Yeah, I Thought So

26 Oct

As family legend has it, I actually asked my parents if I was adopted.

We were a closed adoption family (which was very typical in the 70s stone ages) so unlike kids adopted today there were no birth parents as part of our family make up.

That meant that my parents expected they would get to decide when and how to share the story of my adoption with me. So you can imagine their surprise when over dinner one night at age four or so, I just came right out and asked. As it turned out another child at my day care facility had recently learned she was adopted and for some reason that we never did understand, her parents told her I also was adopted.

Because they always intended to be truthful with me, my parents took my inquiry very seriously. They told me that I was adopted and prepared themselves to answer any questions I had. I think I said something like, “Yeah, I thought so” and went back to my dinner. That was enough for them to know I wasn’t ready and it didn’t come up again until I was in second or third grade. By that time I had no memory of the dinner time incident when I was four.

Adoption was always a known topic in our house, but it was never a big deal. Sure, there were some random school projects that frustrated us all (silly science projects where you have to see who you inherited your ability to roll your tongue from or locate the people in your family with attached earlobes), but most of the time we didn’t think about it.

My feeling is that the vast majority of today’s adoptions are much different. Because there is often contact with the birth family, adoption stories are shared from the very beginning. There are late night snuggle sessions where kids are reassured about their place in the world. Kids have more questions because they witness more, experience more.

It’s hard for me to imagine having been part of an adoption like that because you only know what you know. But, I’m prepared for the fact that our child will likely have a very different adoption story than my own, that he or she will actually know his or her birth mom and maybe even birth dad or grandparents.

I wouldn’t change my own adoption story for anything in the world. I have amazing parents, but they’re enough to handle on their own. I honestly have never had more than a passing curiosity about my birth family. I’m excited to see a different side of adoption this time around, though. And I bet my parents are, too. 

Did you start explaining adoption to your child immediately upon bringing him or her home, or did you wait until a specific point in his or her development? At what age did they start asking questions that made you realize there was real understanding of the situation?

Trackbacks and Pingbacks

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