This morning on the way to school we somehow got into a discussion about moms. I mentioned that I have TWO moms and this piqued the Little Ones' interests. I said that I had my first mom, their Lola and then when she and their PeePaw divorced I got my second mom, their MeeMaw....who is my stepmom. I saw the wheels turning in their minds and so I told them that Emi also had 2 moms - her first mom, Cookie and then me, when she was adopted into our family right after she was born. I then told them that they also had 2 moms as well. Mama Bri - who is their first mom - and now me since they were adopted into our family last year.
Aubri then chirped that she was born in California. David, not to be outdone, said that HE was born in California too. I told him that he was actually born in Oklahoma and that he moved to CA to live with his grandparents before Aubri was born. He lived in CA for a short while before his little sister was born and that they moved back to Oklahoma after she was born.
We talked about each of them being in Mama Bri's tummy until they were born. David asked "Is there a hole?" and I told him that yes, there is a hole where babies come out. Then he looked very concerned at me and said "I don't want that to happen to me!". I told him that he didn't have to worry about that, it only happens to girls who become moms, so it would not be happening to him. What an inquisitive little boy! I hope his fears have been allayed (at least some of them) and that he understands a little more about his world.
We talk about each of our children's birth stories often so it's not a foreign concept. Aubri is so innocent and chirpy and accepting about the details of her birth and adoption because she was only 18 mos at the time we adopted her, but I think that David is still curious (and maybe skeptical) about the details of how he was born and ended up in our family. He was 2.5 years old when they joined our family and had moved so many times in that short amount of time already. The things they were exposed to may be fuzzy for her but I am certain that David remembers it all. I told them that Mama Bri wanted them to have a whole family so she met with Dierdre at Deaconess and she picked us to be their new family. They may not remember that first meeting at the agency, but they do remember the next meeting at the park! Every time we go there for play or concert they say "Mama Bri brought us here!".
I let them know that while they don't live with their first mom, she still loves them very much. And the same with Papa Dave. They may be too young to fit the pieces together but not too young to learn about adoption-speak. And they need to always know that their whole family loves them no matter what (or where they live).
In the beginning we had a lot of visits with the birth mom to ease the transition but after a few visits it was obvious that the too frequent visits were 1) interfering with the children attaching to us and 2) keeping their birth mom from moving on with her life without the children. The visits were making me feel more like I was their step mom and I felt out of place in my own home, like I was the hired help - just there to cook and clean up after the party. Most of the visits were focused on what the birth mom needed or was going through instead of how the kids were doing and that was flat out draining for someone like me (co-dependent tendencies). Each visit totally disrupted the boundaries, harmony and peace that we had established in our family. Frustration on top of potty training and disciplining and getting accustomed to new roles in the family (never mind sleep deprivation). So we decided to take a break...
It was a hard choice to take a half year break from direct contact with the birth mom but those bonds needed to be broken for our bonds to form. During this time period we've gotten to know the Little Ones' birth father and his wife and we just love them and feel blessed that we are all a part of our children's lives. The kids know them as family and they feel the love from them. They are a positive influence in their lives. We hope that after this extended break from their first mom, that we will have a simple, refreshing, positive visit with her soon.
* The picture above was taken 10 days before they were officially placed in our home. They spent the weekend with us and they slept together in a play yard. They came with diapers and sippy cups and today we are diaper and sippy cup free! (yay!)