How Do You Answer “Mom, Am I Adopted?”
I write about adoption often. I travel and speak occasionally in different areas of the world about adoption and advocating for your child and other things like that. So adoption is a word that is heard often in our home. Not so much in the past year maybe, but that’s okay. I know that there are peaks and valleys and times when questions naturally arise again. I’ve started thinking of it like knitting. You pick up the needles and start stitching your adopted child’s story. Six months later you stitch a bit more. This month my youngest daughter started asking more questions. My youngest daughter is 6 and she wrestles with differences. She is in grade one. Grade one I know from experience is a time when differences begin to be more apparent. Boys play with boys. Girls play with girls. Children who are different are more noticeably different to their peers at this age. This week she asked point blank: “Mom, am I adopted?” We were driving home from school. Now I have heard this question before from my older daughter. And both of my children know they are adopted. They’ve known it from the time they were babies. We believe in honesty with our children and frankly when you start talking with children about adoption early on, it serves a dual purpose: it provides them with the understanding it is normal to talk about adoption, and it helps you, the parent find the vocabulary that you will need to use as an adoptive parent. So I calmly repeated that yes, she was adopted. And she asked me if we knew anyone else that was adopted. So we rhymed about 10 names off, because we have a great extended circle of friends and we maintain contact with my one daughter’s former foster mother and she has numerous adopted children. And the conversation, on that particular day, ended there. And that’s okay. The thread of this conversation will be tossed out again another day and I will pick it up knitting a bit more for her. Eventually, by the time she is about 13 the blanket should be complete, fully told, fully formed and all hers.
Wonderful post. I like how you word the answers to your girls. Definitely gives me something to think about when R starts asking me questions.