Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Understanding Adoption at Age 3

Last night, Ty started the most thoughtful, insightful, conversation we have had about adoption, yet. Then...a few hours later, LJ shared his wisdom. It is amazing to me what these three year old boys are capable of processing and expressing.

First with Ty's story. We were making dinner and Ty said, "Did my first mama, Miss Rebekah, live here with my when I was a baby?"

Ben: No, but she took really good care of you in her belly before you were born.

Me: That's right. Remember how you were born in Colorado? Rebekah stayed in Colorado and we brought you home to Michigan.

Ty: Mom, did that make Miss Rebekah very sad not to live with me? [Insert lump in throat]

Ben: Yes, Ty. She was really sad...she loves you SO much.

Ty: Is she still sad?

Me: Miss Rebekah is sad that she doesn't get to see you every day, but she is so happy that you get to live with us.

Ty: We should go see her so that she can be really happy!

Me: We are going to do that in February, remember? You, and Mommy, and Daddy.

Ty: But, I want my brother to come.

Me: I know, but this is a very special trip that you get to take with Mommy and Daddy.

I think the conversation switched to cheese after that, but I was floored with the tenderness Ty showed. I am so excited to take Ty to see Rebekah in February, she hasn't seen him since he was around 20 months old. My how much has changed! It will be so cool to re-introduce Ty to his Colorado family, show him the hospital he was born in, the places we took him, and watch him interact with Rebekah. I am giddy with anticipation, it is going to be such a rich time!

Later that night, we were laying with the boys in their beds and LJ said, "Miss Rebekah is Ty's first mom."

Me: That's right, buddy.

LJ: Ty is adopted just like me.

Me: That's right, too.

LJ: 'Member how Buddy went to find his first dad?

Me: What?

LJ: Buddy went to find his first dad in that movie.

Me: Oh....that's right! LJ, you are so smart. What a good memory you have!

We watched Elf a few weeks ago and used it as an opportunity to talk about adoption (I had forgotten about that part of the story!)

I love that my boys are piecing together their stories and exploring the meaning of adoption. It breaks my heart, however, that Laron's story is spotty at best and, currently, void of first parents. We haven't decided what to do about that, yet. We keep going back and forth about whether or not we want to give LJ a special "G-Mama" (Godmother). Part of us feels like it's unnatural to fabricate an important figure, while the other part sees how he is already starting to reconcile his story with Ty's.

In talking about it tonight, Ben suggested finding a male mentor that shares his race to help teach him about his culture. We are still chewing on it, trying to determine what will be the most beneficial to our second born. I am also holding out hope that LJ's mom will respond to my letter (I haven't written it, yet). From everything I see on Facebook, it's far-reaching...but the mom in me has to try.

The dichotomy is difficult to parent. In no way can we reduce Ty's kinship with his first mom or pull back on the healthy, open relationship that exists, but watching LJ battle the difference in his story is heartbreaking. I'm not sure what the answer is, but I'm praying on it.

Either way, I am encouraged that my little lovers are secure and confident in our family and their respective adoptions. It's really fun watching them grow.


  1. Wait... You're not taking LJ to Colorado? I'm curious as to why not. Feel free to ignore my curiosity if its too nosy a question.

  2. Beautiful post. Beautiful and smart boys.

  3. If I might HUMBLY offer some insight, my husband and I adopted a bi-racial friend of my son who lost his mom to cancer and doesn't know his dad. It is hard to explain and not compare why God would give our three biological children a healthy home with 2 parents who are believers and offer a security our adopted son will never fully realize.

    Having had an extemely dysfunctional father of my own, and a mom who did her best to compensate for that, I had many questions about why God would give me a father who wanted nothing to do with me and did not love me. A dear dear woman who mentored me as a young minister's wife helped me to see that God knew me from the beginning and chose my parents just for me. Wow. I wrestled with that for a long time. He CHOSE my dad? But....I began to see and learn that my story is unique to me because God wanted to use that situation to heal and mend others. Ministering to hurting teenagers for over two decades, and seeing them find hope and peace in Christ when they had none at home....priceless.

    LJ will, with God's help, be able to minister to people uniquely, because he will have an insight that others won't have. What satan means for evil, God will use for HIS good. It is not without pain, of course. Seeing our children's hearts break is the worst pain in the world. Yet, they learn through it that God is their rock and their security.

    Blessings....Mari Ann

  4. I am so excited to see you guys. February can not come soon enough. I know Ty is so much bigger and aware of things now. I can hardly wait!!!!!! COME ON FEBRUARY!!!!

  5. Very smart boys! I am interested to see how my two navigate their very different stories as well. I imagine we will have similar conversations as they work things out. I am also curious why LJ is not coming to Colorado with you? I know you guys probably thought very hard about it, so I would love to know how you came to your decision, if you are open to sharing that. When we see Jackson's birthparents, we include Addison, but of course our story and situation is very different. I still am holding out hope that I can get Jason to think about adoption from the foster care system...down the road, when we aren't overwhelmed with two toddlers:).

    1. Lots of people are asking me about LJ. I should have included that in my post! We definitely will include LJ in future trips to Colorado. Our decision, this time around, was threefold. First, was just money. We, now, understand why families drive the 22 hours to Florida from Michigan - flying is expensive! More than the money, however, is that LJ's boundless energy tends to take the stage as far as discipline and attention goes. Because this trip will be the first one that Ty remembers, we really want it to be special, with all the attention focused on him and Rebekah.

      The last reason was that we are really looking forward to having one-on-one time with Ty. Because of the foster/adoption process, we have been limited on who we can leave the boys with and where we can go. Ben and I have taken a boy out for a special date, but never have Ben and I both been with one boy. This is something that we think is really important and want to do it more with both boys.

      So, that was all the reasoning behind our decision. LJ will be staying with our best friends who also have a three year old son, which will keep him distracted and having fun.

      We will create a similar experience for LJ and have a special day with him where we can do some of the same things (visit the hospital he was born, the agency, the park we went to during our fist visitation, etc). LJ's not quite ready for that, but we are prepared for when he is!

  6. Rebekah-I stumbled across your blog this week and my what a common thing we share. The joy of adoption! My oldest daughter-5 is in kindergarten and a couple weeks ago they were working on the letter S. The teacher said like the name "Sara". Abby raised her hand and said, "That's my birthmoms" name. The teacher had no idea she was adopted but praised my husband and I for being open with her about it. We too visit all 3 of our childrens birthfamilies at least once a year and supply TONS of pictures and updates.

  7. I am always encouraged by your heart, and what you share - and now I'm curious to see how you continue to navigate this difference.

    We have one closed and one open adoption, and at almost four years old, our three are starting to have a difficult time processing this. They are having a hard time wrapping their brains around the fact that they have different birth moms, when they are brothers and sister. While I try to explain, with few words, it is difficult when we only have contact with one.

  8. Love hearing about kids putting their stories together. Too many people think they just don't understand at this young of an age but they do.
    Our daughter is 4 1/2 and has just now started asking about her biological dad whom we never met. Look forward to the next time we see her first mom (also in Feb) so she can answer questions if she asks.

  9. Our adoption agency's director said that they often find birthmoms are really blessed by being a special friend to their bio child's adopted siblings. (Gee, that was confusing!) Certainly, it's not the same as having a relationship with one's own birthmom, but it does give a child a chance to think about why parents reliquish, etc. From what you've written about Rebekah, I'm sure she will be a blessing a special mother figure for LJ as the years go by.

  10. I too was wondering why Miss Rebekah can't be the special in Leron's life also.

  11. It's amazing how the boys put ideas together. Very impressive.

  12. I so enjoy reading your blog. It is really encouraging. My husband and I are about to start our foster-to-adopt journey and are thrilled. Thanks for sharing your life! You are a blessing!!


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