It happened tonight. I knew it was coming, had been dreading it for years, praying that I'd say the right things, and just waiting for her to ask. This evening as we were getting ready for bed, Abbey asked about her story... her beginning.
She's been told she was adopted ever since she was a wee little one. That seemed to suffice. I waited for her to ask for specifics, but she didn't, until a couple of months ago. I figured Anna being pregnant with Layne would precipitate some questions, and it did. She asked one night, "Did I grow in your tummy?" I told her that no, she was born in China and adopted. She asked if anyone of her siblings grew in my tummy. I explained that the older ones did, but she and Elijah were born in China and we went to get them and bring them home. Then I waited for the next questions that didn't come until tonight.
I have dreaded talking of the "other mother". On one level, if I'm to be honest, there is fear that this will somehow lessen their view of me. One a far more important level, John and I both worry that this will eventually be painful to her and Elijah. Painful because the natural thought progression is that their birth parents didn't want them. Feeling unwanted, knowing one was abandoned, certainly are feelings I'd like to shelter them from...but I can't.
So tonight, the other shoe dropped. Our conversation went like this:
Abbey-"How long did I live in the orphanage before you came and got me?"
Me-"You were 9 1/2 months old"
Abbey-"How did I get in the orphanage?
At this point, I knew the long dreaded conversation was imminent.
Me-"You were found in a garden and taken to the orphanage. They took care of you until we came to get you."
Abbey-"You mean I grew in a garden????"
There was distinct excitement in her voice and face at this. I realized that this little girl was thrilled with this thought. She's really into fairies, and fairies are born in gardens. She would love to be like Tinkerbell. I could see the wheels spinning in this direction and needed to put on the brakes.
Me-"No, you grew in a lady's tummy."
Abbey-"What lady, who?"
Me-"We don't know. She put you in a garden and you were taken to the orphanage. You know that babies come from ladies' tummies."
Abbey-"Even adopted babies?"
Me-"Yes, even adopted babies."
Abbey-"How about Elijah?"
Me-"Yup, Elijah too."
I waited for more questions, but they didn't come. So for now, that's it. In a way, I'm glad to have that said. I'm glad I don't have to dread that part anymore. But, I still dread the hurt that is inevitable. I'd love to protect her and Elijah from that hurt. I know I can't. I know that that is part of who they are. I know that God will somehow use that in their lives. I also know that He's big enough to help them with their pain. I just pray that He'll help me know how to handle it when it rears it's ugly head.
I also pray that somehow, they will comprehend how much John and I love them and the fact that we couldn't love them any more if they had come from my tummy!