Adoption Questions

Geena Kiss Me!

I have read my books. Listened to my friends who are adopted–sometimes as teenagers in those deep-talk, moon-bathing moments of sharing and sometimes as an adult with a close friend. I am definitely aware that we can’t always be prepared but I am as best as one can be for adoption questions from my children.  Good thing because it seems that no one evers make an animated movie that isn’t dependent on someone being adopted. Meet The Robinsons. Kung Fu Panda. Despicable Me. Stuart Little. Babe. Dinosaur. Tarzan. Superman and on and on. Some are done well and some without a thought that a real adopted child might watch it. And then the jokes on TV ‘Your adopted.”

You might say stop watching TV. There’s that but actually I like participating in these convos at home with fictional characters to help them be prepared on the playground. The movies are NOT perfect so we have ample opportunity to talk without me “babying” them. The playground will not always be nice and I am not doing my kids any favors by pretending that it is.

Parents often want the child to bring up the adoption issue. If the child doesn’t then the parent assumes that there is no questions or concerns. Or the parents, “don’t want to harp on it.” Thinking that somehow not talking about adoption will make their child not think about it. Kids think about it. A parents choice is whether or not to provide a sounding board, love, guidance, reassurance when kids are worried or have questions. It does not need to be the sun that the family revolves around. And actually talking about it openly helps with that. I want to available to kids for many tough conversations like bathroom accidents, name calling, pimples, sex, homophobia, racism and classism.

Waiting for children to bring up a potentially sensitive subject doesn’t work, especially adoption. The child might feel uncomfortable bringing it up or think the parents will get their feelings hurt. The child turns into the caretaker and does not get cared for. In our family I tell the kids they can always ask me anything. After one of these shows I use that organic opportunity to check in.

I ask,  “does this make you think of any questions?” Or “why do you think the Littles gave Stuart to strangers who said they were his parents? Would Mommy ever let strangers take you from me?” and we discuss it. Despicable Me gave them lots of questions. “What’s an orphanage?” “Why were they put in a shame box by the orphanage lady?” “Why did the Evil Dad–who wasn’t so evil anymore– let the kids go back to the orphanage?!”  We talked through that one too. That adults make mistakes and that the dad was very very sorry.

Super Bad. Super Dad.

This past year Kai always has more to say that Ches who had a few questions when he was younger but none lately. Sometimes we have cried together. But sometimes we laugh hard. In the car the other day Ches piped up, “Mommy!”

I replied, “Yes Darling Love of Mine.”

Ches asked, “how tall is my birth mom?”

“Oh wow Ches I don’t know.”

Ches exclaimed, “Ah C’mon!!! You said I could always ask anything!”

“I know. You can. But, but I guess I just might not know the answers.”

“I finally have a question,” he turned to Kai, “can you believe this?” And they both laughed.

I said, “I”m so sure! ” in my 80s way. Treating me like I am a waitress out of the daily special!


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