I have no words. Nothing creative. Nothing interesting. Nothing new. I’m just living life one day at a time.
I was invited to be part of a support group for adoptive parents. The state employees are organizing them for all the adoptive families, to the point of matching us in groups of 8 all who adopted within the last year by the adopted child’s age. Pretty awesome, huh? I love creating contexts and organizing things, though I’m in a hiatus, a lovely sabbatical season, but I know how much work goes into hosting and coordinating such meetings, and pouring support and knowledge. I’m quite impressed and grateful. We also got some materials, many are summaries and translations of the best books written in english by pioneers in this field: adoptive parents, social workers, psychologists…
In this first material a mom said she created a scrapbook entitled: “Emma is adopted” containing on each page a phrase or two and a picture or two chronologically telling the story of Emma’s adoption. Apparently this soon became Emma’s favorite book, committing it to memory. The book continues to have pages filled with each season that passes. I’m considering creating such a book called: “Jackie is adopted”. I realized we talked about adoption a lot more often at the beginning, because it was so fresh in our minds and we knew how important it is to work the iron while it’s hot. But we got so comfortable, so familiar… I forget that Jaclyn is adopted. I do. I forget. But with this forgetting I realize something else creeps in. The resentment of the baggage Jackie has a biological mother and a biological father which the mother doesn’t know either, the unknown, the future struggles for identity. As the group leader said on Monday, the hard journey hast even began yet. This is the fun season, the 3-5 age group, their perfect love and trust, the lack of worry about identity beyond what we tell them. The time of questions will come, of search, of surfacing hidden pains.
One good thing came of this first meeting: it reminded me to be proactive, alert, available, and continue to talk about adoption with Jaclyn as her ability to understand continues to expand.
Right before we went to California and after my sister in law gave birth to my nephew, Jaclyn asked: “who carried me in her tummy?” I answered her “Maria, your biological mom”. She answered: “Ah! Ok” and continued to sing in the back seat. Two days ago, as we’ve been talking about adopting a baby sister or a baby brother (read just younger than Jaclyn) she said: “I want you to carry my baby sister in your tummy!” I told her I can’t, but we’ll adopt her. She asked: “wasn’t I in your tummy?” I told her no but she contradicted me: “yes, I want to have been in YOUR tummy!” – “but your grew in my heart and in my mind even before you were born!”
And here is one of the hardest days in a very long time. It’s Friday, it’s a very cold day of March. It’s been bellow 17 Celsius for a few days in a row. Today was a balmy -5. Yesterday J. started to sneeze with occasional snot so we decided to sleep in and keep her home. At 11 we went swimming as she woke up with a grand attitude. And swimming was awesome. The nicest warmth in the pool, swim and play, then eating out together, just mommy and daughter while daddy worked. As I was trying to comb and dry her hair we took a turn for the worse. She just didn’t want to sit still nor did she want to have her hair dried. Miss attitude here. After pleading with her to go back and dry better her hair, she planted her feet and wouldn’t come. Another lady took the drier as I was negotiating with Jaclyn. I got upset and impatient. I spanked her bum, over the winter pants and winter jacket. She glared at me and said: “you are ugly. you are mean. I want you do die forever and ever!” I had no words. sadness gripped my heart. I took the bag and I said: “let’s go home.” then she got chatty. “are we going shopping to auchan?” – “no. I think you are too tired and cranky to go shopping.” “will you bring me here tomorrow again?” – “I don’t think so Bob! Not after what you just said to me.” “what, that you are ugly and I want you do die?” – “You hurt me very much with what you said. you should not use words lightly. Think about what you just said to me.” – “I changed my mind. Do you want us to be friends?” – No. I don’t. I am your mom and I love you no matter what you say or do. But no. We are not friends. I don”t think I want to be friends with someone who says that one minute and then takes it back and then says it again. How can I trust that friend?”.
[In the car the conversation continued.] she later started to cry saying that she is afraid. of what? that she won’t have anyone to play when she gets home, or that she doesn’t want to take a nap at home. It had been snowing pretty heavily this whole time. I had to scrape off the snow at the swimming pool parking lot. And now the roads were covered with a layer of slippery fluffy snow over ice. Taking a left turn my car started skidding. Just as we were taking about death. As we got to Auchan to get some essentials (I was afraid it is getting to snowy and I will be out of food) Jackie said on the stairs with unprompted deep remorse: “I’m sorry mommy. I didn’t mean what I said”. I thanked her. But one must wonder… my skin needs to get tougher, and we will have many many more heavy complicated conversations. Daddy asked her where did she learn to wish someone dead. She answered “Maria from school”, but honestly to me it sounded much like the line in Snow White.
This same day, after a good afternoon restful nap, my sweet girl woke up with a bloody lip. Her dry upper lip was tempting to pick at. To the point of blood. Her lip was just getting healed, after stress picking during nap time at kindergarten last Friday. She said she just couldn’t sleep. So now there was blood. Lots of it. So she smeared it on the white wall next to her bed. Lip red, fingers red, pillow red, wall red. What a challenging day.
She is smart, she is determined, she is beautifully wild at heart. We continue the journey ahead with resolve, as we take stock of this particularly challenging day.