More Than I Have to Give

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This afternoon, when waking Nana up from a nap, I climbed in the bed next to her.  That time right when they wake up is so serene.  They automatically reach out for snuggles and I was in need of one.  Nana stretched and rolled over, snuggled into my arms and then said, “Mommy.”

“Yes,” I said softly, expectantly, waiting for the continuation of this special moment.

“Your lips are dry.”

Uhmmm…okay.  That was so not what I was expecting.  Just steal my moment of joy right away from me, why don’t cha?

But then she starting remembering… When I was a baby, like 2, I don’t remember that.  I told her that I have some pictures that we can look through.  But then she started asking specific questions, like, did I have a pacifier?

Uhmmm. I’m not sure.  I don’t have any pictures with you and a pacifier.

I always panic at these conversations because I feel like everything doesn’t have to be an “teachable adoption moment.”  I’m sure all children ask questions about things they don’t remember.  Right?  Tell me, I’m right, ya’ll?

And honestly, I don’t want to break her.  She’s resilient but she’s so small.  And telling her that I don’t know if she used a pacifier, or what her favorite baby food was, or when she got her first tooth is so heartbreaking to me.   We have some pictures, but I can’t describe the people in the pictures; I have no idea who they are.  I’ve named her original foster parent, Grannymom, but she too is nameless, redacted from all of her paperwork.  Another foster parent never sent any pictures, even though I asked multiple times. A whole year of her life…lost.

We are a storytelling family.  A lot of our conversation revolves around remembering and recreating situations, even sometimes acting them out.  And she is so hungry for so many of these memories because she has only lived for four years.  I feel so sad that I’m not able to give her those memories.

These are the very hard things about adoption.