My son is four, almost five now. When he was younger we would talk to him about adoption. He did not ask much about his birthparents. We would show him a picture of his birth family and tell him his birth story. It was not until we started the process with adopting our daughter that he started getting more curious. He was able to meet our daughter's birth mom and play with her other daughter. Of course this brought up many questions about his birth mom. The first year we would send pictures and letters to our son's birth mom. We never heard back from her. After about a year we lost all contact with her. Trying to explain this to my son… [more]
The other night while I was putting my four year old son to bed he asked, "Was Sandy, our dog, a baby?" Yes, she was. "Did she grow in her birth mommy's tummy?" Yes she did. "Why does she not live with her?" I explained to him that a lot of dogs get adopted when they are puppies and their owners become their mommy and daddy. I had a feeling I knew where this was leading. The next question he asked was, "Does my birth mommy know my name?" As my son gets older and starts to understand more about his story, he will just ask questions out of the blue. I never know what is going to come out. This particular… [more]
It was a beautiful day yesterday. A treasure to enjoy before the cold weather sets in. Early fall, the sun was shining, the leaves just starting to turn orange, red and yellow. We ran around as a family; cleaning the garage, cheering at soccer games, friends stopped by, the boys looked for frogs and played wiffle ball in the backyard. In the afternoon, my husband piled as many boys as he could fit in his car and took them out to lunch. I took Eliza, my four year old in my car. She wanted McDonalds (sorry health nuts), or Old McDonalds, as she calls it, so we went to get her Happy Meal, and I got the requisite boring mom salad. We… [more]
Today, Bear approached me and said: "Mommy, when are adopting my brother?" I told him I didn't know, but that adoption can take a long time sometimes. We talked a bit about Beauty's adoption from Guatemala and how it took a bit of time to get the paperwork in, and then we had to wait to find out she was in need of a family, and so on. He sat down beside me, and put his head in his hand and said, "This sure is a big deal then." Yes, baby. It's a big deal. A big, beautiful, and sometimes, seemingly-endless deal. I am continually amazed at the level of understanding my kids possess when it comes to… [more]
When you have kids, birthdays are suddenly a big deal. By birthdays, I mean the birthdays of your child(ren), not necessarily your own birthday. My pre-motherhood birthday celebrations usually involved going out with a bunch of my friends and my main squeeze, all dolled up for a night on the town. Once Bear came along and then Beauty, my birthdays became back seat occasions of my own choosing. But my kids’ birthdays are HUGE events in our home and in our family. It’s not to say we spend a fortune or throw amazingly lavish parties, but more so we just really celebrate our children, our family, our life. It’s incredible, and we really try to spend the day focused on the blessings we’ve received in our… [more]
All children go through emotional growth periods where they seem to have a deeper understanding of the world around them and their place in it. You can see it when your toddler begins to feel safe in playing 10 feet away, and then in the next room. Adopted children go through these emotional growth periods in their understanding of their adoption, and what the adoption means to them personally. In an open adoption, you may begin talking about birthparents, and visiting them as you leave the hospital. A toddler cannot completely understand about adoption or birthparents. However, there comes a time, as the child matures, when a light turns on and the child suddenly, gets it. You will recognize these stages because there will be many… [more]
My son and I were talking a walk around the neighborhood when we came across an "It's a Girl" balloon on a mailbox. Nicholas pointed to the balloon and said, "Look, Mom! They adopted a girl!" Of course, we do not know these people and have no idea whether that baby joined their family through birth or adoption, but I think it is really cool that Nicholas immediately assumed that the baby joined the family through adoption. This tells me that he sees adoption as normal rather than as an anomaly that makes our family different.
What makes this doubly amusing is that Nicholas, who is now seven years old, has been around numerous other families that have grown by giving birth. When he was in the… [more]
If you have a family pet, then you have a wonderful way to help a younger adopted child understand adoption. The family pet is clearly not blood-related to the other family members, but he is a welcome and beloved member of the family. Such a complex concept as adoption can seem much more simple with a concrete example like the family pet.
I have used our dog to help my son understand why his birthmother would choose to "give him away." I explained that his birthmother did not give him away. Instead, she wanted my son to have the life that he does, and she chose us to be his parents so he could have this life, even though it made her sad. We then talked about… [more]
One issue that continues to rear its ugly head with my adopted child is the "real mom" comments. I have posted about this a couple of times before (see Related Topics below). Each time I think I have handled it, my son says it again: "You are not my real mom." Here is the most recent episode ...
My friend and I took our children to the park. Our children (ages 6 and 7) were swinging on the swing set and talking in an animated fashion. My son got off the swing and ran across the playground. When he did, his friend yelled out, "Faith is not your real mom." My son did not seem to have any reaction.
My friend immediately called her daughter over to her… [more]
I want my adopted child to know that he can ask me anything about his adoption. As his mother, I am in the best position to know what to say and how to say it so that my adopted child can understand his adoption in the best possible way. However, I am not the person he is going to turn to if he perceives that I am uncomfortable with talking about his adoption. How can we, as adoptive parents, make ourselves approachable on this subject?
For me, talking about adoption with my kid is similar to talking with him about sex. Yes, both topics can be uncomfortable for me to discuss, but I want him getting the facts from me rather than from his peers or other… [more]