Sometimes I fear that I'll run out of words to write on open adoption. And I don't want to run out of words because I feel a great burden to talk about it and talk about it and share how great it can be and keep on sharing because there are too many people who don't see it as an option--adults who want a family but can't do it naturally and kids.....who find themselves pregnant and don't know what to do. This country is just starting to talk about it regularly; really talk about it. But we've no where near exhausted the topic. And even so......I start to worry that maybe I sound like a broken record.
But then I realize......I've never really concerned myself with that; it's not a family trait and at the same time I have a conversation with Georgia, who is three and half mind you, about where babies come from, how babies get out of a mommy's tummy, and why some babies, like her, have a birth-mommy and a regular mommy, and some babies don't. I'm a firm believer in being age-appropriate with your kids about this stuff when they ask on their own. And lying, making stuff up, pretending to drop a pan on your foot, or deferring the conversation to someone else or another time is never age appropriate.
Your kids are seeking you out. They're demonstrating trust in you and showing you that they want your opinion first, before someone else's. Indulge that. You have no idea when they'll decide that they've been put off by you long enough and look to someone else for the answer. And don't think that deferring them once won't be deemed "long enough." Plus, by the time they've figured out the words to use to ask you the question, they've been thinking about it awhile. You may never have the chance to tell them the truth again. So embrace being age-appropriate with them even if it's uncomfortable. Even if you are hit with questions about babies and where they come from, or whatever it may be, way earlier than you think it will come.
And three and a half was earlier than I was expecting. But there we were last night eating dinner, just the two of us, of fish sticks and french fries, and Georgia puts out there, "You know how Tarah is my birth mommy?"
"How did I get out of her tummy?"
A little pause. I'm not about to scare the snot out of her. She's three and half and that whole age appropriate thing right?
"The doctor's helped take you out honey. Remember, we told you that Tarah had a really nice doctor who took those pictures of you inside her tummy and then that same doctor also helped take you out of her tummy."
"Did I come out through her belly button?"
"Well. When a lady is ready to have a baby, the doctor's help her to pull the baby out." Please let that be good for now. Don't ask where they pull it out of. Please just be kind of baffled by the process that you don't even know to ask those questions. You're three. Remember?
"Oh. I'm glad Tarah is my birth-mommy."
"Me too honey."
"Do you think Tarah swam in her pool when I was still in her tummy?"
"Probably--you know how much fun her pool is."
And just like that we moved on to swimming and why we don't have a pool like Tarah's. A conversation we've had many times and one I'm sure we'll have for years to come. And really--who can blame her? They have a sweet pool.
I started thinking after that conversation. If she didn't have Tarah to connect to the idea that she was inside someone else's tummy and not mommy's, I believe there would have been more questions--not necessarily easy ones. We would have been talking in vague terms, about a woman neither of us really knew or had a relationship with. It would have felt foreign--this concept of being in a tummy. It may have led to questions about why we didn't know her birth mom, where she lived, who she was, what she was like, and on and on.
But for Georgia. Some of those questions will never be questions. She'll have known the answers forever. To ask them, would be as odd a question as her asking what gender she was. It's just part of who she is, so inherent that the questions don't really exist.
Will there be other questions as she gets older. Yes. Will they be hard and difficult. I'm assuming so. But open adoption has crossed off a handful of questions on the proverbial list of "Questions Adopted Kids Ask." And for that, I'm so thankful.
I'm thankful that when Georgia thinks about who she looks like, why her hair is as awesome as it is, where she was born, what happened right after she was born, and what her birth-mom and birth-grandma are like she'll know the answers right away. They are not secrets, but things and people we talk about a lot and have pictures of, and create memories with, and weave into everyday conversation when it's appropriate.
I know that not all adopted kids have this luxury. If we were to adopt again, it might not look the same.
But I hope so. Boy do I hope so.
Because just when I think I really know why I'm thankful for our open adoption, a conversation over fish sticks and french fries gives me yet another reason.
That little brown button at the bottom of my sidebar??? If you feel so inclined to help spread the word regarding what I have to say about adoption I'd think you were pretty fantastic if you clicked it! Just a click counts as a vote for Pink Shoes as an adoption blog that you know and trust.
Thank you, Thank you!
I love this! So true...it's funny, I was just commenting on another blog that so many times, I wish our adoption could be more open than it is.ReplyDelete
And you know Anne--I know other people who are even more open than we are and I think it's awesome! Funny how much my mindset has changed on this topic from where we were just four years ago. Thanks for the note!Delete
I love this ... the next question that I got after that one was "how did I get into C's tummy?" yep that was the follow up question another time ... Thank you for continuing to speak out about open adoption it is something more people need to understand!ReplyDelete
Oh yeah, when that one comes it's going to be an interesting day--as interesting as I'm assuming it is for everyone when that conversation gets to happen. Thanks for your note! It means a lot to hear from other mama's in the trenches with me. ;)Delete
Thank you ma'am! Hope you're having a great day!ReplyDelete
Another incredible post. Thank you so much for writing about adoption and in particular, open adoption. You are so right in that most people just don't see adoption as an option. It is a foreign concept to them and our society needs to change that because adoption is a beautiful option!!ReplyDelete
I love this post and I love reading about your open adoption. It makes the questions my little one will be asking seem not so scary to me. We also have an open adoption and I often play out the later conversations in my head. Thank you for your honesty and openness.ReplyDelete
You know i love this!! So thankful B hasn't asked those questions yet, honestly!ReplyDelete
this is a big reason why I love your blog. Hard questions do certainly come. My daughter is about to turn 10, and we've talked many times about why she couldn't stay with her birthmom, and many, many talks of how much her birth mom adores her. It's bittersweet, there's a lot of pain there, and I want to mother both of them and make it better. The best I can do it is to be open to everything she asks, and answer as best I can, at an age-appropriate level.ReplyDelete
This is a very sweet story, and something someone who hasn't adopted really doesn't think that much about. Idk if you watch the show "private practice" on ABC, but they've recently had a main plot line about an open adoption and some of the good and bad that come with that. I think that open adoption is becoming a much more widely used process and that seems to be a good thing, everyone should know where they come from!ReplyDelete
I'm visiting from SITS,
well said. We started talking to my daughter about saying no to drugs when she was 3. Like you said, we just used age-appropriate explanations. It's been easier to talk to her about stuff as a teen since it's not a new subject. I think it's hard for people to understand adoption when they've never been around adoption. It's nice of you to blog about your experiences.ReplyDelete