Monday, February 17, 2014

Adoption: How Do I Answer The Question About How Many Kids I Have?

I'm in a new job which means getting to know new people.  Very common questions I ask and get asked:

"Do you have any kids?"

"How many?"

"How old are they?"

Maybe this is a ridiculously easy question for you to answer.  Maybe it isn't.  Maybe you had a miscarriage and you don't know how to answer.  For me, this question isn't particularly hard to respond to, it just usually involves me giving the asker more information than they thought they would get.

Whenever someone asks me how many children I have, I answer this way, usually all in one breath so there is no room for questions until I'm done:

"I have three kids.  My first child I placed for adoption when she was born, so I'm not raising her.  She is 9.5.  Then I have a 2.5 year old son and a 1 year old daughter."

People respond in all kinds of ways to that information.  I give a lot of grace here because I know they were not necessarily prepared to hear what I just told them.  I don't know how other birthmothers respond to this inquiry.  I just know for me, in my circumstances and how I feel about it, it feels wrong not to acknowledge Chloe in my "kid count".  To me, it feels like a way to honor her.  If I only said I have two kids, that would be dishonoring her.

My first day in the NICU, my preceptor (Courtney) and I had this very conversation.  She asked me how many kids I have.  I answered how I usually do.  I had my hands in a baby's isolette (incubator) at the time.  As I answered, though, tears started welling up in my eyes.  I was mid-sentence about how since I moved here, this is the first time in her life that we haven't been in the same city (generally speaking) as each other.

Side note:  since I'm a verbal processor type person, a lot of times I don't know how I'm feeling about something until I start talking about it.  The words come out of my mouth and it is only after the fact that I have a new revelation about the inner workings of my heart.

This was one of those times.  I didn't realize it was weighing on my heart until I said it out loud and had TEARS in my eyes.  I talk about adoption, Chloe, the whole scenario, all the time without crying my way through it.  And then in this instance, out of the blue, TEARS.  I blame unpredictable momma hormones.  I apologized profusely to Courtney.  Bless her heart.  She's going to be afraid to ever bring up the subject of children again!

I think part of what upset me was that I miss Chloe.  Although we didn't see each other frequently, we both knew we were there, available.  Also, it breaks my heart for her to think that I left her.  Does she feel this way??  Aw geez.  More tears.  I hope and pray she doesn't.

Her parents are so awesome.  I'm grateful every day for them.  I know they will help Chloe through this transition, as they have helped her through every phase of her 9.5 years thus far.  I pray that God would grant us all wisdom and discernment about how to care for one another during this stage.

I will continue to let inquiring minds know that I have three precious children.

Well, until I have four! No, I'm not pregnant.  Just sayin...

3 comments:

MegQTownsend said...

Hugs.

Anne Acuff said...

As BA's mom, and a grandmother, I can admit to having the same conflicting feelings…people always ask how many grandkids you have…I'm not sure how to answer to spare their feelings…but in the end I am proud and thankful for ALL my grandkids, so I say 7. I count Chloe's adopted brother as well, because we treat him the same as we would Chloe Anne. I love them all dearly and am grateful for the gift of them to our family.

Dean Glover said...

Don't fret. What matters is you've brought love to a child, and you have set yourself up as a dependable mother. That's as much of what anyone would want to wish for in their lives. If there is no alarming custody issue or anything with the adoption, then it's okay. The point is you have a family, and that you know your rights.

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