Parents and Sons

2 Dec

Dear LetterBalm: A year ago, my husband and I adopted delightful twin five-year-old boys. We don’t make a big deal about the fact that they are adopted, but it does come up in conversation. Unfortunately, in earshot of our sons, we’ve had to field some prying, insensitive questions like, “What happened to their ‘real’ family?” or “Why did their parents give them up?” or “Are adopted twins a handful?” To shut these people down, we’ve briefly replied that we’d rather not go into it, look at the beautiful children we have. But our sons are showing some concern and anxiety. What can we say that is age-appropriate to reassure them?

–Real Mom

It’s a shame that people can be such dunderheads – in asking inappropriate questions in the first place and in front of the children. Of course, as your boys grow, they will know more particulars about their life before adoption. But those details are no one’s business but your family’s. For now, Ms. L.B. advises you to keep your reassurances clear and simple, the kind of calm statements a five-year-old can understand, with plenty of hugs. Something like these:

  • Your father and I couldn’t make a baby, but we wanted a baby to love and take care of very much. The two of you were born from your birth mother’s tummy on the same day, and then Daddy and I adopted the two of you.
  • Your birth mother didn’t keep you because sometimes a man and a woman give birth to a child but they can’t take care of any child right then. It’s not because of anything about you or your brother, it’s for grown-up reasons. So, your birth mother found another family to take care of your and your brother. Now, we’re a family and we’ll always be together because Daddy and I love you both very much.
  • What does your birth mother look like? Well, she must be very beautiful if she looks like you two. Why don’t each of you draw a picture of what you think she looks like?
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