The Hubby, bless his heart, was born without a sympathetic bone in his body. Well, unless it has to do with hockey, or some sport, in which case, he has a lot of empathy, understanding and interest. The rest of the real world? We’re all screwed if we want him to be sympathetic.
On our drive up to Calgary this past weekend, as we were pulling out of Starbucks drive thru, I randomly, or not so randomly (as I had read a post by Jenna over here about this subject) asked,
Are you okay with us telling the kids that The Kiddo is their brother?
Up until I had read that blog, I’d never even considered the idea of telling my kids about The Kiddo. Sure, at the Birthmother’s Dinner, a couple of the girls talked about how common place it was in their home, and how they had oodles of pictures of their child around. I have two, and have only recently added the second.I didn’t realize that more then that was “okay”, or that I could display him proudly in picture frames like I do for my other kids. I don’t talk about The Kiddo in public, and when I do it’s to classes, or in conferences. I speak of him briefly to friends and some family. For being part of an “open” adoption, I’m not too open about it myself. Oh, the irony. But that post, struck a chord with me, so I figured, I’d ask my generally, sweet, agreeable husband.
His response floored me, surprised me, shocked the everloving soul out of me:
Sure, but don’t be surprised if they don’t care.
Did I mention, OW?
I gave my head a shake; had I asked about reading them a bedtime story, that was my favorite as a child? Or maybe I asked if they wanted a different pizza place for dinner? Or….I didn’t just ask him if we should tell the kids about The Kiddo and get that response?
I asked him if he wanted to repeat himself, or change how he said it. He did not. I asked him if he was planning on telling the kids about his late Grandfather. And how would it feel if I said, “Eh, go ahead, but they won’t care.” He paused. Which, I thought for a brief moment meant, “Oh, okay, I should probably redact that statement, which was harsh, and sort of mean.” I was sure I had gotten through to him.
Of course, he defended his insensitive statement, because that’s what he does when he feels cornered or more aptly put, knows that he’s wrong, and I’m right. I know that, but when I’m emotionally raw, or riled up, I don’t remember that.Which in this scenarios, I was like 10 shades of riled up. So I got mad, you know the cry angry…the kind where you cry because you are angry, which makes it terribly difficult to make your points articulate or somewhat intelligent sounding? I’m good like that.
Suffice it to say, we were about an hour out of our hometown before my tears stopped, and before he sheepishly apologized (something he is GREAT at) for being so thoughtless. We agreed that it felt right to make sure we told the kids, and spoke about it like it was normal. That’s our approach to many things in our world, why would this be any different?
What struck me as odd, was how strongly I felt that my kids should KNOW and UNDERSTAND how important this is. He is, their half brother, their brother. It’s important that they know him. Even if he’s not directly in our lives, he should be a part of theirs in some degree. I’m not ashamed of though my actions regarding him scream that. I’ve spent the last 8 years not talking about him, and basically talking to some people be it in classes, or in my personal life. I can change that and I think realizing that this was a bridge I’d have to cross when I had kids was good. To explain where he is, and why he’s there. And more importantly, that he is, despite all of that, their brother.
This is the stuff that no one told me about, one of many things I’m sure I will have to mull over, figure out and decide on, feeling like I’m getting dressed in the dark, so to speak. This obstacle led us to another conversation, which I wasn’t sure how to address, one that for now, I will mull over, reflect, and figure out in some fashion.
Another affirmation that even 8 years later this adoption is still evolving. I don’t think it’s ever going to stop.