Tonight I cried over spelling words with my six-year old daughter.
Unfortunately, after a crazy week and a busy Sunday, spelling review had been relegated to the last item of the day. Daddy worked long and hard with Eva to review the words, first spelling them out with magnetic letters on the fridge to make it more fun, then testing her on paper. She alternated between being whiny, frustrated, or simply spaced out, to his increasing irritation (and he is typically a very patient man!) Finally, when I asked her to simply copy the words one more time as a final practice exercise, she burst into tears.
I hate that as a first-grader she should feel so much pressure. I want her to enjoy school. I want learning to come easy for her. I always enjoyed spelling and wish she did, too. But either it just isn’t clicking or she isn’t concentrating … at any rate, when she burst into tears I cried, too!
But perhaps bonding over spelling words paved the way for the conversation that took place a short while later when I tucked Eva into bed. She asked me to lay with her for awhile, and I’m so glad that I pulled myself away from the computer and agreed to do so. As we snuggled and after we prayed, she asked me out of the blue: “Mommy, did you know my birthmother?”
I have been told and have read that adopted children think about their adoptions far more than we realize. Eva’s question caught me off-guard not because we aren’t open about their adoptions, but because it wasn’t a topic of conversation today nor does she usually ask much about her own adoption. But as I shared what little I knew (her adoption is closed and we have limited information) I saw her face light up with contentment when I shared some similarities between her and her birthmother – the color of their hair and eyes, their enjoyment of music. Then Eva asked some questions about her siblings’ birthparents. It was a great conversation … we talked about the good things, like the love that enables someone to make such a difficult decision on behalf of their baby; and about the hard things, like the wrong choices that can lead to heartache. We talked about how God forgives everything and loves us no matter what.
As the conversation wound down, Eva asked: “Mommy, do you know my birthmother’s phone number? I just want to know.” (“I just want to know” means “I’m just wondering” in Eva-talk.) I explained that I didn’t, but that maybe someday when she is grown up we can get more information, if she wants to do so. A bittersweet twinge pricked my heart as I said it, but I know that her story is her own and that we need to be there for her each step of the way. May the Lord continue to give us wisdom for these unexpected conversations …