Elise and I have had some conversations over the past couple of weeks that I think form an interesting progression.
About a week and a half ago, Elise asked how baby Maggie got in my tummy. I told her that mommy had a seed deep inside her body, and daddy had a seed deep inside his body. Daddy’s seed made mommy’s seed grow. Her reply, “Grow? Into what?” Me, “A girl.” Elise, “Like me.” Me, “Yes like you, but you grew in someone else’s tummy in Vietnam.” Elise, “that’s right,” and she bounced back to ballet class after her potty break. (This conversation is courtesy of Mary Flo Ridley http://justsayyes.org/maryflo.php)
Then this weekend, she asked, “Which people is the baby going to go with?” I was confused as to the people and the baby she was talking about until she pointed to my belly. Me, “Oh, Maggie? She’s staying with us in her room upstairs.” Elise’s response was to start crawling around on the floor like a baby.
On the way to school this morning, Elise asked me to sing her a song I sang her when she was a baby. It’s just something I made up that talks about us going to Vietnam. She said, “I go on plane to Vietnam.” Me, “We brought you home on a plane from Vietnam.” Elise then said something about having to have a big bottom to sit on the plane (not sure where this came from). Me, “Right, Elise you were too little sit on the plane. I have a picture of you sleeping in a bed on the plane and sitting in daddy’s lap.” Elise, “That’s in my story (her lifebook).” And then tonight, we told Elise daddy was going to a meeting. She said, “With friends?” Me, “Yes, with friends.” Elise, “Daddy is going to a meeting. Mommy is eating strawberries. And I’m going to Vietnam?” Me, “No. Daddy is going to a meeting, but you’re not going to Vietnam. We are all staying here in our house in Plano. ” (The strawberry reference is not important. It was just something she heard me talking about.)
So, she seems to be processing her story and asking: Where did this baby come from? Where is it going to live? and Where am I going? Her little world is about to be turned upside down (as is mine and her dad’s), and she just can’t make sense of it right now. But she’s asking questions, and hopefully she’s getting the answers and support she needs.
As I answer Elise’s questions, what questions of my own are surfacing? I have heard people compare the reception a biological child receives versus a child who is adopted and finding them unequal. This is not something we have experienced; our families’ and friends’ have been equally supportive and welcoming of both our children. Elise may have gotten more attention than Maggie. In fact, I am going to be disappointed if we don’t get dinners, visitors, and my mom cleaning my house (Mom I think you did dust because I remember correcting your dusting technique). Sorry friends and family but you set the bar pretty high the first time, and I have high expectations this time.
While we prepare and wonder about the next chapter in our story, Elise will always be our first baby. I told her the other day that I was glad she was my first baby. Scott asked me why, and I don’t really have an answer. I’m just happy Elise was first. There is really no way she would have become apart of our family without adoption, and I don’t think anyone can imagine our family without her.