questions and attempted answers

Sunday, November 4, 2012

I didn't expect to already be getting into the "tough questions" part of life with my kids, but I totally am. Ace has always been very curious and inquisitive, and has never let me off the hook with a generic "oh just because..." type of answer. 

She recently asked me, "If God takes care of everyone and loves everyone, how come there are some people what sleep in their cars and what don't have families?" (Side note: Ace uses "what" for all interrogative pronouns).

My mother-in-law and father-in-law are divorced and a few days ago she was asking me why they don't live together. My attempt at an explanation did not suffice, and she kept on questioning it, unable to understand why someone's mom and dad didn't live in the same house. By the end of the conversation she was clearly stressed out by it all and I was left reassuring her that Mommy and Daddy would always be together.

And then there's Archie. There's one word in the English language that I would have been perfectly fine with it not making its way into his vocabulary: "Why". EVERYTHING these days is "Why? Why, Mommy? Why?" "Just because" used to be an adequate enough answer for him. Now it is followed with a cute, puzzled little face asking, "because why?" 

We are and always have been very open in talking about his adoption. But it is kind of an interesting path that we are navigating, because although he was seven when we brought him home, he still doesn't understand what it all means. So the other day, the kids were going through a bunch of my old pictures and Archie saw one of just me and Joey and excitedly asked me, "Archie in mommy's tummy here?" (Ace often asks me if she was in my tummy in different pictures). I was caught completely off guard and had no idea what to say. He had the biggest smile on my face and he wanted so badly for me to say, "Yes, buddy! You sure were!" But I couldn't. Ace on the other hand was not at a loss for words. She quickly piped up, "No, Archie you weren't ever in Mommy's tummy. Remember? We got you from a orphanage." Archie was not pleased and started insisting that Ace was wrong and that he had been in Mommy's tummy. They went back and forth about it, before I was able to distract them and end the conversation. Ace's intentions were not to make Archie feel bad, she is just very adamant that people have their facts straight. And she couldn't understand why it mattered. To her, they got to our family two different ways but are both our kids, no difference. 

Archie was sad. Not a long-lasting, tears sad. But a quivering lip sad. One day, he will understand more, and I want him to be proud. 

I hate that adoption often feels like a taboo subject. I don't really get it. When we were in the process of adopting Archie, it was like people didn't know what to say. One time, just after we had announced that we were adopting, and a friend of mine had just announced she was pregnant, we were walking together up to where a group of our friends were. When we got to the group, one of the girls cheerily said, "Congratulations!" For a split second I thought she was talking to me, and almost began to thank her. She wasn't talking to me, she was talking to my pregnant friend. Throughout the time we were together, my pregnant friend received tons of hugs, questions, and congrats. No one said a single word to me about the little one I was expecting. But they all knew. So awkward. And pretty hurtful. 

November is National Adoption Month. I hope that the adoption conversation starts to open up and that it becomes less "different". I hope that some day the response to finding out someone is adopted will change from the typical, "oh my gosh, really? He's adopted?? I had no idea.." to "oh cool". 

A few months ago when he had his summer cut, Archie found an old picture of Joey and came running up to me holding it screaming, "Mommy, Mommy, Archie like Daddy!!" He was so thrilled that he looked just like his Daddy. 

I see it too, buddy. 

Lots of Love!


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