Wednesday, June 9, 2010

As Nike Says, Just Do It!

I mentioned previously that M and S have not told the boys about their being adopted. Yet. I absolutely and completely disagree with this. When we had our first meeting, R and I were told the boys would “grow up” knowing they were adopted. Silly us, we assumed that meant they would ALWAYS know. Apparently it means they will grow up a little, be told, and then continue growing up knowing. It is probably my only point of contention with M. I have some how, by the grace of God, been able to hold my tongue about this (for the most part. She does know that I do not agree with this). I say “by the grace of God” because I have a hard time not telling people how I feel about something. I am pretty opinionated, and I am not afraid to share my view/feelings/thoughts/opinions on things, especially things that really matter to me.

Someone once wrote, “A child should never feel like they are hearing about their life for the first time.”

Need I say anything else? I should think not, but I will anyway.

I first found out the boys wouldn’t know about their adoption any time soon way back in October (6 months after I placed Robbie), after Robbie’s first (and so far only) visit with his biological half sister Z. Unfortunately, M spoke with their pediatrician back when they were first adopting J, and she told them that “Children are not really emotionally ready to learn about their adoption experience until the age of five.”
The age of FIVE. Basically, she was telling me my son would have no idea who I was for 4 ½ more years. Now let’s think about this. First of all, is this woman a child psychologist? No. She is a freaking pediatrician. Does this woman have any experience with adoption? No again. Has she been trained in adoption, and it’s affects on adoptees? One more time, NO. So don’t you think that maybe she should keep her ideas of what children are emotionally ready for to her self, and stick with telling parents how tall their kids are going to be? Yes, I believe so. I mean, would you ask a plastic surgeon his advice on how to properly perform a kidney transplant? I sure as heck hope not!

I want so badly to send this woman a ton of books on open adoption, adoptees, etc. How ever, this could be seen as stalker-ish, so I will try to refrain from doing so. Honestly though, you would think that as a professional who now has at least two adoptees on her list of patients, she would do some research! It’s kind of her job, in my opinion. With out research, how can she offer them the best care?

Enough about the pediatrician though. Everyone knows the main issue is how this will impact the boys. Did any of you grow up believing in Santa Claus? Do you remember the crushing, devastating feeling when you found out Santa wasn’t real? That he was all made up? I bet you felt lied to, maybe a little betrayed, and definitely sad. Perhaps it planted a seed of distrust against your parents. I mean, they had lied about Santa Claus, what else could they be lying about? Now take all of those feelings, and magnify them by about 1000000. That’s how you would feel finding out about your life for the first time. “What? You aren’t my mommy? I didn’t grow in your tummy? I have a sister? So you mean, those people who randomly visit me and tell me they love me are my biological parents? I have a whole other family?”
Finding all this out for the first time will be confusing, devastating, and just plain HARD. I mean, could you imagine growing up thinking the sky was orange, and then one day you find out that it’s really blue? You would probably start to question other things in life. What else isn’t true? What else am I being lied to about? You may stop trusting the things people tell you. You may become resentful. Something like this could change you for life, and not in a good way.

How ever, let’s say you grew up like I did. You always knew Santa wasn’t real. He was just something that added to the fun of Christmas. You took pictures with him at the mall, you baked cookies for him on Christmas Eve, knowing it was really your dad who was going to eat them. You always knew that the sky was blue, the grass was green, and the Florida Gators were the best SEC football team (haha! Just had to throw that in there). These things were normal for you. They were part of every day life, they were common knowledge. It was no big deal! It was all a normal part of your life.

If a child grows up knowing something, that is their normal. They will be able to handle it. We need to realize that these kids are a lot smarter than we think, and they are capable of a LOT. We need to give them more credit. Hiding something, anything, from someone is NEVER a good idea. It doesn’t matter who or what it is. The truth will come out. It always does.

So if you are an adoptive parent and you haven’t told your child they are adopted yet, tell them. There is no right moment to do it. Don’t waste time waiting for that “right moment”, because it will never come. There is never a right moment to tell some one about their life for the first time. The only right time, is the day they come into your home.

So as Nike says, just do it!

7 comments:

StefanieJinelle said...

Are you kidding me? Santa isn't REAL?!?! Haha. Just kidding. Thanks for following my blog. I'm enjoying everything that you're writing. I've been to conferences where they encourage the adoptive parents to tell their children even at a young age. My couple has a picture of me that they have in her nursery. I believe in their nightly prayers they talk about me and Olivia's birthfather. She'll always know and I think that's a healthy thing. My cousin (My Aunt is a birth mom placed her for adoption) and she was told probably around age 7 or 8 that she was adopted. Her parents had her "adopt" a baby doll and name it and that's kind of how they were told. I thought it was weird but she didn't. Kids may be confused at first or while they're growing up but I believe if they always know they won't be as confused when their older. Sorry, this is your blog. That's my two cents. You're awesome :)

kym said...

I am out blog hopping and found yours. I wanted first to comment on your June post...Thanks for sharing so honestly. Then I read the one about children mourning their birth parents...Ummm, Yes, we do.
Now, I read this post...I agree, Children should grow up knowing...the pediatrician is not wrong in that they cognitively do not fully understand, but that does not mean that they should not be told. I grew up KNOWING and with that felt loved both by my mom and birth mom...because that is what my parents communicated. I don't think that there are any easy answers to adoption. I am 43. I am glad I was adopted. I am sad I was adopted. I am heartbroken and I am loved.
I am conflicted. I am blessed. I will love following your journey and pray for your heart to heal. You have done a marvelous thing...:)
And you will always love your child. I will always love my birth mom.
As far as books to throw at the pediatrician, Twenty Things Adoptive Kids Wish Their Parents Knew is a good one!

LeMira said...

You are so right! I remember reading something that said the same thing that kids can't process certain information until certain ages, but that doesn't mean you DON'T TELL THEM! They don't completely understand what things mean, but it seems that the only way to start to understand something and adjust to it is if you've been told all along about it. I guess I see things as that I want my kids to always know who they are and where they come from and accept it. It's a wonderful thing to be adopted, not something to keep hidden in a dark, unused closet.

P.S. Do you mind if I put a link to your blog on mine?

Not Just A Birth Mom said...

Stefanie- Thanks for following! That is an interesting way to tell someone they are adopted. I don't think I would have thought of it! It is a little weird, but I guess if it worked for them then good. It's so complicated, because he knows us and knows we are special and we love him, he just doesn't know what role we play/ed in his life. I think that it would be much easier for everyone if they just grew up knowing.

Kym- Thanks so much for sharing! You are so right, nothing in adoption is easy. It seems there are always multiple answers and feelings for everything.
You guys are all right. Sure they might not completely understand, but if they grow up knowing it gives them time to work it out, to ask questions. And once again, it will just be normal to them. Thank you for the book suggestion, I've heard GREAT things about that!

LeMira- Thanks for your comment! I don't mind at all if you link to me! I agree with you, I believe if they keep the adoption a secret, it will be seen as a shameful thing that shouldn't be talked about. It's all so weird though, because they DO talk about adoption, just not that THEY were adopted.

Sheyann said...

Amen girl! Way to tell it! When we adopted my son, a good friend suggested that we take his very own, very unique, and very honest "story" of how he came into our family and create a book/journal/scrapbook to tell him. So we did. He has a great story and is our miracle gift, so I found "MyPublisher" online and made him a hardcover book "All About Andy." We told about us before him, everything we know about his BM (sadly, we have a closed adoption... BM's choice.... and we totally understand why), all about the day we got him, and the one thing we DO have from her, a letter to him.
Bull-crap kids younger than 5 can't understand... he picks that book EVERY SINGLE night for his bedtime story.

adoptionisinourhearts said...

I stumbled upon your blog from the Birthmother 4 Adoption blog and I have to say, I love this post. We adopted our Lucas in December and while his birthparents live across the country from us, he will ALWAYS know who they are. We owe him that. We have pictures of them in his room, pictures of them in a book that we read to him. We talk on the phone, write him letters, and keep in contact with his biological siblings. I cannot imagine having to have a "Surprise! You're adopted" conversation. We want him to know where he comes from, and be proud of the fact that he has BOTH sets of parents who love him.
:-) You can visit my blog if you want to...

adoptionisinourhearts said...

I stumbled upon your blog from the Birthmother 4 Adoption blog and I have to say, I love this post. We adopted our Lucas in December and while his birthparents live across the country from us, he will ALWAYS know who they are. We owe him that. We have pictures of them in his room, pictures of them in a book that we read to him. We talk on the phone, write him letters, and keep in contact with his biological siblings. I cannot imagine having to have a "Surprise! You're adopted" conversation. We want him to know where he comes from, and be proud of the fact that he has BOTH sets of parents who love him.
:-) You can visit my blog if you want to...

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