Guest Post: Grief for little ones

November is National Adoption Awareness Month and by this point some long time readers are probably saying, “What the heck Elle, where’s the super awesome button?” ?Sorry guys… If you want a super awesome button put one of these up.

Just because I didn’t get the opportunity to create a super awesome button for National Adoption Awareness month doesn’t mean that I’ve forgotten. ?I decided to change things up a bit this year. ?At the beginning of October I invited a few of my fellow adoptive parents to be guest posters on my blog. ?I wanted them to share stories about adoption and how it shaped their lives, how it impacted their lives or something that they didn’t expect when becoming the parents to adopted children. ?I have received some very interesting stories so far.

Let me introduce you to Suzanne. ?I have known Suzanne since we first met her and her husband in SeaTac airport. ?They adopted their children through the same agency we did and we ended up traveling to meet the children together. ?There are a group of us that share a story of adoption survival unlike most others. ?In addition to becoming friends with Suzanne I have come to greatly admire her. ?She is a fantastic mother. ?She has two lovely spirited children and she parents them with such grace. ?I am not nearly as patient as she is.

She shared a few stories that she had written before. ?They make you think about the hurts our children have faced in their lives before they became our children.

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In the fall of 2006 we brought home from Russia two confused and neglected children, ages 5 and 6. ?Here are two snapshots of the grief that our little ones carry:

December 2006: our son had been with us for nearly three months before this conversation occurred, during an alphabet lesson:

We did the letter “B” last week:

“Ball. Banana. Bunnies. Bread. Breakfast. Baby.” I said.
“Mama doesn’t like babies,” Dandy replied.
“Yes I do! Why do you think that?”
“Why did you give me to the?detskydom?(orphanage)?”

Whoops! ?All this time he has thought I parked him there for six years because I didn’t like babies. ?All this time, he had thought I was his tummy-mommy. ? When I met him at the orphanage, he thought I was returning after being away. ?The amazing thing is that he ‘welcomed me back’ with open arms and heart, in spite of being abandoned.

After I explained that I was a new Mama on the scene he said it was very sad that we had had to wait so long. “I needed you,” he said. “I was a sad baby. I needed you no?bolshoy padashdi (big wait).”

And a few months later, in?February of 2007 our daughter — who sings all the time –was singing over her breakfast.

I love my mama.
Yes I do.
I love my mama.
Yes I do.

My Ruskie mama.
No I eat.
My Ruskie mama.
No I eat.

I love my mama.
Eat. Eat. Eat.
I love my mama.
Eat. Eat. Eat.

My mama loves me.
Eat. Eat. Eat.
My mama loves me.
Eat. Eat. Eat.

My Ruskie mama . . .

The song stops.

A small voice asks, “Mama, did Ruskie Mama love me?”

“Yes.”

“Why no I eat?”

We read all the books, the blogs, the list-serves. ?We had buckets of knowledge about the circumstances that children come from and the struggles of adapting to the new lives. ?We knew a lot. ?But how could we possibly anticipate moments like these? Moments that show us the confusion, the questions, the sad wonderings with which they live.

1 Comment

  1. Jenny says: Reply

    Great post. So poignant and thought provoking about what it means to be a mother. What we often think are the most basic things –shelter, food, availability — take on new significance as ways we show love and relationship.

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