Maggie Makes Four!

This journal started off documenting the adoption of our youngest daughter. It now follows the twist and turns of our lives as we raise these two amazing little creatures into the best women they can become.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

The End of the Innocence

Let me tell you, life with a five-year old La Nina is a whole different beast. One, I think she's officially smarter than me. Two, she's got it all figured out. I mean everything. Because I swore I'd never violate my daughter's privacy on this blog, I've thought long and hard how to share this latest chapter of our story without breaking my promise. I think this approach will protect her and her story yet let you in on what happened.

Adoptive parents: You know every question you're dreading answering and several you've never considered. The ones the books warn you about and the others they leave out... Yeah...those questions. Guess what the magic age is for those questions? Five.

My reaction to this development is as complicated as the questions themselves:
  • Relief: I'm glad she felt comfortable enough to ask about her story.
  • Sadness: It breaks my heart to hear her ask tough questions and to have her cry in my arms over the answers. I want her to stay innocent, but alas, the fairy-tale ended. Frankly it did sometime ago, she finally just let me in on her secret.
  • Anger: Not at La Nina, but at her birthfamily. This emotional response caught me off guard. I thought I was neutral at the least toward her birth family, but I think seeing La Nina's pain brought out the Mama bear in me. I'm fairly certain my answers stayed neutral even if emotionally I wasn't feeling very neutral.
  • Amazement: Given the complexity of her questions, it's clear she's been thinking about this on a pretty deep level for some time. I had no idea she was so intellectually capable. And I'm not selling her short. She asked some really hard questions.

I've talked to another Mom with a daughter La Nina's age and it's the same conversation with a few different twists going on in their house. The other Mom will never know how much our chats helped me in terms of reassurance and validation of some of the stuff I suspected was happening during these conversations. While I'm no expert on the best way to handle these questions, I do have some advice for all of you with younger kids:

1.) Don't try to guess what they're going to ask. Trust me, there is no script and the kid will go places you haven't thought about how to answer. You will not know all the answers. It happens, you'll figure it out.
2.) Expect it when you least expect it. When you're tired, half sick and really distracted, that's when they ask. It's uncanny. The first time, it took me a few minutes to figure out what was happening when she started, that's how distracted I was.
3.) Find someone who has a child the same age and compare notes. It's been so incredibly helpful to have someone to share this with that is going through the exact same thing.

After it happened, I told a friend of mine at work about the same number of details I've told you, and she asked if I wanted to go home and spend time with La Nina. (Note: this happened a few weeks ago.) I told her No. This is only the beginning of a dialogue that will last the rest of our lives...not that I don't want to spend time with my daughter. I want to keep this in the realm of normalcy. I'm trying not to make this a big deal, so La Nina doesn't.

My intuition tells me that La Nina has what she needs for now. I have no idea what she'll throw at me next, but I know, even if I'm not completely ready, she and I will get through it, find the right words and do our best to make sense of it all.


  • At 7:53 AM , Blogger Johnny said...

    I had to mail this posting to wifey for "that day".


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