Since my husband and I are not present for family visits sometimes finding out details of what big brother and little sister experience and are told is a mystery until they talk about it.
Tonight’s bedtime routine…
Big brother: (Points to the picture by his bed of his classmates and tells me the name of each friend. Then he points to a picture of our family – himself, little sister, my husband and me. While pointing to my face…)
Big brother: That’s you… [my bio mom] says you’re not my mom.
Me: You’re so special you have two moms and two dads. What do you say?
Big brother: [Bio mom] says she is my only mom.
Me: Ms. Soandso (play therapist) says I’m mommy Marcy and she’s mommy [bio mom first name]. Ms. Othersoandso (social worker) says I’m you’re foster mom.
Big brother: (Points to another photo of our family and says…) Little sister, Daddy, Mommy.
Thoughts going through my head while reading big brother a bedtime story…
Did I do the right thing? I used names consistent with what the kiddos are taught during play therapy.
Does [bio mom] understand how confusing this to the kiddos who go to school and are surrounded by other kiddos who squeal “Mom!” and “Dad!” when they are picked up from school?
Earlier today… big brother wanted to watch a DVD he received as a Christmas gift from my sister-in-law and family. He has been asking a lot about the story of Jesus and how he died. This movie used claymation to answer a lot of his questions. (Thanks for the gift, sister-in-law and family!)
The movie concludes after Jesus dies, rises from the dead, and is on earth for a few more days.
Big brother: Mom, when you die, will you be buried in a tomb?
Me: No, that was a long time ago. Today people are usually put into caskets and buried underground. But I’d rather be made into a corral reef and be in the water with fish.
Big brother: What about dad?
My husband: I want to be made into dust and sprinkled on my family’s farm.
Big brother: Mom. I want to be a reef like you.
Me: Sounds good.
Big brother: I don’t want to die anytime soon.
Me: Me neither. But we don’t have to worry because we all die when it’s our time.
Big brother: When is it our time?
Me: Some people live a long time, others are younger. It just depends when we are done living.
Big brother: How come [bio grandpa] died?
Me: It was his time.
Big brother: But he was sick and the doctor wasn’t open.
Me: [Big brother], remember, we talked about this? That isn’t true. The hospital is always open.
Big brother: But not on Christmas and holidays.
Me: Yes, on Christmas, and all holidays people work at the hospital. Remember, we have a lot of friends that are doctors and nurses and they or someone they work with works on holidays so the hospital is always open and able to help people.
What I want to say…
[Bio grandpa] did bad drugs and died of an overdose. But I can’t say this right now because the bio family told the kiddos he died because a doctor wasn’t open.
Filtering these kinds of conversations is in part why we chose not to celebrate Santa.
8 thoughts on “lies we filter”
Wow. It doesn’t sound like bio mom thinks about how what she says will affect the kiddos. How sad. You and your husband are so thoughtful to be so careful.
I hope so, Case! We don’t want to put her down… especially in front of the kids. It’s so hard to tell them things she tells them aren’t true. :/
More than anything, when children are young they want to feel safe and that they can trust adults. So – if that means you need to be very creative to protect them and cover the lies – then it is what is best for them. Efforts to discredit the other people is too much pressure for the children (I don’t think you did that) They will know the truth, in time, and they will remember the love in the efforts you made. In these situations I have always said things such as “Hmm. That must be what they think. I am sure the are doing their best – just like I am. We all do our best.” Then eventually, as they grow older “All we can do is pray that they understand / learn / do better.”
Wow. Those are tough conversations! I don’t know why so many people think it is okay (or even preferable) to lie to kids. We’re like you, we think it is better to tell the kids what’s up. You’re in a tough situation, but it sounds to me like you’re doing an amazing job with your words!
Your posts are very insightful and it is really interesting to learn about how you handle things. Thanks for opening yourself up like this.
Wow…you are doing a fantastic job! I find some parenting conversations tricky, but you are in an entirely different league with much higher emotional stakes. Good for you… Don’t doubt yourself. My response is often “Good question; I’m not sure. Let me think about it and get back to you.” Maybe you can give me lessons!
Thanks, Megan! Parenting sure is an adventure! I may just borrow your response next time!
Your love and concern for these kids is so evident. No matter the outcome, you two are showing them a love so special that their lives cannot help but be changed for the better.
It is my hope & prayer that you will soon be a forever family. 😉