Wednesday, May 10, 2006
A little bit unclear on the concept
OmegaDotter darted into the office to show me her bubblegum (oh joy), saw the picture of Mrs. Figby and Apples here, and asked: "Is that my birthmom?" Um, no, kiddo, she looks nothing like your birthmom, believe me! Once again, I hasten to assure my readers that the dotter is not being submerged in adoptive parent guilt, battered by constant references to her birthmother, the loss of her original heritage in China, or anything like that. In fact, while reading up on the current subject of motherhood on Adoption Parenting, I was feeling distinctly guilty about not having discussed her birthmother with her more often. It's the week before Mother's Day, and daycare is full of mother-mother-mother. The kids are doing crafts and cards and gifties. I'm pretty sure that none of the cute little education-school attendees who are the teachers at her daycare are pushing the concept of "birthmother" on her, either. So, for those of you who think that adoptees thinking of their birthmothers is something brought on by verbalized existential adoptive parent angst (VEAPA), I can safely say that, no, it seems to pop up on its own on a semi-regular basis. I haven't spoken the word "birthmother" or "birthmom" to her since her last foray into the subject, two months ago, when we were talking about Willie the whale having a baby (it turns out that the whale that gives birth is not Willie, but his girlfriend. Silly me.). All I did was to make sure from the start that I was comfy with using the word, and made sure that the dotter got a dose of her story--birth, abandonment (not using that word), adoption, and all--on a semi-regular basis. Sad to say, we haven't even done that in a long, long while. Right now, she's on a kick for the book "Georgie Goes West", or an incessant demand for stories about Ariel or Buzz Lightyear or Simba or some other Disney waif. The subject just pops up from the dotter now and again, and I try to use that opportunity to say things like "I think your birthmother probably looks like you", or "We don't know where she is, but she's probably somewhere near Guilin", and "No, your birthmother doesn't look one bit like Mrs. Figby." The idea is to keep the lines of communication open, so that she feels comfortable talking about her birthmother and adoption, and I feel comfortable doing the same. Often, the latter has a great deal of impact on the former, if you get my drift. If I were anxious and upset about the subject whenever it came up, you can bet your bottom dollar the dotter would pretty soon catch on, and stop bringing it up. Hey. It's a start.