As a parent there will be several talks that I am sure you need to prepare for as your child gets older. As an adoptive parent there is another talk that we have always planned to have with our children.
We are a transracial family, so there is really not an opportunity nor did we ever plan to not discuss adoption with our children. It is also part of the reason that while others close to us have found it intimidating, we have found our open adoptions comforting.
I have often played out the scenario and the conversation in my head, but to be honest in day-to-day living it is not on the forefront of my mind. Sure there is the inquisitive question and sometimes accidental (sometimes not) stare that remind you that your family is unique. But I tend to see myself as a parent who is simply lucky enough to be raising two pretty awesome children and not an adoptive father.
As Nolin is getting older and wants to know about everything, he began noticing differences between us. He would say to Jenn, You’re light, Grace is dark and I am medium. After a few observations like this we decided that we should probably start trying to have the conversation.
There’s this thing about parental talks…I don’t think they ever go quite as planned. So we started by pulling out a few of our favorite children’s adoption stories. You’d be surprised some of them are really bad.
Nolin had more interest in jumping on the bed and showing off for Grace than listening to the story, but when it came to the part of a baby growing inside a mommy’s belly, we took that opportunity to start trying to explain his story to him.
We hit the major points: babies grow in mommy’s bellies, you grew in your birth mommy’s belly and she is the woman we play with at the park. As Nolin was trying to piece it all together he immediately tried to lift up Jenn’s dress and “crawl” into her belly.
He thought this was hysterical (we did too), but we decided that maybe we didn’t need to explain the whole process in one day.
Over the following days, Nolin is still working out in his mind the whole where babies come from conundrum. He has questioned if he could have come out of my belly (I have put on some weight, but that would be a hard one to explain), concluded that if he didn’t come out of mommy’s belly then he must have come out of Grammy’s belly (again that would be an interesting one to explain), and even asked if he may have hatched from an egg like on Dinosaur Train.
While I am glad that we began having the conversation and I hope that future conversations and maybe even this blog will show our children what a special gift adoption is, I have to admit it made me a little sad.
Definitely not sad in how our family was brought together, but sad because I realized that they are growing up, and they won’t always look at the world with wonder an amazement and at some point they may not see me & Jenn as infallible (heck, I can’t even grow a baby in my belly).
But for now, I’ll enjoy the carefree moments and try to block out the day in ten years or so when it is time for The Talk.