It was only a few months after his birth when I published about my baby boy crying Abba. Our boy is adopted, and I knew when we took him from birth that he would grow up not knowing his “real” parents – not really. I also knew we would not keep them from him or him from them (though I will do my best to manage their interaction while he is young!). And this means I have a story to tell him.
You can see the earlier post from years ago here:
If you are doing the math, he is going on six now. That means we have already begun telling him of his adoption.
It’s easy to tell an infant he is adopted; he doesn’t ask questions or seem phased in the slightest then. As he has aged, four years and five, I could use that word adoption on a few occasions and tell him he is adopted, but he didn’t have much appreciation for the meaning of the word.
Oh… I asked if he knew what I was saying, and he answered, “Yes.” But there were no questions. No signs that he did in fact understand.
Then Christmas came a month ago, and for the first time in four years, I think, his biological mother reached out to inquire about him. Mrs. Agent X, of course, told me she had called. It didn’t develop into a visit (something that could happen at her request given proper notice). But this conversation between Mrs. Agent X and I unfolded in front of the boy. I could see a quizzical look on his face.
I took a moment to refresh our understanding of the word “adoption” and told him he has a “biological mama” who was asking about him.
I could see it immediately.
In those brief words, I had created a very important shadowy figure in his mind. It was the figure that I knew years ago would come haunting. Suddenly, I remembered the old blog post and the unsettling feelings and ideas that prompted me to pray and to write. Today, I am glad I prayed and wrote. I need to fall back on that.
So, yeah. It’s a change of gears between mother and father here, but except for the feminization of this concept, the rest stays close enough to the same. His biological mother called. He was curious, and suddenly I filled up that word “adoption” with a new idea: He has another Mama out there somewhere.
You can bet the selfish part of me is jealous.
This shadowy figure who has spent less than six whole hours out of his almost six-year life with him gets a very special place in his heart and soul just for the mere mention of her existence. I, on the other hand, have been there for every meal, every birthday, every prayer, every skinned knee, every diaper change, every… every… every…. And when he is frustrated with me, he insults me, but her? Her?? Her???
I kept my remarks short, as you can imagine. I don’t recall the exact words now, but I think it was about three sentences total, and then I stopped to ask, “Do you understand?”
I said, “If you have questions, you can always ask. I will do my best to explain.”
Yeah. I will. But I will work even harder at not insulting or even criticizing his “biological” mother at all. She “needed help” due to some “difficult life circumstance.” (Which is true.) This followed by, “Does that make sense?” To which he again nodded, and I was happy to quit.
And then three days later, THREE DAYS, like Jesus dead in the grave, three days later, he asks about his “other mama” again.
A shadowy figure resurrected.
And I did say I would do my best to answer his questions.
Yes. I did.
It’s been a little over two weeks now that I ponder and wonder. Are there some Bible story lessons I could teach which would paint a parallel picture or shed light on what we have going on here? Stories appropriate for kids of four, five, and six years? Is there a children’s book?
It’s easy to shift into denial. I don’t struggle with these thoughts every day. Some days I just forget altogether, but then when I remember, I feel a kick in the gut. I know that shadowy figure grows in meaning, and her name is “Mama” and there is a “Pops” out there too.
But then this weekend, a sudden blessing I hadn’t thought about. Just a small thing, but potent still.
It’s been more than two years since I found on the streaming service an old movie from 1988 called simply The Bear. I saw it when I was young, and my kids watched it two years ago, but none of us thought about it again until this weekend when I saw it as I scrolled the options.
The bear is a cub, orphaned in the opening scene, and left to the wild to flounder. My kids complained not wanting to watch until the mother dies, then the room got quiet. The cub wanders away aimlessly and getting into danger when soon he happens upon a full-grown Kodiak bear he wants to befriend. The Kodiak at first wants nothing to do with him, but my kids are catching on fast! This baby cub needs a new papa since his mama is gone!
I will take that!
Thank You, Jesus!!!
The boy has another Abba. Not me. I am jealous of this shadowy figure whose responsibility I now shoulder, whose kid I know love as if he were MINE. And I FEEL that word “MINE.”
But, really, the boy is given to Abba, not me. And I don’t want to make him jealous of me. But I am glad to serve him, and to lean on him for his providence. “I see the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for sacrifice?”
Funny how the Abbas all see it too.
Here at the Fat Beggars Home for Widows, Orphans, and Sojourners, we wage war for souls. God has not forgot us.
Thanx for reading.
Thanx for caring.
Thanx for your prayers.