I was the winner of a giveaway! I won Sally Bacchetta's (Adoptive Parent) book, What I Want My Adopted Child to Know.
First, doesn't it just feel so good to win something? ;)
Second, WOW. It's terrific. At 106 pages, it's not long, but it is packed. In fact, I'm only on page 32, because I am pacing myself. I have no doubt I could read it in one evening, because when this subject matter is close to home, you drink in every word and can't get enough. I am limiting myself to 1 chapter per night, and I've even already re-read some. Every paragraph is so rich, and though it's hard to put it down, I know I want to process it slowly. I want to chew on each chapter, and learn and reflect as much as possible. I have no doubt I will read it many times before it stops teaching me.
Some parts are hard to read, I'll be honest. I've even had a few knee-jerk reactions that have left me feeling defensive. I'm far enough into my birthmotherhood, though, to look for the truth in those moments. And it is always there. One thing I hate about adoption in general is that each member of the triad is constantly challenged, and obligated, to accept/learn from the parts that are yucky. There are always more vegetables to eat.
I love the concept of the book. I love the gift that it gives adoptees. I love the window it gives me into the other side of this whole thing. It make me wonder, even more, what my birth son needs to hear from me. I feel silly saying it, but I had a better grip on what he needed from me when he was much younger. It was so simple then: I'm your birth mother. You grew in my belly. I chose your mommy and daddy because I wasn't ready or able to be a mommy. I loved you then and I love you now. I will always be a part of your life to help you understand. Um, now I'm to the last part and I'm not sure I even know what he needs in order to help him understand. I think I understand it less than I used to. This is not regret, it's part of birth parenting, I think. Just like how as a parent I don't have all the answers, as a birth parent I don't either. Colin and I have had a few of the conversations you fantasize about in the early years. I've told him my version, my side. I've offered a listening ear countless times, and in true 'tween boy fashion, he doesn't tend to pour his heart out to me. I've written him letters, and tried to give opportunities to talk about the Tough Stuff, but I get the feeling that he's uncomfortable being put on the spot. (Shocking! Right?) My hope is that even though he's been quiet when I've offered to listen, the message is still getting across. That he feels comforted knowing I care enough to offer. Repeatedly. That I'm always available. I email him regularly, and he responds sometimes, but not always. I usually tell him about random things that have made me think of him throughout my days, and I hope that he gets the sense that he is important to me and certainly on my mind. Is it enough?
Adoption professionals always talk about how even if an adoptee is quiet, don't assume they don't have questions, or want to talk about stuff. I totally get that, but then how do I know what to bring up? I don't want to inundate this kid with heavy stuff if he happens to be in the middle of some other adolescent struggle totally not related to adoption. I know at his age, what's on his mind most can change week to week. In some sense, I want to follow his lead. But he may not be able to take the lead. How do I handle this? I should ask his mom. She'll know much better where he is with everything. She'll know whether or not he needs support on this front right now or not. Moms always know :)
Adoption is a journey. Adoption is a journey. Adoption is a journey.