All I Have to Do

I had a dream about Cricket the other night. It was a few years in the future—he was five or six—Ruth was in the hospital, and Nora was out of the picture. Ruth had asked us to look after Cricket while she was hospitalized, and the whole dream was just practical details and awfulness; we took him to visit his mom every day, but people who saw us assumed that he was ours. And even though we didn’t want to explain a dozen times every day, we had to, because he was right there, paying attention. I felt like a freak, and so stressed out, and I caught myself wondering why Ruth had sent him to us instead of to her best friend (and adoptive mother of four). We had to take him to the hospital every day, because his mom was sick and that’s scary and he needed to see her—but I dreaded having to run the gauntlet of well-meaning questions every damn day. At one point, Cricket started to cry, but in fact it was Joey, and I woke up.

This is maybe the least mysterious dream I have ever had. I worry about what the future holds for Cricket; I dread having any adoption-related conversations with him, and they are inevitable. And yet, as straightforward as it was, I still find it upsetting to remember or think about that dream. So I’m writing about it. Even in the dream, I was incredibly self-conscious about having Cricket and Joey attending to my explanations and evasions. Happily, the Possum was still too little to care.

I’ve started toying with the idea of emailing Ruth—not soon, because I’ve got years before this will come up (right?)—and saying “Listen, when Cricket starts asking when he was placed and you think he might want to ask me, I need a heads up ahead of time. I think we should talk together about what I might tell him, because I’m not comfortable just bluntly telling Cricket; I’d rather not talk about it until he’s an adult, but I know that isn’t fair to him. But it’s not an easy thing for an adopted kid to hear, I think, and I’d like to work it out with you ahead of time.” My strong preference would be to leave the answering of that question to Ruth, but I know that isn’t fair to Cricket. We’ll work something out.

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6 thoughts on “All I Have to Do

  1. I can only imagine how difficult the thoughts of these eventual conversations must be for you. However, I can only imagine how much better it will be for Cricket (and, hopefully for you) to have his questions answered honestly than to spend a lifetime wondering.

    I should add that I’m an adoptive mom. My daughter is 4 months-old. Right now I know where her mother is – have a phone number and email address. I send regular updates/photos, but have only heard back from her twice. My fear is that one day she will disappear and then my little girl will be left wondering and asking me questions that I can only hope to answer in some substantive, meaningful way.

    I wish you and Cricket the best as you navigate these waters.

  2. That is such an upsetting dream. I think that’d be good to talk with Ruth sometime about what you guys will say to Cricket about the adoption. Someday in the future you guys could talk with Cricket about your regret, if that felt right?

    • That;s much of my concern; I feel that Ruth can answer honestly and say the things about “Not ready to parent, courageous choice, blah blah” that I couldn’t say honestly. No answer that I give is going to feel honest to me unless it includes regret, and that’s a lot to lay on a kid.

  3. My parents told me why I was placed hundreds of times. The only explanation I remember is the one my birthfather gave me. Some things need to come straight from the horses mouth. Unfortunately, and perhaps you already suspect this: None of the explanations ever given to me ever seemed good enough. Sometimes they were good, sometimes they seemed shallow…but none of them were good enough. Not to me. And I’m now an adult. I can love my parents without ever understanding what they’ve done. Complication comes with the territory in these kinds of relationships. Prepare yourself, also, for these possibilities.

  4. This sounds hard & scary & not unlike (in its way) the coiled up feelings you had during the last pregnancy. So, just pointing out there’s that. It also sounds like you are trying to prepare yourself for the possibility that Cricket will want to have this conversation with you — & that he & you may feel better for having it together. Regardless of when you do discuss this with him if you do (i bet you do) you know he’ll have had a lot of chances to process this with Ruth before he ever brings it up with you. I certainly want these conversations–if & when they occur for us–to happen to support Saskia so I am sure we will work to be a team, we adults.

  5. That’s a very upsetting dream :/

    I think it is very wise to begin thinking about those conversations with Cricket concerning his adoption. Not to alarm you, but you may not have years before he starts asking. My oldest was demanding specifics at a very, very young age. Our situation is extremely different and filled with aspects that are painful, but we’ve muddled through it. You may want to practice an age appropriate response before the next face to face. I think that it is very possible for you to share your regret over his adoption in a manner that does not burden him but is affirming- even for such a young child. Very tricky though.

    I hope your brother is doing okay.

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