Family Gatherings: Always a Time for Education

So we spent T-day at L’s sister’s house, and the ENTIRE clan was in full force! His sister from Miami, brother from Iowa, and the local crew. M__ got to meet the 2 aunts and 1 uncle she hadn’t yet, along with 3 more cousins. It was big fun. L’s the oldest sibling at 35, Patrick is the youngest at 23. The oldest nephew is 4, the youngest neice is a week younger than MAM. So it’s a close-in-age, similiar-in-thought kind of group. Big Fun!

I spent a lot of time talking about adoption with my sisters-in-law–they are all moms, and so, of course, they were interested. They, of course, wanted to know about the process, our contact with the birthparents, how we are going to explain it to MAM when she gets older, and some basics about the agency.

I told them to ask ANYTHING–1) so that there’s no speculation, 2) so that everyone’s on the same page when the kids are old enough to understand what’s going on. Right now we can talk about the adoption in front of her, but as she gets older, that won’t be appropriate. Also,eventually, it will be her story to tell, not ours.

Three points that I made, in hopes of getting the phrases into their families’ vocabulary:

1. MAM was born, then she was adopted.
Sometimes young children have the misconception that you are either born or adopted…not both.
2. Use the term “placed for adoption” not “given up”
Obviously, there’s connotations with both…”placed” is much more humane and accurate!
3. Adoption is a verb for a one time event.
As in, “MAM was adopted.” It’s not an adjective or a present-tense verb. It happens once, the family is formed and that’s it!

I also told them that we’re happy to chat about it because the more we do, the better we’ll get at it, so that when MAM needs answers, we’ll have the language down pat!

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