We'd been talking about the word "birthmother." I haven't used it a lot, because we always call S by her name, rather than a title. She's a member of our family, even though we never see her. Squeaker knows his story. He knows who she is. He's seen pictures of her. From time to time he'll bring her up, usually when we're talking about how babies are born. We had hoped for a very open adoption with lots of contact, but that wasn't the way things worked out. He seems fine with that, so far. But I want to make sure he has the language to explain S to other people when he wants to. So we talked about the difference between birthmothers and mothers you live with, and how sometimes kids live with their birthmothers and sometimes their birthmother can't take care of them and finds them a new mother to live with forever.
"Mama, will I get a new mom and dad when I'm bigger?"
No, sweetie. You're pretty much stuck with us forever.
"But my cousin got a new mom and dad when she got big."
So then we talk about Ethiopia and how kids like his cousin whose parents died and didn't have any family to take care of them went to live in orphanages where there were people like teachers who took care of them while the kids waited for their new moms and dads to find them. And how sometimes it took a long long time for that to happen and the kids got to be bigger kids. We talked about how lucky he was that S found us when he was a tiny baby so that he didn't have to wait a long long time for his new parents. We talked about how happy we were that his uncle and aunt found his cousin and brought her home.
And, I said firmly, you are not getting any more parents. You have a birthmother and a mom and a dad. That's a lot of people who love you.
"Okay," he said. "Can I have some candy?"