We’re Back (Sort of)

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In what amounted to the full efforts of a transcontinental move, our family has relocated itself.  Ten minutes down the road.  If you had asked me in January where I saw myself by the time pre-school started, I’d have answered in the same spot.  I couldn’t have imagined how roughly true that was.

It’s been a strange move.  We are officially in a new town, but we go to the same church and grocery store.  The only major difference to our out-of-the-house routine is which Target we go to.  Our new-to-us neighbors are finally realizing we don’t need tips on what’s what in NoVa.

Preschool started up this week for both girls.  They go to the same learning center.  They are in new classrooms with new teachers and loving it.  We see their old friends out on the playground, and we’re quickly making new friends.

One, a mom, was trying to figure us out.  She eventually approached the subject directly when she realized we were parked right next to each other.  She thought maybe Wren was my black husband’s child from a previous relationship because there was no way Wren had white blood in her.

I actually get that a lot from people I haven’t seen in ten years… Surely I’ve remarried as one does.

The thing is Wren does have a white great grandmother.  I shared that with the mom of the girl in Wren’s class.  When we got home, I asked Wren if it bothered her that I talked about her adoption.  She’s still very quiet on that subject.  Maybe I should take a cue from her.

Yes, I realize the irony that I’m blogging about it.

Should you adopt just because you should?

Last Wednesday, as Wren, Chickadee and I were getting ready to go on a walk around the neighborhood, I got a phone call from the adoption agency.  It was important.  It was the kind of call that makes you stop everything you are doing.

Mama Tee had given birth to a baby boy, and she wanted us to adopt him.

“Hold up!” I am hearing you all say. “Didn’t you just see her?  Did you know she was pregnant?”

Yes, we saw her back in February.  She was wearing a coat indoors which was a little strange.  While I briefly entertained the possibility of her being pregnant, the subject did not come up.  I figured she would tell me if she wanted to, and I left it at that.

Did I secretly wish deep down that she was pregnant and that we could raise him?  Yes.

So why did Okey and I respond no?  It’s complicated.

The reason I’ve struggled with writing this post is that I don’t feel it’s my place to share the details surrounding his birth.  I’m not going to reveal much here because I want to respect him and his family.

Like his sister, he was born early.  No one knew when he would be released from the hospital.  With my two little ones, I knew that I could not make the daily trips (80-miles one-way) to see him.  I felt strongly that he needed his mother to hold him daily, and I could not offer him that.

Okey and I also recognized that our girls have needs and fully deserve our attention.  I’m sure we could have made it work, bringing him into our family, but it would have been a lot of work.  We’re already feeling like a fragile ecosystem.

We spent days asking difficult questions.  We felt like philosophers by the end of the long weekend.

Does blood matter that much?  Should we adopt because it is the right thing to do?  How do we fit three car seats in the SUV?  Will Wren resent us?

We talked it over with our parents and some friends in the adoption world, and I’m so thankful for their support and perspectives.

The tug on my heart to hold him was there, but I didn’t feel a motherly love toward him.  When we got the call about Wren, we knew she was our daughter.  The bond with her was instantaneous.  We just didn’t get that same peace with him.  Maybe it’s because we weren’t looking to expand our family, or maybe it just was not meant to be.

Adoption: A placement doesn’t have to be good-bye

Yesterday we had the great joy of reuniting with someone very special to our family.  She’s kind of a big deal.  You see, without Tee, we wouldn’t be the family we are today.

Nearly two years ago we met briefly.  She was entrusting us to raise her daughter.  It was awkward.  It was emotional.  She asked, out of the blue, if she could have a reunion visit.  The social workers said we didn’t have to agree.  They said if we gave an inch, she’d take a mile.  But how could we say no?  “Yes,” we cried.  Tee said that we wouldn’t even have to identify her as our daughter’s biological mother.  That we couldn’t agree to.  Our daughter would know her.

The plan was to meet Continue reading

“Are they both yours?”

“Are they both yours?” The woman asked as she sat down next to me.

The toddler was happily running back and forth between the toys and me as we waited in the doctor’s office. The infant was asleep in her car seat.

There it is, I thought. Hardly an outing goes by without someone having to ask about our family.

“Yes. These two are mine,” I replied with a smile.

“Oh,” she continued, “I asked because she has dark skin. I thought maybe she was adopted.”

“She’s still mine,” I simply offered back with a grin. Wren had noticed someone talking about her and came close to her mama. We exchanged kisses.

“Is her dad black?” The woman continued probing, not getting it.

Yes? No? One of them is? Despite a lot of practice, I still don’t know how to answer these questions.

I said “yes” this time.

I wish I had answered no. The only dad Wren has ever known is not black.

I wondered at what point Wren will understand these strange remarks. I wonder when she’ll start asking me these questions.

A question for my readers: How would you respond in this situation at the doctor’s office?