Monday, July 12, 2010


Adoptive parents have many different ways of handling their childrens' situations.   Many families talk about adoption, abandonment & such very openly.  There are also families who don't talk about these issues.  Some families talk about birthparents while others don't.  It's a choice.  A very personal choice that each family has to make given their own circumstances.  Some children have a need to talk about these things while other children don't have that same need.

We have been very open with Erin about her adoption.  She knows that she is adopted & comes from China.  (Believe it or not, there are parents who haven't told their child(ren) they are adopted.)  David & I make sure to tell her all the time how happy we are that we all adopted each other.  Over the years Erin has refused to admit that she is actually Chinese & wants nothing to do with her birth country &/or culture.  The day that we received Erin, she immediately rejected anything Chinese to the point of tantrums.  In the last year, this has gotten easier on all of us.  Since she was granted citizenship (May 2009), Erin has started to come around.

The other day, I was having a conversation with a friend who mentioned that it was time for "the talk" with one of her children.  That conversation had me laughing so hard!  I decided to ask Erin if she knew where babies come from.  She told me that some babies come from their mommies tummies.  I asked where the rest of the babies came from & she told me "Orphanages." Yikes! I think the whole thing is that it comes down to a child's life experience.  I let the topic drop because Erin started to get all embarrassed.  When she's embarrassed, all Erin wants to do it hide.  I figure I can let it rest for a few more weeks.

I'm pretty sure that Erin will understand when we have that talk that she has a birth family.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that she knows it already.  Viv's daughter Kerri has talked about these things pretty openly in front of Erin on some of their visits down here.  She just hasn't come to terms with the whole thing, but that's okay. 

Me?  I don't think of Erin's birth family often.  We'll never know the true reason that Erin was abandoned.  I refuse to dwell upon it & get all depressed.  However, there are days that I do think of a certain lady in Southern China.  I hope & pray that somehow she knows her sweet baby is alright.  I thank her for leaving Erin in a safe & public place to be found.  I also think of the birth father.  Most of the time, people tend to forget that there is a man involved in this situation.  We tend to concentrate on the birthmother &  how she did or didn't feel upon having to abandon her baby.  How many birthfathers out there had a choice?  How many of them actually wanted to abandon their baby after watching it grow in the mother's womb for 9 months?  So, yes, I think of  him too.

One day Erin will start to have questions about her birthparents.  David & I have decided not to sugarcoat her story.  We will be honest.  "We don't know Erin."  That's the answer we have to give her.  And it sucks, but honesty is the best we can do for her.


Sandra said...

I agree with a LOT of what you have written down here, Tammie. Your point about the birth father is an important one. If we talk about birth mothers, why not birth fathers? Good post.

Vivian M said...

With Kerri, we use the term biological family, because she has asked if she had siblings, cousins, uncles, aunts, grandparents, etc. in China. And yes, we are honest with her too and say "we just don't know" most of the time.
Kerri knows how babies are born and where they come from, she also knows there are babies in orphanages, and she has decided she will adopt as well as have her own children some day.
At 5 years of age, Kerri still struggles with the "why?" questions, and I think she always will. No matter how much she knows we love and want her, she always wants to know why her bio family did not or could not keep her. And I am not sure she will ever stop asking herself "why?" from time to time. The first time she truly understood she was abandoned was the hardest, because she was heartbroken, and so were we.
By the way, at age 2 Kerri thought babies came from seeds you planted in the ground and watered, like a plant. She had a baby garden at one point. That changed when she met a late term pregnant woman at the grocery store, and we had our first talk. Since then, Kerri is extremely interested in the human anatomy, biology and science, and we have read many books and gone to children's museums so she now knows pretty much everything except the technicalities of how the sperm got to the egg. I am just not ready for THAT conversation yet!
I agree with you that each child/family is different and should have the talk when they think the child is ready. However, I do not agree with the adoptive parents that do not tell a child they are adopted, or refuse to discuss it. I have met too many adoptees who found out later in life about their adoption and they resented their families for hiding this information from them.
I think Erin will let you know when she is ready to learn more. As parents, we all do what we think is right for our child, and sometimes we make mistakes. But I think you and David are doing what is best for Erin, and she knows it too. She is just not ready yet to talk about it, and that is OK.

Teena in Toronto said...

Friends of ours adopted a baby from China about 12 years ago. Every year they have a reunion with other families who adopted at the same time.

Happy blogoversary :)

Alyson and Ford said...

We are very open with AA, she prays for her "China Mom & Dad" at night. I struggle with what to call her Chinese family as we do not have any idea also, but also want her to know the typical situation in China at the time of her birth. She does know where babies come from as she is an Aunt three times over. She also knows that babies that cannot stay with their Mom & Dad go to orphanages where Nannies take care of babies. Gets complicated doesn't it! We all need to end up at a Chinese immersion summer camp and have a group "talk"! Thanks for posting about this, we need to read it often to keep us on track!
Thanks again.
Happy New Year 2011!

Alyzabeth's Mommy