Thursday, July 26, 2007

I Have Two Mommies

Yesterday, Lana was looking at some photographs of her foster mother. We don't keep these photos just lying around, but, we don't hide them, either. She can find them to look at when she wants them. Yesterday she wanted to look at them.

She pointed to a photo of L~, her foster mother, and said, out of the blue, "I have two mommies."*

Husband responded, quietly, "yes, you do." (I personally, am waiting for the bombshell that will come in the form of "I have three mommies" - although truthfully I'm not entirely sure that Lana knows that L~ was not her birth mother. I don't think she knows anything of Lien (her birth mother) - but, I have no way of knowing. The closest we have come to talking about Lien was the day Lana asked me about the stretch marks on my abdomen. Lana asked, "why you have these?" and I told her they were from "when Gabriel grew in my tummy." Lana's response was, "where me??" Now...I may have misinterpreted her question, but, I answered her that she had grown in "a different tummy" and I said nothing else about it and neither did she. It's out there, conceptually, I just don't think we have the language to deal with it, not quite yet. And maybe I am not quite ready. I guess I feel like Lana's more immediate and important loss is that of L~, the woman who she called "Ma" for the four years before we came and took her away. I think that later she will have questions, concerns (and anger?) about Lien, but, right now...right now I think it's a good sign that she is willing to talk about L~, and her life that she remembers from Viet Nam.)

After Husband confirmed that Lana had two mommies, Lana pointed to the photo of L~ standing with her motorbike. Lana said, "Daddy, this MY motorcycle. I go fast! Very fast! VROOM! VROOM!"

I'm sure you did, baby girl. I'm sure you did.


*This is a statement of Lana's own making. We have never suggested this particular phrasing, nor have we read her any adoption related books that use this phrasing. I tend to refer to L~ as "your Ma" and to myself as "your mommy". Lana, in the past few weeks, has insisted on calling me "Mama" with a slightly saucy twang, as if we were living in Birmingham or Atlanta or something...strange.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe until she is a lot older and can make sense of what happened you could just refer to her other mommy/s as her Vietnam mommy.
You don't need a lot of explanation beyond that.
Sometimes my daughter gets mixed up about me being her birth mom or the mom who took care of her.
She does know she was adopted because we talk about the experience all the time, pictures are every where etc.
I just say, remember honey that was the Vietnam mommy. You grew in her tummy, or she was the one who wore bangles and took care of you before I could come get you. She will laugh and think it is funny she got confused.

Friday, July 27, 2007 9:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Christina said...

I think it's great Lana still remembers her foster mom and things from Vietnam. Zeeb seems to remember VN in a conceptual way, but not much detail. And when I show him pics of his foster family, he doesn't react at all. I guess the fact that Lana was a little older helps her a little that way?

Friday, July 27, 2007 10:58:00 AM  

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