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Answering the questions of adoption

QUESTION: We have just adopted our first child and are so excited.

We want her to be as happy about belonging to us as we are thrilled to have her. What kind of questions can we expect, when she’s old enough to ask them?

ANSWER: Carole Livingston’s “Why Was I Adopted?” was one of the first truly fun books for kids who are adopted. Here are some of her practical responses to typical questions.

“I was so little when I was adopted that I can’t remember my birthparents. Is that OK?”(Sure. Most children don’t recall things that happened when they were very little, so how could you be expected to remember your birthparents? You probably can’t remember what you had for lunch last Wednesday.)

Can people really pick out the child they want? (Well, not usually. Sometimes they know the child they are going to adopt, but most of the time they have to be as surprised as any other parents who have a new child.)

What if my parents don’t like me? Can they send me back and maybe get a new kid? (No way. Adoption is forever. Laws are very strict about that. And don’t forget your parents adopted you because they wanted you.)

Do my parents love me more or less than my brother or sister who isn’t adopted? (Being adopted doesn’t make any difference in the way people love. They love you all very much.)

My nephew and his wife have four daughters. Two daughters are adopted. Their mom wrote this sonnet for her youngest adopted daughter. It could be for any child both released and received in love.

 

(On the Adoption of Sophia)

Today I get the best of all there is

A child so soft, so shorn, so shy, Oh Bliss!

A mom whose arms have ached so long to hold

The same as moms today and moms of old.

She’s not my child, not yet, but could she be?

A dance of fear and opportunity;

We nursed and touch and sing, we dance and love

These are the joys that all my dreams are of.

How can it be that what’s the best for me

Will drive another right down to her knees?

It seems to be a strange dichotomy

That you should look like her and laugh like me.

The best, my love, as far as I can tell

For both of us, Sophia, is just live well.

 If you would like to talk with a parenting specialist, call the toll-free Parent WarmLine at 1-888-584-2204. For free emergency child care, call the Crisis Nursery at 1-877-434-9599. Check out www.familiesandcommunities.org.