i'm not real?!?  

Sunday, June 29, 2008

for all the time i have spent on my adoption reunions, reform and general life, i forgot one crucial aspect. and boy was it a doozey.

my niece went to 5th grade camp last week and while there she met a little friend. let me explain something first-my niece has aspergers syndrom. it is a high functioning form of autisim. mostly she is a normal almost 12 year old, but her social skills are very off. i fear she will be doomed to be the 'weird kid' for a good part of her life.
now that being said, for her to find a friend she can connect with is a feat upon itself. so i was very happy to hear this little girl accepted my niece and her oddities. (if anyone can understand being the odd one-i can).

this little friend had quite a story to tell my ever so innocent and naive niece. she was born in russia, as a toddler watched her father get drunk and kill her mother. he father then left her alone with her dead mothers body. she was implemented into an orphanage and lived there for a few years. then she ended up in the states with a new adoptive family. quite a past for such a young soul.
but out of all of that-my niece was stuck on the part about her being adopted. she felt it was "so SAD" that she was adopted, her family was gone and she was put with strangers. simply "how SAD" the whole thing was.

my sister then said to her "you know aunt rachael is adopted-dont you?" NOPE she didnt. had no clue.
in the last 12 years she never picked up on it and we never thought to tell her. we werent hiding it-it is just a normal part of our lives, we ASSUMED she knew.

poor niece-her first response was "you mean she isnt my REAL aunt?!"
oh boy, this is gonna get sticky. her personality makes life black or white. there is no grey area. either you are real or you are not. period.
my desperate sister tried to explain that i am her aunt, i am family, i do love her, nothing was different. but, it fell on deaf ears. in her mind, real is real. not is not.

as you can imagine my sister was beside herself, she felt she had slipped some horrid secret. she didnt-we honestly never thought about it before now. i think she felt almost ashamed or that she had betrayed me. she didnt, its just gonna be a rough ride for a while.
i assured her it was fine, i am ready for the questions. but i wonder, am i really? am i ready to try to make her understand that i AM her aunt just like before?

i am doubting myself. but what can i do?

i hope i can make her understand. i have a funny feeling that i wont be able to. there is no real analogy to give her that compares. and she needs some solid proof of something else in life that can be REAL without being REAL.
so here i am not real aunt rachael, pondering my future place in her heart, mind and life. i cant be angry if she shuns me, i cant lash out at her, she is a child. but i also need to protect my own heart and ego.

i know i am real, but now the challenge will be to convince her. keep your fingers crossed for me.

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