Joseph is doing really well with the expectation of a new baby joining the family. He kisses baby (my tummy) a lot, talks about the baby a lot, and talks to him a lot. It’s so precious. He also emphasizes that he is a BIG boy and NOT a baby — the baby is in my tummy and will be here soon.
The interesting thing for me has been him becoming more aware, through this process, of how his birth story is different than the baby’s. He often relates to the baby — “Baby kicks you like me?”, “Baby is in your tummy like me?” — and I correct him to let him know that he was in a tummy and his birth mom did feel his kicks, but he didn’t come from my tummy — he came from my heart. I’m not sure he fully gets it, but I can see that some of it sets in.
His story is different. He’s not sure why. He doesn’t fully get it. But I can see that he is somewhat sad that he can’t fully identify with the birth story he sees playing out right in front of him.
Recently I showed the kids all the photos of Siah’s birth so they could see what it would be like when I leave for a couple days to go deliver the baby. I will be delivering at the same hospital, so Siah’s birth photos are super helpful for the kids to relate to. “This is the room I’ll be in, these are the people that will be there, and see I’m happy and the hospital takes good care of me” — those kind of things, just to set their hearts at ease.
As we were looking at Siah’s photos, Jofish kept making comments that indicated he thought his story was the same.
“I was born there, too, Mama.” “No, Jofish. You were born in Ethiopia.”
“Nana and Kaku and Auntie were at my birth, too, Mama.” “No, Jofish, when we got you, just me and daddy got to be there. But they all came to see you when we brought you home.”
And then the hard one. “I was in your tummy, too, Mama.” “No, Jofish. You were in your birth mom’s tummy.” He got a sad face as the realization set in that we didn’t share the 9 months of bonding that we’ve all gotten to share with this baby. He never was in my tummy. So I went on to explain. “Joseph, your mama was nice, and pretty, and she cared about you so much that she said, ‘I don’t have enough money to feed Joseph, can you please take care of him for me?’ And we said, ‘Yes!’ because we loved you before you were born and we waited for you for so many years and we couldn’t wait to bring you home.” He smiled.
“Jofish, do you want me to show you pictures of when you were a baby and we got you?” “Yes! Yes!” He jumped up and down. “Sissy, Siah, watch! Watch the photos of ME!” And together we all looked through the photos of Joseph’s Gotcha Day, the day an absolute gift from God and miracle came into our lives. And I told him his story– it might be different, but it is no less special. We were just as happy, and he was just as special to us as Siah and Button. And the pictures showed that.