My daughter Maggie has just turned 5 years old. She joined our family through the wonderful process of open adoption at birth. It is just in the last 6 months that she has shown signs that she actually understands a little about her adoption.
We have been honest with Maggie about her adoption since she was old enough to understand words. The books we have read say children are better adjusted the more honest you are about their adoption because they understand the circumstances and have the knowledge and images they need. We believe them.
We have home movies from when we first met Maggie's birthmother, Maggie's birth, and then another movie from a visit to Maggie's birthmother when Maggie was about 1 1/2. We live on the East Coast, and her birthmother on the West Coast, so we haven't had much opportunity for visitation.
But lately, Maggie has been studying these home movies. Each time taking in a little more detail of the movies. She asks me a lot of questions, and frequently wants me to assure her that I was not in the particular movie image because I was the one taking the movie. "But you were there, right?"
So she just turned 5. After watching/studying the movies the other day she announced that she wants to go to Seattle. Feeling a little stunned (as she has never said the word Seattle out loud to me), I say "Why do you want to go to Seattle?" She says "I want to see Josie." I am totally caught by surprise by her announcement. We talk about her birthmother, Josie, fairly regularly, and she has never expressed this interest. I say "Oh...Why do you want to see Josie?" She says "Because I love her. She is my best friend. I miss her." I am touched by her sentiment, and a little nervous about what it all means.
"Um...you know what? Josie doesn't live in Seattle any more. She lives in California now. Maybe we can talk to Mia and make a trip to California to see Josie. Does that sound good?" She says, "yes, momma" and walks away smiling.
I am blown away. Here it comes. The start of our journey to help Maggie deal with her feelings about being adopted.