[Ed. note — This post was originally published by Lacie B at Funny Little Pollywogs on 3/11/13. We thought it was a great resource for parents looking for ways to talk about adoption to the children of their friends and families. Kids have questions and we loved Lacie’s proactive approach to answering them!]
Upon arrival at the restaurant I noticed the girls were dressed all cute and sassy for our date. I noticed a ballerina dress, sparkly shoes and fancy scarves before we even got our coats off. They came with my cousin, Lisa who was gracious enough to help me make this happen. Lisa’s pretty much had my back since we were kids. I would intently watch her in complete awe as she expertly applied purple eyeshadow and lip gloss with sparkles when she was a teenager. She was pretty much my idol. The girls are as follows.
Chelsea: Super cute and sweet college freshman who loves babies and pretty much came along to see Rocky. I’ve painted her nails since she was a baby. She baby-wrangled for me throughout our date for which I am truly thankful.
A: Spunky and creative eleven-year-old who doesn’t miss a beat. She’ll keep you on your toes and smiling.
K: Sweet and smiley ten-year-old. She said to me two years ago at a church picnic, “Lacie, you are going to be a wonderful mommy.” I’ll never forget it.
As we entered the restaurant the girls were calling dibs on who got to sit next to Rocky. I loved hearing that. They each had their booklets with them and right after we gave our drink orders A looked at me and asked, “When are we going to talk about our books?” Like I said, she doesn’t miss a beat. There was no need for me to worry about an awkward lead-in to the topic of our luncheon, Miss Thang had it covered. I replied, “Well we can start talking about them now. Do you want to just talk about your charts and your questions or should we talk about every page?” They all chimed in, “Every page!” So, we got started on page one.
The charts asking them to describe “what babies and kids need” and “what parents do” were the first topic we discussed. They all included things like babies need diapers and love. What was great was that each girl had something that was unique to her on the chart. Little M wrote that parents “buy lots of toys.” A stated that parents “have to pay for college.” The first thing that K pointed out as a parental responsibility is to “keep their kids away from drama.” These girls know what’s up. Clearly.
The rest of our talk flowed as we flipped through each page. Having the girls spend some time with the booklet before our talk was a great way to give us a framework for our conversation. They came to the table with background knowledge of some details that may have been foggy for them before. With the booklets in hand, we could focus on clearing up things that they were still wondering about and strengthen what they already knew.
It was easy and natural and really informative for all of us. There were some interesting questions and ideas that came up.
A asked, “So did Marco and Maya want to have Rocky?” I understood this as “Did they plan to have him?” and I answered, “Sometimes babies come as a surprise.” Seven-year-old, M yelled, “A really GOOD surprise!”
A also asked, “Why didn’t you have a baby before you adopted Rocky?” She knows that I wanted a baby for a very long time. I asked, “Did you know that a woman has eggs inside of her and she needs those eggs to have a baby?” She said, “Yes, I know about that.” I explained, “Well, my eggs are broken. They don’t work like they are supposed to so I didn’t get pregnant. I am actually fine with that now because I have Rocky, the best baby in the world.” Everyone seemed fine with that response and pretty much agreed that Rocky is the bomb. A was also wondering (before getting the booklet) if Maya could ever take Rocky back. She was worried because she loves him. She said that she now that she read the booklet, she understands that she couldn’t do that and, because of our talk, she knows that Maya and Marco are also a part of our family.
K was wondering about different types of adoption. She said that she has a classmate who was adopted from Guatemala but didn’t understand what that meant. She also wanted to know why some children who are adopted don’t get to see their birth parents. I did a quick, age-appropriate overview of international and domestic adoption and explained a few reasons why some adoptions are closed. She said that she was glad that we talked about all of it and that she understands adoption a lot better now. She explained with a smile, “I thought there was this big store you could go to that had all kinds of babies there and that you could just pick one out.” Wow. I truly didn’t realize that she thought about adoption that way. I was glad I had this opportunity to explain things to her.
Each girl also drew completely different representations of what our family looks like. I loved seeing how they chose to represent us.
We wrapped things up by sharing dessert and agreeing that the booklets and our lunch was a really good idea. The booklets served as a template for our discussion as well as a way for each child to make a personal connection to our adoption story. The specific time set aside for our talk allowed the girls to ask questions that may have either come up at an inappropriate time, or may have never been asked at all.
Our lunch date was awesome and I am so glad we did it.
About the author:
Lacie was on a long, winding, and detoured-filled road to motherhood for over a decade. In February of 2012, her little miracle was born and she became a mother to the most precious little boy through open adoption. She strives to approach adoption with a spirit of openness, gratitude and respect for all who are involved. When she’s not chasing a toddler, she loves to write, teach, travel, spend time with her best friend/husband, read, and post pictures on Instagram. Find her at Funnylittlepollywogs.com and @lacie_b on Instagram.