two taking prescription medications, all getting vitamins, trips to the bathroom (we only have one), getting in pajamas, and everyone getting hugs.

Initially, it seemed that the request to "tell" me something was likely an excuse to stay up later and certainly to stall things. But, as I sat down at the table across from my daughter, a story came out that I still find hard to understand. It seems that little Ben, one of the newer to join our family, had asked if we were really taking a trip to Grandma Jan's (in a nearby state) for Christmas or if the kids were just told that to keep them "happy". It seems that in the orphanage it was very common for the kids to be told to pack their bags, grab their coats as later they were to go somewhere/do something fun. And later, when they asked about it, they were told that they really weren't going, that they had been told that to make them happy. (AAAGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!!! Can you see my mommyhead exploding????)

I was absolutely stunned. After sitting with my mouth open, I was able to close it and then realize that Aman was standing behind me. I turned and asked him if they would really do that in the orphanage. He very directly stated "yes, all the time". I was so stunned and horrified. He laughed because he could clearly see on my face that I was totally blown away by this. I somewhat stumblingly but clearly stated that under no conditions would we ever do something like that to them and that I felt that it was just wrong to have this ever done to them in the first place!!! I said several times and several ways that we would never lie to them to make them feel better for a few minutes or hours or days or weeks or ever. That it certainly was unkind to do that to someone. I could see that Aman was relieved, but also understood completely how much it meant to us.

So, here are my thoughts, beyond what a horrible thing to do to children,: I find it completely amazing that these kids trust us as much as they seemingly do, after adults have done this to them. No wonder they sometimes hold back a little to see if I will truly do what I have said I would do. How could they do anything else??? I am just amazed at how resilient these kiddos are and all that they have been through. I am still basically speechless. Why would someone do that? Is it just one way to manage a large group of kids when you are overwhelmed? I just don't know. And I don't see it as particularly helpful either.

You know, in older child adoption, our kids come to us with life histories, and sometimes (often?) these histories are not what we want for our kids to ever have experienced. I would spare my kids each and every pain they have ever experienced, but I cannot do that even for the kids that I have raised from birth. Then add in my "non-birth" kiddos - the things that happened to them and their first families were not things we would have ever wanted to have happen to anyone, but these are also the things that led to them being available for adoption. They are their life experiences, and to deny them would be useless as well as detrimental. So, we must accept them and build on them and build a positive future together. Their life experiences actually make them who they are. It is part of the whole package.

And in reality, it enriches our lives, all our lives. Truly, I have been stretched in ways I never imagined, or sometimes wished to be, and our experiences have been overwhelmingly positive. How do you reach out to a child you love with your whole heart and accept their love for another mother, when you are also their mother? It is easy and not easy, if we accept the whole package. I need to value who I am to this child and also value who that woman was to this child. We share the love of this child. Whether death or something else has separated my child from his/her first family, it matters not. I expect my children to love their first families as I love my father who has been deceased for more than 25 years, and as I love my "step" father, a man who I have recently begun to refer to as my dad, without any loss of value to my first father. I love both for who they are to me, and I am sure neither would begrudge that, but these two men would instead honor each other for the value each has given to my life.

One of the things I want for my children is for them to know that they can count on me. That I will do everything that I can to keep my word to them, that people can and should be relied on to do the right thing. I don't know what other things will come up that will surprise me, but I am very sure that there will be more. And I pray for God's hand as I try to deal with each one and work out the best for my children's lives as we build from what was to what will be.

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