As many of you already know, our four kids are adopted from Russia. And none of them are natural siblings. Let me be clear though, they do hate each other just as much as natural siblings. When they were little we had lots of books about adoption, I spoke my college Russian to them and we were in a Russian adoption group trying to keep their heritage alive. This is their birthright. Well, and the boys have the additional birthright of possibly being called to serve in the Russian military at 18. And Ember's birthright was born in the town that makes AK47s. Coincidence? I don't think so.
As the kids have gotten older, a lot of these good heritage intentions have fallen to the wayside. Because we're just wrapped up in homework, puberty, getting drugs out of the kids schools in addition to the constant stress and worry about how much our auto insurance rates are going to jump when Sky gets his license in about a year. And we're also trying to drive home the idea to never, ever, ever text while driving. I didn't even mention we're reffing the fights over who stole whose Halloween candy or that Sky just got certified to referee soccer games. Which we're going to have to drive him to and from.
Last week we were driving back from Serenity Springs, a big cat sanctuary near us where the kids all got to hold a 9 day old tiger cub. That's when she said it. From out of the blue.
"Sometimes I feel like I'm in the orphanage dreaming my future."
I was so overcome with emotion I didn't even know what to say, plus I was busy searching my purse for my notebook to write it down. Sure she'd never say it or anything like it ever again. Or that I'd heard it wrong. Because Ember isn't a flowery child. She's an abrasive self starter with no lighter fluid necessary. Then she said it a second time, in the same week. I had heard her correctly the first time. And when she said it the second time, she wasn't under the influence of cute little tiger cub or having just seen a magical liger.
She meant it.
So I immediately went into insecure adoptive mom guilt mode. Feeling like I had neglected to nurture a part of them. The part that may wonder and feel rejected. Because in order for us to be their parents, their birth parents had to give them up. Then I said what I've said many times before. "We'll help you find your birth parents if that's what you want to do." And none of them want to.
Maybe we didn't choose them from an orphanage after all.
Maybe we chose each other.