Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Starting to Grasp It...


Early this past summer Kyle and Owen went through a phase of being hyper-interested in their own adoptions and in concepts related to 'where babies come from' (click here for just one example of blog posts from that period of time). Over about a 3 week period they were like little sponges, thirsty for information. We gave them as many of the age-appropriate details we possibly could. However, during that time, despite our best efforts, they consistently insisted that they had come from "a nest" or from "an egg" (as in a bird's egg), or... their favorite: that they had come from "Haiti" (as in they were "born from Haiti" - with no acknowledgement of there having been any human beings involved). It seemed very, very hard for them to grasp, at that point, the concepts that we were trying to convince them of: that they "had grown in a lady's belly" and that they were "born from that lady" and that "she wanted us to have them" and that "then they were adopted and we became our family." Whenever they'd initiate it, we worked this from every angle, in the most straight-forward and simplistic ways. We followed the advice of all of the adoption literature. We followed the advice of other adoptive parents. We followed the advice of child development books. Still, they more-or-less ignored our information and plowed ahead with their own explanations. This is one of the interesting things that I've found about raising twins; regardless of what they hear/see/experience via Braydon and I (or any other person for that matter), they still have the mighty power of twinship... so, for example, if the three of us (K, O, and me) were talking about how they were born and I was insisting that they were born from a lady's belly, but they were insisting they were born from a nest, then ultimately it is 2 against 1, and it is twin-super-powers vs. wacky-old-mom and... to state the obvious (obvious for the twins at least): they win out. No matter how much their logic or rational (or behavior, as the case may be) is flawed, it is, ultimately, the two of them vs. the rest of the world. And, in our experience with our twins (who have a bond stronger than titanium), the two of them stick together through thick and thin. So when their explanations for babies' births come up super thin, those frail and flawed explanations still overpower the logic-of-another. Any other. In June, after going around and around with them about this baby-born-thing, I figured they weren't ready yet -- just simply weren't ready for the information. When they put it to rest, I happily let them. And waited for it to rise to the surface again. Recently, their interest has blossomed and we're in the thick of it once more. And now, just 5 short months later, they seem much more able to grasp some of the basics. Over the past couple of weeks they are suddenly deep-in-thought about it again. It comes up repeatedly, at any and all times. But this time around there has been no mention of being born from a nest or an egg or from Haiti. They currently seem to fully grasp that Haiti is a place (that you can be born in, but that you can't be literally born from), they understand that all human babies are born from human women, and... drumroll please... they 'get it' that they themselves "grew in a lady's belly." They can talk about how "the lady squeezed and squeezed" (Kyle needs to add that "she squeezed gently because she didn't want to hurt him"), and how then they "came into the world!" They also seem to understand that they then lived in the orphanage "until they were EIGHT MONTHS OLD!!!" and that then we came on a "big airplane!" to get them. They can tell the story of how we "held them!" and "fed them bottles!" and they know that we loved them so much right from the start. They also know that for our first days we stayed together "in the hotel in Haiti" (and if you leave this part out, making it seem like we went straight home from the orphanage, they will correct you), and that then we "took them on a big airplane" to "bring them home." Although I've begun to introduce the word "birthmother" to them, they have yet to take that on. They ignore it, and continue to call their birthmother "a lady" (with a strong, positive, upbeat tone), and for now it seems that they are not ready to go further than that. Which is o.k. With their newfound knowledge (or, I should say, their newfound acceptance of this knowledge), and their comprehension of the idea that they grew and were born from a lady's belly, K & O are now expressing what could only be expected: deep and profound sadness that they did not grow in my belly and were not born from me. They have told me numerous times "but I want to be born from your belly Mama." And it gets me each and every time. We hug and I tell them, "I know, know, and I wish you were born from my belly too, my baby," and I try to remind them of how much they were loved from before they were even born. They are particularly fascinated with the idea that they were both in "the lady's belly together." And, importantly, this seems to give them -- Kyle in particular -- great solace to know this. This tiny piece of information seems to mean the world to him right now. Which makes perfect sense. Three days ago the boys were playing with their dolls and I walked into the playroom. As Owen watched, Kyle walked straight to me, took his doll and carefully pushed it up under my shirt until it was tucked fully inside. He looked up at me and told me his baby was growing in my belly. I then slipped the baby out of my shirt and Kyle announced that the baby doll "came into the world!" Kyle held his arms out to me and said, "Now you give me my baby Mama." I handed him the baby, "and it was an adoption!" The next day during their rest hour I peeked into Owen's room to check on him. I saw him playing with a different small soft doll. He was pushing it up under his own shirt. He noticed me in the doorway and announced to me, "Mama, I am a lady!" I said, "Oh!" He then told me that his baby was "growing and growing, bigger and bigger" in his belly and that "soon it would be born!" He walked in front of his mirror to admire himself with his doll tucked fully under his shirt. Then he let the baby drop out and announced that it "came into the world!" He then handed me his baby and told me to "hold it gently."

7 comments:

Malia'sMama said...

Wow... on so many levels. I would've cried the second I left the room after his "adoption" reenactment. Amazing kids.

Ani said...

Oh gosh - they never cease to amaze us, do they?

Chuck and Juli said...

I can't thank you enough for sharing things like this on your blog - I've been following it for a while. My husband and I are adopting twin boys from Haiti that are a year and a half younger than yours. Reading your stories about your little men gives me so much hope (and laughs!) as I wait for mine to come home. Thanks! Juli

crazylady said...

you have been bookmarked

When this starts up, I'll come calling.
So much to understand for such little people.

Scarlett_333 said...

I love when you post about their perceptions of adoption- it is so interesting!!
Nikki

Anonymous said...

We too are going thru some of this with my 6 year old daughter. We call the "lady" her tummy mummy and she is struggling right now with loving both her and me. (She never knew her, however) I just keep reassuring her that of course she loves her tummy mummy very much. I find at times like this that we still need to work on attachment, as hard or harder than we did when she came home, or we see some really angry behaviour.

Our kids are a joy aren't they, but sometimes sooooo much work!!!!

chancesmom

Marcy "meg" said...

So sweet.... lovely story. I think you guys are doing quite the awesome job.