One of Ty's favorite books, right now, is a hallmark book that Rebekah recorded for him. I've been letting the boys read, quietly, in bed for a few minutes before we come in for hugs and kisses. A couple of weeks ago, I heard Rebekah's voice floating down the hall. I poked my head in and Ty caught my eye.
"I'm reading my special book, mama, from Miss Rebekah."
I see that, honey. How cool!
"Can I call her, mama?"
It was the first time Ty has initiated contact. I assured him that she would love to hear from him and ran to get my phone. He held the phone and answered with a sweet, "Hi, Miss Rebekah" when she answered. I could tell she was tickled to have Ty on the other end. She asked what he was doing and he responded, "Reading my very special book you made me!" I could tell she was surprised to hear that (she gave him the book more than two years ago!)
They talked for a few minutes before we said goodnight and Ty thanked her for "babysitting him" in her belly. It's one of the new phrases he uses in his adoption story. It's one that he came up with on his own.
As soon as we hung up, LJ crawled off his bed and said, "Mama, can I call someone?"
Yes, you may. Who would you like to call?
I tucked Ty in and then snuggled with LJ on his bed as we called his last foster mom. She didn't answer, but I let LJ leave a message. He seemed okay with that.
Ty said, "Mom, we both have special mamas!"
I know, Ty, isn't that cool? You guys have so many people that love you!
I walked away with a troubled heart. Before LJ came to live with us, I wondered a lot about how our future children, adopted from foster care, would handle the openness between Ty and Rebekah. Open adoption is such a special part of Ty's story, that we don't want to downplay the significance. At the same time, I want to be sensitive to LJ's feelings regarding his own story. LJ's last foster mom, genuinely, cares about him, but I'm not sure what her commitment will be long term. Once the adoption is final (we were pushed out a couple more months - I'll explain in a later post), I plan on doing two things:
1) Contacting LJ's birth mom to let her know that we've adopted her son and that he is a growing, healthy, boy. For his security, I will do this, anonymously (through an attorney). My hope is that through letters, we'll be able to foster a relationship that will ultimately lead her to having some sort of connection/contact with LJ (even if only through pictures/letters). I have no idea how this will go and will prepare for disappointment.
2) Asking LJ's G-Mama if she would be willing to be LJ's "special person".
I realized that while, ultimately, having a relationship with their first moms is ideal, the real significance to these relationships is that it makes my boys feel special. It gives them a unique testimony that few other people have. It gives credence to the idea that they are surrounded by community and love and that there is another cheerleader in their corner jumping as high as me. If we can't make meaningful connections with LJ's first mom or foster mom, than I will call on a friend to take this place in his life. I have several friends that live a distance from us that could fill this role in a similar way that Rebekah does for Ty.
Maybe none of this will matter in ten years....but for the time being, I need every card in my pocket to help LJ reconcile his adoption and feel secure. I think having a special connection unique to him will help.
It's always an adventure over, here!