Tuesday, September 2, 2008

My Second Family...

Elise has been talking a lot about her first and second families.

We'd be the second family. :)

While she's always been proud of being Chinese, she really hasn't had too many questions or opinions about it. But lately, she's been saying things like, "if I were in China, I'd be sleeping right now" or "my first family is probably sleeping right now."

Clearly, she's trying to sort things out in her mind.

I think some of these statements stem from watching the Olympics and talking about the time difference, but the whole first/second family is a new topic.

We've tried not to romanticize the past for her, but rather give her facts. We've always told her we are sure her birth family loves her but they just couldn't take care of her. After reading Kay Ann Johnson's book, "Wanting a Daughter, Needing a Son," I suspect Elise might be a 2nd or 3rd daughter and her birth parents were hopeful she'd be a son.

Anyone else experiencing this? How are you handling the questions?

In the end, however, I always let her know that while I might be her second mommy, she'll always be my number 1 daughter.


Tammie said...

Hmmm . . .

This conversation makes me wonder. In all the years that Erin has been home, she has never once considered that we aren't her only parents. Yes. She knows she's adopted & from China. I guess "adoption" & its true meaning hasn't hit her yet.

Vivian M said...

We have always told Kerri the truth and when she finally understood she was abandoned she grieved and hurt. It took alot of work to convince her she is worthy and loved and wanted. Since she has always had attachment issues, we knew this would be a step back for her so we were as prepared as we could be to comfort her and reassure her.
Every child is different and deals differently. I think you can only follow your gut instinct and your heart, and your daughter will tell/show you what she needs from you.
I am sure the topic will come up again someday, and I will have the lifebook ready to show Kerri when the time comes to give her more details.

PIPO said...

So many things to think about and sort out.

I do love that last line. Well said.

The Morris Family said...

wow. very thought-provoking, indeed. you as her mother will sense/know/discern what Elise does and does not need, and she will show you~we are not there yet, since Maggie is 2.5~but in all major transitions so far, we have made it a practice to "take our cues from her"- thinking it will be the same for this chapter as well. really really really like what you said in the last line!

Beverly said...

I was told in several adoption classes never to tell the child that the bio family loved them because they then associate love with abandonment. Having said that, I did just that the other night in my sleep deprived discussion with Glenys. So we shall see how much more therapy she will need as a young adult,heh! Anyway, we talk about it as much as we can for the 4 year old set. I am fairly open and always honest. She hasn't made the abandonment connection yet though so we shall see.

Super Mommy said...

I think you are handling it right. Let her talk to you about it, if she has questions, answer her to the best of your ability.

I like your answer that she will always be your #1 daughter!

Becki party of 5 said...

My heart just aches as I think about having these conversations with Addison, and knowing that she will grieve and hurt, but knowing that it's something we will have to work through. Thanks for sharing what you're going through. Its so helpful for all of us adoptive moms to walk each other through these times. Sorry I don't have any advice, but it sounds like you are doing an amazing job.