When J and I first decided to adopt, we told our agency that we were interested in children 2 to 9 years old. We were told that adopting a 2 to 5 year old through the foster care system is very rare. So, we expected to be matched with a child (or children) 7, 8, or 9 years old. However, when we were matched with BE and BC, they were 14 months and 4-years-old. Needless to say, we had to change our expectations. To be honest, one of the things I was most worried about was changing diapers! But next on the list was the adoption talk. I anticipated that we would talk about adoption no matter the age of our child, but I also anticipated that he or she would remember being adopted. I didn’t consider that J and I would have to introduce the concept. This is what I thought about when it came to BC. I knew he would not remember his adoption, and I wondered how J and I would talk with him about it.
Since then, I’ve had a few conversations with BC about adoption, but I don’t think he really understood. Then a few days ago, another opportunity came up. On the way to daycare, BC was asking me what my “other” name was (other than momma, of course!). So I told him my name, and it so happens that BE and BC’s first mom’s name is very similar to mine. So I continued the conversation something like this:
Me: Did you know that your first mom’s name is FM? (I’ll just use FM – short for first mom – instead of her real name)
Me: No, your first mom. Before you came to live with me and dad, you grew in FM’s tummy.
BC: Grandma G‘s? (Grandma G is my mother)
Me: No, FM’s. You have two moms and two dads. Now, you live with me and dad, but before us, you grew in FM’s tummy. Then you came to live with us, because we love you and we wanted you to be our son.
BC: Great Grandma?
Me: No, FM. That’s the name of your first mom.
The conversation didn’t go on much longer because I could tell I was confusing him. I’m having a difficult time finding the right way to talk about this with him. I don’t want to avoid it, because I don’t want him to get older and then feel deceived because we didn’t address it sooner. But, he’s only 3, and it’s difficult to find a simple way to talk about something as complicated as adoption.
Does anyone out there have any suggestions?