After we read the letter, Zoe said, "I feel like that sometimes, but I don't feel abandoned!" I asked why not, and she said, "Because I think my birth parents wanted to keep me but were too poor. They didn't WANT to give me up!" Wow, I'm glad Zoe is confident on that point! I've always been careful to answer her questions truthfully, and truthful is usually "I don't know." But we have speculated, and even then I'm careful to say "I don't know, but I think or I feel or I guess. . . ."
The final point in the letter is that the girl asks for help in thinking about her adoption in a different way, a way that would make her feel happy. I asked Zoe if she had any advice for the girl and my smart girl said, "I don't think anything can make her happy all the time; like, sometimes I'm sad about my birth parents. But maybe if she knew more about some of the reasons her birth parents might've had for giving her up she wouldn't feel abandoned. Like maybe her birth parents lived on a farm and were poor or something." [we're working on breaking the "like" habit, but it's slow going!]
But, I said, we don't know why your birth parents or the other girl's birth parents couldn't parent you. Zoe agreed, but then she said, "We can estimate -- you know, like an estimate isn't like a guess, it's an educated guess? [There's that math learning from 3rd grade!] We can know, like, all the reasons birth families can't keep their kids and then, like, decide which one feels true for us."
Zoe then decided she wanted to write to Amanda Baden:
Dear Amanda:Her email is winging its way to Mei Magazine! Who knows if she'll get an in-print response, but I hope she'll at least get something in reply to her email . . . .
Sometimes I cry inside my heart because of my birth parents. I'm curious about if my birth parents wonder about me. I wonder about them. I think maybe my birth parents might've lived on a farm and were too poor to take care of me. I wonder if it's true.
Zoe (not Zoey)
BTW, Amanda Baden gave some of the same advice Zoe suggested -- focusing on the reasons birth parents might choose not to parent, rather than thinking there's something wrong with you that caused them to reject you. Hmm, maybe I have a budding psychologist . . . .