The Deed is Done
She cheats at Candyland, but we like her anyway.
The book I ordered from Shutterfly arrived yesterday. My stomach was in knots as soon as I saw the package. I showed it to P so that he would be aware of its contents before we sat down to read it to our daughter.
We took A to yet another Halloween event (Meemaw made the costume and by gum, we're gonna make sure the general public has ample opportunity to see it) and then came home to have dinner. After dinner, we sat her between us on the couch and read the book to her.
The story begins with how her dad and I met and fell in love. I wrote about how much I wanted a baby in my tummy, but that no baby came to live in my tummy. I teared up at this point because the pain of my four lost babies is still not that far beneath the surface. I have been richly rewarded with a beautiful firecracker of a child, so it's not a matter of any sort of regret. It's just that those were dark days and at times I really felt I might go under.
Next, I read the section where P and I went to an adoption agency and told the social worker how much we wanted to be a mommy and daddy. I explained how we met a young lady named J, who was pretty and smart and smiley. She had a baby in her tummy and she loved the baby very much. However, she was all alone and couldn't provide the things a new baby needs.
The last section of the book covers the trip to the hospital, the birth, and the homecoming. At the end, I wrote that we are so thrilled to be her mommy and daddy and that we were so proud and happy that J chose us. I tried to keep everything on a level that I felt a three-year-old could understand.
When we finished, I asked her if she had any questions. She seemed to enjoy the book, mostly because she does so enjoy looking at photographs of herself. We flipped back to the picture of J. I said, "You grew in J's tummy when you were a baby, but I get to be your mommy."
"She has a green shirt on," A said. A few minutes later she said, "Is she gonna be my mommy?" We went over the story a couple more times. I used the word "adopted" directly to her for the first time. Oh, and I should add that P didn't really say anything (he's helpful that way). I'm not sure he understood why the whole episode was emotionally challenging for me, but I called my mom and she knew - she articulated exactly what I was thinking.
Later, I was washing the dinner dishes (and still feeling a little raw), when A came in and hugged me around my legs. "You're my mama," she said, just as she had done a thousand other times.
I knelt down and hugged her tightly. "Yes," I said. "I'm your mama."
My sister's kids are adopted--they're about your daughter's age now. My sister also created a book like that for her kids and they love to read it over and over.
Good for you. Sounds like you're handling this with sensitivity, honesty, and grace.