Sunday, May 31, 2009


Thursday was Zoe's last day of school, and Friday was Maya's preschool graduation. Maya and her friends looked adorable in their miniature caps and gowns, and as silly as it might be to "graduate" at this age, Maya was cute as a button!

So Zoe is now "officially" a third-grader and Maya a kindergartner. Happy times, yes? For Zoe, not so much.

When I picked Zoe up from school on Thursday, unlike all the other kids running happily from school celebrating the beginning of summer vacation, Zoe was crying. A few other kids were crying about missing their second-grade teacher, but Zoe was concerned about her first grade teacher. Mrs. P. is having a baby and is not coming back next year. Zoe was crying about never seeing her again, and about how she'll forget what Mrs. P. looks like. And then Friday, as Maya graduated from the same preschool Zoe attended, Zoe cried about two of her preschool teachers who are no longer with the school, and whom she hasn't seen since they left. "I don't even remember what Miss Rachel looks like," Zoe cried.

Normal drama-queen stuff? Could be, she's had a hard time with Maya graduating, because that makes Maya the center of attention instead of her! Usual reaction to change? I suppose.

But that's what adoption does, it makes you wonder if there's something else, another layer. Is this just about her teachers, or is there something more? Is she thinking about not remembering/knowing what her birth parents look like? Is this a reaction to abandonment? Is this triggering feelings of loss, traceable to loss of birth parents?
I don't know the answers, but adoption means I have to ask the questions.


Ann BF said...

I agree with your uneasiness around loss/transition/adoption stuff. We really never know where this stuff is all coming from, and I think its is undifferentiated for our kids. The core of the conversation is to keep the readiness to "go to" adoption loss in plain sight, so its available as needed, which takes some doing since its our natual inclination to smooth things over for our kids. Your blog is a great resource for me in this. Also we recently ordered the adoption life book/work book that was in a recent post. And Helen, who is a reserved child who does not bring up adoption related stuff unless I ask...RACES home every day to work on it. Wow.

Anonymous said...

I also wonder if Zoe is just very sentimental by nature and that is what makes dealing with adoption loss more difficult for her (or at least more apparent). Kind of an interaction between her circumstances and her personality. BTW, since this is our adoption anniversary time, my girls have started working on their "China Workbook" today. Thanks for the suggestion! Finally, Maya's hair looks cute short and she is adorable in her graduation attire!!
Sue (aka anonymous)

Joanne said...

Oh I wonder about these kinds of things a lot...especially when Mia cries if I leave her ...with her daddy and I'm just going up to the store. She has finally learned that mommy comes back and doesn't cry all the time. I worry about her first days of preschool - and I always think in the back of my mind, is this an abandonment issue?
I did want to mention that about 2 months ago I was showing my oldest son the video of Mia's "gotcha" moment and when Mia saw the video she started crying and was very upset! Is it possible she remembers or remembers the feelings of that day a year and a half ago???

Ann BF said...

At a certain age Helen used to watch her gotcha video every day.
Also invented a game where she hid under a blanket like a bird in an egg, "waiting all by herself" for a mommy bird to come from Buffalo. She played this daily for 6 months at age 3.5 or so. my job was to swoop in and scoop her up and promise to feed her womrs and bugs and teach her to fly. Thsi game was all her own idea. Over the years she plays it off and on and sometimes we work thru new material this way.Such as recently she added the little bird calling me on a cell phone to make sure I find her, since she was left alone (beginning to process abandonemnt after visiting finding site last year). This is a child who is not "sentimental by nature", or even very verbal -- but some how has found a way to work some stuff out. Since I am a play therapist the dramatic play thing has come naturally to me, too, I guess.

malinda said...

Ann, I'm glad the China Workbook worked for y'all, too! The girls pull theirs out all the time, and are a regular part of their favorite play -- playing school. They take turns being the teacher, and the teacher quizzes the student on the contents of the workbook -- what a hoot!

And I love the baby bird story -- how clearly they let us know what they are thinking (at least when we have eyes to see and ears to hear.)

malinda said...

Thanks, Sue! Zoe also got the same haircut -- our after-ballet-recital-no-longer-need-a-bun-summer-'do!

I agree, Zoe's nature has made her struggle more than some other kids might, more than Maya has, for example, with adoption loss. But at least I don't have to wonder what she's thinking about most of the time!

malinda said...

Joanne, that's interesting, Mia's reaction to her "gotcha" video. The first time Zoe saw hers, when she was 22 months old, she cried, too. I had the same questions you have, but it also seemed to me that Zoe wasn't sure that the baby in the video was HER. It finally occurred to me that she was reacting the same way she did when I played with any OTHER baby -- jealousy that I was holding some other baby!