This happened a couple weeks ago, but I didn't post about it right away because I really needed to sit with it.
BJ and I were talking about College. I am a big believer that the earlier and often that kids hear about where and not if, then college becomes a place they expect to belong. So I do. Frequently.
She looked up at me quizzically and said - what if when I am a teenager my real mom comes to get me.
I said, I will always be your mom and take care of you and love you, even if and when L is back in your life.
Again this unfocused, slightly distressed look on her face. I asked her - do you like it that we are honest and talk about adoption and L?
She said she wished she didn' t have to think about it.
So, I said -OK. I won't bring it up. You can ask me whatever you want, or talk about adoption or L whenever you want, but for now - I won't bring it up -we will just concentrate on us, our little family of you and me and Daddy. Would that be easier for now?
Big Big Smile.
I know I laid a foundation of trust, I know I have established that L is not a stigma topic, I have established that complicated feelings are OK. But I probably crossed a line of what is comfortable. This seven year old doesn't WANT to think about those complicated feelings. She wants to feel "normal" and loved and connected. How can I argue with that. Who could blame her.
I still don't believe the don't make it a big deal and the adoptee won't have issues camp. BJ has issues. I didn't plant them. She is making a choice for right now about dealing with them. My mom always said - you have to know your kid ... whenever defending why she made a decision or parenting style choice.
Just as I know it was right to talk about adoption like I talk about college - establish the framework, I know it is right to follow her lead. I do wonder that if this were to go on for years (the not talking about adoption) would she remember the last two years? Would it affect her thinking even if she didn't remember it? And then of course, who knows how much or when she will bring it up even if I don't.
She tested me, though to see if I would keep my word. In the last couple weeks she has made statements about family and relations and future that would have normally made me say a casual reference to L. I didn't. You could visibly see her relax.
How many times have I said this in my journey, from the first foster care application to emails to friends this week. Adoption is complicated. Pain and Joy. There is no roadmap. You have to know your kid.