Yes this is why

open-adoptions-ahead-300x3002

I had mentioned in a previous post that our youngest was struggling in figuring out her place in our family, well in all our family.  Her questions that she is asking tells us she’s trying to figure her whole story out.  We have taken her to meet a therapist versed in adoption and who works with young children. I got to sit in on this first appointment and could see my little making a connection with this therapist who I myself liked from our phone consult.  So we will proceed with another appointment to help our daughter out.

In the meantime, yesterday we got together with her birth mom, S, and her son to help celebrate her birthday.  During lunch our daughter started a conversation with S asking her in depth questions of why she is a parent to her son but not to her and why did she make the choices she did when she was born.

My husband and I are proud of her taking these steps to ask all of us involved to help her figure out what she is struggling with.  We had not known that she would be so direct with S so we had not prepped her what was coming.  She did look for reassurance to answer and we only shared make it age appropriate.  S did a great job being open and honest with our daughter (and by our I mean hers and ours).

I think our little still has to process these answers as she is only 6.  My hope is the upcoming appointments with the therapist she recently met with and having all of the adults in her life being open to these conversations that she will find the answers she seeks.

And this my friends, is why we pursued open adoptions with each of our daughters birth families.  Not only to have family relationships with them, but to have them available for the children we share to ask and answer the hard questions when they come.

Juggling as fast as I can

woman_juggling_roles

A day in a life, my life as a stay at home mom is not sitting home watching TV or reading a book or even sitting and eating.  A day in my life can have me everywhere doing everything all at once.

Currently, I am the Girl Scout leader for each of my daughter’s troops, yep that’s 2 troops.  I have taken on the role for our Elementary school as the Girl Scout coordinator because no one else had.  I am a board member now of our Girl Scout Service Unit.  I am a board member for our school’s foundation.  I am the chair for our school’s largest fundraiser, the Auction Gala that is fast approaching in early March.

Girl Scouts is currently at the start of everyone’s favorite time of the year, cookie sales!  Luckily I have mom’s willing to take on pieces of the cookie manager role in each of the troops so the burden isn’t fully mine alone!

There are 24 of us volunteers helping to make our school’s Auction Gala be the best it can be.  I am in the trenches alongside each of them helping to get donations, looking at ways to tweak this event in its 11th year, organizing, delegating, sharing ideas, coordinating meetings and keeping all of us in good spirits as we work our buts off!

And in the midst of this, our youngest has shared with me that she is struggling some about what family she belongs in.  This is something we expected at some point to come up in her thinking and for us to talk about.  I just never thought she’d only be 6!

Both our girls have only known the way our family is, formed by adoption with ongoing family relationships with their birth families.  Most especially our relationships have been strongest with each of their birth mothers and their extended families.  So not a surprise to hear my little talk to me about adoption and our family as it’s our everyday life, just didn’t expect this kind of struggle that she is experiencing internally.

She knows and has always known that she did not come from my tummy where babies are before they are born.  She has known always that it was in the tummy of S that she grew and was loved from the start.  She knows that S chose us to be her parents and for her sister to be her sister.  We see S and it was right after a recent time together that my little shared what she was thinking.  I felt my heart tear into little pieces.  We let her share what she was feeling and tried our best to answer her.

Even with what we could answer, my husband and I think that a non-family member (therapist) versed in adoption and one who works with young children would be a better place for her to find herself and her answers.  With that said I got a referral from an adoption therapist with whom my husband and I have seen and drop in to see from time to time even still.

All my juggling fell aside I thought about what she must feel like but not knowing what she must feel like.  I wonder too if our older daughter has had similar thoughts but not shared them?  I needed to take the time to seek out a professional that I think will be a good fit.  Today I spoke with the one referred to us and I believe she will be a good fit but even still it must be a good fit for my daughter.  I liked her but it is my little who must find the comfort with her to talk and share her feelings.

So as I pick back up the balls and things I juggle in place, I will add this part to help my daughter and maybe both in time.

I am forever thankful to the community we built during our journey to parenthood through adoption.  It is this community I can turn to in times of need and they are there!

Do you have a community to lean on?

The birds & bees talk continues

talkin-bout-the-birds-and-the-bees

I did blush, well internally for sure.  You see there was never any talk about our bodies and what they do when I was growing up.  My mother signed the permission slip for first, the film strip in 4th grade, and then the movie in 5th grade about puberty and all that goes along with that.  When I got home after each event, she asked if I had any questions.  Yep that was the extent of my learning about my body and what it could do as a girl and woman.

We have taken a slightly different approach in our home.  We have regular matter of fact conversations and are open to questions about what is this and how does that work.  There may be days you may enter and hear a conversation about penises and vaginas.  I think back to when our oldest was just over 3 years old and asked me how she got into C’s tummy (her birth mother) yep that stumped me not so much the question but the age and it’s not the love and marriage conversation. After checking in with other mom friends who too are mothers through adoption I had a good response that I hoped would help answer her question with age appropriate discussion.  After that she followed up with a “how did I come out of there?” question which I could more easily answer since both my husband and I were at the hospital for her birth on C’s invitation.

We’ve been talking to our girls now 8 and 6 years old about what will be happening for them in the next few years as they reach puberty through some great books – The Care and Keeping of You 2 and It’s not the Stork. Our conversations have been on a question answer system as we read through these books and learn about what’s to come.

Recently we added a new dog to our family.  A 2-1/2 year old male German Short-haired Pointer, Freidmann.  He joins our other dog, Pepper a 19-month old female Weimaraner.  As the two dogs have been bonding, there have been more than playful encounters.  Ones where the male dog has jumped onto the rear of the female and it’s a bit more than fun and our girls have witnessed these moments.  It is now that this brings us to the next discussions about sex and procreation.  We shared age appropriately how a baby can be made.  After sharing what they witnessed and also letting them know humans do this too, they both seemed satisfied with the scientific details of the how since they had just witnessed two dogs trying the act.

Like other discussions in our home and our comfort of allowing questions of any kind, I think we are headed on the right path of knowledge for both our girls.  Giving them the info that will help them better understand themselves and what happens as they grow up.  The birds and bees are a part of our lives and not going away even if we shy away from these discussions.  I really don’t want our girls to learn this from their friends.  I am happy both my husband and I have the same belief about this.  After all he is surrounded by girls and it will be in his face whether he wants it to be or not.  This is the man early on in our relationship had to run to the store for me to get me tampons.  So you see he gets it on some level!

What do you share with your children about the birds and bees?

a look back at pictures

Our girls LOVE to hear about things they did as babies and toddlers!  They laugh and giggle when they hear about something they said and did back then. All of their 8 and 6 years have been captured with digital cameras.

Their first year and our story of how we became a family is in a book for each them to read and look at time and time again.

girls story books

Last night both girls got their books out.  We sat around and looked through them together.  Each book starts off the same with a bit about me and my husband and our life together and why we wanted to be a Mommy & Daddy.

The books go on to illustrate each of our meetings in the beginning of our family’s story with their birth mothers while they were not yet born.  We have pictures of each woman pregnant with them.

The books go on in pictures with captions to follow their first year including the day we went to family court and legally became a family.  At the time I made these books I also made copies for their birth mothers to have as well.

Our girls keep these in their room and from time to time I will find it in their bed as they’ve looked through it on their own time.  And like last night we will all sit together and talk about our family and laugh at their babyisms!

Pictures really tell us a story, and put together in these books it tells their stories.