The Talk

I wanted to adopt a five year old. I wanted the hard case, a kid in dire need of a home. I wanted to dig in with both sleeves rolled up and really change a life. I wanted an older child because I thought the adoption would be faster since the older ones have been waiting the longest.

Those initial thoughts came up to the firing squad one by one, and not one survived.

Our daughter was a toddler when she came to us, not an older kid. {bang}

She has an easy going, friendly personality that endears most anyone in instants, not a hard case. {pow}

Some kids do okay in an institutional setting. She most likely would have been one of those. Low on the neediness scale {ploink}

The adoption took longer than the entire time she was in the orphanage. This means it took relatively long on our end of things. Meanwhile, if you compare the average time a Bolivian child spends in an orphanage before they are placed with a family, Kaitlynn’s time was short. She really didn’t have to wait that long for us, comparatively. {kablooey}

Before I became a mother I had a strong desire to arrive at the day when I could have conversations with my kids. Maybe that was why I had the idea to adopt an older child. I was reminded today that the Bible says children are a blessing to their parents. One way my kids bless me is conversing with me.

Kaitlynn now speaks English and is doing better at forming her four-year-old thoughts into sentences. A week has passed since I took her to visit her old orphanage. As I sat down across the table from her to eat tacos I had the idea to talk about the visit. Just she and I were in the kitchen, a rare moment of alone time.

We really talked! It was not until afterwards that I was reminded by a whisper in my heart of my wish to converse with my kids. I teared up at the grace of God orchestrating this moment.

About a month ago I just felt strongly we needed to go visit her orphanage. I knew it was more for me than for her. I didn’t know why, though. I just knew we needed to do it. I was very nervous. I felt like I was going to have to do some heavy duty emotional work and I was dreading it. We prepared gift bags for all the caregivers. We looked at old pictures from her time at the home. We talked about her life before she came to us. The siblings that wanted to come with us did so.

Jennifer, the director of the orphanage with Kaitlynn and me


The visit went great. We stayed for about a half an hour. We played with the babies. We talked with the director. And then we left. There were no lightening bolts, no epiphanies. I can’t say that God spoke any new revelations to my heart. I didn’t feel any differently.

Just tonight I finally understand a part of what the visit was for.

Tonight Kaitlynn and I had our first intelligible talk about her birth mom.

Some of the things she was able to voice to me, in her own words, during our conversation about her life before she came to be a Washington:

“I was waiting for you at the orphanage. I go to the door and wait for you.”

“When I was little at the orphanage, when I had little feet, I was sad. I was sad with alot of kids around.”

“I have alot of mamas. All the Tias.” (Tia is the Spanish word for Aunt. That is what they call the caregivers at the orphanage.)

“Before at the orphanage, when I was little, there were alot of little peoples; but you were not there. You were driving in your car a long time to come to me. I was waiting for with with the mamas and the peoples. There was not any papas. Only mamas. And then now there is one papa. And you are the mama.”

“You are the mama and I love you”

I asked her if she remembered the time before she lived with the Tias. She told me she did not. She was only one year old so I did not expect her to. I talked about all the mamas at the orphanage. Then I told her she had one other mom before that. I told her she grew in her mom’s belly when she was a baby. Her eyes got big.  I told her that mom was her first mom.

“You had one mom when you were a baby. Then you had alot of mamas at the orphanage. Now you have one mama. I am your mama. And I will be your mama forever. You are not going to have another mama. Just like Raimy, and Timothy, and Gabrielle, and Tyler, and now you, Kaitlynn, have one mama.”

During the 28 months leading up to this important talk, from when she came to us until now, I dropped adoption vocabulary here and there. Any attempt at discussing her adoption felt one sided. She was more interested in playing with her ponies or running off to play with Shep in the back yard. I knew the moment of “The Talk” would come. I waited. Finally we connected! It feels like I have been holding my breath and I was finally able to exhale. I can breathe more easily now. I know more talks will come, but I just feel like this talk needed to happen first. By the grace of God it has.


4 thoughts on “The Talk

  1. loved this post. love that you are processing this important piece of history with your daughter. reckon you are both blessed to have each other. and loved the pic of the three of you at the orphanage!

    love from here,

    1. Thank you, Laura! It’s amazing to me how grace God is as He walks through this processing with us. I am so grateful for His kindness. Love right back at ya, girl :)

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