Sunday, April 30, 2017
I am not a great winter person. I love watching the snow, but navigating slushy and icy streets is not for me. This year, I found myself hibernating on the cold and blustery days. Long gone were the days of making snowmen, having snow ball fights and building igloos. My girls are now 26 and 29. Their winter activities are with their friends while I sit on the couch with the dog and a hot cup of coffee.
Spring changes things. I am out and about. I’m listening to the gleeful sounds of kids playing in the parks and playgrounds. I chuckle as the parent tries to cajole them back into sweaters or insists that it’s time to go home. One little girl told her mom –“No, it’s not dark yet!”
It brought back memories of trying to put my girls to bed when the sun was still out. Questions about why it was still light out were tricky for me. I did not have a scientific explanation, nor would they understand, if I did. It reminded me of some adoption questions which I had to field over the years.
Adoption questions from children come at all ages and with all implications. Sometimes, they just want a simple answer and we provide too much information. “Where was I born?” may just need a simple place – a city or state response, not a full explanation of adoption and custody. At other times, your child will actually want more information. How do you know what it is they are asking?
Most parents who have open dialogues about adoption find questions and answers come more easily. They tend to know what their child is thinking and how they are processing the adoption part of their life story. They are tuned into what’s going on in their social circles, school settings and more. So a simple “Where was I born?” may be part of a school timeline assignment or something they heard from friends or from a book or TV show or a social setting.
With a very young child, my advice is to give a simple answer and see what your child says afterwards. If they don’t say more, you can add that they were born in one place but came back to your home state, etc. Kids love hearing about living in hotels or flying, even if they don’t remember. Get out a map and show them the route if you drove or flew. With an older child, you may want to add some of the things you did or saw while in the area where they were born.
How parents talk to their children about adoption reminds me of the changing seasons. Are you hiding out in the winter or out and about as in the spring? Getting out there and talking is best for everyone.