Growing in a belly

This week Arie and I are attending a "Little Farmers" class at a local educational farm. It's been ridiculously cute. Arie has been full of squeeeeee and look Mama! which makes my heart swell at least three sizes.
Only had my phone with me for these; excuse poor picture quality! 

Unexpectedly, it was in the midst of this class that we had our first public encounter with the whole "birth mom" vs. "bio mom" idea. Maybe it would be more fair to say that I had my first encounter with it because Arie seemed to only mildly understand what was happening, but it was a notable moment for me.

I tell Arie his adoption story at least once every week, so I've told him that he didn't grow in my belly but so far he hasn't really seemed to appreciate this information as anything unusual. But on Tuesday, the theme of the morning at our farm class was Bunnies and Rabbits which opened the concept in a whole new way.
Angora Rabbit. I know. 
We learned all about bunnies and rabbits from our teacher Farmer Jane. She brought into the classroom rabbits for us to pet and even a box of newly born bunnies for us to look at.

Then it happened.

Farmer Jane told us all about how baby bunnies get milk from their mama bunnies just like we (the 3-5 year olds in the class) got milk from our mommies! And not only that, but baby bunnies have belly buttons from where they were attached to their mommies, just like we do. All the kids were invited to lift up their shirts and find the place where they were attached to their mommies. The mom beside me beamed at her little one's face as she excitedly pointed out the place where they were once attached. I praised Arie for finding his own belly button and my mind went to his birth mom and that bond they once shared.

Watching Arie listen to all that talk about mothers and babies was a poignant moment for me. I watched Arie's face as he paid close attention to the teacher's words and wondered how much he was processing. After, I asked him, "Arie did you hear Farmer Jane say that baby bunnies grow in their mommy bunnies' tummies?"

"Yea!" he replied.

I continued, "Did you hear her say that people babies grow in their mommies' tummies too?"

Again, "Yea!"

Cautiously I questioned, "But Arie did you grow in my tummy?"

Surprised at his level of understanding, I watched him shake his head no.

"Whose tummy did you grow in Arie?" I asked, emotionally anticipating his birth mother's name.

Seriously, he looked into my eyes and said softly, "A bunny's tummy."

.... so I guess we're about about halfway there. ;-)

I'm sure this is the first of many poignant, emotional, and blessed birth-and-adoption-related moments to come.

I'm ready.



  1. Anonymous8/07/2013

    what a simply lovely blog post....

    I teach third grade and last year I had THREE kids who were being raised by their grandparents. The kids call them grandma/grandpa...not mom and dad.

    It made me rethink how I communicate with my third grade families....

    I don't want to address letters to Dear Parents....I didn't want to say Dear Guardians.... or Der Parents & Grandparents.....

    I wanted to be sensitive to all of my families...

    so the easiest thing was Dear Families....

    I know it is not the same...but your post made me think of my situation and also how we need to respond to people....not everyone's story is just like your own...we have to be aware of that!

    Interesting post!

    Praying for you guys!

    1. So thankful that you were thoughtful about that issue! One of my friends is a social worker and once I helped her teach a parenting class that had similar dynamics- extended family members raising the kids. We used the phrase "parents and caregivers" to address them. Thanks for your comment!

  2. Oh my goodness, this gave me chills! You are such a wonderful mother, and Arie well, he is pretty wonderful, too. As I was reading I started to feel a little nervous for you to even be in that position, as well as Arie. You handled this situation perfectly and I give you so much praise for that!

    Sending prayers always-


    1. Thank you Megan! It was a little nerve wracking! Love the encouragement!

  3. Anonymous8/08/2013

    Best. Post. Ever.

  4. Hi Jill! I'm Heather and I was hoping you could answer a quick question I have about your blog! If you could please email me at [email protected] that would be great!

  5. Anonymous8/10/2013

    I love this post. A big smile came to my face reading the "a bunny tummy" my oldest is 14 and he totally gets it now. I am also in the process of adoption an 18 month old that we have had as a foster since 3 days old. I love looking at new ways to explain things to him. :)

  6. Great post! I think you handled the situation perfectly as well (agreeing with Megan Brink's comment above). Arie sure is precious! I told my sister about that "Little Farmer's" program at Critter Barn so she might sign up her kiddos next time they have one! :) I love that place!


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