Monday, June 25, 2012

Telling the Adoption Story

By now most people understand that keeping the adoption a secret from the adoptive child/person is a bad idea. It is better that the child understands that he or she is adopted as soon as possible. This means that as adoptive parents, we are responsible for telling our son his adoption story. Parents have a variety of ways of doing this. Some have the fortunate situation in which they have back-and-forth contact with the birth parents. Some actually make an adoption book like a baby book or make the adoption forms and other information part of the baby book. There is even a trend of making a storybook specifically about the child's adoption that as they get older can be added to even by them.
John and I have taken the approach in which we talk about it naturally and just make it part of our regular lives and routines. For instance, I keep a picture of CJ and his birth mom on my phone. When we are looking through the pictures as CJ likes to do, we always stop on that one and talk about her and how he is the baby in the picture. It is one of his favorite pictures. And now that he is really talking he will say he is adopted. Actually I am trying to get him to say, I'm adopted, and I'm proud. It's a work in progress.
Months ago, I made the suggestion that we take the kids camping. John ran with it, so this weekend we ended up camping with a group of friends and their kids. It was a ton of fun. You haven't lived until you have watched three toddlers puddle jump until they are covered in mud from top to toe. 
John was very specific about where he wanted us to camp. He wanted to go back to Delaware because he wanted to take CJ back to the hospital where he was born. It was the last thing we did as we were heading home. On the way we talked about everything we did two and a half years ago. Those are the outlets where we shopped, that's the restaurant we ate at, the laundromat John did clothes at until we realized the hotel had machines on every floor, the Wal-Mart John ran to about fifty times. We told Leila how she was there but inside Mommy. And then we turned down a side street and drove past the hospital. John pointed the building out to CJ and told him that was where you were born. How when we walked into her room his birth mom told him, "Look, it's your parents!" and handed him to me.
CJ smiled and points and said, "I born!" He watched the building the whole time we drove around it (We didn't get out. Not that keen on taking my kids into a hospital if we don't need to.). He seemed actually excited. I don't know if he was picking up on the mood we were trying to set, or if he really got what we were saying, but it was a great idea to go. I am so glad John thought of it. It is so important to us to help CJ become comfortable with his adoption. We want it to be a positive thing in his life. And I am always amazed at how much he seems to understand when we talk about it. He wants to know. It is instinctive to know about our families and our origins, especially for adopted people. It was amazing to meet such a milestone for CJ this weekend. 


Spring said...

You are amazing parents and thank you for sharing how you are telling CJ his story.. Congrats to the amazing family you are!!!

Kate said...

I have two cousins who were adopted as older infants, and every year they celebrate Airport Day, which is the day each of them arrived in the US from Korea. When they were kids, they would go to the airport on their Airport Days and have lunch or dinner at a restaurant there. I'm pretty sure they don't do that any more (for one, you can't get through security w/out a ticket anymore) but a week or so ago, I saw one of them wish the other Happy Airport Day on Facebook. It was basically celebrated as a second birthday for them, I think.

Sunday said...

I think it is awesome that you and John are doing this for CJ. I wish we could have joined you for camping. Maybe someday in the future?!

kim said...

I love that you guys keep CJ's adoption so open -- I knew a guy in college who's parents did not and it was a disaster to say the least. Birth stories are always awesome. Happy 'birth' day CJ!