Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Mom? What Do I Call Her?

I'll start this post by saying I'm not identifying which son had this conversation with me.  There are a lot of subjects and happenings that I post here.  I work hard on letting the boys know whatever the subject is that I'm writing about.  When we are out and about I will often stick a note in my phone with a post idea for later...memory is definitely spotty sometimes.

I suspect as the boys get older what they approve for me to share will definitely be censored more.  This is one such conversation.  While we talked this over and I was given the okay to share, I do think that it was a serious enough topic that we'll keep some of the details private.

Why share at all?  Both I and our son think it's important as it was very close to his heart and he has started expressing more and more questions about his birth family, country and adoption in general.

The out of the blue conversation came out of no where.  We were talking about some unrelated thing and he said, "Mom.  What do I call her?"  I didn't get it.  Who?  "Do I call her my step mom?  How do I say it?"  I was, to say the least, beyond surprised.  We generally talk about their biological mom, as their mom or one of our sons' uses the term "my first mom in the Philippines".

For whatever reason, at this particular point, he no longer was sure that it was okay to say any of his usual terms.  My hunch is that this has come up with friends.  We have a lot of questions coming out of that area.  So back into the relationship tree and explanations we traveled.

Ultimately the question was..."can I have two moms?"  I told him it was fine with me and before I could go further, his brother completed the conversation..."Yes!  We're lucky we get to have two moms."  After they shared (what I call) their "brother look", they agreed that yes they could have 2 and that it was okay to tell people that.

Now what was behind the motivation to this conversation remains somewhat of a mystery.  I think it was a combination of things that pushed the question forward in his mind....was it okay with me to call someone else mom, too?.....was it weird that they have 2 moms when their friends have one? do they talk to people who ask questions...and their friends are starting to have these types of questions.

Some people say that it isn't any ones' business and we don't have to answer questions.  Yes I understand that point of view but I also think that none of us live in a bubble and people do have and do ask and do wonder about a lot of things.  Ignoring those things or turning away doesn't stop the inquiry it may even redirect it into a negative, assumptive place that does damage.

So our approach from the beginning has been to say we will answer anything and if it crosses into an area that we are not comfortable we will say so.  I remember in our early adoption parenting classes when adoptive parents were in to speak to the group and answer questions.  Little did any of us novices know that if we didn't use the correct term or that there were certain things that were deemed allowable to speak of and those that have been claimed as taboo from the experts, that we would be castigated in front of the group.  I never want that to be the case when I'm on the receiving end of a question.  We won't be offended by the question if they won't be offended by our choice to answer or not.  So far it's worked out well.  I hope that we can convey that approach to the boys and they too grasp that there isn't any question they can't ask that we won't try to answer to the best of our ability and knowledge without sugar coating or making up information that we don't have facts on.

It is quite wonderful that our boys have 2 moms.  We wouldn't have them with us if they didn't have families spanning two countries and cultures.  Adoption doesn't happen without that very basic connection, it should never be dismissed or forgotten.

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