Many of you know that my kids are all adopted from foster care. It has never been a secret…except for my youngest, now 9. Up until a month ago, he did not know he was adopted.
All of his life, I have had very open dialogue about adoption and foster care. He knew of his older brother’s history, and they had many conversations about that. When we watched movies like “Annie,” I would have discussions with Ashton about what an “orphanage” was and how some parents either cannot or will not take care of their children and how they end up in foster care…etc. etc. etc.
About three months ago, I had a discussion with “my baby daddy” about preparing to tell Ashton the truth EVER. Of course, he didn’t ever want to tell him, because he looks and acts so much like us that he just wanted Ashton to always feel like he was biological.
I, on the other hand, could not bear the thought of him finding out from someone else, and then hating us forever because we “lied to him.” Which, by the way, we had NEVER done. I refused to ever lie to him, but when faced with any sort of situation about biological relation, I always found a way to respond with “You are a blessing from God.”
So, Bryan and I talked and decided what we would say, just in case Ashton asked (he had recently been asking about “blood relatives” which left me seriously tap dancing around the conversation!) We also both agreed that it was not the right time to just come out and tell him. Our lives have been so stressed, and Ashton is already dealing with divorce and changing schools again.
However, God had a different plan than we did.
A month ago, Ashton asked me something about his older brothers, and I responded with something like, “no, it is because they were in foster care.” Then it came!
“Was I ever in foster care? Mommy, am I adopted?”
Wow! I looked at him, let out a slight <sigh> and said, “have a seat, son. Yes, you were adopted.” I said a silent prayer that God give me the words to say.
I began to tell him “Our Story” about how Bryan and I could not have children, how sad we were, and how hard we had tried. (I had always wanted to be a mommy…even when I was under 2 years old, I would use my own diapers on my baby dolls. It is ALWAYS who I am) so I was very sad when I couldn’t have children.
I continued with the story of how God brought him into our lives. (Ashton’s Adoption Story)
I finished with how he ended up in foster care. I will choose NOT to share this portion of the story, because it is really Ashton’s story to tell…but I will say this: He was in the hospital for the first month of his life, and with a medical foster family until he became part of our family. His mother gave him up for adoption because she KNEW she could not take care of 3 children, and she was fighting to keep the two she had. With what I have seen and experienced working IN foster care, I KNOW that is the most loving gift a mother can give her child. (I have goosebumps right now…just typing this!)
Once I had finished talking, Ashton asked several questions about his biological parents. He wanted to know if I had ever met them. I also let him know that he has a brother (4 yrs older) and a sister (5 yrs older) and told him some about his first foster parents (an older couple who cared for medical needs foster children).
He then became very excited about looking through his baby stuff. Fortunately, his biological parents had given him some trinkets while he had been in the hospital and his foster mother had kept a few momentos from his first 11 months. I, of course, had added to the memoirs over time. I showed him the first toy that Bryan and I ever bought for him, and the snakeskin cowboy boots that his Nanny bought for him when he was not even 18 months old. He snuggled on the stuffed bear that his biological mother had left in his crib at the hospital, and he laughed at the cloth diaper that he used to chew on (instead of a pacifier). He was shocked at the teeny tiny baby t-shirt he wore from the hospital when he was born.
This was NOT the first time Ashton and I had gone through his baby memories. But this WAS the first time that I could be honest and tell him exactly from whom each piece came. He was so curious and accepting…I was amazed. Even now, I think of how incredible a little boy he is, and I am grateful each and every day for the blessing of Ashton in my life (ALL of my kids, for that matter!) I am also thankful to God that He guided the conversation in a manner that comforted and nurtured Ashton.