Today was a pretty eventful day. I had big plans (cue the laughing now) to go to the gym, to the store, have lunch, take C to preschool and give P a nap before picking S up from school. That is a pretty full day. The day started off normally enough. S yelling at me for making her look for her glasses to take to school. P playing superman with his cut up waffles (or was the waffle the bad guy and he was superman, I can’t remember now) after I told him not to play with his food for the tenth time. C taking hours upon hours to eat her breakfast (ok only like 30 minutes, but that is a LONG time!). We finally got all in the car to drop S off at school (on time even!) and then C, P, and I went to the gym. My amazing gym has childcare so I can work out and hot tub in peace while the kids play. I was just getting out of the hot tub as an out of breath gym worker came in and asked if I was Katie and told me that my child needed me in the childcare room. Needless to say I was freaking out, what had happened? Were my kids being unsafe, was someone being mean to them, did they fall and break an arm? Super anxious mom! (Kind of like super mom but with more mental illness…hahahaha) Anyway I went to the locker room and changed out of my bathing suit faster than I have ever in my life. I didn’t even bother to dry off and I ran (in bare feet and dripping hair) to the childcare room where I saw P. He was (for the moment) calmly sitting on the lady’s lap and the minute he saw me the floodgates opened. He cried and cried and tried to tell me what was wrong and held up his hand. He had a bandaid on his finger and obviously it was bleeding a lot. The lady finally told me that he had jammed his finger pretty bad in the door. I picked up P and sat in the nearest rocking chair for a while just to calm him down. He freaked out when I asked to take the bandaid off and see it so I did what any mother would do. Put a second bandaid over it and not even look. We finally got everyone calm and ready to go and when I had buckled P in his car seat I told him I needed to see his finger.
I know, I know this is a little mean, but he was crying bloody murder and I needed to see if I had to take him to the ER. I knew he would try to get away from me, so once he was belted in his seat (and couldn’t move away or get out) I asked him to help me take the bandaid off. We did and I did not even gasp or faint! Yay me. It was pretty bad (poor guy!) and I told him that we needed to go to the doctor. He said “Me sad and want to go home!” It was heart breaking.
Anyway, we got to the doctor and P did great and was super brave! We even got x-rays done and P was sure that the pictures were not of his finger. LOL I had C with me and P and was worried about what to do with C while I was with P getting x-rays. She so cannot stay in the room herself and the AMAZING x-ray techs had her come back and “help” them behind the wall while I sat with P to take a picture of his finger.
They needed a picture of the wounded finger from all vantage points and it just so happens that the finger he hurt was his middle finger. Just the other day he had realized that this finger is not as easy to point up as the pointer finger and we talked about how we aren’t supposed to use that finger, blah blah blah. The next morning on the way to take S to school he looks at me and says “You are not supposed to use this finger unless the cops come, right?” I was (needless to say) quite shocked and told him that we never use that finger, especially to cops who are there to keep people safe. I explained that cops have hard jobs and need to do hard things when people are making unsafe choices.
I tell you that to tell you this: While the nurse was trying to explain to P how she needed him to hold his hand, I just looked at him and said “You know the thing you are not supposed to do, even when the cops come? Do that?” He started crying about how he didn’t want to be in trouble. I told him that he would not be in trouble because they needed to get a good picture of his finger and the other fingers were in the way unless he did that with his hands. The nurse was dumbfound and I just smiled. He took a great picture, the whole time glancing back at me to make sure he wasn’t in trouble.
While we were there, the nurse (right when we got there) asked who I was. I said that I was their mom (C and P’s mom). C who was sitting right next to me and super anxious as her brother is crying goes into a VERY detailed description about how she has 3 moms (birth mom, foster mom, and me) It was hilarious as she forgot my first name and after she said the first names of the other two moms she looked at me and said, “who are you again?” I knew what she meant. She also (as if she had just realized this) declared that she also had 3 dads. I told her that she was so right and that she was lucky that she had so many people that loved her. Its a hard line to find for me as an adoptive mom, to let the kids know that their story can be private but that it is not a secret. I feel like if they want to share parts of it with the nurse or the teacher, go ahead. Maybe that’s wrong but who knows.
This got me thinking about birth family. S, C, and P do have 3 sets of parents. 2 of them they still have contact with (Joel and I and foster parents). 1 they do not (due to court recommendation and safety concerns). My kids have begun talking more and more about birth family, especially birth mom. It is more the younger 2 than S but they all do it at times. I have to admit it is hard for me to hear these things. Sometimes it is good stuff, sometimes it is benign stuff, and sometimes it is down right horrible. Some times I marvel how P has very vivid memories of things that happened when he “should” have been to young to remember anything. But the way he tells me and cries about how he felt show me that they are more than just stories he heard.
There are times when the kids tell me things that in their world is totally normal and I gasp and really try to control my words and facial expressions. It happened just today when C was telling me of a time they went to the ER with birth mom. Sometimes I want to scream about how horrible these people were, how downright evil at times, but I know that won’t help. I know (logically) that my kids still love them and always will, but my heart has a hard time with that. My heart desires ME to be their only mom, that they see their birth family for what it was (dysfunctional and hurtful). But that is selfish desires. My kids always have and always will have, like C so eloquently put it, 3 moms. My heart at times aches for what they must feel. Never was that so clear then when we made the birth mom box. My kids can have no contact with birth mom or birth dad until they turn 18 and then it is their choice. Still they want to make, draw, or color things for them (especially birth mom). So the other day I got a storage tub and made the birth mom box. It is in this box that they can put anything they write, draw, make, or color for their birth mom and I will keep it for them until they turn 18. After I got done writing birth mom’s name on the tub, C stood there and literally hugged the tub for 10 minutes just repeating birth mom’s name. My heart broke into a million pieces for her and her loss. I know all my kids feel that way, but C is just the most expressive (by far). They have each put at least 1 thing in the birth mom box.
My kids have gone through more in their short little lives than anyone should have to. I am MORE THAN WILLING to do things that make me feel anxious and “less-than” such as a birth mom box, if that in any way helps my kid deal with the things they have gone through. Any mom would do that. The things I have to do are just a little different. The things I have to do make me confront, head on, the fact that my children were not always safe and there was nothing I could do or can do to change that or take it away. The things I have to do show me ever so clearly why I trust in God and put my faith in him for the ending of this story, for the outcome. The things I have to do have me encourage the love and bond in my children for another mom, and that is more difficult then I thought it would be. But in the end I love my kids more than anything in this world (short of God and Joel) and would do anything to ease their pain, even for a minute, even if that means making a box for them to hug and put things in for one of the people that caused them the most pain. Even if that means encouraging them with how much birth family loved them, even if that means telling my brain the shut the F up about saying mean and hurtful things about birth family, even if that means my heart breaks a little each time. I would rather my heart is torn to pieces then theirs break even a tiny bit more.