The term "hard questions" or "hard conversations" for most of my friends seem to be those that parents have regarding changing bodies, sexual identity, and relationships. We have those too,but being an adoptive parent means there are other hard conversations that are unique to adoption.
We've had a bunch of them. Conversations about finding first families. Conversations about feeling conflicted or angry and me. Or at first mom. Conversations about loss and genetics. Abandonment. But yesterday KC learned that he was born drug exposed and for me, that was my hardest one to date.
It happened because of an ad. We went to Maine to visit my mom and had Maine radio on in the car on the way home. We'd been singing along to some pop songs and an ad came on. Lissa was asking me a question about stopping for ice cream and I didn't really hear the ad till it was part way in.
It gave statistics on the number of children in Maine born drug exposed and went on from there. I felt my breath catch in my throat. It was that moment when you just knew the question was going to come. And it did.
My worry was that KC would be upset and we were driving, in relatively busy highway traffic. In a car full of his siblings, who like all kids vary wildly from highly compassionate to oblivious. He immediately asked "was that what happened to me."
I said that it was, and it was why he and Mom Y share a birthday. She had been very careful during her pregnancy (which is true) but on that one night she celebrated and made a choice and used crack. This made her go into labor early and he was born that same night. I added that this was part of why he was in the NICU after he was born.
And that was it. I waited for tears, for angry words. (like most kids, KC has a fairly intense sense of right and wrong and holds adults to a high standard.) He has always crafted a little story for himself of how when he was a baby he wanted to see the world so much he decided to come early. I have always allowed that, and I wondered if he would bring that up now. Nope. He just meshed that new info in with the old and went back to trying out the new sketching pad and pencils he got from Nana.
And there were no bad dreams last night or sleep problems, so I am inclined to believe it really is okay. I am sure that we will talk more in the days and years to come. I am sure there may come a time when it may cause pain. But I hope that he is able to see that everyone makes mistakes, and that Mom Y's love for him comes through in her letters. And that our love is always there enfolding him.