Well, I had today's post already written in my head. It was going to be one of those "Out of His Mouth" posts. On the way to school today the boys were in rare form (okay - really most morning are like this - they are funny kids.)
We were talking about feathers, we were talking about about flying and suddenly LoveBug comes up with, "I can fly. You know I have feathery arm pits." What? Did he really just say that? Must have, his brothers would be rolling on the floor laughing if it were not for their seat belts holding them in place.
Then out of the blue (really, I have no idea where it came from) someone from the backseat asked about when Daddy and I decided to have a baby. Caught off guard I was honest and said we hadn't planned it (yes, we had been married a few years already), but that God had a plan and we just went with it. I gave myself a little pat on the back for being honest and turning it back to God - parenting moment of success. Then they turned on me ... "so, Case is a Ninja baby?" Uh, I guess you could say that ... parenting success over, now returning to boys rolling with laughter. Oh, well.
As for the Tough Topic, I should have seen this one coming. SugarBear is on an overnight school trip and my Darling is out of town, so it's just me and the littles. I picked them up and we headed home to make Pineapple Ice Cream (Vitamix, Frozen Pineapple and Almond Milk = goodness).
I got all the ingredients into the Vitamix and just before I turned it on someone said, "why don't our birth parents write us letters?" Oh, okay. It's time for that conversation. The Vitamix goodness will have to wait.
Normally, these conversations are relatively short with only LoveBug remembering much and asking most of the same questions again, but this time was different. JellyBean was only 15 months old when they came to live with us, and he doesn't really remember a time when I wasn't his Mom. He wrapped his arms around my leg and said "I'm glad your my Mom" and was ready to move on. I let him go play after just a few minutes.
It was not that easy for LoveBug and HoneyBunny. They were almost 3 and 4 and although they have claimed in the past not to remember much, it was clear today that they remember quite a bit of the rough stuff that landed them in foster care.
They had some specific questions regarding what happened in their lives before placement, what happened during visitation, what happened to keep them from being reunified, why they didn't live with another relative, if they have any other siblings, if they had other foster parents, what happened to our other foster kids, if they could go visit their birth family, if I could make their birth family write letters, what their birth family does with the pictures and letters we send, if they are like their birth family in any ways, who they look like, what their birth family is doing now, why and when we decided to adopt them.
I gave them honest and age (side note - there is a goat on our deck - we don't own a goat - distracting ...) appropriate answers. I told them that they were not old enough for some information, but that as they get older I will tell them more and then one day I will allow them to read the case file. Honestly I dread that day, because I know what it says. I know their birth family would claim that it is full of lies, but I also know many of the people that gathered and verified the information. I trust them.
I encouraged them to ask me anything and reminded them that this was a safe time to tell me anything - even if they thought it would make me sad. And they did. It didn't make me sad. God uses my experience with my birth Dad's decision to parent another family to help me understand their feelings. I get it. It's all raw emotion and it's about them, not me.
I reminded them that I believe their birth family made some hard choices out of a place of love for the boys. They also made a few selfish choices, like we are all incline to do from time to time. The boys were old enough this time to hear about selfish choices. Only a parent can know when their child is ready for a bit more of the truth. Today, they were ready, for just a bit more. With my honesty to them came their disclosures of other things that they remember. Things in the case file that the boys themselves had never told me. Things I didn't think they remembered.
I watched as LoveBug and HoneyBunny cycled through detached information gathering, anger, insecurity, grief, fantasy and landed at acceptance. HoneyBunny required a lot of hugs along the way. LoveBug is his outwardly stoic way only wanted one hug and to whisper something in my ear. Something I will cherish forever.
HoneyBunny asked if God had always been involved in the decisions, and I assured him that God had been watching over him from before he was even born. I explained that everyone goes through tough stuff. They went through tough stuff when they were young and are likely to go through more tough stuff, but that Grace covers it all. They didn't cry, but I could see the tears in their eyes and it took my breath away. Really, I had a hard time breathing there was physical pain in my chest.
LoveBug ended it all by saying, "I think it is time to get back to our ice cream". So we did. Although the pineapple had thawed, substantially; now had smoothie ingredients. We made it. We enjoyed it. We kept moving forward. They are all playing now, and I can hear their giggles.
They were always our boys. This was always their path. God made them strong.