Thursday, July 15, 2010

I Thought We Were Doing So Well

Meazi and I talk about her adoption all the time. We talk about what it means to be adopted. We watch her video Lifebook a lot. We discuss everything.

Last week, there was a scary news story about a four-year old girl who was abducted while she was playing in her front yard. We have a swing set out front. I sometimes let Meazi play out there when I am working in the kitchen. We have talked to her a little bit about stranger danger, and I have told her to scream bloody murder if someone comes near her. We have practiced the screaming.

A friend came over the other day with her two boys. (Meazi went to Pre-k with her eldest son).This friend told us to come outside to look at a giant dead snake on the sidewalk. (The hawks had eaten its head off- more about the hawks later). While we were looking for it, the younger boy walked off for a moment. There was a split second of panic as we all realized we didn't know where he was. He had walked around the corner. His mom called him back, and bent down for a talk. Meazi tried to get close enough to hear their conversation, and I asked her to give them a moment. She walked over to me and said,

"Mom, what is she saying to him?"

I said, "What do you think she is telling him Meazi?"

She said, "Not to do that again?"

"That's right," I said.

"Or what will happen?" Meazi asked.

"What do you think might happen to him Meazi?" I said.

"He might get ADOPTED," she replied.



  1. Hmmmm...I randomly ended up here after a bizarre and complicated internet version of 3 left turns, 28 u-turns, and five "WTF am I going anyway" moments, and found myself here. After slowly counterclockwise turning the knife out of my own heart, it occured to me that this may be some word confusion between 'abducted' and 'adopted.' Just a perspective...

    Although, I too feel the long deep sigh on this one as well...


    By the way, I think you are doing quite well - doing so well, indeed.

  2. Would it be really terrible if I laughed out loud at this?

    I thought we were doing pretty well too, especially because Elfe is now talking about her Ethiopia Mommy a lot more than she was before, until this morning - when I yelled at her not to touch a broken juice glass and she got angry and told me I was a bad mommy because I wasn't her Ethiopia Mommy.

    I laughed about that too later - I thought I had at least until her teen years before I heard some version of the "you're not really my mother!" dagger-to-the-heart. So I guess we're all right after all.

    Hope you can laugh about this too!

  3. Don't are doing great. The word adoption is difficult for many children to understand...and they misuse it and misunderstand the word a lot. But it's good that our kiddos are familiar with the word at the same time. The meaning behind adoption is what matters, and it's what you talk about all the time. And the word abducted sounds a heck of a lot like adopted. And many philosophical people could have a hay-day with that paradox. Don't over-think it.

  4. JULIE! Despite the scariness of the non distinction between the two (which is of course possible) I have more confidence in it being word confusion. Every time T learns a new word he tries it out in every situation and scenario- mostly in non fitting ways.

    Once he learns them and uses them properly- he STILL gets them confused- ITCH and OUCH are two. Similar sounds- different meaning.

  5. On the contrary Julie, I think you are doing well... fantastic and amazing as a mater of fact! I know how that must have hurt your heart, but I think Meazi understands and equates the word "adoption" to losing a mother, and if she were "abducted" the same thing would happen, she would loose you... her mother! xoxo hugs.

  6. Whether there is word confusion or not, the fear is that the little boy would have to leave behind everyone/everything he knows and go live someplace else with new people. Abducted - it happens without the consent of his family/caregivers. Adopted - with the consent of his family/caregivers. Either way, she's a very smart girl and you must be doing a fantastic job sorting out all this adoption stuff with her if she feels so comfortable talking to you about it like that. Sorry it's so heartbreaking.

  7. I bet it's word confusion - abducted vs adopted...they sound very similar (even though they have very different meanings).

  8. Sweet girls (both of you). I agree with the others, that this must have been a confusion with the word "abducted."

  9. Oh Julie. Word confusion or not, that must have been so hard to hear :(

    (you ARE doing great, by the way! I hope you already know that).

  10. ouch. that hurts ... even if it is word confusion ... which i'm sure it is. you are such an awesome mom and you have such a smart little wonder of a daughter. love.

  11. I'll never forget the post you wrote about how much easier it was when you didn't understand she wanted more red sauce.

    I so want to hear Eyasu tell me things but am so afraid, too.

  12. You are doing well sweetie. You cannot address an ocean of trauma in one little year.

    I think abducted too...but not sure that matters.

    Oh sweet does a mother carry it all...

  13. My kids totally don't get what "adopted" means yet. We talk about it, we have that Todd Parr book, 'It's ok to be different', when we get to the 'it's ok to be adopted' page, I always mention "like you guys!", most of the time, they say "what do you mean???!!!". we read the book at least once a week, (sigh). Since my son remembers his birth family, we talk a lot about them. He seems to 'get' that part of it, and that I'm his mom, too. but HOW or that it's DIFFERENT than other families... uh, no. He does know that not having a daddy is different, and that is a major topic for commentary. I would second the word confusion possibility, a cuter example is that my kids call elevators, alligators.

  14. wow. a child's mind reminds us of the ongoing nature of loving open parenting and you're one of the best.

  15. well, I did laugh...such a sweet and very typical little kid misnomer.... abducted and adopted do sound rather similar:)
    how is you gut doing? I'm guessing it probably felt like a ball of lead for a bit there. Take heart mama, she know you love are open and honest with her, you protect her. I guess this is one of those moments when you need to remember to breath:)

  16. LOL @ Filoli getting lost!

    This one made the Heart of My Heart Pound - like Elizabeth Gilbert said about her fist cry - a Double Pounder. (Not to be confused with a Quarter Pounder, of course, food of the dastardly and insidious.)

    I don't think it's a Freudian. But we work things out in our own way. Perhap's she's just processing - and out it slipped. On accident.

    Plus, she's bilingual.

    I mean, I can barely pronounce the word 'abducted' even though English is my first language. Who the hell thought it was a good idea to put the B next to the D??

    I imagine as well as anyone could be doing that glorious little girl is doing. Has it even been a year? Soon, right...?

    How resilient our kids have to be is insane, no one should ever have to be that resilient, and yet how some of them carry and process and lift their spirits up from a place of tragedy.

    I'm glad the hawks are finding lunch.


  17. I still get kitchen and chicken mixed up when I'm talking fast and I've known English for 26 years now. That ADOPTED is the most familiar word says a lot about you and your family. She has only been speaking English for a little bit. You are such a good mama - and an inspiring one, too. xoxo

  18. could it be a language thing where she's confused the words "abducted" and "adopted"?
    that's my first instinct and thought.

  19. Wow. I actually agree with Jennifer, word confusion. You are doing a great job.

  20. oh no! Yep, I find that the "adoption" word with my newer two kids is a two steps forward, one step back kind of thing. It doesn't help that it is used to describe everything these days, "we adopted a puppy", "the law was adopted", "the sponsor children we adopted", etc.

  21. I read your blog a lot - I think you're doing great. Immediately on reading this entry, I figured she was confusing the work "abducted" with "adopted." It's clear that being adopted (the true definition) is a very positive thing in her life.

    Laura (waiting 17+ months; Connecticut)

  22. My first thought also was that this was confusion of the word adopted with abducted.

    Medina and I have always talked about her story. It's been part of our daily conversation...her Ethiopian family, life in the orphanages, coming to the US.

    When she'd been home about six months, someone asked her about her real mom. Over the course of our conversation, I said, "Medina, some people just don't understand adoption." Medina's response..."What's adopted?"

    We had been talking about her life experiences but had never put the word to it.

    Unless you have reason to believe that M was abducted from her family and adopted out, I would chalk this up to a 2nd language learner's word confusion.

    Just my 2 cents...

  23. Abducted and adopted are close words! Maybe she just meant abducted?!

    That would be hard to hear though. It was hard to read!

  24. I would not overthink this one, although I am sure that the comment was a little heart stopping in the moment. My daughter does not know the word abducted (too complicated of a word)and would probably hear it as adopted. I more agree with the poster about Meazi making the link about losing a mother and being adopted. I would not mean anything about YOU personally.

    You are doing a good job. It is hard work.

  25. First the snake freaked me out then the end of your post.

    I hadn't thought of the word confusion until reading some of the comments... I hope that's what it was.
    She's still young so it would make sense if that's what it was.


  26. That wasn't what I was expecting. I laughed too...only becuase I'm sure your sigh was followed by a detailed explaination of the two definitions.

  27. Oh, wow. Makes me glad we are still at the duck says quack/dog says woof stage. For weeks there the duck said woof, too. Hope it was just word confusion for you guys too. And you are doing GREAT. You know that, right??