We talk about adoption around here a lot. We have always been committed to being honest with our kids and not having them find out about something crazy when they are older that we should have shared with them earlier. I've always thought that we have done a great job with this, or at least I thought that until a few days ago.
We were driving along and out of no where Story starts talking about when she was in my belly before she was born. You would have thought the boys were going to break their necks trying to turn around to correct her as fast as they could. We all laughed about it, and then that night I pulled out her baby book and went through it with her again. She has seen this thing a million times, and somehow she missed the part about me visiting her for the first time at 6 weeks old. Or maybe she never looked at the pictures of her and her Haiti mom together. Or it could have been the one of her and I getting on the airplane to come home finally. Whichever ones she missed, I made sure we covered them that day.
Then another day recently she asked me if when little brown girls grow up if they turn to white girls. First of all I giggled on the inside because to an adult this seems so ludicrous, but then I sighed a bit, because it's just another example of her feeling different. She didn't say she wanted white skin (Amos has, Deacon never has), and she didn't seem sad or hurt at all. She didn't act like she was feeling different, she was just matter-of-a-fact asking if that happened.
We talked about it and I talked about how perfect God is and that he gives everyone the most perfect skin for themselves and they get to keep it forever, unless you are Michael Jackson, but I didn't share that with her yet. I'll wait until she's at least 8. She nodded and we moved on to the next subject.
Both of these conversations are constant reminders of how much we parents to children via adoption always need to be talking to them about their lives. The mistake we can make is thinking everything's okay because they aren't talking about it. When the truth is that they are thinking about it whether or not they are talking or not, and so it's our job to bring it up.
Recently Story and I read a book that was such a good read for preschool children. I would recommend this for any family, and not just those that have grown through adoption. It's called ALL BEARS NEED LOVE and it's written by Tanya Valentine. Tanya wrote this book in response to all the many unexpected questions, comments and curiosities that accompanied her son's adoption. Here's a snip it about the book, “When Baby Bear arrives at City Zoo, all alone and very frightened, Mama Polar Bear scoops him into her arms and promises to be his mother. Despite the grumblings and protests of the other animals, Baby Brown Bear learns family is family, no matter the differences, and all bears need love.”
Tanya has graciously given me a book to give away to one of you guys! Enjoy and good luck! If you don't win, don't worry, you can get it HERE on Amazon. This would make a great gift for any child this year!
*I was graciously given a book to keep and one to give away, but was not required to write this. These are my own opinions and wasn't compensated for this post.*
Jamie, this is so good: “The mistake we can make is thinking everything’s okay because they aren’t talking about it.” I constantly catch myself going weeks without discussing the kids’ stories. Then they’ll say something big and I’m reminded again how much is going on in their brains, even when they aren’t asking questions. I am committed to forging some good talks today with both kids. Thanks for the nudge.
Jon talked to Aaron about this very issue yesterday at the office! I definitely need to get this book, it sounds awesome!
Loved your insight and your review. Would love to win. =)
We adopted my daughter age 5 from Rwanda. She is now 7 and rescently I heard her tell someone that she came from my belly, but I lost her but eventually found her at the orphanage and brought her back home. We have zero info on birth families. She also told me she thought she would turn white when she got boobies. Yikes. I have learned never to assume and share her story often with her. So much to process for her. Thanks for the post!!
Susan, that’s hilarious!
Jen … their brains are always moving, aren’t they?!?