As we were getting out of the van the other morning, Antwan randomly asked me, “Mommy, when I was a little baby, who took care of me?”
I kind of wanted to lie. I didn’t technically take care of him when he was a little baby. (Although 13 months is still very much a baby.) I sure wish I had and I feel like I did.
|Yes, still a baby. 🙂|
I kind of wanted to lie, so I did.
I looked at him and defiantly said “I did.”
But, I knew that wasn’t entirely ok or true. I know some parents who adopt don’t tell their children until later, when the time is right. And, of course, if you live in a sitcom, the kids find out on their own, accidently. And, it’s very traumatic, for about 15 minutes.
But, I don’t live in a sitcom, despite the fact that I feel like I do sometimes. I also don’t really have the option of not telling my kids that they are adopted. I’m guessing they’d figure it out pretty quickly. There are, after all, a couple of clues. 😉
We have talked to Antwan about being adopted. I will bring it up, in passing; hoping to make it part of normal conversation. We talk about it every year on the placement and finalization anniversaries. I ceremoniously tell the kids how happy we were when we were told that we going to be their parents. But, Antwan’s 5 and I doubt that he really gets it. And, why would he? But, of course, William does. He remembers. It’s hard to believe that William was 5 when our lives together got started.
So, I don’t know if the question came from the fact that Antwan was starting to get it or the fact that he’s 5 and 5 year olds ask weird questions. The only thing I really knew was that it was an early morning reminder that there was a part of his life that I wasn’t part of. And, as much as I’m glad that I’m here for this part and all the other parts, I wish I had been the one to take care of him when he was a baby. Although, I’m fairly certain that he would’ve been pretty high maintenance, so I probably should count my blessings. 😉
Anyway, in my typical “speak first, ponder appropriate response” later manner, I lied to my child. Of course, I knew as I said it that I would have to take it back. But, I think I just wanted to pretend for a minute.
Then, I awkwardly added “Well, when you were a little baby, someone else took care of you. Then you came to me and we adopted you and I became your mommy. Now I take care of you and always will.”
Antwan didn’t say anything and I didn’t know what else to say, so I went back to rushing them out of the van and into school.
Adoption’s a funny thing. It defines you and doesn’t all at the same time. I don’t really like hearing the phrase “adoptive mom” because I feel minimized. I’m just their mom and it doesn’t need to be qualified. (Although I get the need for a clarifying title, in certain situations.) But, I’m also very proud that I adopted. And, I am particularly proud that I adopted these kids and that they are mine (all mine!).
I gotta say, I have enjoyed the fact that Lizzie and Antwan definitely don’t think of me as anything else than mom. Not their mom now or their adoptive mom. Just Mom. And, I have wondered about William. I know he loves me and thinks of me as mom. But, does he dwell on the former care givers (or lack there of) and the fact that he is adopted? I don’t know. But, I do know, at least, that he is pleased with the arrangement.
I also know that the time of blissful ignorance for Antwan is coming to an end and I guess I better get ready. At the beginning of the VPK school year, he started talking about our skin colors and how he wished his was pink like mine. And, now, he is asking inquisitive (and oddly timed) questions about his past. I guess I’ve got some explaining to do.
It’s so much easier when they can’t talk. 🙂