evolution of the story

A few months ago I took Jaye to the place she was born. Then we came home and looked at pictures and I could see she was piecing the story together, to the extent she could. Then in May, the month of her birth, on our drive to a farm to meet some goats, we passed through the same town and the house where Jaye was born. We couldn’t stop this time, so instead while in the car I began telling Jaye her birth story, which ends with us on the same road headed home together. She asked me to repeat it over and over, and each time I added a new detail to the story. Jaye loved hearing how Kaye and I drank mango lassis the night before, how we ate ice cream while we waiting for our Indian takeaway. Jaye wanted to hear how, when Kaye was laboring, we drove the back roads in the middle of the night, by moon and starlight, while her Grandma prepared for our arrival. Jaye smiled wide as I described the moment she entered the world, how she was surrounded by love, how we were all so happy to meet her. She chuckled when I told how she was weighed in the hammock scale and cried her first tears when the midwives tried to measure her.

Since then, Jaye has wanted me to tell the story again and again. Once, when I got to the point where we said our teary goodbyes with long hugs and said we loved everyone before heading home, she asked “why” it was time to go home then. It’s a good question, actually. We had offered to stay longer, or to give Kaye more time alone with Jaye before placing her in our arms once more. Kaye had been advised, not just by us, that she should take as much time as she wanted. But after a very intense 36 hours more or less together — i.e., the first hours of Jaye’s life — it was agreed that we should get home to begin our new lives together, and to allow Kaye some time to herself. We would see each other again soon. So I told Jaye that Mama and Dada wanted to show Jaye her new home and her new room, and that we had to let Kaye rest so she could come visit us soon (and she did). We don’t have many photos of those first hours we shared together, but the few we do help illustrate the story well. The details of Jaye’s story seem to satisfy her, for now.

Some day, though, I know she’ll be asking “why” again. Why did Kaye ask us to be her Mama and Dada? Why did we take her home? Why couldn’t Jaye stay at her Grandma’s house where she was born? So many “whys” she may one day wish to know. I’m grateful I won’t have to answer all of those questions alone, that I can turn to Kaye to tell her story too. I can only hope that Kaye is available when that time comes, I mean truly accessible. Still, I know that as Jaye’s Mama and Dada, those questions will be first asked of us. And it makes everything about (adoptive) parenting up until that point seem easy.

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~ by luna on July 18, 2012.

13 Responses to “evolution of the story”

  1. The way you write makes it seem so easy and yet so difficult. But I think you are so right. I don’t envy my daughter’s parents at all when Mack starts asking those difficult questions even though they know I want to be as accessible as possible during those times. I can only hope and pray that Kaye can be as accessible as I intend to be and that Jaye will know that you are giving her your best (as I know you will). I don’t think anything about parenting is easy…much less parenting a child who was adopted.

  2. Luna, the way you are giving Jaye her story and her having her relationship with Kaye and her family is a great way for her to see and feel the love of her whole family. I’m not sure when the ‘why’ questions come and like you have shared all the details of our girls stories to them and like you they have relationships with their families blended into one big family.

    The trust between a parent and child is already there between you and your honesty and openness to share her story is what will guide you through other questions and emotions that will come along the way.

    We have just recently hit the point of brimming over emotions without our daughter’s real understanding of how and why she feels these mixed emotions. We do our best to explain how or what she is feeling okay without leading her in her thoughts and being open in these conversations and talking them out I think builds her trust in us to be open and ask questions and that I hope paves the way for future conversations and questions where we can help her see the answers and of course she and her sister will have their birth mothers to talk to about some of those questions too.

    Do what you do which is love your girls and continue to be who you are and they will follow your lead.

    • thanks for this. as you know, it’s always helpful to hear how other families process their experiences. thanks for sharing yours!

  3. You sound so in tune and bonded with Jaye, the way you tell her the story over and over, adding as she’s ready to hear.

    My hope about Kaye is the same as yours.

    • thanks, lori.

      I do love telling her story. one day there will be so much more to include. yet for now the facts I add are usually more contextual or colorful than substantial. for instance, I had told her about eating ice cream with Kaye the night before she was born. but it occurred to me during a telling that we actually ate it BEFORE dinner, so I added that and she thought it was hilarious (“that’s all kinds of crazy!” she said). or when describing who was there when she was born, I added that her grandma’s kitties (who she adores) kept trying to open the door to meet her. she loved that.

      she’s so funny how she repeats back every piece of the story. she remembers EVERYTHING. every little detail.

      I am grateful for so much in this journey. but the privilege to share this part of her story with our daughter is such a treasure.

      thanks again. xo

  4. I love telling Mea her story to how she came home as well. As she gets older it gets more detailed. Now that she is six she has a much better understanding as to how some things work. The conversations that happen and the wheels clicking and turning in her mind are always at work.

  5. In the words of my now 15 year old Sophia adopted at birth…”Why Denise, why didn’t you at least tried to raise me? You at least tried to raise my sisters. Sometimes, I think I did not make you happy and that your heart did not stir when I came into this world. I just wish I knew what was wrong with me that did not move your heart to love me.” A stunned birthmom spoke through tears and offered simple and heartfelt sentiments….she was truly accessible and it was life changing for Sophia. For now it is developmentally appropriate for her to be asking “what was wrong with me”, teens are by nature self absorbed. But there are glimpses of Sophias wisdom, times when she clearly understands how her life completed ours. Our beautiful girl, she was concieved in my heart. Adoption changed us all for the bettter.

    • wow, that is intense. that’s some epic articulation there. I’m glad sophia’s birth mom was able to truly sit with it, to sit with her through that. thanks for sharing, laura.

  6. What surprised me is that out of the blue Maya would ask a question and then I would answer and we woule be on to something else. So little by little when she was younger it would interest her more and more. it wonderful you are able to go ot the same places. I’m not ready to go back to Guatemala yet, but when she’s older we will. Then we can go to all the places we stayed together and where we shopped for groceries etc.

  7. [...] and Kaye both claim. With each telling, Luna is able to add more and more details. Luna explains in Evolution of the Story how she handles the inevitable “whys” — and how, through open adoption, she hopes [...]

  8. [...] were ready to be born, Mama and Dada were there to meet you,” I explained. She has heard this part of her story and seen the pictures so many times, I wanted it to feel normal, even though she was coming at it [...]

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