Reviewing my youngest sons school work over the weekend brought to light something I was not prepared for.  I should have been.  Really.  It is no surprise.  I should have been uber prepared.

But I wasnt.

He, like his brother before him, has started writing about his sister in his school work.

Reading stories, daily writings about things he did with his sister, literally set me off kilter to the point I had to rest on the couch. Is this an imaginary friend? Something he read? I furiously flipped pages looking for a reference to a book or story they read in school. I found none.

My youngest son was so very young when I shared the knowledge of his sister. (Refer to “Telling Children“). While I knew someday he would ask questions, I assumed they would be different questions, or less challenging questions than the ones his older brother asked. I assumed my youngest would grow up in a house where talk of his sister is free and regular and that secrets will not be allowed. I assumed (erroneously) that my sons confusion, pain, uncertainty, angst over the sister they have but are not permitted to know would be openly discussed. I assumed they would verbalize it.  To me, directly.

Silly silly me.

What was I thinking?

I havent discussed with my youngest the fact that I read these home work stories. I havent challenged their accuracy. (“Today I played with my sister…”).  I have kept it to myself.

It is a fine line for me. Trying to balance their needs and realities with mine. I try not to over identify with adoption with them. I try not to make it a mongo ginormous big deal. It is bad enough I personally need to spew this emotional vomit regularly. I want to shield them. Protect them.  And I shield and protect others. When my oldest asked “Why didnt gramma let you live with her? Why didnt gramma help you? Why didn’t sisters daddy marry you?” I deflected indicating I could not answer for Gramma or Sisters Daddy. Was that right? Wrong? Somewhere in between or is there no correct answer?

I try to answer only what is asked and answer it at an age appropriate level.

But what if they are not asking?

What if they are keeping it to themselves because talking about it makes mommy cry?

What if they want to say something bad, out of anger, about sister but  mommy is defensive and protective of sister (and thereby invalidates sons feelings?)

If I can be so blunt and a bit crass, this shit seriously sucks.

I am undecided how to proceed at this point. I may watch for more signs expressed in homework or elsewhere.  (As in this weekend, my youngest son was asking if he had step brothers. My fiance has two sons. I responded that when Mommy and Rich get married, he will have step brothers. He seemed to accept that answer and went about his morning tasks. Inside me, something cringed, waiting, anxiously for the next question to be about his absent sister).


Paying the Price of Adoption

: ( – Me

I use firefox at home to surf the Net.

I have used firefox for a few years and love it. I am not a fan of IE at all. This is largely due to the fact that my employer is still on IE6. Ugh.  I have trained my sons to use Firefox instead of IE even though it is resident on our systems. (I am also converting over my fiance).

Last night my son was working on summer homework on my home computer.  He has two books to read this summer (Monster  and A Single Shard) and has to complete projects on both of them. They are due the second day of school. He has finished reading Monster and is working on the related project.

He typed the project last night on my home computer. He must have become bored with his school work at some point and decided to surf the web and launched firefox.

My firefox home page is my blog.

Imagine my surprise when I enter the darkened family room, lit only by the computer monitor, and find my 11 yo son deeply engaged in reading this very blog. As I rounded the desk where he sat, he quickly closed the browser and returned to his school work. He reacted so quickly you would have thought I caught him surfing porn sites.

No porn. Just this blog where I talk about his sister, my adoption experience and activism.

He was all kinds of off after I “caught” him reading this blog.  It felt to me that he shut the blog viewing down to hide the fact he was reading it from me. He seemed to care less (as did I) that he was taking a break from his home work and I caught him.

It bothered me that he seemed to be bothered by this blog. He did not have his hand in the cookie jar. He has his eyes on this blog.  He knows what I do, why, how and such. We have talked about his sister (not in the past year though). I encourage open dialogue and let him ask questions. I dont write anything here I would not stand up for with my children or I wouldnt want them to know. I am not ashamed or embarassed with my children. In my home, honesty and reality sit down on the couch with us every  night.  Adoption denial is not welcome. We dont serve adoption koolaid at our new home.

That being said, what disturbed him here? What totally changed his mood to the point he came up to me later, hugged me and started to sob into my shoulder?

Is he feeling bad for me?  Is he missing the sister he does not and cannot not know? Did I say something here that upset him?

I tried to talk to him later. He would not budge. He looked down at his feet, away, played with his ear, held my hand and just stayed quiet.

I resent that all my children must pay the price of adoption.

The transaction was not completed the day my daughters adoptive parents paid the baby broker. I, my sons, my marriage and more have been paying installments on that transaction for years.

I am frankly tired of it.

My emotional wallet is empty and my children should never have had to pay at all.

Student of the Week

"Brothers and sisters are as close as hands and feet."  ~Vietnamese Proverb

I wonder how deep the wound goes. 

Will it scar over for him? Will it always hurt? Will he always question it? Will he always feel the need to keep the real details to himself for not doing so might make mom cry?

My son.

My darling, amazing, caring, funny, freckle faced ten year old boy.

I wonder how often he thinks of his missing sister.

Does he want more contact? Does he want to write her? Does he wonder why she wont meet him? Wont meet me? Does he blame me? 

Does he lose sleep at night?

Clearly, again, he thinks of her constantly.

This honey eyed young tween is Student of the Week in the fourth grade. As such, he is given a pre-printed poster sized document that has various quadrants to complete.  The quadrants ask him about his favorite foods, sports, activities. They ask him about his family. There is space for a mini autobiography. There is a large space in the middle for a photo.

I knew nothing about this Student of the Week status until he appeared in front of me this evening holding up a picture of his missing sister.

"Mom, can I use this picture of [sisters original name followed quickly by her amended]?" he asks.

I look, a bit startled, but utter "Sure, of course. What is it for?" I inquire.

"I am Student of the Week and need to do a bio. See?" he holds up the poster for me.

"Oh, thats great. Very cool. Sure. Go ahead" I say as I secretly wonder what is on the poster.

He walks away and I crouch at the coffee table.

Under My Family he has listed me, my ex husband, his brother, himself, our cat, and his sister. I note that his sister is written in  really light pencil where all the rest are normal colored.

"Why is [sisters name] lighter?" I ask. I suspect I know the answer.

"Well, she is here but she is not. So I couldn’t write her like us" he responds rather of matter of factly.

I choke a bit. My eyes swell with tears.

"Ah, very detailed you are." I respond.

"Stop talking Yoda mom.." my son says.

I continue reading the poster and realize that the photo piece is supposed to be a photo of himself. Why has he chosen to feature his sister in the spot he is supposed to be in?  The question becomes too difficult to even ask at first.

"This spot is for your picture, honey" I say.

He gets embarrassed, withdrawn and looks away.

"Yeah, can’t I put sister there?" He has angst on his face.

"Of course you can sweetie. Its your project and you are Student of the Week" I respond.

I wonder if my daughter has any idea how much her brother loves her and he has never even met her.  I wonder if she will ever  do him the honor of meeting her.

I wonder, even more so, why no one told me that surrendering my daughter would cause not only pain to her but to all my subsequent children.