Talking about Adoption with an 8-year-old

Adoption

When BE and I were at the market this summer, she asked me about something that might or might not have happened when she was a baby. I responded, “I don’t know, I guess we’d have to ask your first parents.”

This kind of comment in our family isn’t unusual. but that day, BE gave an unusual response. She said, “shh, don’t say that so loud, I don’t want anyone to hear.”

Up until now, my kids haven’t been shy or outspoken about their adoption; so far, it’s just been a normal fact of life. But, lately, BE seems to be more embarrassed by her adoption. I don’t know if it’s really embarrassment, or just a desire to fit in.

As my kids change (and their attitudes about adoption) change, I’ll be challenged to keep up. But, then again, not much stays the same, not even my own opinion about adoption. It’s likely my thoughts will continue to evolve right along with theirs.

Family in the city

Living in Detroit

For most of my life, I’ve lived in suburban Detroit, but J and I have always liked cities. For a number of reasons, we recently decided to a buy a place near downtown Detroit. Detroit certainly has a bad reputation, but many people from southeast Michigan know that young people are moving back to the city. Some of these people have families, but many don’t.

As always, I’ll continue to write about our adoption experience, but occasionally I’ll write about our experience as a family with young kids living in Detroit. Like many locals, I’d like to see the city come back, but that will only happen when people (both singles and families) decide to make Detroit their home. If you live in Detroit with your kids, or if you have questions about our (forthcoming) experience raising a family in the city, send me an e-mail at oneinchofgrace@yahoo.com. Of course, I welcome e-mails about adoption and foster care too!

Please don’t thank me

Adoption

Over the past few weeks BE has told me several times, “thank you for adopting me.” It gives me a sinking feeling every time. I don’t want her to feel that she has to be grateful, or that she owes me anything. I hope I’m not unknowingly communicating that I expect this. When she thanks me, I usually just say, “thank you for being my daughter.”

Adventures in eating

Adoption

BE is a notoriously picky eater, so when J suggested we go to a Japanese buffet for dinner, I was very nervous. I envisioned whining and complaining in addition to her normal restaurant antics. To my surprise, she did very well and even tried something new. As the resident vegetarian, I would have preferred that it be something green, but I’m always happy to encourage adventurous eating. So, I didn’t object when she passed right over the veggies and went for the chicken foot! Yes, she had a chicken foot on her plate, and yes, she took a bite of it! She said it was too spicy, and didn’t eat any more, but I was very impressed that she put the thing her mouth. Here’s proof:

Now, BC will eat almost anything, including many vegetarian staples. And, his reputation as a sushi lover is well-known in our family. He particularly likes California roles and had no problem eating a few during our buffet trip. Here’s a photo of our 4-year-old sushi guy:

Look alikes

Adoption

Several times in the last week, I’ve been told that my daughter looks just like me, and that it’s clear I’m her mom. Naturally, I think my daughter is beautiful, so this is a big compliment. It also makes me happy to think that we might actually look alike, especially since we’re not biologically related. It got me thinking about the idea that couples (or even pets and their owners) can grow to look alike over time. I don’t really think that people’s features change, but that maybe people who live intimately with each other slowly adopt each others’ mannerisms and expressions. What do you think? Have you been told that you look like your adopted children?

Getting what they deserve

Adoption

I’m a regular reader of Help 4 Your Family by therapist Kate Oliver and one of her posts from April has really stuck with me. In the post, she describes how to respond to a child’s demands. Here’s an excerpt from the post, titled “End the Hassle: Tell Kids what they Deserve“:

Kid: Mom, the other kids in my class don’t have to sit in a booster car seat any more! (feel free to imagine this as a whine)

Mom: You deserve to be as safe as possible and the booster keeps you safe.

My first grader, BE, has a “friend” who doesn’t always treat her very well. The two of them recently got in trouble at school and BE told me all about it (not voluntarily) when she got home. I explained to her that she deserves to have nice friends that don’t encourage her to do bad things. I suggested that she continue to be nice to this girl, but that she find other friends that are more worthy of her.

She listened – can you believe it? About a week later, she told me that her classmate, J, is her friend because she’s nice and she (BE) deserves nice friends.

Thanks for the tip, Kate!

A funny typo

Adoption

At my day job, I’m a writer, and a group of us writers often e-mail each other when we come across a funny typo. Now, I have one that I want to share with you. For the past few weeks, BE has been pretending to be a teacher, saying that she’s practicing for when she gets older. Sometimes, she recruits BC to be her student and teaches him math. This typo I’d like to share is courtesy of BE and her math lessons.

I don’t think I have to explain the asterisks – clearly without them, this image would be offensive. But that’s half the humor. It’s amusing that a first grader would unwittingly write this, thinking she was writing “count,” and that this would make me angry. Once I realized that she didn’t intend to write c*nt, I calmed down significantly. Then, I just laughed at myself.

Mama the grouch

Adoption

Since becoming a mother, I’ve heard my share of interesting insults. As I’ve written before, when BE gets mad, she likes to say, “I’m not going to be your friend.” But BC, has some truly unique put downs. When he’s upset, he likes to yell (among other things), “I’m going to put you in the garbage can!” If he ever accomplishes that, I’ll have a lot in common with this guy: