Sunday, December 28, 2008

How to tell your child s/he was adopted


One of the questions my social worker asked me during the home study was how I planned on telling my daughter she was adopted.

Things have changed over the past 50 years!

This used to be something kept secret.

But in the case of trans racial adoption, there can be no secrets. It's pretty obvious. In fact, my social worker said we would be a "conspicuous family" and asked how I would deal with that. I told her I would deal with it openly, talking about any feelings that may come up. I am a therapist after all... my poor kid is probably going to be sick of talking about feelings all the time!

Now, growing up in Africa between the ages of 5 and 9, I didn't really realize there was a color difference between me and my African friends, but as soon as I moved here, U.S. society makes race an issue and one would be ignorant to think there will not be curiosity, stares perhaps, (hopefully not loud) comments, etc.

I guess I'm bringing up two separate topics here. So let me stick with the first one.

I was thinking of saying something along the lines of how special she is that Mommy wanted to fly across the world to be with her. That will probably be good for awhile, until she gets older.

Soo... How did you tell your child, in an age appropriate manner, that they were adopted? And how did they react? And then, what did you tell them when they got older?


Karen Lynch said...

I feel that I am an expert on this topic. Why? I was adopted.

I always knew I was adopted. My Dad would tell me a special story about how they received a phone call and went to pick me up. About how they saw me and cried. About how my snowsuit was too big and I hated it. About how I rode on my Mom's lap on the way home. This was 1962, there were no car seats.

I felt very special. I remember asking them, "tell me again the story about how you got me". I heard it over and over again.

When you are adopted you are actually picked! Your parents didn't have to have you, they could have passed you over, but they didn't. They wanted you!

Mika, I am so excited you are doing this! I always wanted to adopt a child. I looked into it before I had children and gave up on that dream when I realized that there were tons of parents waiting for children and not enough babies. I was able to have my own.

I'll be living this journey through your eyes. You will be a GREAT MOM!!!!!!!!!

Mika said...

That's a great comment, Karen, thanks! I love the story you got to hear, and that it made you feel special and you wanted to hear it over and over. :-) Kind of like your own personal fairy tale with a happy ending.

Michelle said...

Hello Mika,

Your mom shared your wonderful news with me today. I am so happy for you and your family!

I remember always knowing that I was adopted so it was no big deal. My parents explained the process like going to the candy store and being able to pick out exactly who they wanted so the adoption process always felt special.

May this journey to pick up your daughter be smooth and quick!

Michelle K.