I wrote a while back about a very special moment relating to Aidan and his knowledge of his birthmom. It was actually while writing that post that I fully realized I had started to slack off on talking to him about her. Let's face it, at the age of two, there's not a whole lot to say, and it seems silly to keep repeating the same few things over and over. Unfortunately, logistics make visits a very rare thing these days, so that's not a good venue for me to educate him.
So after writing that post, I made a point of taking things to the next level in terms of communicating with him about his birthmom and family. I would mention her in passing, usually in the context of, "we should send (her name) some new pictures!" I would then say, "(her name) is your birthmom, and you grew in her tummy!" and leave it at that. He obviously doesn't understand where babies come from yet, so he accepts that information and doesn't really think anything more about it. I point to her picture (which hangs in the living room) and remind him on a regular basis who she is. I keep it very casual so that he doesn't have to feel like this is a big intimidating thing.
Earlier this week, I got a very unexpected phone call. It was his birthmom, and she informed me that she would have a short layover in our home town the following day, and did we want to meet up? OF COURSE we did!! I was over the moon with excitement. I asked Aidan if he wanted to go see her. He said yes - with all the enthusiasm that he exhibits when I ask if he wants to have peas or carrots for dinner. I didn't make a big deal of it. After all, he's two. However, I did start to feel my usual pre-visit anxiety about the possibility that he'd want nothing at all to do with her.
The next day, we picked him up a little early from daycare so we could be at the airport right when she would land, so we could take advantage of every minute with her. On the way there, I asked him, "who are we going to visit today?" He thought for a minute and then said her name. I then asked him, "who is (her name)?" Again he thought for a minute, then replied, "(her name) birthday-mom!" My heart melted a little. Birthday mom. Fitting, and adorable. It just might stick.
We made our way into the airport and saw her. As I approached, I could feel my normally-stranger-danger-ridden toddler start to lean toward her. I didn't think much of it until he flung himself into her arms for a hug. About that time, hubby wandered off to use the restroom. Just to give an indication of the duration of this embrace, it was still going when he returned. This kid never hugs people like that, not even hubby and I. Not unless he's sick, and even then it's rare.
It might sound crazy, especially to those outside the adoption arena, but I can assure you that the exchange of joy, love, and healing between the two of them in this moment was palpable. I can't say for sure exactly what he knows or understands, but I know for sure that he knows she is very special.
Is that not the sweetest thing you've seen in a while? I had to fight happy tears. I admit there's sometimes a twinge of jealousy in moments like this, but it is so brief, so fleeting, and so overshadowed by the joy in my heart of knowing what he is getting from having a relationship with her. Every time we have a visit, I am reminded of all the reasons I love the openness in our adoption. Seeing him do well is good for her, and getting to know her is so very good for him. He'll never have to wonder why his eyes are brown or why he's built for the NFL!
The bottom line is that there may be no greater gift I can give this child than the knowledge that he wasn't 'given up.' He was loved enough to be given a shot at something that she felt was better than what she could provide at that time in her life. And the fact that I can help him learn and know that is such a blessing.
And to think that when we started thinking about adoption, openness was something that scared the snot out of me and that I was so apprehensive about. I didn't want to 'share' my child.
And I don't have to. He just gets extra love in his life, and an extra person who will always be in his corner, no matter what. How could I deny him that?
I'm so grateful. So, so grateful.