I recently started reading some of the blogs in the Open Adoption Blogs network (check it out HERE) and there have been a lot of discussions around siblings lately through the open adoption round table. It was perfect timing because I have been thinking a lot lately about pea's birth family and the birth family of our future child. At this time, we do not have any contact with pea's birth family, but we do have some limited information, which is incredibly invaluable. But, it isn't enough. I want more. I have been feeling this sense of loss knowing pea's birth family is out there, somewhere. Knowing that there is an entire family, community, culture connected to my son that we know very little about is very painful sometimes. These are pieces of my son. Parts of his life story. And, there are others in this world who look like him. I find that so amazing to think about. I don't know why, but maybe it is because those connections seem so far away and out of reach. We really hope to find some of pea's birth family, but there is definitely a possibility that we may not, given some of the circumstances.
We are very lucky to have a few pictures of pea's birth mother. I look at her picture and I can see my son through her eyes. I often wonder if his siblings have the same eyes, the same mannerisms, and the same little quirks that make my heart smile. Perhaps one day, pea will be able to see a reflection of himself through his birth family. But, until that time, we just hold on tight to what we do have.
With that said, however, I can definitely see how a lack of information and connection can lead to the development of fantasies about birth families. I even find myself doing it. With no information, we create the story and image that feels the most comforting. So, how do we develop "realistic" images of birth families that we do not know? And, most importantly, how do we help our children do this as well?
How do you try to "fill the gaps" without creating a fantasy image of birth families? And, how do you do it in a way that is validating? As pea starts to ask more questions (specifically, why? why? why?), I sometimes find myself stumbling around trying to answer his questions in simple terms, but I struggle at times! I would love to hear your approach and any tips for having these conversations with your little ones.