I think I misled you a little when I said we had an odd combination of first parent interactions. Each separate interaction wasn't odd, it was all of them happening on the same weekend that felt so bizarre. It was adoption overload for awhile there. Two interactions were completely normal and understandable, just required us to be very emotionally present. One was unbloggable. The fourth was quite unexpected. I'm a little unsure about writing about it, but I think I can fairly share the bare bones of the part that trickles into my world.
Puppy's first mom, K, is four months pregnant. As a ges.tational surr.ogate.
In my wildest imaginings, I did not see this one coming. After I got over my surprise at the news, I had a couple of reactions.
I'm concerned that carrying, birthing and handing over the baby to the intended parents could trigger difficult memories and emotions connected to Puppy's adoption. Emotions for which she is not preparing and for which she has little support. That worries me.
I'm frustrated that everyone else in her life allegedly thinks this is a wonderful idea with no possible downside.
I keep thinking about this phone call from last year.
But what really has me thinking is how this might affect Puppy. Because, in the end, as much as I care about K's well-being, it's not my responsibility. But Puppy is my responsibility and I don't know how to explain this to him. I feel like I would know where to begin with other scenarios: pregnant and parenting, pregnant and placing with us, pregnant and placing with someone else. But this? I'm casting about for a place to start.
We will be seeing her in a few months when she'll be quite far along. And even if Puppy didn't notice the pregnancy (he can be pretty clueless about body shapes) I know it will come up in conversation when we're with her, not to mention in years to come. I'm not going to make a big deal of it with him, but I do want to be prepared to talk about it.
We talk about his adoption with him in different ways, but frequently come back to some basic elements: you grew inside of K, K and R took care of you then, after you were born they decided we would be your parents and you came to live with us. At his age, we are trying to communicate (a) that K and R are important to us because his life started with them and (b) that his movement into our family had their blessing. There is a picture of the four of us in his room from the day T and I met R and K while K was still pregnant. If you ask him where he is in the picture, he points at K's mid-section, saying, "In there!" All that to say that his understanding of adoption right now is pretty focused on the pregnancy-birth-placement progression.
Now we have a situation which, on the face of it, looks exactly like adoption as it's been explained to him. I don't know how to communicate to a three-year old the difference between surrogacy and placing a newborn for adoption:
- there is a baby growing inside of K, where you grew
- but that baby is not your sibling
- nor is that baby K's baby
- and when that baby is born, he/she will go live with his/her parents
- but K won't be that baby's birth mom
- and this is not what happened with you
Or maybe he'll just take it all at face value and not make a connection to his own story. But the way he wanted to talk again and again about Firefly's placement makes me doubt it.
So, what would you do?