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Yesterday morning, OmegaDotter was watching Free Willy 3. (OmegaMom has dubious feelings about this movie. Free Willy was charming. Free Willy 2 was iffy. Free Willy 3 has a lot of violence, which bugs me. But OmegaDotter, when given a choice, often chooses number three over the other two. Hmmm.) At the end of the movie, Willy the whale gives birth (maybe her name is Wilhemina?). This movie has been viewed off and on by OmegaDotter for a year. Suddenly, yesterday, the lightbulb went off in her head. She came dashing in to the office. "Mommy! Mommy! Willy had a baby! Come see, come see! A little baby whale!" So she dragged me into the living room and pointed at the TV, and, sure enough, there was Willy (Wilhemina?), complete with baby. Then the ending credits started to roll. OmegaDotter promptly asked to see the "part with the baby!" again. I obliged. Then she returned to the office, climbed on my lap, and said, "I was a baby! And I came out of your tummy!" Erm. Sigh. "No, sweetie, you didn't come out of my tummy. Your daddy and I went to China to adopt you. You came out of your birthmother's tummy." "My birthmother in China?" "Yup." This has all been very sudden. Birth and babies and birthmother questions showing up. It's one of those developmental leaps that children take, which you can view clearly in hindsight, but they are sometimes hard to describe. Some leaps are very easy to pinpoint: beginning to walk. Beginning to talk. Suddenly using two-word or three-word sentences. Suddenly using adjectives. The birth of imaginative talk. But this one is harder to describe--it's more internal; it's as if the mental gears are suddenly meshing in just a slightly different manner, and more abstract notions are beginning to take hold. Watching a child grow and develop is one of the most fascinating things one can do. But, while it seems so very individual and amazing when it's us and OmegaDotter, I know, from reading on various lists, that she has hit an adoption milestone almost dead on in terms of age. The next big one is between 7 and 9 years old, when the adopted child begins to realize that, having been adopted, that means that someone, somewhere, abandoned them. Oh, in domestic adoptions, you can reassure the child that the birthmother "made an adoption plan"...but from discussions with adult adoptees, even the ones who are pretty sanguine about adoption and truly love their adoptive parents say that underneath it all, no matter what story was told, there is the one overriding emotion: Why didn't she want me? Why did she give me away/leave me/abandon me? Some respond with anger. Some with grief. Some with both. But we will cross that bridge when we come to it. Right now, she's just beginning to add two and two, and come up with babies and mommies and birthmothers.
posted by Kate @ 3/06/2006 09:07:00 AM  
  • At 3/06/2006 09:48:00 AM, Blogger Johnny said…

    Good post. Now, I wonder if trip #2 will have some effect on that thought process. i.e. she'll be there to see it happen for her sister and then...relate that to herself?

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About Me
Name: OmegaMom
Home: Southwest
About Me: Middle-aged mom of a 4-year-old adopted from China. Love science, debate, good SF and fantasy, hiking, music of almost every style. Lousy housekeeper. "Good enough" mom.
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