It’s harder than I thought it would be to know what to say when questions come up from Henry regarding his past.  Of course I want to be completely honest and real with him…. but I also struggle with what to say — and when and how to say it because after all, he is only two (well, almost three) and things are never as straight-forward in real life as they are in my head.   We’ve taken a very open approach so far — talking about Africa and his B-mom often.  Her picture is on the wall in his room in a collage along with pictures of us and his “Africa buddy” Micah, and his sissy, Jo.  I have read so many different opinions on levels of openness — but this is what we feel is best for us and our family thus far.  It may change, but for now we talk about Henry’s history very openly. 

So far, he has seemed to respond to it all in a very matter-of-fact way.  It is what it is and it’s just the way it’s always been.  And he’s only two — a very smart almost-three, but young nonetheless.  He has adjusted and bonded so well; I almost get worried about the other shoe dropping at some point, because it’s been so text-book thus far.  I know there will probably be a lot to talk about and work through as he gets older… it’s just tough not knowing what questions he is going to have and what issues are going to be the hardest ones for him.  I wish I could stay up all night studying to pass the tests that are inevitably ahead. 

But, as little as we’ve had to process with him so far, the questions and difficult conversations do come up — usually when I least expect.  Yesterday morning  Joanna dug out her photo album with pictures from when she was a baby (Henry has one too with all the wonderful pics we got from our agency during the process… and of course a few of the million or so that I’ve taken since he came home!)  Anyway, we were snuggling on the couch looking through both albums, talking about the pictures like we’ve done many times before — but for some reason this time was different and Henry noticed that there weren’t any pictures of him in my tummy.  He got very, very upset about this… then sister told him he wasn’t ever in my tummy.  He was DEVASTATED.  Crushed.  I could see it all over his little face and it was so hard to see him processing it.  If I could give him nine months in my tummy, I absolutely would.  But I can’t.  And honestly, I don’t want to take that from his birth mother because SHE gave him one of the greatest gifts a person can give another… and she loved him so, so much.  But I wish I could do something now to help ease the hard stuff and the pain that he may feel in the years ahead as he works through all of the tough questions and the tough realizations.  I KNOW that he feels loved and secure with us — he knows he is an irreplaceable part of our family so much so that he naturally assumed he spent nine months inside me — but that doesn’t mean it’s going to always be easy to put it all together in his heart and mind.

He actually cried.  I cried, too (but hopefully not so much that he noticed.)  And then we talked for several minutes about how special it is that he has two moms and about what a special, beautiful woman she is and about how Peter and I got to meet her while we were in Africa… and how deeply Peter and I love him — all stuff we talk about regularly, but in this case I could see his little mind racing.  I tried to say things a little differently this time… in a way that would maybe mean something more;  but it was so much harder than the times I voluntarily talk about it because this time he asked.  He wanted to know why things were different for him.  We talked about concepts that are tough even for adults to wrap their minds around, but you know, that little guy kept up with me and asked more questions until he seemed satisfied for now.  There will be more, I know… but for now he was settled with it.  Goodness sakes, it made me commit to praying more for wisdom and discernment as questions arise.  I love him more than I can find words to express and I just want to be the best mom I can be in every way… especially in this way — in the not-so-easy to explain, complicated parts of life as much as in the straight-forward simple parts.