A friend of mine was adopted at age two. She once told me that she always hated her birthday because it made her sad that she was no longer with her first family. I thought about this yesterday, when I sat down to talk with BE. BE has a particular behavior that seemed under control for several months, but it’s resurfaced in the last few days.
I didn’t want to reprimand her, and I know it’s also hard for a 6-year-old to explain her behaviors. But, I started by asking her if she had a good birthday (it was last month). She said that she did, and I asked her if she felt sad at all. She said “no,” and wanted to know why I asked her that. So, I told her what my friend had said and asked if she ever felt that way. She replied that sometimes she misses her first mom and that makes her sad.
At bedtime, I asked her to tell me some of the things that she remembers about her mom. BE was only three the last time she saw her, so I don’t know if these memories are accurate, but I wanted to write them down, to help BE remember. She said that her mom used to let her drink chocolate milk everyday, they played together a lot, and her mom would draw her pictures. She said that once, she watched a movie with her parents in their bed, and they drank chocolate shakes together. According to her, sometimes she was allowed to sleep in their bed.
I should have seen it coming, but her next question was, “why don’t you let me do these things?” My first thought was simply that her first mom and I are two different people and we do things different ways. But, before I could answer, BE was talking about something else.
We ended the conversation with a reminder that she can write letters to her mom whenever she wants. Of course, we’d have to save them and if BE wants to find her mom someday, she can give them to her personally. I also reminded her that it’s ok to miss her mom and that she can talk to me and/or J about it anytime.