From the moment we became foster to adopt parents I knew one day the questions would start. Why was I placed in foster care? What was my mom or dad like ? Do I look like them? Did they not want me or love me? All valid questions and deserving an honest answer. I just did not plan on them from my six year old so soon.
We have always been open about what we do as foster parents and about our adoption experience. We celebrate our “forever family” dates and we talk openly about foster care and adoption, after all adoption is beautiful. So I guess it really should not have shocked me when a few weeks ago diva said something about her birth mom. We were sitting in our living room watching cartoons when the first statement was made. Out of nowhere diva says ” My birth mom and I use to watch this all the time.” My chin hit the floor as the old saying goes. I asked her to repeat what she had said, thinking I surely miss understood her. But when she said it the second time the words birth mom echoed in my ears. I was speechless. I didn’t respond I couldn’t. In my mind I knew she could not remember much about her birth mom, she was only 16 months old when she came into our care and for 15 of those months she lived with her “dad” But still I wondered.
A few more days go by and again she brings up the subject of her birth mom. This time it was ” My birth mom and I use to have so much fun together. We danced and played games and went to movies. We always had so much fun. I sure do miss her.” This time I found my words and asked “What do you remember most about her?” To which she replied “I remember everything about her. She loved me so much that when she could not take care of me anymore she gave me to you and daddy.” And that’s when I realized our “truth” about her birth mom is what she remembers, not her actual birth mom, and that is what she was using to create this fairytale world between them.
Diva understands that we have adopted her, her brothers and little sister. She understands that we did so to keep them all together because we love them so much. What she does not understand is the how that came to be. She asked me about peanut’s (our youngest baby girl)mom before her adoption earlier this year and I stated that her birth mom was not able to take care of her (baby girl) anymore and that other people had made a way for us to become her forever family. I figure in her six year old mind that means their birth mom (same mom for four out of five of our little loved) loved them so much she wanted a better life for them and she found us. That’s not exactly true.
Their birth mom was not mother of the year. Did she love her kids? My answer would be she loved them the best she could or the best she knew how to. But she loved the drinking and the drugs a little more. From the few times I talked with bio mom at court hearings and MDT meetings I can make that assumption. Deep down she wanted what was best for her kids, however she thought that was for them to be with her moving from one drug fix to the next. Not ideal circumstances to raise four small children according to the court system. After our adoption of diva and wild man was final their birth mom told the judge she was “okay” with her (the judge) taking her (birth mom) kids away because she (birth mom) knew they were going to a good home (our home)so she could just keep having kids because they would be well taken care of. Does that sound like someone thinking clearly or someone in their right mind? I didn’t think so either.
No one wants to tell their child that their birth parents were drug addicts that lived on the river bank. No one wants their child to think about the lack of food, the neglect or filth they lived in before being placed in state care. You want your child to feel loved and protected so you kind of tell small truths so they can sleep at night, not lies just not the whole story. That will come when they are old enough to process the situation. In her own six year old way of thinking she has made up this whole world that makes her happy. In that world she and her birth mom went to the movies together, danced to silly songs together, ate pizza late at night together, and watching her favorite tv shows together……none of which ever happened. The truth is her birth mom split the day after she had her and left the supposed daddy to raise her. She only saw her here and there throughout those first 16 months and then after the state took over she received weekly visits until her parental rights were terminated. That “perfect” mom diva is talking about or as she says “remembering” is me. No I am not perfect but I am the one that takes her to the movies, I am the one she dances silly with in the afternoons after school, I am the one that slips her pizza late at night, and I am the one who watches endless hours of her favorite tv shows. Me. Not the birth mom.
With her RAD she does not always show the affection that most children her age do. I don’t get the hugs and kisses from her like I do from our other little loves. So instead of being upset that she has created this fairytale world with imagines of her birth mom I am going to count it all joy. Its good that she is using her imagination to think of positive things. And even though she “remembers” these thing happening with her birth mom, somewhere in her mind maybe in her heart, I know that she knows all of the good things all of the happy things come from mom….and that my friends is me. I will take this as her way of showing me she loves me instead of the negative spin I first placed on it. As she gets older I will explain more to her about the circumstances that surround her situation. And as she asks I will tell her more about the woman who gave birth to her but for now I will let her play out this fairytale. I know she knows I love her and I will choose to let her work through this her way. Until the time comes for her to want to meet her birth mom I will continue to watch her tv shows, dance to silly songs, slip her an extra slice of pizza and love her as only a mom can.
From our beautiful chaos to yours remember all fairytales can have great endings if we allow ourselves to believe in all good things