Was I born to you?

5 little words that broke my heart…

When A came home, I thought in my naivety that we would have at least 5-6 years before the understanding of adoption sunk in with him and the questions would begin.

I was wrong.

I severely underestimated the brain power our little boy has. Twice over the past 2 weeks, someone has spoken about his adoption in front of him. One was my niece, who has obviously been spending some time processing it herself and, when he was playing with his other cousin a few feet away, stated in her clear and loud 7 year old voice “Are you going to tell A he is adopted?” A paid no attention but, would have heard it at a sub conscious level. I answered that of course we were going to tell him and changed the subject.

Then, on Saturday we had a braai at our place and the boyfriend of a friend of ours asked innocently “where did he get those big eyes from”. I doubt he was meaning to be answered as literally as his GF did, when she said “oh, he’s adopted”!! A was again, just a few feet away.

So, I have kind of been expecting questions to come up but, again our little boy amazed us with his intellect. 2 nights ago, when his Daddy was bathing him and I was catching up on my guilty pleasure tv, he randomly asked the question “was I born to you?” I could almost hear D’s heart stop and his mind think “shit, why me, why now?” before he answered “no my Boy, you were born to a Tummy Mummy who brought you to us.” A thought for a fraction of a second and then replied “oh, do they do that?” D answered that yes they do do that and then the conversation returned to cars/snakes/dinosaurs. All through the short exchange, I sat paralysed by shock on the sofa, how did 2 mentions of adoption in his presence become “was I born to you?”

Fast forward to this morning, on our drive to school, before we are even out our complex and before I am actually fully awake, the question returned in a slightly different disguise. “Mommy, I wasn’t born to you, was I?” Dammit, I knew I should have had that 3rd cup of coffee!! “No my Boy, you were born to a Tummy Mummy” “What’s a Tummy Mummy?” “A Tummy Mummy is a very special kind of Mommy who grows babies in her tummy for Mommies who can’t.” Silence for a full minute. “Mommy, did you born Eloise?” Wow. “Yes my Boy.” Excited now he says “yay Mommy, so you are a Tummy Mummy too!!”

Bloody hell, 4 years old and so profound….I guess it has something to do with all those books we have read to him over the years, that deal with adoption in a soft way with bears adopting foxes etc, but how amazing what sinks in to his little sponge of a brain and that he translates it to “was I born to you?”

My boy, even though I wanted a little more time with you thinking I am your one and only Mommy, I couldn’t be more proud.

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Our boy is 4 tomorrow and 4 years ago we had no idea he existed.

How happy and sad that heading makes me.

Happy for my gorgeous boy to at last be 4, as he has been dying to be for the past few months and so very sad that, 4 years ago, we had no idea he existed.

There was no excitedly prepping a nursery, nor was there the packing of a hospital bag, the charging of a camera or the timing of contractions. However, I guess that there wasn’t most of that for his Birthmom either. Today I feel sad for both of us. Tomorrow I will be happy for both of us because, tomorrow, the boy that she made and that I get to grow and nourish, both physically and mentally, celebrates his special day.

But, for now, today, I am sad. As I write, he is at his Granny’s house, baking his birthday cake, with his cousins. Today school broke up and they are all super excited and happy. I know every inch of him so well and every day I revel in his cheeky, bright and questioning nature. I know where he is 24 hours a day, what he likes to eat/play with/watch on tv, how could I have missed those first few days of his life? His first breath, his first cry. It just really messes with my head that I missed such a big part of his life…the 9 months before he entered this world and then the 10 days after that.

I know how lucky I am that he came home to us at 10 days old, as that doesnt happen anymore in South Africa but I still mourn the time I missed.

This is the first year that these feelings have come to the fore and I acknowledge that every year, from now on, they probably will too. It is part of the adoption process and the emotions that go along with it. I am fiercely protective of my boy, even to the point of walking away from friendships, if I feel that he has been dissed/rejected in any way. I described it to a friend the other day as my mama bear instinct. I won’t be able to protect him from feeling feelings of rejection when he can understand about his adoption, but my God, I will protect his feelings while I still can, with every fibre of my being.

Today, more than ever, I wish I could make contact with his Birthmom, to compare notes about our boy and find out what I missed. I know that she has missed out on so very much more than I have, does she think of it like that? I suppose that she would drive herself mad if she did. I will, however, take some time out of tomorrow, as I always do, to silently thank her for what she gave us and the world. There is no doubt in my mind that very many people’s lives would be that much more dreary without him in it. Ours, my parents, our friends, his teachers and his friends, just to name a few. How could you not smile when you look at this face:

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