Turkey-Man has recently become an expert at extending the bedtime routine. He wants that one last snuggle or some random topic of conversation that has to be discussed before he goes to sleep. Last night he hit the hot topic button that he doesn’t recognize yet, the one I will always pause and let it continue until his thirst for information is quenched –his adoption.
It is not something he brings up often. Sometimes I am not sure if I should initiate more conversations or let it come up naturally as it crosses his mind. Five is a tricky age where he is just starting to have his own independent thoughts. I tend to error on the side of letting him bring it up on his own so when he does, I let it play out as long as he wants it to.
Last night, he was wanting to piece together how all of the birth families are related to him. He understands he grew in his birth mom’s belly and gets that her mom is his grandma, but there are aunts, uncles, and all of Little-Flower’s family. Once we got it all laid out, he moved on to some questions that caught me off guard such as asking if I wished I had two mommies and wondering who else has a birth mom besides him.
This is always a subject that I feel a bit awkward handling. It is incredibly important to me that my children feel open to talk about their birth families. I never want them to feel like they have to hide their thoughts about being adopted. Right now the questions are simple. I know as they get older their feelings with get more complicated. I want to lay the groundwork now for them to know I am okay with it being a topic of conversation.
I almost feel too eager to talk about adoption with them. I am not sure of the impression these conversations have on them. With Little-Flower being three, I usually am the one to bring the subject up so that she can ask questions. Usually, we read a book and then I talk with her about her adoption story. She does not really get the concept yet other than knowing she did not grow in my belly. She can’t understand that there was ever even the option for her birth mom to raise her. When discussing it with either of them I don’t get feedback as to how I am responding.
Openness in adoption conversation is a hard balance for me to find. I don’t want it to seem forced, but at the same time I am very deliberate in being fully open and present when the subject comes up. I hope in doing so that they will know that adoption is a subject that is never taboo in our household. I want to know their thoughts and feelings so I can help them work through what it means in the context of their lives.
As with so many things in adoption, I wish there was a handbook written specifically for our situation that spells out exactly what I should be doing. So much of the time I am just feeling this out as I go, never really sure what the “right” thing is. That’s motherhood though- doing the best you can and hoping it all works out in the end! Not a great feeling for someone who needs practical answers to all questions!