Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hannah and Mommy's story

I have a friend who adopted before I did and has been an inspiration, a cheerleader, an advice giver, and a good supporter all through my adoption journey to Hannah.

Today I received an email from her with a link to a book she had made for her daughter that told their story to becoming a family. It was one of the sweetest things I have ever seen. She explained how she told that story to her daughter every night. It started out as a little story and grew as her daughter asked for more and more details and finally participated in the story telling herself. I could tell that the ritual of telling this story was something very precious and special to both of them and she had it made into a book they could keep forever.

I had the wonderful priviledge of reading the book in it's entirety and was really moved.
I have told Hannah basic parts of her adoption story and her beginnings but after reading this story I realized that I had never told the story from start to finish to Hannah so...
on the ride hoem from daycare today I asked Hannah if she wanted to hear the Hannah and Mama story. She said yes and the rest is history. Hannah and Mama's story was made up--in very crude form as I was talking off the top of my head--and Hannah soaked it up. she was enthralled and participated in the details and asked questions "why was I scared Mama". She was really engaged and it was fun. As soon as I got done she said "Now can you tell the story of Belle and the beast? Please Mama". A bit of an abrupt ending for me but I switched gears and told the story of Belle and the beast.

Tonight after reading her two books for bedtime, she asked "Can you tell the Hannah sotry again" and so I did. She was just as engaged and it was a really fun bonding time for both of us.

Once again, Louann, you are a genious and very creative. Thank you so much for this idea. We now have a new favorite bedtime story. I may just have to steal the printed book idea from you also.


Lou Ann said...

Thank you Mary for the shout out. I am so glad to have been a help to you during your LONG road to Hannah and am excited that Lexie & I inspired you to tell The Hannah and Mommy Story. I am still surprised how much Lexie finds comfort from the story - especially since it starts out rather sad. But she doesn't see it that way. It's just where she was the first year of her life and EVERY time we tell or read the story she "cries" when I say "I looked at you and you looked at me then you burst into tears." Every time. And she'll baby talk during a lot of it too. She loves to giggle at the appropriate times and she's still asking more questions as we read or tell the story most nights. For some reason this really makes her feel safe and happy. Go figure.

I have to say, reading the story to her class was harder than I thought it would be. I got a little choked up at first but I wanted the kids to be able to ask any questions while I was there. Lexie freely talks about being from Kazakhstan and being adopted but most of the kids in her class don't really get it. I mean, they are all 3 to 5 years old. But a few weeks back, while we were eating dinner she asked me how much she cost. I almost choked on my food. Once I had control of my emotions, I told her I didn't "pay" for her and asked where she got that idea. She said one of her friends asked her because her mommy had asked her daddy that question. Lovely. I would hope it wasn't asked in that particular way but still, it hit home for me just what Lexie will be dealing with during her life. I've always wanted her to be armed with the right verbal tools to deal with the ignorance and meanness that will surely come her way. Funny thing is Lexie wasn't bother by it at all. It was just one more part of her story she wanted to fill in the blank on. Kids are so amazing!

I hope this opens lots more discussions for you and Hannah. I figure if she can learn to talk honestly about it now and to realize I'm not ashamed, concerned or hiding anything from her, than if she starts feeling sad or upset or someone is mean to her than it will be a topic we've discussed for as long as she can remember so I hope she'll bring her troubles to me. I'm also hoping it will be enough to give her the confidence she'll need in the big tough world we all live in.

As for writing the book, that was the easy part. The Blurb software that you download for free was very simple and user friendly so give it a try. It's free until you decide to order the book and they have lots of tutorials to help give you ideas and confidence. Just think of how excited Hannah will be to see her smiling face on a book! I'm looking forward to reading The Hannah & Mommy Story some time soon.

Lou Ann & Lexie too

Tammy said...

How very cool. I too have been meaning to write "the story of us" type of thing and this is a good reminder to get it done. one of the parts I have always gotten stuck on is how many details to put in there. Zachary's beginning was pretty tough. They are all details he will have as he gets older but aren't necessarily things he needs to hear now, at age 2. How did you decide what to put in there wand what to leave out?

Kelly and Sne said...

What a great idea. We have a "we want a sister" book - essentially a photo book that we put together for adoption #2 describing our family to potential birthmothers. It has become Irina's favorite book to page through. I really need to take some time and make their own photo/story books. Oh, and when I first mentioned a birthmother to Miras he asked what does she look like. I said "probably like you." Then he completely changed the subject and on to something else. I was all prepared for a deep conversation but at this age all he wanted to know what 'did she look like me.' Probably good that they ease us into these conversations!