I was hoping to share something with you that related to Good Friday today but each time I was thinking about writing my blog entry I kept coming back to the photo album.
Several weeks ago my daughter (who came home at birth through adoption 5 ½ years ago) brought me her baby book and asked me when I was going to put pictures in it. I had one of those, “oh no!” moments of doing something I said I would not to do my children. Being the youngest of four in four years in the home I grew up in it is no surprise that my poor mom had no time to log anything in my baby book. I am grateful that she had one for me, although it has maybe two pictures in it and a lot of scribbling which I am certain was from me at a time when I am sure I disobediently got ahold of it and made my own creation. When I became a mom I vowed that I would not do that to my youngest child. Each child would have a baby book and photo album. Well, I am my mother! 🙂
So, the day after my sweet girl brought me her book a few weeks back I decided I was going to sit down and get it filled up. What I didn’t remember is that I tried to do this five years ago and it wasn’t until I sat down to do it again that the flood of emotions came upon me … and the memory returned of why I didn’t complete this task yet. Five years ago I had gone through and filled in blanks of the non-emotional parts of her book; the price of a car, a house, a postage stamp and minor details of things that aren’t really about her birth or early years. The reason I hadn’t filled anything in her book was that I was paralyzed in not knowing how best to address her adoption in a baby book that is geared for a biological birth. I knew when I purchased it, I would need to be creative and I didn’t think it would be a big deal. The problem is that when we brought our daughter home I didn’t know what pictures to put in it. I couldn’t decide in that moment if I wanted everyone to see the only special few pictures we had of our daughter’s birth mom and I was afraid of doing it wrong. SO, five years ago, I chose to close the book and did not return to it until now. In many ways I am glad I waited as I know I am creating it in a way that is much more accurate now than I would have five years ago. Our daughter has had a picture of her birth mom framed in her room since she was about 2 years old, so putting those pictures in her book now are a much different decision for me.
This may sound silly to many of you reading this. Sounds like a lot of crazy thoughts and distress over something that is not that big of a deal. What I realized though in returning to the book is that I counsel other adoptive parents all of the time about the importance of creating Lifebooks or baby books for their kids and I had not even done this for our own daughter. She was so happy to see the progress and being able to have me walk through it with her showing her pictures and explaining details of when we met her. This was another time of filling in the gaps for her. Those gaps that we don’t always remember or acknowledge are present, but they are. A little part of her precious identity being filled in with a small task of a baby book.