Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Are You Glad You Chose Me? Talking about adoption.

"Are you glad you chose me?"

Did you hear that?
That little gasp of air? It was the sound of my heart. Breaking.

Lucy is six. She's in first grade. She knows that she is adopted - we have never hidden the fact. When she started asking questions, we answered them. At first, she was a little confused, and was somehow under the impression that we had gotten her at the mall. But we cleared that up, and we had - I thought - a solid story. The party line we were going to stick with. Everything she needed to know all rolled up into one simple sentence.

"Mommy's belly is broken, so another lady grew you for me - isn't that wonderful?"

Over-simplified? Sure. SHE'S A KID. My belly is broken. Another woman did grow her. And she is mine. Anyone who has ever met her will tell you - she is ALL mine. A clone if every there was one. Her teachers sit back and watch the results of nature v.s. nurture. Mannerisms, sass, enthusiasm, and a serious flare for the dramatic all point to me as her parent.

Case in point: Last week she climbed into bed with me at 7am and said "Mama, I just can't decide. Should I use an accent in the play today, or not. Because I *do* have an accent you know."

Oh honey, I'll just bet you do. You got those from ME.

However, last week Sam veered off the party line in response to some of Lucy's questions. Because let's be honest: the man seriously cannot handle the hot seat when it comes to our kids.

Now, to his credit, he was getting a bunch of ground-breaking questions last week. On Friday he admitted to Max that there was no Santa Claus. This was a significant departure from our standard response to the question "Is there really a Santa Claus?" Our agreed upon answer was supposed to be "Do you like what Santa Claus brings you? Then don't ruin a good thing by asking a bunch of questions. If there is no Santa, Santa can't bring presents. You dig?" But Sam was tired of the lies and half-truths. And frankly, he didn't want to buy the gift Max was going to ask Santa for this year. So he caved.

The next day, when Lucy started to ask some pointed questions about where - exactly - she came from, Sam was already worn down from the Santa Claus fiasco - he was basically a broken man by the time his sweet little pumpkin started digging around for her genealogy. He totally fell apart under pressure.

Under the pressure of a six year old asking a simple question.

He is not witness-stand material, and would never tolerate cross-examination, as evidenced by the following conversation:

"Daddy, where did you get me?"

"We got you at the hospital."

"Who gave me to you?"

"The nurse."

"But where did I come from?"

"Well, this nice lady grew you in her belly, but she couldn't take care of you so she asked us to be your parents and-"

"LUCY I NEED YOU IN HERE RIGHT NOW SO I CAN BRAID YOUR HAIR." I had to interrupt. Sorry, but I had to. I am not her mother because someone couldn't take care of her, or wasn't ready to be a parent right now. I am her mother because I am her MOTHER. But she is a smart cookie, and she was not so easily distracted. I really couldn't blame her when she tried to continue to the conversation in my room while I braided her hair.

"Mommy, are you glad you chose me?"

"I didn't choose you, sweetheart. No one chooses their children. Children are a gift. You are my daughter. Can you imagine it any other way?"

She was quiet for a minute. Then she broke into a gap-toothed grin. Because she also has my teeth. (Sorry about that, sweetheart.) "That would be ridiculous. OF COURSE you're my mama."

"Yup, I'm your mama and you're my girl. My amazing beautiful girl. And you are just like me in every way."

"Well......" she paused. I raised an eyebrow. "Well, mama, I am almost like you in every way."

"How are you not like me?"

"DUH. I don't have gray hair."

Such a smart ass. That's my girl.

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