Monday, March 26, 2007

Teachable Moments

I have been asked in the past how we go about discussing adoption with the kids, what age we start talking about it, etc. I always answer that it is easy and automatic and just part of who we are. I don't really give it much thought, it just happens. Well, tonight was one of those times when it "just happened". There I am, on the floor of our bathroom, hammer and screwdriver in hand trying to pry loose the carpet tack strip so we can proceed with our tiling project. In prances Joshie with little leather work gloves on so he could "help" me and we are just yacking back and forth about things, and I remind him that he and I are going to Grand Junction tomorrow to talk to older kids (high school aged) about adoption. And thus begins the conversation...

I asked him what he thought people should know about being adopted, and if he wanted to talk at all. And he said he would talk some, and that he said they should know that he didn't come from my tummy but was in his birth mommy's tummy. He wanted them to know he was from Kazakhstan...and he actually pronounced it right for the first time!! Until now it has always been "Taatan". And then he said they should know that he cried and cried when he came home. I asked him why he cried so much, wondering what his response would be. He said "Because I was sad.". Of course he doesn't know a thing about RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) but he DOES know he was sad and scared and mad, all things he has expressed himself in the past. I asked him "What if the kids ask if you remember your birth mommy?" and he said "No, but I remember my real mommy!" as he pointed at me. I then asked, hammer still in hand, "What made you stop crying after you got home?" and he proceeded to sit down on top of my leg and with his tiny gloved hand he slowly counted on his fingers..."1. Hugs, 2. kisses, 3. Rocking me, 4. Singing to me". He then said "I love you mommy SOOOOOOO much!" and plopped a kiss on my cheek, then grandly stood up and Elvis left the building.

I kid you not, that is word for word the conversation. Josh is only 4 years old, and he "gets it". It is NEVER too early to talk about adoption, it is never too early to embrace ALL of what your adoption experiences are as a family...good and bad, challenging and easy. You don't have to work all that hard at it, you don't have to sit down and have "the talk" about being adopted.

I happen to think my son is an amazing kid. Actually ALL my sons are amazing, but Josh is one cool cat. He is resilient, he is sparkling, he is bright, he is intricately wired. In a couple of sentences he explained from a kid's perspective how a parent can best work with a child who has RAD...hugs...kisses...rocking...singing...and a word he wouldn't use, connecting.

Dominick was sitting quietly in the background, taking it all in, but you could hear his deep chuckle at the question from Joshie that I left out of the above re-enactment. No doubt he was quite glad it was I on the floor with hammer in hand when Joshie casually asked in the middle of all this "Where does the baby come out of the birth mommy's tummy???". Hahahaha! And that is a conversation for another day :-)


Denise :o) said...

Wow! You have me in tears. You're right...he's 4, but boy does he get it. That is amazing. Thank you for sharing this story.

LaJoy Family said...

Thanks Denise, I think he is so remarkable, so incredible. There are moments when I realize that his attachment disorder and all we went through have also served to make him more introspective and sensitive at times, a deep little guy in many respects. I am going to try and post later about more specifics about the road we traveled to attachment...I just have to get up the nerve to "go there" in my own thoughts.

Thanks for reading the blog and I am glad you are enjoying it!