"Am I going to have to move again & live with another family?" These are the words that my daughter sobbed when she found out that her father & I were divorcing.
Apparently, she had been told, both at church & by family members (I'm a PK, if you remember) that people should be married before having babies. To her, this meant that "I can't be your kid anymore, if you guys aren't married. You're supposed to be married to have kids...Since my mother is in jail, so I can't go back to her, does that mean that I'll have to be adopted by some other family?"
You try explaining that one to a five year old.
Now, two years later, she understands that I will be there for her, no matter what. Her father's current choice to be largely absent from her life is glaring. It bothers her, a LOT. She has asked me why I couldn't just stay with him, so our family wouldn't have broken up. She has asked me to find another man to marry so that she "can have a dad".
I've tried to explain to her that, even if I were to marry a man that was active in their lives & played that role, it still wouldn't replace her Dad. "But I love you & you sorta replaced my mother..."
Yeah...it gets complicated.
Adoption is complicated. Divorce is complicated. The two together is confusing. But, we get the added twist of the whole sibling foster placement.
At 7, she's old enough to realize that Lil Sis is a foster placement (as opposed to being adopted), which means that it's conceivable that she could go back to live with their mother at some point. Given the circumstances, it's unlikely, but it's possible. This, of course, confuses her because, if Lil Sis could go back to her, why not me. The reality is that adoption is an artificial construct that doesn't really make sense to a kid her age.
The only thing that is certain is that this house will see many, many more open, honest discussions in the future.