One morning, I heard the now too familiar pitter patter of our 5 year old daughter’s feet as she tried to tip toe into our room to peek at her baby sister. Turning in the bed with my eyes opened just a teensy bit, I could see her quickly duck down and freeze, before slowly rising to again to look at her sister in the crib. Once the cooing began I could see her tip toe to reach her hands into the crib. It was a moment I hope I never forget. It was exactly what we hoped for when we made the decision to grow our family through adoption.
Our children do not contemplate biology. They are all siblings and are all growing up in this house. That four should come from my womb and 1 be placed into our arms is a minor detail in the definition of our family.
As I rose out of bed to join my happy duo, I had a big smile on my face. “All is good with the world”, I thought.
As I reached the crib, Pumpkin turned to me and said, “I just don’t understand how someone could give away such a beautiful baby.”
And there it was. Our five year old daughter had been processing her baby sister’s adoption all along, in her own way. Even when they don’t speak about it, we would be fools to think our children aren’t processing and contemplating everything they encounter, even this adoption. Even after we have explained countless times what a gift it is and how it is not an easy decision for any birth parent to make. Even after meeting her sister’s birth mother, whom we all adore,she was still contemplating it all.
Just a week after Baby Sister was in our home Pumpkin had commented to a friend, “I really like my baby sister but I still think we could have kept that other baby too.” The ‘other baby’ was the baby I provided interim care for over three days. Unfortunately, she never made it into the home her birth mother chose for her, instead she became part of a heartbreaking failed adoption plan. All of the children, including Pumpkin, were told before the 7 day old infant arrived that this would NOT be our baby to keep and we would ONLY be babysitting for a few days. But that was no matter to a young 5 year old girl, who was praying for God to bless our family with another child. That was no matter when she looked at her face every morning. In short she WANTED to keep this baby. She could only see what she WANTED and could not yet understand that sometimes what we want and what is best are two entirely different things. To her young wanting heart she could only see that there is wanting and not wanting. If only that were true. Sometimes we want the wrong things, want what we cannot have, want what we cannot handle and even want at the expense of another.
I know there has never been a moment of Baby Sister’s life that she hasn’t been wanted or loved. That is her story. But in wanting her, her birthmother also wanted for her. Her love for her was so deep that she frankly wanted her baby to have more than she could provide and more than she grew up with under the same exact circumstances (young single mother with a GED). In some adoption circles the phrase ‘wanting more’ is often mistaken for adoptive parents being wealthier than birth parents. While it certainly helps if you can afford to feed, clothe and house a child, it is not fair to say that women are placing their children for adoption so that they can grow up in another tax bracket. In our situation V. wanted her daughter to have a mother and a father, siblings, a stay-at-home mom, a chance to be able to take ballet classes if she wanted and to grow up with Christian values in a Christian home. To simplify our daughter’s adoption by saying we simply had more money than her birth mother would be both untrue and unfair to everyone involved.
As I started to gently explain to Pumpkin that V. absolutely wanted and loved Baby Sister, I was interrupted by our 7 year old son, G-man. He said, “Sometimes people cannot afford to take care of their baby or aren’t old enough to be parents or don’t have a husband so they find another family who can do that for them. It doesn’t mean they don’t love them. They just can’t take care of them.”
In that moment I couldn’t have been more proud of either of my children. Adoption is now a part of our life. We will speak about it. We will honor it. We love Baby Sister and we love V. We acknowledge and honor V’s love of Baby Sister too. She was her First Mother. That is a fact. She was the first one to love and want her. That is also a fact and as such it will not be a secret in our home or on this blog.
Two days after we brought our new daughter home her God Father asked G-man what he thought of his new baby sister. His response was, “I think she is NEVER going anywhere and is staying with us FOREVER.”
Out of the mouths and hearts of babes.