Thursday, October 20, 2011

Open Adoption Ponderings

In about a week we will be celebrating my favorite holiday of the year, Family Day. If you've been reading my blog for a while then you might remember that this is my own little made up holiday that marks the date in 2008 that Andrew's adoption was finalized. We celebrate by doing something together, and having a special cake, of course!

So here is my dilemma: Andy still doesn't have any idea that he was adopted, or at least he doesn't realize that he might have a clue. We sure haven't had any formal discussions with him. I mean, he sees pictures of his birth mom and him in the hospital, and of the two of them during visits, and we use her name, but he doesn't understand who she is. Actually, he doesn't have a clue that babies come from mommies. He's never spent any time around anyone pregnant, and if he has he hasn't noticed.

I guess I haven't gotten to the worry part yet. I'm worried that by the time Andy does begin to wonder about things it will be really upsetting to him. I've always wanted his knowledge about his adoption to be seemless and just something that he has always known, and not something that he just finds out one day. On the other hand, I don't want to give him too much information too soon either.

Maybe this year for Family Day I should break out a story book about adoption that we have. Any other ideas?


  1. Hmmm... I think Andy is younger than Victoria right? So he is probably too young to understand. What I am doing with my kids is just using the word "adoption" regularly, like it's no big deal. For example, "we used to live in a different house before we adopted you." We also have made a point to befriend other adoptive families and we make references to their adoptions also. We also celebrate Family Day but we actually call it Adoption Day. In yur case, you could just say "we are celebrating Family Day because that is the day we adopted you and we became a family."

    It's only a recent phenomenon that Tino has started asking questions about adoption (he's four, so you may have some time yet) and Victoria doesn't seem to get it at all. In response to his questions, I just answer truthfully and only answer the question that was asked, without elaboration. It's easier than you would think. I definitely think you should read the book although he might not get that either. In my opinion the important thing is to treat the topic like it's a normal and perfectly acceptable thing to have been adopted- which of course it is!

    Good luck with whatever you decide to do. When are we all going to get together for a reunion? :)

  2. It's never too soon to start telling him the story of how you all became a family. My son is 20 months old (yikes! how did that happen) and I've been telling him his creation story all along. I used an anonymous donor and I know that he doesn't really understand but that's been good for me because I needed the practice to find just the right words.

  3. Anonymous1:10 PM

    We have already started reading children's books about adoption to the girls, and we talk about adoption as though it's just a normal part of life. There are lots of children's books on the subject (though we recently bought one that I have a problem with because they use the phrase "gave up"). I got them all from Amazon. We also celebrate Family Day, but we also call it Adoption Day. We spend the whole day together doing whatever the kids want. (The one whose adoption day we're celebrating gets to choose). Just start using the word adoption and it's meaning inevery day conversation. Neither of the girls have met their birthmothers, but they know who they are. We don't talk about them too much because I don't know that they will ever meet them, but we do have pictures of the girls with them in their baby scrapbooks.

  4. That last comment was from Janna at Blessings From Above, but for some reason it's not allowing me to sign in and comment through that profile. :(

  5. Anonymous6:04 PM

    Hey there! I am terrible about reading blogs these days but I came across this post on my Google Reader and felt inspired to comment :) I think it depends on the kid, of course, but Evie is on her way to understanding at early 3 years old. It might be because she is around pregnant women fairly often and we've had several friends give birth recently, so we've had conversations about how the mom's tummy had a baby in it and then she meets the baby and watches him/her get bigger and bigger. Anyhow, when we have those opportunities I specifically tell her "Bianca was pregnant with baby Jake and then he was born and now he's Sawyer's little brother! Do you know who was pregnant with baby Evie?" And she answers correctly her birthmother's name because we've told her that. And I say "yes! She is your birthmother and Mommy and Daddy adopted you and now you are in our family forever and ever." And then I reiterate the message that her birth family and her adoptive family all love her, etc. She really doesn't understand yet, but she does get that she was in her birthmother's tummy but that the little babies we know don't have birthmothers the way she does. So if you get a chance to be around someone pregnant, in my experience, it is a great way to have those first that they "always know" they were adopted. Good luck!

  6. I know this is an old post and I haven't been around in a while, but I thought I'd share what we did. I collaborated with our son's birth mother to make an adoption story photo book using Walgreens online, though you could use anyone. It turned out great and he loves to read it because it's about him. Let me know if you want to know more about it.