When I got home from yoga class last night (around 8:30 or so), my daughter was in bed, reading. I went in to give her a kiss and tuck her in. As I got closer, I noticed a tear sliding down her cheek. Then I saw what she was reading. It was the storybook I made a few years ago when we had the big adoption talk with her.
"Why are you crying, sweet girl?" I asked. I was almost afraid to ask, because I sensed that it wasn't the usual "Dad wouldn't take me to Dairy Queen" stuff. I inhaled slowly and held my breath for a moment.
"Because I can't see J," she replied. Tears immediately sprang to my eyes. I scooped her up and held her in my arms, rubbing her back with one hand and smoothing her freshly-washed curls with the other. I told her that J, her birthmom, lives far away but that I'm sure she will see her someday.
"If you want, you can write her a letter and I'll mail it to her," I offered. She nodded.
I do have periodic contact, via email, with my daughter's birthmom, and I'm fairly certain she would be okay with receiving a letter. At age six, A mostly only writes about kittens and rainbows so I'm not sure what she plans to say, but I'll be happy to mail it for her!
Before tucking her back into bed, I asked, "Do you have any questions I can answer for you?" I always try to make sure, when this topic comes up, that I don't leave her with any lingering questions or misconceptions (I remember how my brain worked at her age - for the life of me I couldn't understand how I could turn off the radio and then turn it on later and the same song wasn't still playing. How could it go on without me?) She shook her head no, but then asked me if we had given her a bath in the hospital when she was born. I have told her in the past that the nurse showed us how to give her a bath when our new daughter was just hours old. We certainly needed the lesson- we had no idea what we were doing. I'm not sure why she is fixated on this, but maybe it has something to do with the need to know she was connected to us right from the start. I have read that all adoptees must work through feelings of abandonment and that there is really no way around it. However, I'm hoping to lessen that burden for her because really, she has always been with us. We were in the delivery room when she was born. Her birthmom loves her very much and thinks about her every day (I know this because she tells me so). There was never a single moment when A was unwanted by her birthfamily or by us. I'm hoping all of this will click with her, but I would also never want to downplay her feelings, whatever they may be.
She thought for a moment. "Mom, how many diapers did you buy for me?" Easy questions - yes!
"I don't know," I responded. "About a million, it seemed like? We kept them over there, on your changing table." I pointed to where the table used to be. I could almost still see the ten-month-old version of my daughter, gleefully pulling the diapers off the low shelf and flinging them one by one onto the floor.
She laughed. "I was naked when you gave me a bath at the hospital?"
"Yeah, that's usually how these things usually work, Goober," I said. I tucked her back into bed and pulled her comforter up to her chin. I leaned down close and kissed her on her tear-stained cheek, then laid my head against her chest. "We wanted you more than anything," I whispered.
She nodded, smiled, and closed her eyes.