Mommy, I wish I was born in your tummy

By September 13, 2013 Adoption, Parenting 8 Comments

This week when I was brushing Zoie’s hair before school, she looked up at me and said, “Mommy, I wish I was born in your tummy.” Zoie is our adopted daughter and has no fear sharing her mind. It was the most precious thing in the world to say to me, and I simply said, “Zoie, I do too.” At the time, I immediately thought about her birth mother, who did give birth to Zoie. Again, the feelings of love and admiration filled my heart. Zoie shares two mothers and I’m so honored to spend the rest of my life loving Zoie with all my heart. But, I also feel an incredible sense of responsibility to learn as much as I can about talking to my daughter about her adoption. If you have adopted, do you feel challenged (daily) with saying the right things or making darn sure you’re not saying the wrong things?

Zoie Senait

Throughout the day, I honestly wondered if I HAD said the “right” thing to Zoie. I really do wish she was born in my tummy. Was that OK to say? I know a wonderful group of adoptive moms and asked them what would they say to this fully-loaded question to their adopted child. In no way are we experts, but simply moms with the single purpose of learning as much as we can to have healthy, honest, intimate conversations with our children about adoption. It makes me feel so much better knowing others are going through the same things as I am.

Amanda: I’ve had the same comment and have said in response, very honestly, “I wish sometimes you would have been too. But your birth mom is a very special woman and I’m so glad she had that opportunity to have you instead. I get to have you forever!” I try to honor his birth mom with that. Not sure it’s the right thing to say. Would love to hear what others have said too!

Kim: Both of mine have said this and like Amanda I have told mine that sometimes I wish that too. Initially when this statement popped up I said things like, “Sometimes I have wished that too. Tell me why you wish that and I will tell you why I wish that too.” It’s provided us with opportunities to share those little things. For example I’ve shared that I wish I would have seen their face when they were a baby or I wish I had special baby clothes for them like I do for “J”. They in turn provide those vulnerable, real reasons. Here’s the amazing thing about this question … It provides us as Christian parents to begin planting the seed that God has a plan and purpose for each of our lives. Now when this question comes up we have conversations about how we each have a life story and God allows or bring things into our lives so that we can live out his purpose through us! I tell them both God has a reason and if we will listen He will reveal it to us. When we hear it and follow it we can be world changers and difference makers for him. Every life, every story has its own purpose and that’s exciting for them! The last time this came up “A” said, “maybe God had me be born in Ethiopia, then come to America so I could learn to build things that people in Ethiopia need.” I responded with “maybe! Keep listening and he will tell you!”

Cristie: My “M” (age 7) has said the same. I take her back to Psalm 139 … God knew her in her Mommy’s tummy AND He knew all your days that would come. He knew she wouldn’t grow in my tummy – but that it’s not just a tummy that makes a Mommy. We talk a LOT about her story as she has hit the age where she is really getting the void of not knowing her birth Mom. On her own, she memorized Psalm 139. She also loves the song “You Are Wanted” by Darla Maclean. We sing it loud … “she is not a mistake”.

Sherrie: “Sometimes it takes two special moms to make a boy like you…one to carry you in her tummy, and the other to carry you in her heart”.

Kathryn: “A” has mentioned that several times. I usually respond by saying that his birth mother loved him very much, and how much she must have loved having him grow in her tummy and being so close to him. Then we talk about the different places that people are born – him in Ethiopia, his sister in Michigan, papa in the Dominican Republic, etc.  I’ve found that just letting him talk about being sad and letting him know that it’s ok to be sad and vocalizing how much we love him is usually enough at this age (4 1/2), especially since he usually talks and cries for a few minutes, and then is distracted by something else. I think it’s important to allow our kids to be sad sometimes and not feel like we have to ‘fix’ their grief. For my son, sometimes he just seems to need to express it and then move on, but I know that every kid is different!

Fiona: “Oh but anyone can be born in a tummy. You were born in my heart and that is exceptional.”

Cynthia: “S” (4) has said the same thing and I have told her I wish so too and that she did grow in her [birth] mommy’s tummy and this is how God brought her into this world. We do tummy time sometimes (more when she first came home and now when she just needs a little extra especially after talking about this). We let our tummy’s touch and cuddle for awhile:)

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;
all the stages of my life were spread out before you,
The days of my life all prepared
before I’d even lived one day. Psalms 139: 13-16 MSG

Question: What would you say if your child said, “I wish I was born in your tummy” or other adoption questions that has stumped you?

Adoption book, Born From the Heart is a beautiful parable that celebrates the richness of family and a mother’s desire to embrace and nurture a child- even if she didn’t give birth to that baby. First time author Berta Serrano and her brother Alfonso Serrano are the author-illustrator team behind Born From the Heart.

Born From The Heart- adoption book


  • 1
    Amy says:

    When my girls (now 6 and 9) talk about their birth moms, I first tell them how much they loved them. (They were both adopted from the foster care system.) As they have gotten older we have had some really good discussions about prayer. At the time of their adoptions, neither mom knew Jesus so we pray that someone is telling them about Him. I want my girls to always feel loved and not abandoned by their birth moms but to also feel compassion for them.

    • 1.1
      Kari Gibson says:

      Amy, I completely agree … I want Zoie to feel big compassion for her birthmother! She is the ultimate hero in our life! However, this is a process, like you mentioned. As Zoie grows up, all I can offer her is truth & wisdom & understanding as her mom. I pray as Zoie grows in the Lord, she will have a heart of compassion for others and her birth story!! It was mind-blowing watching her connect all over the world, this past year. Especially loving big at the orphanages we served. I had no idea how she would react, but she was a super star. I know it gave her heart healing & understanding .. even at 5 years old. Thank you for sharing your heart with us!

  • 2
    Michelle says:

    Wow! God has been bringing this topic up to me so much lately. After struggling DAILY with attachment issues with two awesome kids I have to say that Kathryn hit the nail on the head! Let them grieve and grieve with them!!! What we are good at is rejoicing in their life, celebrating our part in that but any widow will tell you that to have any healing grief must occur. And that avoiding talking about the loss of a loved one either through death or through separation does not help! Widows share -remember my list spouse with me. Let me talk about him on the good days and the bad days. Don’t always make me “move on.” Let me grieve SO I can more on. This has been a huge source of healing for our family. Thanks for sharing and for listening.

    • 2.1
      Kari Gibson says:

      Michelle, thank you so much for sharing! I honestly don’t think often about the “grieving” that our children go through at any stage. Zoie was only 6 months old when she became our family and it’s very possible she will grieve someday the loss of her birthmother. I have experienced loss and my dad (Gary Smalley) always reminded me to be real, feel whatever I was feeling, and never give up! I love your comment “Don’t always make me move on” I so appreciate you sharing your thoughtful, wise “mom” words!

  • 3

    Hi All, love this question. I have a sibling group of 3 whom I adopted from foster care and 3 biological children. When this statement comes up, it has been a great opportunity for me to share their birth stories and how much each mommy loves them. Just like each of my homemade children, they each have a story that is all their own. I reflect on learning of the pending birth of my now 5 yr old, though their was no adoption plan but a plan of reunification. I knew in my heart this baby was to be my daughter. I didn’t get to meet her until she was 13 months old. I was filled with excitement, uncertainty and even a sprinkle of fear, no different then reading a positive pregnancy test. The oldest of the 3 is now 9 and wants to be baptized! Though I’ve been baptized, this is something we are going to do together. When the atmosphere is light, they love to hear how I labored 20+ years for their arrivals!

    • 3.1
      Kari Gibson says:

      DeAnn, thank you so much for sharing. I think it’s pretty amazing that every adoption has an unique story, especially that you labored 20+ years for their arrivals!!! I love that! I appreciate your encouraging others to be open and honest to your adopted child about their adoption. Sounds like you have a precious, well-adapted family!

  • 4
    Mary Nelson says:

    We too have heard that from our daughter (adopted at birth from Kenya). I read a neat idea years ago. This person suggested that when your child says, “I wish I was born in your tummy.” to respond with, “Actually, I wish you were too.” I ache like you ache. It’s the idea of the child not feeling like he/she is the only one that has experienced a “loss.” Just food for thought.

  • 5

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