A lot of blogger friends are writing about or asking about books to tell their children the story of their adoption.
I made a book on Shutterfly for Matthew. I have included the text here in case it's helpful to any of you still working on your books.
Title: The Story of You
A long time ago, our family was just Daddy and Mommy. We loved each other very much.
[Picture of DH and I]
One day, we decided we wanted our family to get bigger. We wanted to have a baby that we could love and take care of. But God did not let us make a baby. God had a different plan for us.
[Picture of Genetic Family]
Far away, there was another Mommy and Daddy named ________________. They wanted to have babies in their family too. God makes all babies and He helped their doctor make babies for them. Those babies were very tiny like seeds from a flower. The doctor planted them in ________'s tummy, and they grew and grew until they were born. __________ and ___________ named their babies ____________, _____________, and ___________, and they were all very happy together.
But then _______ and _____ were sad because they could not finish growing the rest of their tiny babies, even though they wanted to very much. They were searching for a mommy and daddy who could grow the babies and love them and take care of them. God told ______________ that He would help them find the mommy and daddy for the babies.
[Picture of embryos]
God knew how very much we wanted a baby to love and He told us He would help us. He helped us learn about adoption and we learned that adopting someone is just like how God adopted you and Daddy and Mommy to be His children. We also learned that there was a special kind of adoption named Snowflake Adoption. Snowflake Adoption is about adopting the babies that are very tiny like flower seeds--babies just like ____ and ______'s tiny babies.
The little tiny babies are called "Snowflakes" because the babies are unique and delicate, just like flakes of snow. Daddy and Mommy thought for a long time and talked to God about adoption. God told us that He had Snowflake babies waiting for us somewhere. We could not wait to find them.
While we waited, Mommy liked to talk to her friends on the computer about how much we wanted to find our Snowflakes. The mommy named _____ talked to Mommy and asked her if we would visit her and _____. Mommy and Daddy said yes. When we visited, _____ and _____ told us about their tiny Snowflake Babies. They said that they loved them very much, but they could not finish growing them all the way. They wanted to find a family who could help the babies finish growing and who would love them very much.
Mommy and Daddy drove home and talked to God some more. _____ and _____ talked to God, too. God told Mommy and Daddy and ____________ that we could take very good care of the Snowflake Babies. ____________ asked Mommy and Daddy to adopt their Snowflakes. Mommy and Daddy said yes, and we were very thankful that they chose us. Matthew, you were one of the Snowflake Babies!
[Pictures of doing paperwork and Matthew with our adoption worker]
We had to wait a long time for our Snowflakes. We had to mail a lot of papers to a lady named ______ who helped us with our adoption. ______ and ______ had to mail a lot of papers too. Then, the Snowflakes had to fly on an airplane and ride in a truck to Arizona to our doctor. One day after a long time of waiting, we learned that you were finally here!
[Picture with our doctor]
We went to the doctor and he planted you in Mommy's tummy so that you could finish growing. God helped you grow very big. You got bigger and bigger, and so did Mommy!
You got so big, that one day there wasn't room in Mommy's tummy for you anymore, and it was time for you to be born. We had loved you for a very long time already, but now we were finally going to get to see you. We were very excited. You were born and it was the very best day.
[Leaving Hospital Pictures]
We were so glad that we finally got to take you home. We waited such a very long time for you and we love you so much.
[Picture of GPs with Matthew]
After you were born, you got to meet many more people who love you. ____ and _____ and their son came all the way to our house just to tell you how much they love you. [Their other kids] love you too but they were too little to visit that day. ____ and _____ talk to God and to Mommy and Daddy a lot about how much they love you. They are glad that God helped you finish growing in Mommy's tummy so that now you can be a big boy. We are glad that they chose us to be your Mommy and Daddy. You are very special!
We are very happy that God chose this special way to bring you to our family. We love you very much.
[Picture of Matthew]
Matthew, God loves you most of all and He has more special plans for you every day!
Now a ways down the line, I still like a lot of the language in the book. I like the language about seeds, and I always want Matthew to know he is and was loved.
But, honestly, we haven't read this book in a very long time, because it's quite painful for me since so much of it has changed or turned out to be untrue. We don't have any plans to hide Matthew's origin from him or the special way he joined our family, and the people who allowed us to adopt him will always be a piece of his story but it's hard to tell him a story about how much they love him when they have hurt our family so very deeply because the two just don't match in my head and heart. To me, if they loved him as much as they say they do and had his best interests in mind, they never would have done what they did.
I don't know how I'll ever explain to him that they say they love him, but they took his brothers and sisters away from him. (Edited to add: I don't doubt that they do love him, but I just don't understand their choices). I hope he never knows how awful all of this was, and we don't intend to tell him, but the fact that his siblings are gone is sort of unavoidable.
One day when the pain is not so deep, we'll read this to him again. And right now, he doesn't understand it anyway, so I don't feel like we've lost any ground or time as far as him learning his story is concerned. We talk about him being a snowflake, but especially in Arizona, that's a little above his pay-grade. I don't know when kids start understanding adoption. I don't know. I know God will give me the words and wisdom to teach him about his story in a way that protects him and shows as much honor to everyone involved as possible, including them. I have no idea how we're ever going to sort this all out, but God does.