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).


14 Thoughts.

  1. i can relate to your experience. i was blown away when last year my daughter asked for a lawyer completely out of the blue. I asked her what she needed a lawyer for and she told me to get visits with her (adopted) sister. She went on to tell me that I didnt just lose a daughter, that she lost a sister too. I asked her why she never came to me sooner and she said she didnt want to make me cry. I felt like a giant a-hole that day. I’ll have to write a blog sometime and share the experience because adoption has had a profound impact on her and I had truly thought she had adjusted and was ok with it.Kids are alot more in tune then we give them credit for.I think our job as parents is helping to give them tools to cope. It’s pretty hard when the other side is not interested in any contact. You’re left with a lot to deal with. Big Hugs to you Suz.

  2. Just wrote and lost a lengthy comment, maybe it was my computers way of telling me to be brief. I’ll try.

    I’m experiencing something similar with my niece (age 3 1/2). She is incredibly bonded to the cousin she’s never met. “Kidlet and I played there,” she’ll say and point as we drive, “and we rolled down that big hill…” and she goes on and on with so many details if I didn’t know better I’d think it actually happened. And she’s gotten very possessive more and more it’s “MY Kidlet” not just “Kidlet” I’m told its normal, that she’s just given her imaginary friend his name and family position. But when she brings him up I don’t know what to say. Do I encourage her imagaination? Do I explain that Kidlet lives far away so no, he won’t be here to play dress up with her? Do I say nothing.

    It DOES suck. And no one prepared me for this, no one suggested that I wasn’t just making this decision for me but also for my parents, my sisters, my nieces, my future children…

    I have no words of wisdom or advice, but I do understand and am sending long distances hugs.

  3. After I got in contact with my family back in 2006, it took me about 3 months max to come to the conclusion that my sister was born because of me.

    It took my adoptive mom about 3 years later to think about the fact of why my sister was born, much less that she was born because of me.

    I did not discuss it with her. Like your sons, I kept it to myself. People would ask me why. Why not discuss it with her? Why not tell her I hurt because of it?

    Well, what can she possibly do to “heal” it, or make it “go away”? She’s my adoptive mom. She isn’t my mama nor is she my sister. She can’t “do” anything.

    Thusly I remain silent because I know it hurts her to watch me be in pain… and so I am quiet, like your sons. I remain silent because talking about it does not make me feel better. I remain silent because it can’t be helped. And so on.

  4. Mei Ling – Do you mean your adopted sister or your biological sister? I am assuming you mean your adptive sister – and that your amom was finally able to concieve and carry once you were adopted (this happens SOOOO often). If I am wrong in what you meant, please correct me.

    More to come on this as you have prompted me. (As you often do!)

  5. No, I meant my kept sister – biologically-related to my original parents.

    I don’t have an adoptive sister.

  6. Ah, gotcha. Thanks for clarifying.

    Interesting to me. My son was almost NOT born because of my daughter.

  7. *literal intake of breath here*

    Does that mean if you had kept your daughter you *likely* wouldn’t have had your son?

  8. How can one answer that question? Its impossible. If I kept my daughter, I might have married her father. I might never have met my sons father, etc. Its is an impossible question to answer.

    My son asked me that himself. “If sisters daddy married you then you would never have met my daddy and I wouldnt be here?”

    I cannot say that is true or false. It is a complete unknown.

    What I meant by not having my son is that I was so traumatized by losing my daughter, that I refused to have more children. I sought out a man that did not want children. I was convinced I could never be a mother, would never be one, could not bear the thought of going through pregnancy again. It took me 12 years and ALOT of therapy to decide to become pregnant again.

    : /

  9. Hi . . . just letting you know I’m lurking/reading. Also, I’ve given you an award over on my blog. Let me know if it is not okay to link you.

  10. HI Sherri. Nice to “meet” you. Of course you can link to me and wow, thank you for the award!

  11. I have a similar problem. When I was communicating anonymously with my birth mother, my daughter (then 4) would ask me why and I didn’t really know what to tell her. So I explained as best I could, that my mother couldn’t raise me and that I was writing her letters. My daughter doesn’t understand why this grandmother doesn’t want to be in her life like her other grandmother (my husband’s mother) does. I don’t have an answer for myself on that, much less her. Sometimes I catch her playing games about her mommy’s mom and things like that. I worry she is going to be afraid I’m going to give her up, too, or that she thinks there’s something wrong with her and that’s why this grandmother doesn’t want contact with us. I worry she’s going to keep these things inside because she knows my mother’s desire for no contact hurts me.

    You said it: sucks.

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