All the Other Girls Here are Stars, You are the Northern Lights*
At night, when I am snuggling with my daughter, and singing her a song just before she falls asleep - if Lana has something important to say, that is the time she will say it.
Is this true of most children? I suspect so. It's certainly true of her older brother. Something about the dimness of the room, the closeness of lying together, the lullaby induced sleepiness - it makes important conversations accessible.
The other night, after I sang "You Are My Sunshine" and "K-K-K-Katie", Lana rolled herself into my shoulder and said, "Someday you are going to give me away to another mommy."
"No," I said. "I'm not ever going to give you away to another mommy. Not ever. You are stuck with me kid. Forever."
"My foster mom gave me away to you. So, you are going to give me away to some other mom, I know it. My foster mom keeped me for four years. Now you keeped me for four years. Soon you will give me away, and it will always go on that way."
Sometimes it amazes me, the cogs turning in that complex brain of hers.
"Your foster mom didn't give you to me, exactly," I said. "She kept you and loved you, and she loves you still. She emails us to ask about you. She still loves you. She didn't have any choices, honey. But she loved you and she will keep loving you and wanting you to be happy."
This distracted Lana for a minute, and we talked about what pictures we want to send to her foster mom, and what she might want to say in an email, and would I help her type an email to her foster mom, if she wanted to?
Then abruptly, she hid her face back in my hair and said, "Why did SHE give me away?"
The way she said it, I was pretty sure she wasn't talking about her foster mom anymore.
"Your foster mom?" I ask, preferring the idea of discussing Communist government red-tape over the can of worms I was pretty sure she was opening.
"No. Not my foster mom. My...the other lady. The one who had me in her tummy. Why did SHE give me away?"
"Well...that's a big question. I never talked to her about it. I never talked to her at all. But I know what she told the nannies at the place where she left you."
"What did she tell them?"
And so I told her, the two sentences that are written in her file.
They are not uncommon reasons for giving a child up for adoption, not here in the US, and probably not anywhere in the world.
"Why did she even have me then? Why did she even keep me in her tummy?"
Talk about a kick in the teeth.... I don't think that my daughter understands the concept of abortion, and I'm not sure that was what she was asking. She does understand (because of an event that happened in our family) that some babies die before they are born, but I wasn't sure if that was what she meant.
Sometimes "I don't know" is the only answer we have. And so that's what I said.
"I don't know. But I want to think it was because she loved you so much, but I just don't know. But I know that I am so glad she did, because I love you so much. And your foster mom loved you so much."
"I don't want any other mommies," she said. "Three mommies is enough mommies, okay? No more. No more giving me to any new more new mommies."
"Okay," I said. "It'll be just us three, then, forever."
Then she rolled over, and said, "I am lucky that my Daddy is my only Daddy. He's never going to give me to any other daddies."
I assured her that her Daddy was never going to give her to any other daddies, and I kissed her goodnight, and she fell asleep.
I suppose that one day in the not too distant future, she is going to figure out that somewhere, out there, someplace on the other side of the planet, is a man who donated half her DNA, who has no clue, that this beautiful, starry-eyed, fabulous, stunning creature exists. And I'm not sure how to tell her, that even though she only has one Daddy...biology dictates that she has another father.
* Josh Ritter, Kathleen