Just a gentle reminder that lessons in family and adoption can come from anywhere. This story also requires a bit of prefacing. For those of you not familiar. Our family is trying to have an open adoption with Lil Bit’s birth mother. Meaning we are trying to have a relationship with her to some degree, so that our daughter will understand her background and the family she was born to.

Unfortunately, we haven’t had contact with her birth mother in more than a year. Still we show Lil Bit pictures of her birth mother. We tell her “that’s your mother too.” We tell her the story of the day she was born and the weekend that she entered our lives…now to our story of today.

Lil ‘Bit’s current favorite bed time story is the “12 Days of Christmas”. Because it’s based in music, that’s not a surprise to anyone that knows her. Lil Bit is addicted to music. She won’t let us go to the end of the driveway in the car without queuing up some music. And given half a chance, she’ll commandeer the playlist to pick all her favorite songs. She dances listening to Muzak in elevators and grocery stores. She runs from store to store in malls just to check out each shop’s music selection. She hears the rhythm in the dripping of the coffee pot and dances to that from time to time. So the idea that her favorite bed time story is based on a Christmas carol is no shock.

She prefers that I sing it to her rather than read. Nap time or bed time, it doesn’t matter. Once all the other bedtime logistics are satisfied, she grabs this 4 x 6 board book, brings it to me and says, “Sing it, Daddy. Sing the book.” How can I refuse?

So today she snuggles in to her bed and I start singing softly as I turn through the pages. This particular board book is designed so that each number and the corresponding gifts take up a two page spread. The artwork is all designed to look very old world European.  I always imagine it to be 18th or early 19th century. In the margins, around the primary image of the gifts there are sequential images of a very well to do manor family preparing the family estate for Christmas. They appear to be a very well-off family of
four with an estate of sorts. They all happen to be very blond, blue-eyed and fair complected. There’s a father, mother, son and daugter. I never really gave them much thought or attention until this weekend.

In particular on the spread for eleven ladies dancing demanded my attention. When you reach that page the left hand margin has an image of the daughter cradling a tree ornament. On the right margin, the mother is handling ribbon, I think. In between them are 11 raven hair, dark complected women in flamenco style gowns dancing away.

Today, Lil Bit sat up and interrupted me as I caroled. She pointed to one of the dancers and asked, “Daddy is dis da lil girl’s mommy?” The first time she asked, my answer was automatic. “No, I don’t think so, Baby. I think this is the little girl’s mommy.” I pointed to the blonde woman on the right as I said it.

She thought on that a moment, then pointed to a different dancer and asked, “is dis da lil girl’s mommy?” Then the freight train hit me! I looked at my little girl and thought of her birth mother and I wiped a quick tear away. I kissed our baby girl on the forehead and told her, “Yes, Baby. I think that just may be the little girl’s mommy too.”

Lil Bit seemed satisfied with that and snuggled her head back into her pillow and I finished the last verse of the song, making a special point to go back ot the eleven ladies dancing and pointing out the dancer we chose one final time before we put the book away.