Long time readers of this blog know about “the original 6.” ?For once I’m not talking about hockey. ?The original 6 are a group of us who started blogs somewhat close to the same time, were all adopting from Russia and became very good friends. ?We have never had the opportunity to all be in the same place at the same time, but I’ve had the honor of meeting 3 of these amazing women in person. ?I met Margaret first. ?Two weeks later I met Rhonda. ?Of the 6, Rhonda and I were the only 2 using the same agency. ?As our friendship developed it became apparent that she and I were two peas in a pod. ?Our husbands will swear to that.
Rhonda sent me a story that she had posted on her earlier blog. ?I remember reading this particular post and crying. ?As I re-read it I cried again.
For the past few months, Bonnie has been saying some things that have caused her parent’s eyebrows to arch, wondering if she understands what she’s saying, or if she’s just chatting with no end in sight.
For example, a few weeks ago, we were out hiking, and Bonnie made the comment that she was going to be very careful not to get lost, because when you get lost, you lose your family. Given Bonnie’s past of abandonment around 2-3 years old, it caused Brian and I to stop immediately in the middle of the trail. We were both down on our knees, eye-level with her, explaining that she will never lose her family. And, if she gets lost, we will look for her until we find her. She said, “thanks for looking for me”, and happily skipped down the trail, leaving us scratching our heads, wondering if she is remembering something.
Later that week, she mumbled in the car while looking out the window, “I love my family, I don’t want to get lost and lose them.” Again, it caused me some concern. So, I talked to her teacher and asked if they were discussing at school what to do when they get lost. The teacher shook her head, and said she couldn’t think of anything they’ve covered in class that would cause Bonnie to say those things.
Today, it all came to light.
It all started over lunch of peanut butter and jelly, along with a cup of milk, when Bonnie asked me if she grew in my tummy. I explained to her that no, she grew in her Russian mama’s tummy, and then Mom and Dad came and got her at dietsky dom (which she remembers).
“Mom, I was a sad baby in dietsky dom,” she replied.
“Because I got lost with my family. I losed them.”
“Do you remember your family?” I asked her.
She nodded. “There were these people. But, I don’t remember their names, Mom. I was outside going for a walk and I was very cold . And this lady saved me. And she put tights on my legs, because I was so cold. She said I needed to stay there, so my family could come back and find me. After that, I went to dietsky dom.”
I stayed silent, because I’d never heard this story before.
“Mom, I didn’t like being a baby. I don’t like babies.”
“Why?” I asked her.
“Because babies lose their families. That’s what happens when you’re a baby.”
So, we had a long talk about how she won’t lose her family again. And how happy we are that she’s not in dietsky dom anymore. We talked about babies, and how its better if they’re with their families. How its not good for babies to be sad, and how that makes Mommy sad to know that Bonnie was a sad baby. Then, we reinforced over and over that she will not lose us.
She’s been home nearly two years, and this is the first time she’s told this story.
“I won’t go back to Russia, will I?”
“No, you won’t.”
“Well, that’s good, because they made me drink very bad milk. It had bumps in it, and I almost throwed up when I drank it.”
(Anyone else remember the curdled milk in Russia?)
“When I think about that milk, I get so angry. I am just going to be angry about it for a while, is that okay, Mom?”
“Yes, its okay to be angry about that.”
“They maked me drink it all the time. Because I lost my family. But now, I am with my family, and I don’t have to drink that milk anymore, right Mom?”
“That’s right. No more yucky milk. Mommy and Daddy didn’t like that milk either.”
As I handed her a second cup of milk, I wondered what was going on in that little brain. I’ve often suspected that she remembers going to the orphanage. So, this confirmed my suspicion. And, it also explained all of the discussion about her getting lost so much lately. It just kills me to think that she’s been worried that if she isn’t careful, she’ll lose us. Compound that with her vision problems, and now I think there is more meaning behind why she is always asking for my hand and tends to panic when she can’t see us.
She seemed satisfied with my answers today. I felt like I really convinced her that she won’t lose us. Soon, she was talking about playing outside and asking if she could go swimming. We finished our peanut butter sandwich and our milk. She went outside to play.
And, like it has been so often with her, we’ll wait for the next breakthrough.
Hey- its me one of the 6 who has come out of hiding. This story sounds very similar to stuff Piney has been saying to me- but she said they were always taking away her milk when she was a baby (the monsters in Russia were). I want to ask her more, but it upsets her and she always starts crying. Poor Bonnie. Rhonda handled it well.
Ah – I miss Rhonda’s blog. She was always such a poignant story-teller. And, that poor, sweet little Bonnie. Such sadness our adopted kids endured – and such resilient little creatures they are.
Thanks Rachael. The intent of this piece was just a reminder that adoption really begins after the kids are home. Its a process of healing, especially for the ones who have been abandoned or abused. My daughter (Bonnie is not her real name) continues to heal over time.
Oh, Bonnie. I’ve never met that little one, yet I love her with my whole heart. Thanks, Rhonda, for reposting this here.
And, holy heck, Jen! Where have you been?
By the way. Elle, I suck. I never did get around to writing a guest post. Never thought to recycle a post. Clever, clever Rhonda.