“But what’s HER NAME!?”

Zoe has been talking a lot about Vietnam and her birthmom lately. Our situation is a bit unique because we have contact with Colin’s birthmom, but we do not know anything about Zoe’s birthfamily. We tried to search for them, but were not successful.

We call Colin’s birthmom his “Mama Amy.” Although she is currently out of the picture, we still talk to his aunt and we will visit his cousins, grandma, half-brother, half-sister, etc in a few weeks. We are trying to go about three times a year.

We call Zoe’s birthmom her “Vietnam Mama.” One day when we were talking about Colin’s Mama Amy, Zoe said something about how she grew in her Vietnam Mama’s belly. Then she said, “But what’s her name?” I told her we didn’t know, so we just called her her Vietnam Mama. And then she said, “But what’s HER NAME!?”

I explained again that we didn’t know. I told her she has a Vietnam Dad, too, and that we don’t know who he is. I told her that although we know Colin’s Mama Amy, he has a birthdad, too, and we don’t know who he is.

She asked, “But why!?” It felt completely inadequate to tell her that sometimes we “just don’t know,” but that’s what I had to say.

Then she said, “I think her name is Amy.”

I told her that we didn’t know what her name was, but that it probably was not Amy. I told her that her Vietnam Mama probably had a Vietnamese name. I reminded her that her Vietnamese name was Nguyen Thi Ha, but now it is Zoe Thi Ha.

I told her that we had searched for her Vietnam Mama and her Vietnam Dad, but that we could not find them. I told her we would go to Vietnam someday though. I told her that even though we might never be able to see her Vietnam Mama and Dad, we wanted her to see where she came from.

She asked when we would go. I told her we would probably wait until she was older because it was a really long trip and we would have to fly on a plane for a whole day. She said, “Mommy, I know what I will pack! I’ll take my princess blanket, my Pillow Pet, my Strawberry Shortcake, my iPod, and some snacks!”

It was bedtime, and she eventually went to sleep, but these conversations are happening more and more these days. I hope I don’t screw them up.

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6 thoughts on ““But what’s HER NAME!?”

  1. i would feel it in my gut that conversation.

    sometimes i think about making lulu’s middle name nguyen. i mean if it is about heritage, that can make more sense than a made up name from an orphanage, isnt there a 50% chance her parents were nguyen? Lulu has no VN name on her birthcert but we call her by her VN name so its not like it’s hidden. sometimes i feel like i should add it but at the same time during thw whole “whats your middle name ” conversation i dont want her to have to talk about her adoption if she doesnt want to when we arent there. to be honest, i didnt want her to have a middle name, just like i dont but…. bc hers is so cute i gave in. how does that have ANYTHING to do with Mama Nguyen or Mama Buie I do not know

  2. T~ is starting to ask questions too but mostly about her orphanage & her nanny. She has yet to ask anything really specific about her birth parents. I bet it is hard for Zoe to see Colin’s birth family & not have one of her own. Don’t worry about screwing up, I think that’s a given, and you’ll have plenty of company 😉

  3. My daughter hasn’t really asked any questions yet – but I do talk to her about Vietnam and adoption. I know that harder conversations are coming. I know what you mean though – about not wanting to screw it up. Seems there is a lot of room for that because the topic is so emotionally loaded for both the child and the AP.

  4. I always worry I am saying or doing the wrong thing…Aiden talks about Vietnam a lot and I’m sure it’s only a matter of time more questions about his Vietnam Mommy.

  5. I think you did just fine with that round of conversation. We talk about Vietnam and adoption too but Jammer isn’t interested in birth mom or dad talk and has jet to really ask about him being from Vietnam. We thought the trip to China would start it all but it didn’t. The boy is just too into his trucks, cars and trains.

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