Many people ask how we talk to Zadey about being adopted. And it took awhile for me to consider how we actually did this.
We never had a conversation, there was no hard evidence or information presented. We’ve just always made an effort to have it be something present in her life. The same way you teach your child their manners, by discussing them, we have done the same with Zadey.
When she was very young, I purchased a book that we love: Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born by Jamie Lee Curtis. It quickly became one of her favorites. And while the situation presented in the book for that child being adopted is not at all how Zadey was adopted, it was enough for her to understand that she’s not the only one that is adopted.
I have pictures of her birth-Mom pregnant, and she has seen those.
And I rock her every year and tell her about the day she was born.
She knows that she has a birth-Mom, and has met her along with her siblings.
We’ve had just continually made it an open conversation.
My oldest brother and sister are adopted, and that has also helped in the conversations that we had with Zadey.
Unquestionably, it is her reality. But she doesn’t often think about it. For example, when I was pregnant with the boys she asked me questions being pregnant with her. I’d remind her that birth-Mom was pregnant with her but still answer the question — because I know the answers.
It is not something we have a lot of conversations about. And it’s not something I feel like we should talk about all the time. Because my goal is to have her understand what it means for her to be adopted and that she was a chosen and wanted child for Mama and I. On the other hand, she’s just like every other kid — she has a family, and two parents that love her.
I believe that we have made it something that she is proud of. She doesn’t hesitate to tell people that she’s adopted. And if people ask me about my pregnancy with her, I also make the statement — depending on who it is I’m talking to.
For Joanne and I, I’m proud that we went the adoption route. It was never something that is any different for us to consider. And having adopted siblings growing up, I knew it wouldn’t make a difference in how I’d love or feel about Zadey.
She doesn’t really ask a lot of questions about it. I remember, once, she asked how come Mama and I got her. And I try to do a good job at answering the question and not going into other details. So I answered her “your birth-Mom didn’t have the means to take care of you. Since she knew how badly Mama and I wanted a baby, she chose us.” No other questions, no follow-ups, she accepted the statement and moved on from it.
I’m confident, one day, she will have questions for her birth-Mom. Especially because once she gets older there might be harder situations for her to make sense of. For example, she has a sister that is 13 months younger than her. I can imagine that she may want to know why that child her birth-Mom kept, but didn’t keep her. And I do know the answer to it, and I do believe it makes sense. But I worry — will it make sense to her? Only time will tell.
I’m often thankful that it’s not something we talk about all the time. She is very clear that she doesn’t feel a difference between her and her brothers — and she shouldn’t. She is also very thankful to have siblings. She wants me to have “13 more kids!” Yeah, right.
When Zadey is ready to ask questions, she will always get the truth. And when that time comes, her birth-Mom is still very present in her life — even if Zadey has yet to realize that Mommy talks to her birth-Mom all the time.