On Black Friday, I spent twenty minutes in my car sobbing. I was sobbing at the realization that my babies were no longer babies. I was sobbing because my oldest son, just turned ten, was asking about the reality of Santa Clause. I looked up ways to tell him and I found letters and other Pinterest worthy ideas. It really broke my heart. I realized that childhood as I knew it for my children was going to change. I knew that things would be different and I simply wasn’t quite ready to let go of the magic.
A few days later while at dinner with some friends, I received a text from my husband stating our son wanted to talk to us because his friends have said some things and he needed to know the truth. My heart instantly sank. I thought we had bought ourselves a bit more time of magic, but I was clearly wrong. I finished my dinner and hurried home with a heavy heart to have the dreaded Santa conversation.
Much to my surprise, I got home and my son didn’t want to talk about Santa. Inside, I jumped for joy that the magic was still present but when he continued to talk, I realized the hard conversations aren’t of Santa Clause or the Easter Bunny. The hard conversations are simply of life.
With tears in his eyes, my son said, “mom, my friends on the bus keep asking why my other mom and dad didn’t want me.”
I wanted to shout. I wanted to cry. I wanted to wrap my son in a bubble and keep him away from the realities of his past.
I would have rather talked about Santa.
We talk openly about adoption in our home and we have always made it very clear their birth parents loved them very much. I reiterated that sentiment with my son and held him closely as he cried his confusion.
I don’t understand why children are so cruel, but I don’t believe they meant to be. I believe they don’t understand because it’s not part of their history. I believe they don’t have the language capacity to express their thoughts in an appropriate manner.
I believe their intent is not malicious.
Although I believe these things, my heart still breaks for my son. My heart breaks for the trauma he carries from a past he doesn’t remember. My heart breaks for the story he’ll have to tell again and again. My heart breaks for the confusion he feels not sated by my words of encouragement. My heart breaks that he’ll never have the opportunity to ask his biological mother in person.
Regardless that it was for the better, his life was irrevocably changed the day he came to us. That is a reality and hard conversation we will have to revisit many times over the next years.