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Adoption Blog: The Perfect Blend

The Birds, the Bees…And Adoption?

A friend of mine from grad school used to bestow Master status as a reward for a job well done. If, for example, you read a poem he thought was well written—as I once did—you were the Poetry Master for the day. One of our classmates was frequently Teaching Master. I was sometimes Boot or Scarf Master. Sangria Master was a level I never achieved.

Tonight, I’m feeling like a Parenting Master. 

In the bathtub a few hours ago, my youngest, Lilah, listed all of my babies. Since my husband, Jeremiah, made the list, I think she meant the people I call baby—not just my children. She also included herself. “And Josi.” (That’s her 4-year-old sister.) “And Dylan.” (The son we’re waiting to bring home from South Korea.) “And Dylan’s Korea mommy.”

As I’ve said in previous posts, we talk about Dylan, Korea, and adoption a lot. These days Josi’s princess figurines are often traveling to Korea to bring home babies, and I overhear lots of stories of princesses parenting babies who don’t look like them. (I’m pleased to report that Ariel’s mommy friends are quite supportive of her choice to adopt Minnie Mouse.) At the suggestion of another blogger, we’ve read and reread Mommy Far, Mommy Near, an excellent children’s book about international adoption, and have picked up one of the book’s terms: Korea mommy. (The protagonist’s birthmother is Chinese, so she has a China mommy.) I like the idea of a Korea mommy. The girls are now familiar with the term birthmother, but I like how Korea mommy focuses on geography and doesn’t serve as a verbal reminder of how I birthed Josi and Lilah but not Dylan.

Not that we forget.

As I supervised the girls’ bedtime routine, Josi hit me with another big one: “But, Mama, how did I get into your belly to begin with?” So I did it. I had a very age-appropriate sex talk with my 4-year-old. My mother, who is visiting from upstate, peeked in the bathroom with wide eyes and ran for cover. But I was proud. I was matter-of-fact. I answered her questions honestly. I made words like penis and vagina (and even sperm, egg, and the concept that babies are often pushed out of mommy’s vaginas!) normal and usable. As I tucked the girls into bed and headed to the door, a satisfied smile on my face, Josi had one more follow-up question. “But how will Dylan get into your belly, since he’s so big?”

I guess this wasn’t as clear to her as I had hoped. I gently explained that Dylan won’t ever be in my belly. I told Josi that he was in his Korea mommy’s belly and when her questions continued, that his Korea mommy pushed him out into the world.

“Mommy,” she said softly. “I think Dylan will be lonely when he comes to live with us.” I think so, too, I thought. (This has been on my mind recently and I discussed the issue of attachment and adoption in my last blog—thanks for all who shared your experiences.) Then I told her that we’ll have to be very patient and try our very best to make sure he feels safe and knows that we love him. And I wondered how these amazing, empathetic girls came to be. I mean, I know—and now Josi does, too—how they came into the world. But how did they get so lovely?

The girls are tucked into bed and although Lilah just popped out for her seventh drink of water, I’m lounging, feet up, reading the new issue of Adoptive Families magazine, which came in the mail today. There’s an article about these kinds of discussions and—gasp!—it seems like I’ve done everything right. For once. As a parent, I so often feel like I get it wrong or, at least, not as right as I’d like to or as I think my kids deserve. On those rare nights like tonight, I’ll take that Master status. Tomorrow, I’ll start again.

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Parenting Master - I love it! I liked reading this because I have been having the “another woman’s tummy talk” over the past six months and it gets better each time.  I think you did a great job, and you should be very proud of yourself!

By graced on Friday, March 11, 2011 at 4:58 am.

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