It happened in a Mexican restaurant...where all good things happen of course. All 5 of us were sitting at the table talking about foreign languages which led to questions about what language the girls spoke in Ghana which led to more questions about Ghana and quickly turned into "Who is my mother and father? Why did they not keep me? Why did my father not help my mother? What is his name? What if my mother is dead? I have two mommies and daddies now? Will I ever see them again?...." and BIG OLE FAT TEARS right into her rice and beans and out of the corner of my husband's eyes as he tried to pick up the latest toy Jude dropped on the floor for him. Waiter... can you bring me another MARG?!!? Just kidding but SERIOUSLY.... There is nothing like celebrating your husband graduating from law school with a nice, light hearted dinner. We knew the questions would come and will continue to for the rest of their little lives. One child is not there. She was as confused by the tears as I was that this was happening. All the reading and prep work can't prepare you for that moment. And then the stinky behavior came as expected. And I found myself wanting to be her best friend so she wouldn't hate us. Even the next day, I referenced us in 3rd person as "mommy and daddy" and she said 'you mean Kristin and Jeremy. My mother and father are in Ghana'. She didn't say it to sting me. She was right. She is confused. And so are we. Adoption is HARD and PAINFUL and a BEAUTIFUL, temporary redemption to a very broken people and world. I am still majorly processing. I am learning and praying and seeking wisdom from mentors and parents. I am sharing this for 3 reasons. 1. It may help someone else. 2. If you have wisdom or resources, I want to listen. 3. Please pray for wisdom in our words and actions and for the HEARTS of our children.
This is what I have so far....
1. Honor and pray for their birth parents. NO MATTER what choices they have made.
2. Don't answer questions that haven't been asked.
3. Be honest.
4. It's ok to say " I don't know" if you don't.
5. Affirm them that you are not going anywhere and how much you love and adore them.
6. Pray WITH them that we will all be together (with their birth families) as a family in Heaven.
7. Don't try to change the subject.
8. Be consistent in your discipline. Crying and grieving is ok and welcome but disrespect and hurting you (physically, verbally) should not be tolerated.
9. It is not about YOU (gulp). This is not the time tell them all the reasons you are better than their birth family. Really, there is never a time for that.
10. Educate grandparents, teachers, and other caregivers on ways they can respond to these questions.
11. Give yourself and them a WHOLE LOTTA LAVISH GRACE!!! You will need it.
12. Bring your community in and let them be on your team to support and encourage you. If you don't have a team, let me know and we will fight with you.
Carry on warrior parents! Battling with you!