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“Do your children know that they are adopted?” and “How did you tell your children that they were ad

These are two questions I have been asked over the years. Before I can answer these two questions directly, let me briefly explain our adoption journey. My husband and I always wanted to be parents; I specifically always wanted two boys. Don’t get me wrong, if I were able to have biological children, I would have been happy with either gender. However, our journey to parenthood was difficult and I was very unsuccessful becoming pregnant - numerous failed infertility treatments, surgeries, and a miscarriage (oh yeah, and a failed adoption!). Our thoughts were that if we were going to build our family through adoption, we would choose the gender of our children. After all that, we were able to complete our family through adoption with two beautiful boys.

As parents of two adopted children, my husband and I made the decision to always talk to them about our adoption journey, their birth mothers, and how we chose them. So you might ask, “How do you explain to your child that you chose them?” Well, if you are an adoptive parent or you are still on your adoption journey, you know that there are many different situations that come through. I always tell people that “there isn’t a perfect situation out there, only a situation that is perfect for you.” We had put in for the situations that were perfect for us, therefore choosing our boys. Talking about adoption with our oldest son was pretty easy. When he was first born, his birth mother had given us a cross made out of palms. A few years later, she mailed us a blanket she had made for him. To this day, he still has both items; he sleeps with the blanket every night and the cross hangs on the window in his room. We always talked to him about who made the blanket and gave him the cross and why the items were very special.

When his little brother was adopted, we continued to talk about adoption, where they came from, and how their birth mothers made the selfless decision to give them both a life they couldn’t provide for them. My husband and I knew that neither child probably wouldn’t understand what it really meant to be adopted for many years to come; however, we felt that when they started to understand what adoption meant, it wouldn’t be overwhelming, but rather second nature. With both of our sons, we bought a memory book called My Family, My Journey: A Baby Book for Adoptive Families to document our adoption through their first birthday. We share each of those books with our sons and talk with them about our journey in finding them and completing our family. We have also shared photos of their birth mothers with them, mainly pictures of when they were first born with their birth mothers holding them.

There were some other things we did in regards to talking to our children about adoption. We bought the book Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born by Jamie Lee Curtis. We have read it to our children often and even added our personal experiences to it as well. Another thing we did was talk to them about how they grew in our hearts as they grew in their birth mother’s belly. If you ask them “Where did you grow in your mommy?,” they will tell you they grew in “her heart.” However, if you talk to our younger son long enough, he may tell you that he is still trying to figure out how our hearts were cut open to get him out! Again, we are not sure if either child truly understands what it really means to be adopted, but they are told time and time again that we chose them!

So, when people ask, “Do your children know that they are adopted?” I answer yes, but add to that “I wouldn’t want them to be a teenager finding out for the first time!” As a former high school teacher, those years are difficult enough! When asked, “How did you tell them they were adopted?” I tell them it is something my husband and I always talked about to them.

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