Monday, January 21, 2008

Last night being a good mommy was incredibly hard. We talked, for the first time, about how she is adopted. It came about pretty naturally: We were talking about temples. I told her how she went to the temple with us when she was a baby, so that we could be her parents forever.

"Baby Jooj go to temple?"
"Baby Nora (her cousin) go to temple?"
"Well, no."

So we talked about how Baby Nora came out of Tia Amy's belly, so they didn't have to go to the temple. And Baby Jooj didn't come out of mommy's belly, so...

"Baby Jooj in you belly."
"No, Mami can't get babies in her belly. Mami's belly is broken."
"No! Baby Jooj go in YOU belly."
"No, honey, Mami's belly is broken, so Heavenly Father put Baby Jooj in Diana's belly. Then Diana brought you to us, because Mami and Papi and Jooj are a family."
"No, I go in YOU belly. No Diana."
"I wish you were in my belly, Jooj, but Mami's belly is broken."
"You belly need batteries?"
"Yes, Mami's belly needs special batteries."
"Oh. Es Ok?"
"Oh yes, Mami is ok. And Jooj is my baby forever."

And it was so hard.

I love my daughter, I love my family, and I love that, through adoption, I am able to have her with me. And I know that telling her about adoption is important--it is not like we can hide it and she can meet her twin at summer camp and switch places in order to reconnect her father and I in love and marriage and groovy guitar songs. But I didn't expect it to hurt my heart to tell her.

I so wanted to say "You came from my belly--you and me have been together, even as little tiny cells inside Grammy Su, forever. I felt you kick, I loved you every second of the day. I fed you with my every heart beat, and I pushed you out and held you the instant you were born. You are mine and will never feel the need to seek out another mother, another person who shares your cells."

But I couldn't. Because it isn't true.

I know that she loves me. I know she is MINE. But our talk last night was the start of my biggest fear--that she will not feel like she is mine entirely, any longer. I know we will talk about it again and again, and I worry that, each time, she will feel drawn to another woman, another family, another set of siblings. Maybe she won't--maybe we are enough for her. But the fear is there.


Lucky Red Hen said...

I felt more affection to my "step" dad (since I was 5) than my bio-mom growing up. Me thinks it's because I felt that he got to CHOOSE me and with pregnancy you get stuck with whatever comes out :o)

ash said...


For as long as I can remember I have known that I was adopted. My parents have been really open about everything they know, and I think it has made our bond as a family stronger. Because of that strong bond I have never ever "needed" any other family. I realize I'm preaching to the choir when I say that I know we were together before we were here on earth and that we were meant to be an eternal family. My parents tell me that we were always supposed to be together, but Heavenly Father sent me a different way. It just took some time, patience and serious effort for us to be together. I've read some of the books about how adopted kids are supposed to feel, you know abandoned and unloved, and I've never felt like that. I hope that it's the eternal perspective the gospel gives us

I hope that all of this coming from someone that has been adopted is helpful. It makes me feel special and different, but it a good way. She'll get it, too.


Queen Scarlett said...

You are exactly the kind of mother Jooj needs - what a great example to be so open...and courageous.

b. said...

You made me cry.

I had a very similar conversation with my oldest when he was three.

He said, "Remember when I was in you tummy?"

I gulped back the tears and thought it was a good time to talk more about it.

He wasn't ready.
I wasn't ready for the shock and awe he was experiencing at that time. So, I dropped it.

We've had many conversations about it and when they were/are ready...they lead where the conversation goes.

All those feelings, La Yen, are valid and ones I've experienced too.
When you take that baby home and he/she's yours....YOU are Mommy and always will be. It's easy to "forget" that you didn't, in fact, push them out.
Every conversation from here on out, yes....creates wonder about another mother...but it also cements how incredibly AMAZING Heavenly Father's plan is for YOUR family and for Jooj. How all those million little pieces HAD to come together to create this miracle.

I hope I've made some sense. I could go on forever.....but that is all, for now.

b. said...

shock and awe=he couldn't wrap his little head around not coming out of my tummy like everyone else he knew.

We've said the words adopted and special family since the day we brought them home.

You have to just go at her pace.

compulsive writer said...

Thanks for sharing that so openly and honestly.

Her persistence in her insistence that she did come from your belly indicates she is drawn to and connected with you and your family so deeply it's beyond words or the confinements of mortal time.

dastew said...

Yen, you're a better person than I.

Bek said...

This is the dichotomy of being an adopted parent, is it not? We love and honor our children's other mothers/families. Usually we are secure in the fact that we are also the mother and where we stand in the relationship, but there is still the fact that they came to us in a different way and it is one more thing that makes them different than other kids.

Even those of us in open adoptions, that openly seek a relationship and info from the other family can feel that dual emotion. I feel happy that they are in our lives and yet jealous at the same time (and I am about as secure as they come in terms of knowing who the mother is).... you don't expect it to be that way. I am sometimes jealous of my husband because in both cases, there is no other father in the picture (physically, anyway). He gets to be the only dad... I have to share being the mom, even though I don't mind.

I love that she wanted to fix you with batteries.... smart girl.

Bek said...

P.S. Cubby isn't anywhere NEAR understanding these things. At three and half he pretty much only thinks about food and running. I am sure we will have these conversations soon, but so far we haven't crossed that bridge.

This last time we went to see his mom, I was trying to explain who she was so I called her Mamma M..and he just looked at me like "lady, you are crazy" and kept saying "NO, you mamma". I have also been trying to tell him about the baby in my tummy and he just says "where, I no see baby". I know that he has NO concept at all of this. Maybe boys just get it slower or maybe just mine does... anyway, I am glad to see how others negotiate this so I will have some insight when our turn comes (and likely Norah will get it before he does...)

c jane said...

Loved this post and really enjoyed the comments. La Yen, you have a beautiful mind.

Rynell said...

As an adopted person, I second everything that ash said.

Everything I've tried to formulate is either repetitive or cheesy. But I do believe that adoption is a sacred part of the plan. I've never needed or wanted any other parents than those that I have.

La Yen said...

Thanks for all of your comments--I appreciate the hopefulness! And she hasn't brought it up again, so maybe I am safe for a while.

And CJane-are you saying I am schitzo? Because I saw that movie...

La Yen said...

Oh, and Stew? Yes, yes I am.

Amy said...

Sorry that jooj is being a pill by bringing this up before she is even three!!!! Geez, kid!! Cut your mom some slack!!!

However, I'm glad that you are willing to share these things with us.

The article in the January Ensign had me wanting to talk to you and get your thoughts and feelings on this from a more personal level.

Because I loved this quote:
those who are sealed to their parents in the temple—“have claims upon the blessings of the gospel beyond what those not so born (or later sealed)are entitled to receive. They may receive a greater guidance, a greater protection, a greater inspiration from the Spirit of the Lord; and then there is no power that can take them away from their parents.

It's so beautiful and true. Yet there is still the every day struggle with things like your kid asking why she didn't come from your belly, etc.

I feel myself over-commenting.... I think I will continue these thoughts in a post some time.

love ya!

(also, loved all of the comments above! So insightful.)

b. said...

I don't want to over-comment either..but...if we are to ever meet, La Yen, I would love to hear your story and also share some of the beautiful insights and confirmations me and my family have received in our process and sealings.

Geo said...

I am SO glad I read this tonight. Thank you and God bless you.

sara said...

I love this post, even though I have no direct connections to adoption. I think you explained it just beautifully.

Nette said...

You silly girl. Jooj may very well have been in your tummy. At the very least, she was in your heart. You tell her next time that you carried her in your heart.

For all you know, before she came to this earth she knew she would be with you and her spirit probably dwelt with you right up until the moment she was born. Then it was only a little time before you actually held her in your arms.

Silly Girl.