Saturday, November 14, 2009

NaBloPoMo 14--Things the books don't tell you

I'm not exactly shy about sharing my thoughts.  Never have been, never will be.  I have gotten better at responding to "What happened to his real parents?" or "What happened to his birthmom?" by matter-of-factly responding "We don't share that information.  It belongs to Melkamu," and changing the subject or continuing the conversation while leaving that alone.  Most people have been very respectful of that approach, but there have been some who continue to believe that they deserve the information and ask about it frequently.  I'm sticking with the same approach for them, but it drives me up a wall to be asked repeatedly about information that we've said we're not sharing.

The issue is that both Patrick and Melkamu are starting to ask questions about adoption, and they can't be put off with that kind of statement.  Patrick met Melkamu's firstmom when we were in Hosanna.  We had a meeting with her first, just us and the translator, while the other wonderful people in our travel group helped by watching him.  It gave us a chance to ask her questions and for her to ask us questions.  It was not an easy meeting emotionally; we were also unprepared for how awkward it would be to have to talk through a translator, and we're not sure that either one of us was translated entirely properly.  I sobbed through most of the meeting and was completely unable to talk for a good bit afterwards.  We were able to take some treasured photos of us with her and have those for Melkamu.

After each family had the chance to meet the first family or finder of their child, there was an entrustment ceremony. 

The first family/finders read these words in their home language (there were three separate languages represented at our entrustment ceremony).  They pass a lit candle to the adoptive families.

Then the adoptive families repeat these words.

Patrick was at the entrustment ceremony with us.  Right before it started, he whispered "Which one is Melkamu's firstmom?" and I pointed her out to him.  Then the unfairness of the situation struck me and I began to sob.  It seems so wrong that simply because we have more money, we were able to adopt this beautiful little boy.  (Yes, I know that this isn't the only reason but it was what I was thinking at the time.)  It seems wholly unfair that she's seen Patrick more recently than she's seen Melkamu.

I cried through the entrustment ceremony, as did Melkamu's firstmom.  After it was over, Patrick asked if he could meet her and I said of course.  He immediately, with no hesitation, went over and gave her a hug.  She hugged him back and then she kissed me before leaving.  I believe that Patrick's hug helped show her that Melkamu will be raised with love in a way that no words from us could have done.

Lately, Melkamu has been fascinated with babies.  I remember Patrick going through this stage, but it was easy with Patrick--we know his birth story.  Melkamu asked "Baby in Mama's tummy?" and I replied no, but that babies do grow in their mama's tummies.  Patrick said "Like I grew in your tummy!" and I replied "Yes, and Melkamu grew in his Enat's* tummy."  Kamu looked at the picture of us with his first mom and said "Kamu go Enat tummy?" in a very confused voice.  I said yes, and we looked at the picture for a while.

He doesn't have the vocabulary to really ask the questions yet but I know they are coming.  I've read many, many books but it's one thing to read a potential response in a book, quite another when you are looking into the big brown eyes of your child as he asks the questions.  I hope I have the right answers when he asks, and that he will forgive me for messing up some of them, as I am sure to do.

*Amharic word for mother, though we may change this to Aachie, which is the Hadiyan word and the language his first family spoke.  I just learned it recently.


Jess said...

What a beautiful and moving post. Really, Erin, you seem to be handling all of this with such love...and that goes a long way, even if every answer isn't an easy one.

I'm not an "all you need is love" adoptive parent, I'm really not. But I do believe that Melkamu will realize that even when you make mistakes, you're doing what you can, because you love him so much 100% of the time.

Yo-yo Mama said...

Picturing Patrick giving that hug just made me cry. How can one even grasp how difficult it is for the birth family to be put in that kid of situation. So many people think it's all about underprivelaged children and it's SO not.