As an adoptive parent, I carry a lot of baggage. Actually, the baggage belongs to my kids, but I carry it for them until they are old enough to learn about it, talk about it, process it, and deal with it. It is my job not to blab their personal information to the world until each child is comfortable with their birth stories, birth families, and situations that led to their relinquishment. You'd be surprised what perfect strangers ask me... in the grocery store... in front of my kids. As if my kids don't have ears. It's actually horrific. I am aware that by being so obviously an adoptive family we stand out. But I am always taken aback at the buttinskis that feel it is their right to cross 500 yards of a parking lot to ask if my kids are siblings.
Anyway, when kindergarten started for Zinabu, we met the cutest little twin girls. Piper and Mia. Piper is in Zinabu's class and Mia is in the other kindergarten class. Yesterday both kindergarten classes combined for an activity (I was there helping) and Piper and Mia sat across the room from each other and spoke in a secret hand language. It was adorable and amazing. I watched them for a bit and had to bite back a few sobs because Zinabu is a surviving twin. His twin brother passed away at 5 months old. I do not know if he was a fraternal twin or an identical twin, but he was a twin nonetheless. Last night as I was making dinner Zinabu and I were talking about Piper and I felt the little tug on my heart that told me "This is the time to tell him." Zinabu has known that he had a brother that died, but I never explained that it was a twin. Really, he had no context for it and I tell my kids information as I feel they can deal with it. Zinabu had a lot of questions. But he also passed over the conversation pretty quickly. This is what each of my kids have done when we've had such "adoption" talks. They take in what I tell them, ask a few questions, then move on. It is in the days and weeks to come that the kids process the details and begin to grieve. I don't know what it will be like for Zinabu. Yes, it's hard that there is a set of twins in his grade as it shows him what he lost. But how blessed he is to have been a twin in the first place. I share this with you because I'm sad, and this helps me process. And now that Zinabu knows, I feel comfortable telling others in small doses.
My heart is so longing to know Zinabu's brother. I wonder what his personality would have been like (aside from the obvious that he would have been the quiet one). I wonder what Zinabu feels as a surviving twin. How does it affect who he is? I don't have the answers. But I do know that I am blessed, blessed, blessed to be his second mom.