This is sort of a belated response to the Open Adoption Bloggers Roundtable #49
As you might imagine, Father’s Day is not a super big deal in our house. We talk from time about splitting up Mothers’ Day and celebrating one of us on Mother(s) Day and one on Father’s Day, but neither of us identifies as a father, and it doesn’t feel right to us, although it would be nice to have a day on which you were unequivocally pampered… P’ito usually does something nice for my dad, who is the most awesome grandpa on the face of the earth, and that’s it. As an aside, I am so grateful for my dad, who shows P’ito and Posy that masculinity and gentleness can go hand in hand, who at first questioned whether he would feel a connection with a grandchild who wasn’t genetically related to him and then fell head over heels in love with my kids the moment he met them.
But I wonder a lot about my kids’ fathers.
We met Posy’s father at the trial. He struck me as essentially a good, if somewhat hapless guy. I think he fought for Posy because he was very invested in the idea of himself as a father, even though he wasn’t doing a very good job of being a father for Posy or for his other kids. When he first agreed to let us adopt Posy, he was very enthusiastic about having an open adoption and he wanted us to bring Posy to visit right away, which wasn’t possible. Now it’s been over six months since we’ve heard from him. We’ve emailed him a couple of times and heard nothing. A little while back we heard through Posy’s birthmother that he fathered another child since then, which might explain his silence – the man has a lot on his plate. Pili texted him recently and I guess his number has changed. I stalk him on Facebook and download his profile picture whenever he changes it, so that I’ll have something to show Posy when she asks about him. That’s all I can see of his FB b/c he has his privacy settings fairly tight. I debate friending him, but I’m not sure how comfortable I am with that, or whether K. would be okay with that.
We have been dealing with a lot of explosive rage from P’ito lately. He goes from annoyed to infuriated in the blink of an eye. It’s been a problem for a long time, but we used to be able to dismiss it as a stage or something he would grow out of, and now it’s becoming clear that he’s not growing out of it. And because his father is a total blank slate to us, I wonder if this is something that comes from him? In my darkest fears, I worry that he was conceived violently and that there is some genetic component to that violence that has been passed down to him. Of course, I could also credit his father with his intelligence and his incredible physical talents – but somehow he becomes the repository for all my worries about my boy.
Tags: "real mommy", adoption openadoption birthfathers "open adoption"
Today, for the first time, P’ito said to us “You’re not my real mommies. You didn’t grow me.” And told us he was going to run away to Guatemala. Threw some food into a pillowcase, put his boots and his jackets on over his too-small footie pajamas, and walked outside into the snowy dark for about a minute.
Intellectually, I was prepared for it. Knew it was inevitable at some point. Had all sorts of supportive, affirming replies ready. No, we didn’t grow you, but we love you, and love makes a family, blah blah blah.
Emotionally? Sucker punch. Am still reeling, wondering if I said the right thing even as the cataract haze of high emotion makes my memory of exactly what I said grow too foggy to reproduce here.
I know it’s all normal: I just wasn’t expecting it to sting so much.
While I was trying to cook a
healthy nutritious meal something P’ito would actually eat for dinner tonight, he was upstairs, peacefully watercoloring, or so I thought.
He came downstairs and wanted to watch his current obsession, Shaun the Sheep. I loaded it up on the laptop and we went about our merry ways, until an odd dripping noise penetrated my consciousness.
Water. Dripping. Into the kitchen ceiling light.
Turns out he left the water running in the bathroom sink, with the watercolor cup covering the drain.
And watercolors all over the carpet in the hall. (Thank you, clorox with bleach spray, thank you.)
And of course, when you forget to turn the heat off under the aforementioned healthy meal while you are mopping up the bathroom floor, you will wind up with a pot of healthy nutritious burned crap.
Calgon, I hear you calling. But first I have to figure out how to clean the water out of the light fixture…
Me, somewhat anxiously: What’s that in your mouth P’ito?
He, opening wide and displaying a lovely yellow thing on his tongue: It’s a booger, Mama!
Me: Well, I guess that’s not a choking hazard…
How do you thank someone…
who has taught your son to hold his p*nis and aim it successfully in the potty?
That’s a lot to learn
But what can I give you in return?
When you are wondering why it feels like your blood sugar is sky high at 4pm, please ask yourself whether you actually bolused for lunch or whether you just thought about bolusing for lunch.
And just because
P’ito, asking about our 5 year old neighbor: She in her crib?
Me: I think she probably sleeps in a big girl bed. When you’re ready, you’ll sleep in a big boy bed.
P’ito: Like Mommy & Mama?
P’ito: No, I sleep in a big MAN bed. With Dora & Elmo on it.
One of those conversations where, as every word comes out of your mouth, you think, g-d, I hope I’m getting this right. ‘
I really, really hope I’m getting this right.
A while back, we ordered a custom board book for P’ito from this store. It’s an infant version of the story of our family coming together.
Mommy and Mama wanted a baby to love.
They had lots of cats but no baby (composite picture of three cats, including Louie)
You were born on.. (photo of P’ito’s Guatemalan Mommy “M” and P’ito)
You lived at the hogar for 8 months
The nineras washed you and fed you and tickled you and loved you (Hogar photos)
Came home with us, we will always love you, etc. etc. etc.
We always fill out the details of the story a bit more as we look at the pictures. I have been saying for a while now that he grew in M’s belly and after she gave birth to him she knew that she wasn’t able to take care of a baby then, so she asked the hogar to find a home for him where he would be loved and grow up big and strong.
Tonight as we were reading the story, first he asked me where Louie was. “Mama, what that mean, die?” I stumble through how animals and people, when they get really old, their bodies get sick (BAD word choice) and stop working and then they die. This is when I wish I believed in a heaven. Stumble through reassurances – Mama and Mommy and (names of everyone in his life)’s bodies are working just fine (well, sort of. but yeah, working just fine) and they are not going to die (knock, knock, knock, kinehorah, kinehorah).
Then, as if that wasn’t enough parental angst for one night, he asked another question that I don’t have an easy answer for. We were talking about how Mama M couldn’t take care of a baby at the time he was born*, and he asked:
How do you explain complex and painful adult decisions to a two-year old?
Without worrying him?
*I read somewhere about the difference in emotional impact between saying take care of you and take care of a baby – any baby. The former implies a possible fault in the child, the latter keeps the emphasis on the first-family’s situation at that time.
Bill received in the mail:
8/1/2009 Tuition – Toddler FT – $$$
9/1/2009 Tuition – Presch. FT – $$$
Tomorrow he goes Upstairs to the Big Kids Room.
He will be fine. I am a mess.
If the whole front-facing business weren’t proof enough that My Baby is Growing Up… P’ito is moving into the 3 year old room (upstairs!) at daycare by the end of the month. One of the moms from his infant class and I had a good sniffle over that in the parking lot today.
I’m sorry kid – you have to be potty-trained before you can have the car keys. I’ve gotta draw the line somewhere.