*This is a picture of the boys with their birthmom at their last visit with her. They haven’t seen her since. (Chris is being mopey because he wants to go back to the playground and play more instead of leaving.)
We just completed a unit on patron saints last week. (You can view the boys’ work here.) The unit was all about learning about each person’s patron saint in the family. On Saturday, while we were eating, Zach asked me when their birthmom’s name day was. There is not a saint with her name so I told them, “Well…I don’t know of any saints with her name so we can remember her on All Saints Day.” It wasn’t the exact answer he was hoping for but it was a satisfactory one.
With all four of my kids, I’ve always taken the approach of being upfront and honest with them about any question or situation that arises. I firmly believe you teach them how to deal with these things when the opportunity arises and deal with it on their age level. I have met soooo many teenagers and adults that are creeped out by death because their parents shielded them from it. Kids are heartier than most realize – just explain it to them at their age level and they do a very good job of dealing with it. So when the subject of birthparents arises – I just talk to them about it. I don’t get offended or hurt that they want to remember their birthmom. She plays a significant role in their life. If it wasn’t for her, they wouldn’t be here today. It’s only going to cause bigger problems if I don’t let them deal with the feelings they are obviously experiencing. For all the things their birthmom did wrong, she did at least three great acts in her life – carrying and giving birth to the three boys whom I now call my sons. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have all the stories I share and all the love that has filled my heart.
Besides, I understand how rough it can be to have feelings about another person(s) (for me it’s Malaki and Justice) and pretty much everyone around me downplays those feelings – including close friends and family. My sense of loss for them is very real and extremely vibrant even all these years later. They weren’t even my biological sons. Imagine what my boys feel about their birthmother!
It occured to me yesterday while we were in church that today is their birthmom’s birthday. I talked to the boys yesterday afternoon and explained to them I thought today would be a great day to remember their mom since today is also the Annunciation of the Theotokos (The day Archangel Gabriel told Mary she would give birth to Jesus). So today is now the official day we will remember their birthmom and we celebrated it by attending Liturgy and each of the boys lit a big seven day candle for her.
I took a picture of the boys’ candles after Liturgy this morning
The boys were beyond thrilled. The side effect has been they have actually acted more loving to me today instead of their usual distant selves. Loss is real even for young children.