Thursday, March 3, 2011

Adoption Stories

Kendra Ann, 1 year

It happened. And I felt like I was in the middle of a Lifetime movie. Let me explain: a few days ago Kendra and I were running errands after school. We went to the department store to pick up a few things ("Did you see how long my legs are Mommy?" "I sure do. Looks like we need some new jeans." "Yeah, 'cause I'm real real tall now.") and while there we had to go to the big gum ball machine which is of course right by the boy's department where there were dinosaur t-shirts on display so of course we had to get a new boy's dinosaur t-shirt which would only do if we were able to wear it right over our current outfit. Am I painting a good picture? So she's looking, let's say, "quirky," at this point (but real happy). 

So, we finish up there and head on to Trader Joe's to get something fabulous (okay, quick and easy 'cause I'm tired and it's been a long day) for dinner . . . when I saw her. Right there by the dairy case was Kendra's Great Grandmother by birth. And it's been over 5 years since we've seen her. She was the one who was the most conflicted about her Granddaughter giving up the baby for adoption. Kendra's birthmother had lost her mother as a child, so Grandma was very much involved in raising her. I can only imagine how difficult it must have been to see a piece of her Daughter and Granddaughter go at that time. And I froze. I saw her first and for a moment there, wasn't sure what to do. But I would hate to just ignore her so I pulled up my big girl pants, took a deep breath and walked up . . .

"Hi" I said with a cautious smile. "Do you remember us?" She looked at me and then at Kendra. I bent down to Kendra and said in the lightest tone I could muster, "Baby Girl, this is _______'s Grandma!" Of course I knew I was also announcing who we were in case she wasn't sure. But that's probably silly. "Hello" she returned kindly. Kendra clung to me and hid her face. "I'm sorry, she's being shy right now." "That's okay, hi sweetheart" (or something along those lines because I don't remember it clearly). By way of explanation I say, "she's normally very vocal. . . Kendra, do you want to say hello?" "Hello" she whispered. I knew what to do to get her talking: "Kendra, do you want to tell her what you're going to be when you grow up?" "Gonna be a Paleontologist, the one who (dis)covers dinosaur bones." "Do you like dinosaurs?" "Yeah, and I'm real smart." "I'm sure you are. . . ." And from there I proceeded to tell her all about the little one. How she is the smallest in her class ("I'm not surprised") but she has one of the biggest hearts, and how, at 5 years old, she is reading and has received all 100%'s on her spelling tests. How she is very much a tomboy ("all the girls in our family are") and that she likes to ride quads and dirt bikes with her Dad. And all the while I am very aware of the stolen glances on both of our parts. I looking for familiar features and she doing the same. And in that moment, I realized that we are all alike. That this separation and then coming together of families by way of adoption is such a delicate and beautiful thing. "I still have the picture you gave me in that elegant frame. I look at it all the time." "And we still have the stuffed monkey you gave us when she was a baby. Kendra knows that it came from you." To which we smiled - a knowing, tender exchange - and she said, "You're doing a wonderful job. She obviously has a wonderful family." "Thank you. We are very lucky." "Mommy, can I have a sticker?" "Sure Baby" I said, relieved to have a place to go with the conversation. "They always give her a bunch of stickers here." Another sweet smile. "Well, it was so nice running into you." "You too." "Maybe we'll see you around again." "That would be nice." Yes. It would be nice. And with that, we left in search of stickers and she went back to the dairy case.

That was it. Our movie moment. And to be honest, I'm glad that I stepped forward and said hello. I hope Great Grandma was happy too. She seemed to be. 

Kristin xo

19 comments:

peggy gatto said...

you gave me the nicest "chills" of a special moment.
thank you and bless you for giving kendra a special home!

SilverNikNats said...

How increadbly brave of you and what a lucky little girl for having such a fantastic mummy! x

Tahnya Marie said...

I must admit, I felt a little teary for a moment there, but I also must add in my defence I have been emotional lately. *smiles* (I'm a sappy girl anyways, lol). You're quite brave for taking that step up to her, I don't know whether or not I would be able to do that, I guess I have no idea. It must have been a very hard decision, but I am sure the grandmother would have really liked that. To see that Kendra has such a wonderful and loving family who embraces and encourages her ever developing personality and dreams.

Such a lovely movie moment.

Kristin Dudish said...

What a wonderful movie moment - you are very brave and a fabulous role model for Kendra!

xo
Kristin

grammy and papi said...

Thank you for sharing your "real-life story" with us. I only hope I would be so gracious. I applaude you for keeping the adoption in the open early on. We have a family member who was not told about his adoption until he was older. It just seems much better when it has always been part of the story.

Have a God Filled Day
Shirley

Trudy Callan said...

This was so sweet and beautiful. I'm so glad you stepped forward. I'm sure she was so happy to see her granddaughter.

Joyce said...

What an emotional moment. You are a very kind and thoughtful person. Kendra is so lucky to have you. Her great grandma is probably thinking that her little girl is with the best mommy in the world and so lucky to be part of such a wonderful family.

jenny said...

Oh Kristin... what a beautiful story... I hung on every word... how lovely of you to take that step and how rewarding... a magical moment for the three of you... I can feel the happiness...

hugs
Jenny x

joanna said...

I have tears in my eyes, Kristin.. what a wonderful and brave gesture on your part. I wish you the best with your second adoption. you are an amazing mom!!
xoxo

Threads of Inspiration said...

What a sweet and tender story, it brought tears to my eyes. Good for you for stepping up to the plate. I'm sure great grandma felt blessed by the encounter.

Crafty Mom said...

Wiping away my tears, Kristin. How incredibly sweet and beautiful and meaningful. You are right, you are lucky to have Kendra, and Kendra is SO lucky to have you as her mom. And, her birth mother is so lucky that the baby she birthed and loved enough to selflessly give her up, is blessed to have you raising Kendra and showing her all the love in this world. You are so inspiring and the best part is that you're so genuine. This is just who you are.

eMiLy ChAnG said...

kendra is sounds like an amazing girl! your family is very lovely. Thanks for sharing :')

Emakesart said...

Wow, you are soooo brave! I don't know what I would've done...maybe chickened out. You are so brave and wonderful, with such a beautiful heart. Thank you for sharing this with us.

xoxoxoxoE

Mandy said...

what a beautiful thing to have happened...it happened for a reason without a doubt, the grandmother may just have needed that , it may have stopped years of wondering, maybe seeing k so happy and yu so happy, she can feel at peace, you did good my friend...xxx

Karen Kay said...

Oh my Kristen, that was beautiful! Thank you for sharing it here.

Karen Kay said...

Read your post and totally forgot! I was going to say... Glad you liked the Here Kitty, Kitty print and that it arrived safely. Take care now,
Karen

scrapwordsmom said...

This story just shows your spirit shining through, Kristin. So very sweet. This touched me today and I truly needed that.

Love to you this day sweet girl.

Leslie

Simply Debbie said...

Kristin,
you are an angel...it makes me cry with joy for you sharing this very private moment with us. You, I feel, did the right thing and you will be rewarded for it.
hugs to you and precious Kendra
Simply Debbie

Lori Heald said...

Honey although I heard the story, your talent (one of them atleast) is your written word. Just wonderful, so VERY proud of you babe. 'ole mom'