Today is Paige’s birthday!
She is seven years old.
Incidentally, it is also her first day of school; she is starting first grade.
Around this time seven years ago, I was coaching her biological mother, Ruth, in childbirth. Quite honestly, I am not sure what was harder – giving birth myself or watching someone else in that much agony. I felt helpless and despite only meeting Ruth twice before, I felt her sadness.
I tell Paige the story of when she was born each year on her birthday. Sometimes she requests it for a bedtime story too.
(I wasn’t there for Payten’s birth but her biological grandmother was, and she has given me enough details that I can weave together a story for her as well.)
It goes like this:
One day I got a call from Ruth. She told me, “It’s time to go to the hospital, the baby’s about to be born!” So I picked her up and took her to the hospital. When we got there, we got to see picture of you inside her tummy, just like we saw a picture of Sam* inside Auntie Tamara’s* tummy.
When it was time for you to be born, there was a problem – your shoulder was stuck!
So the doctors took Ruth to the operating room and I got to see them pull you out of her tummy! The nurses let me cut your umbilical cord and hold you. When I looked down at you, you were sucking on the blankie just like Boogie does. I thought, ‘you’d fit in good with us!’
Ruth loved you very much but she wasn’t ready to be a mommy. She decided to give you to another family so you would have your very best chance. When we found this out, we asked if we could adopt you – I’d already fallen in love with you!
When she said yes, it was one of the happiest days of my life.
This is the simple version of a complicated situation.
As she gets older and has more questions, the story will expand. But I think if the I can keep her focus on the original version, understanding and accepting the things that led to her adoption will come easier.
*Sam and Auntie Tamara are pseudonyms.