Saturday, January 09, 2010

A Conversation with Kenny

In the kitchen today, after everyone else had eaten and usual...was sticking around for seconds and munching slowly, Kenny asked an interesting question.

"Mommy? Do mommies who make babies and adopt babies love them both the same?"

Hmmmm...I wondered to myself where this one came from.

I asked him what made him think of that and he said he didn't know, he was just thinking.

I said that I thought that almost all mommies who made a baby and adopted a baby loved them both equally. I reminded him of our dear friends who have had the experience of both and asked him "Do you think they love one kid more than another? Did you notice them treating them any differently when we were there this summer?".

He admitted he didn't, and I could see he was chewing on that one a little while.

Then he asked "But do you think there are some mommies who adopt because they couldn't make babies, like you and daddy, then they make a baby by surprise and wish they hadn't adopted or don't like the adopted baby as much?"

I said "Well, of the millions of adoptions over the years, sure, I guess there probably were some mommies once in a great while like that...but definitely not many."

"Good...I wouldn't want the adopted baby to feel bad."

I thought we were done so I turn back to washing dishes in lovely brownish water. Then I hear a little more quietly...

" you and Daddy ever wish YOU had made a baby instead of going through all this to get us?".

OK...obviously time to stop washing dishes.

I sat down across from him and said "No, the truth is Kenny you are my child, Matthew, Joshie, Angela and Olesya are all my children. I do not and never have wished we had made a baby."

"Why not? Isn't that what every mommy wants?" he asked with great surprise.

I replied honestly "I wanted to be a mommy, that was what was important...not that I made a baby."

"But it would have been easier, wouldn't it?"

Thinking of labor pains versus this past month...hmmm before this I might have said yes, now I am totally not sure but I respond "Maybe in some ways, you might be right...but not in any important ways."

"But isn't it a lot of paperwork, and don't you wish you could just come and get kids and not have to do fingerprints over and over again and stuff like that?"

I laughed "Oh for sure! I get SO SICK of the paperwork! But, it still doesn't mean I'd rather have a baby versus having each of you guys."

Then we get to the point of the conversation...

"So are you glad you will have the girls who will look like you and not have just us boys who are Kazakh and Kyrgyz and don't look like you at all?" I am getting it.

I made him look me straight in the eye. I said "Kenny, do you really think that matters to me or Daddy at all? Do you think we are adopting the girls to have someone around that looks more like us? We had a choice each and every time and if that were important to us, we could have adopted Russian kids...we think our Kazakh and Kyrgyz sons are beautiful...just like we think our Russian daughters are beautiful!"

He smiled and said "But you care more about our pretty hearts."

I grinned back "Yes, WAY more than I care about how handsome you are...and you are totally handsome."

He looked down and said "Not so much, and I don't look like you guys at all."

I grabbed his hand across the table and in true LaJoy fashion I joked "Yea...and aren't YOU lucky you don't look like Daddy or I? Man, you would be one ugly kid if we had made you!!!"

Then Kenny giggled in his high pitched Kenny way and said "Moooommmm..." and then he was on his way to go read with the boys.

We know the issue will come up often, we know people will make assumptions about the girls being our bio kids and the boys being the "adopted ones". People will see skin color and jump to conclusions. Thankfully, in our family, we look much further below the surface than just skin deep.

And frankly, despite the fact that like every mommy in the world of COURSE I think our kids are beautiful...I believe Kenny is right, I think I like their pretty hearts the best.


Anonymous said...

I liked this blog. It's nice that your children feel free to ask questions and that you have such meaningful answers for them. You're certainly meant to be together as a family!!

Kelly and Sne said...

Well said! You are my role model adoptive Mom!

Maureen said...

You are so good at this. Or at least you make it sound easy. :-) It is good that Kenny felt comfortable to talk with you about this. Not the conversation you thought you would have with him about orphanage life, but still important.

Tammy said...

I expect most of us will have conversations like this with our children, especially kids who are of a different race. At least we hope they feel comfortable enough to bring it up. There are so many complexities in adoption, especially transracial adoption.

Lori said...

Bless his tender little glad his mommy always knows EXACTLY what to say! They must get their pretty hearts from you!

Mom to 2 Angels said...

We, as you now, have one that blends right in and one that gets all the adoption attention because she is obviously of different ethnicity. For us, it works in reverse, AP gets so much attention for being adopted that C feels left out and wants people to know he is adopted too! So you can tell him it just makes it more obvious that he was hand-picked by you and God!

Adrienne said...

Deep stuff for a little boy! It is great that he is able to bring it to you to discuss rather than bottling it up in his head and not able to make sense of it all... What a sweet little boy..... I wish our 7 year old would tell us a little more how she feels....

Cindy - you do such a fantastic job... I wish I had your insight and always the answers that make than feel good about themselves..

Carrie DeLille said...

So beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Kenny is one deep thinker! And you think very well on your feet.

One year after adopting our two Kaz boys, I gave birth to our daughter (we have since had 2 boys too). You can tell Kenny from me that I love them all and not the bio kids more than the adopted kids.

You will believe this, it is so crazy though. We were in a kids music class shortly after having our daughter. The instructor asked me, right in front of the boys, "so how do you deal with loving her more than them?". I said, "do you mean, the perception that others think I will love her more?". He said, "no, the fact that you do." I said, "I don't!" He was really shocked and couldn't believe it. Needless to say, we stopped attending these classes. He was way to clueless and insensitive to my boys feelings to have the honor of instructing them!

prayers for you all.
Teresa F.

Hilary Marquis said...

I can say from experience that my feelings for Anara, Mia, Tyler & Toby are the same. They are my children no matter how they came into our family. I'd die for each and every one of them. And let me tell you, what you have gone thru to adopt all 5 of your kids is far worse than any labor and delivery...that only lasts for hours maybe a day or two! (Thanks to those pesky rods in my back, I did not have an epidural! And it was still more painful to leave Anara in an orphanage for 6 weeks!) Your children have true beauty inside and out. Tell Kenny I think he is one handsome dude!

Maria said...

Oh Cindy! The hard conversations you have. I wish Kenny could know how very, very handsome he is -- tell him I said so, ok? There is nothing more handsome than a dark eyed, dark haired boy!!! And tell him, that I have a baby that grew in my tummy and one that grew in my heart and I love them both the very, very, very same. Some days I can't believe that God allowed me to be blessed both ways. I worried so much before adopting E. that maybe, just maybe I wouldn't ever be able to love her as much as I loved J., but oh, how wonderful God is that He allows love to just GROW and not be limited. I know Kenny knows that -- I think sometimes we just all want to be reminded that we are loved and special.

Anonymous said...

And how did they develop those pretty hearts--in the heart of a pretty family.

Love and miss you,

Lindsay said...

Yrah for your pretty hearts!

I hope that when Hannah has questions in the future I will have your ability to give such honest and reassurinig answers to her. Thanks for sharing these conversations about adoption you and your kids have.

Cathy Hartt said...

Cindy - A huge percentage of my family is adopted. Of my cousins - 4/6 were adopted. Then one of the biologic cousins adopted his 3 kids. At the last family reunion about 15 years ago, it struck me as all the kids lined up for a group photo that less than 1/2 were biologic kin. Do I love them less? - you know the answer. They are all Hartt's. We all had hearts on our shirts that day!

I have a nurse midwife friend who had 3 boys of her own. Decided to adopt a Chinese child when the boys were teens (a baby). Then, she decided that she did not want the baby to grow up alone so they went through the adoption process again only to discover that her IUD failed and she was 6 weeks pregnant. Due to Chinese rules on adoption with more than 5 children in the household, they had to adopt a special needs child instead of their original plans. And guess what - they get the call from China 2 days before my friend is scheduled for a c-section. So daddy went to pick up the girl baby while my friend gave birth to her boy child. Now if one would rather have a baby than adopt - it is obvious she would not have had the IUD in the first place. And in the second place, they would have called off the secone adoption.

Good seeing Dominick today!

Lisa said...

You guys rock! We continue to pray for you!
God bless the LaJoy fam!

Trey said...

Wow - some cogs turning in Kenny's brain! Glad he has such a smart mom! Our family started with our "home-grown" girls, and then we felt a calling to adopt from somewhere, and felt led to Kazakhstan. We learned that God chooses different ways to build families, and there is no difference in the love we share for any of our children. I hope Jack (and all of our family) can meet your wonderful family someday. I promise we won't come back to Colorado without trying to get together. Let us know if you're ever in the Southeast!

Lisa Brotherton said...

One look at Kenny's pretty heart and it is clear that he is a LaJoy through and through!

Remember Kenny, easy is not always better! It is the experiences that challange us and stretch us that causes us to grow, learn, and if we rely on God, become stronger in our faith.