What Does Your Child Know About Adoption?

25 Aug

This post is for all of the people who read adoption blogs for one reason or another.  Maybe you’re supporting a friend or family member who is adopting. Maybe you’re considering adoption down the road.  Maybe you just clicked on a link on facebook and got hooked on a certain adoption blog, can I ask you to think about something if you’re a parent?

What does your child know about adoption?
Probably most of you will know a family or more in your kid’s school that have adopted a child or more.  Maybe your church has a family that, as an adult you realize the kids were adopted.  You probably just assume that the kids can tell just by looking that the child is adopted. (And sometimes not just by looking.)  
Adoption isn’t a topic that comes up often, I’m sure, at the supper table, unless you’re wanting to adopt or you have someone in your close circle who is adopting.  But with the huge chance that your child will be friends with a child who was adopted, maybe it should come up once.
Yesterday, our family went to look at a used swing set we found on craigslist for the back yard.  (Just thinking about the boys and Cora playing together, building their connection in the spring.)  The boys were all over the swingset and Dave was taking measurements.  (Too big, darn it!)  The family had two little girls, 2nd grade and 5th grade. They were selling the swing set to get a trampoline. 
Our adoption came up and the youngest girl was fascinated by the idea.  “Adopting!” “A girl?”  “Do the boys want a sister?”  “Will she like our play set?”  The mom said she had a friends who adopted two little girls internationally, now teens.
Girl: “Who was adopted?”
Mom: “You know, the girl who babysits you sometimes.”
Girl: “Really?”
Mom: “Yes! She was adopted.”
Girl: “You mean she was in a cage to get adopted?”
Um.
Mom laughed it off and said, “No honey, people are not in cages for adoption.  It’s not like puppies. ha ha ha ha”
Um.
Seriously we could have heard the crickets chirping in the cornfield. (Wait, do crickets live in cornfields?)
We went on for a few more seconds talking about how adoption works.  Mom was clearly embarrassed, and the good news is that there will probably be a conversation about adoption around the dinner table to help clear things up in her mind.   
The biggest thing that stuck out to me is that this child, 7 or 8 years old, had no idea about adoption.  She truly thought the children lived in cages, and that just about broke my heart.  And I thought, she’s probably not alone!  You think about the pet stores, TV commercials and the humane societies “adopting” out the pets, and it’s no wonder she thought that’s how adoption worked.
What does your child know about adoption?  Because chances are good she has some ideas in her head about what it is and how it works and maybe she’s as wrong as the little girl above.  Even if you don’t specifically know how it works, having you give them the gist of it would be a great thing.
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One Response to “What Does Your Child Know About Adoption?”

  1. Wendi August 25, 2011 at 1:38 pm #

    Wow!!!! We are blessed that our best friends adopted 5 boys, that are all half brothers/ came home at birth/ 5 different nationalities….I love it that my kids looked at them and didn't know they were adopted! How ever, we had to explain it to them very quickly.:)

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