Sad/Happy Truths

Dang. We were right in the middle of crossing a busy street in Chicago when she said it. Just came right out and asked. “So…are you my STEP-mom or what?” The Mom walking with us stopped for a split second and did a double take back at us. We scurried across to the sidewalk and I assured her, matter of factly, that I was her MOM….that she also has a birth mom but we don’t know anything about her. That I was Kylee and Linnea’s step-mom, because I was married to their birth dad. She shrugged and nodded. End of conversation.

Until we were on the bus to a museum the next day. She was standing and holding the pole for support – just because she wanted to stand – when she asked me if I knew anything about them. I knew who she was talking about. I knew she was mulling her history over in her head. But I made her ask.


“My mom and dad? My BIRTH parents?”

I told her that I knew nothing at all….except that they were very smart. She thought that over for a moment and then asked me how I knew. I told her because of where they left her.

“At a BUS STOP?”

She was horrified. Almost angry in fact. And then I explained that they left her at a busy place where they knew someone would find her quickly. They could have left her in the woods where a wild animal could have gotten to her….or in an abandoned house without food and water. They were smart enough to leave their sweet little toddler in a safe enough place. I could see her rolling this concept over in her head – the very same thing she had been told numerous times before – and she nodded thoughtfully. End of conversation.

Until we were sharing a fruit cup for lunch in the basement of the museum.

“Do you know what they look like?”

I shook my head and she was a little saddened. There was nothing to share with her. Just a police report. End of conversation.

Until were were on the ‘L’ a little later on our way to meet our Girl Scout comrades for dinner. I had been waiting to ride the L. Any ER freak can tell you that the show is ALL about what happens on the L. I was all about absorbing the sounds and sights of the L.

“Can we go back to Russia to see them….maybe?”

This time I shook my head. I explained that we could go back to Russia someday. I had planned to do that with her. We could see the baby home where she was taken and the orphanage where she was living when we met her for the first time. But we probably would not be able to see her parents. She thought about this a moment and then nodded.

“I wish I had a picture of them.” Screw the L. My heart was breaking for my beautifully curious and sensitive daughter.

I wondered where all of this was coming from….at this time. Off guard. But then, I began to realize that we were in the middle of a strange busy city with 17 of her Girl Scout friends and 14 of their Moms. Moms and daughters that looked like each other, walked and shopped like each other, laughed and talked like each other. We shared a room with a mom and daughter that were almost mirror images of one another. And then there was us. As different from one another as night and day. At least when her dad and brother were with us we were joined by the common bond of being female. As I watched her in the midst of her friends, dancing to a 50’s tune with our wild and crazy waiters, I pondered her dilemma. Feeling a part of things and yet different from them. It was like a bubblegum bubble in my throat for the rest of the night. Getting bigger and bigger. It didn’t get better till much later…when we were snuggled together in the bed we shared in the hotel. I wrapped my arm around her and she laced her fingers in mine.

“I love you, Mom.”

Pop…goes the bubblegum. End of conversation.

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4 Comments on “Sad/Happy Truths”

  1. marymurtz Says:

    Oh…..hugs to you all. I do know the feeling. My daughter is five and has been asking questions too.

  2. Liz Says:

    What a touching story! You sound like an amazing parent.

    Thank you, by the way for reading my blog… Glad you like the show “ER.” I work there… we really try to make a good hour of TV. It’s nice when we’re appreciated.

    Also: Loved Mary’s blog!!!

  3. Wordgirl Says:

    What a beautiful post.

    I have goosebumps.

    I’m just beginning to more deeply explore our adoption options — I really value your perspective — thank you for visiting my blog — I’d like to add you to my blogroll!


  4. debz1616 Says:

    Bless you for sharing that and making me cry. Our daughter is now 21 and I am her birth mother but my husband adopted her, she asked a few question but not many as Paul knew her while she was still inside me. I met him when I was pregnant. We decided that the best way, for us, to tell her was to give her a special day, to celebrate her adoption day. Around the age of 6 she asked why she had a special day so told her ‘ because you are special, daddy didn’t make you, he didn’t put you in my tummy but he choose you because he loved you so much’ LOL the following year I had to explain again but she then asked how do babies get inside their mummies tummies!

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