My Boy, And His Other Half

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.


Melodie Monberg said...

Please keep writing. Your words, your comments have helped me keep perspective in this crazy journey called adoption. I really would LOVE to meet you one of these days (maybe a slow jog or walk on the trail?)

I am sad. And I am happy, that you get to be HIS mommy and share this story with him. It's all so bittersweet isn't it?


hotflawedmama said...

Oh, poor Zinabu. I'll be praying for the little man (and his mommy) over the coming days/weeks/months. I can't imagine what that must feel like for him.

Or you. Sometimes even though the baggage is beautiful it is extremely heavy some days.

And yeah, the buttinskis are a real problem.

Vivi said...

Oh I'm all teary reading that. What a special post - you have an amazing sensitivity to the issues your kids are dealing with and will deal with in the future.

In so many ways, your sadness seems so "logical" to me. Since Z is your boy, his twin, as a part of him, is your boy too. What a challenge it will be to talk about, honor, and "remember" a boy who you didn't have the chance to know.

But I know this - you will do it well. You are an amazing adoptive mom, Cathy. Your instincts of how to deal with things and the way you approach situations impress me over and over again.

Vivi said...

Ok, I didn't mean to label you as "adoptive mom." You're mom. An amazing mom. But you're also amazing as a mother of adopted children. Don't mean to babble, but did not want to offend!

Bekka-Reeeeeeee said...

Z may never have the blessing of knowing his twin brother and that is a tragedy that you can never change. But you have given him a gift that is just as special - you have given him a home and a family. He may not know his twin, but he's got a brother and a sister that both love him dearly. He's got a mom and a dad that would do everything for him. He is quite possibly one of the world's luckiest kiddos!

Chatter said...

Since I am terrible at putting my thoughts into words (that actually make sense) may I ditto Vivi's thoughts. You are extremely sensitive to your children's challenges and their past. I admire you on so many levels. Hugs to all!

AnnMarie & Nick said...

As hard/difficult as this all is it is also such a great honor to be the keeper of your children's stories. I'll be praying for you little man as he starts to process what he knows.