When we shared that we had been chosen to parent our daughter, we were asked all the typical baby questions during subsequent visits with friends and families. Weight. Height. Eye color. Sleep schedule. And many of the comments and advice about feeding, sleeping, napping, diapering, etc. I kind of forgot we were adopting. I know that may seem odd. I obviously didn’t birth Emma, but I guess the lack of an experience doesn’t make you think about it necessarily. I was thankful to be home as we had to spend 3 weeks out of state. However, we got questions about Emma’s birth mother, about the delay in our return to Virginia, did we meet Emma’s “parents,” if our adoption was closed or open, etc.
These seemed logical, in part. People are curious. We’ve been relatively open about our adoption journey, so I can appreciate that people would want to know how our dream of adoption really panned out. (We do not share certain details about Emma and her birth family for privacy reasons. A post for another day.)
But the question I was always surprised to hear was, “Will you tell Emma she’s adopted?” I think my face said it all to people. My gut response was a mix of emotions. Mostly surprise and confusion. Let’s back up a bit. During the adoption process, we shared our story on Facebook across the country (and one could argue the world), locally with a variety of fundraisers, and probably excessively to friends and family. I would guess thousands of people through one or another knew we wanted to adopt. And now we have Emma. I feel fairly certain that most people could deduce that Emma was adopted if they followed our journey at all. So, how we could hide something from her that everyone, especially those close to her, knows.
By denying Emma’s adoption, we’d also have to deny her birth family and her heritage. That’s a lot of lies. We’re not comfortable with that. We want to know her birth family and for Emma to have access to them as she chooses. She can’t make that decision right now. She is after all 5 months old. So, we do. We are her parents. That’s what we do. We make the decisions best for our child.
So, yes we will tell Emma that she was adopted. That we wanted a baby to love. That we wanted a girl and a boy, so either would do. That her biological mom and dad wanted a different life for her. That her birth mother chose us to be hers forever. That we traveled 2,000 miles to meet her. That we picked her name on the way to the hospital. That Daddy cried when he saw her. That Mama smiled until it hurt. That she has siblings. That her biological brother and her looked identical as babies. That families come in all shapes and sizes. And that ours is no different.
If you asked us, “Will you tell her she’s adopted?” I’m not upset. I honestly can’t even remember who asked these types of questions. I hope at the time I imparted adoption knowledge and that you came away with a deeper understanding of adoption no matter how “scary” or “foreign” some aspects seem.
2 thoughts on “Will you tell her she’s adopted?”
I think people who ask if you will tell her that she is adopted are speaking out of ignorance. Keeping that kind of secret from someone can do a lot of damage! Thank you for advocating for your child and speaking in truth for her.. that is so very important. 🙂
Brooke, thank you so much! I do have to admit that some people who asked that specific question were glad to hear we planned to be open with Emma. However, more often than not, they thought we should wait until she could understand or not at all. Fortunately, we won’t be taking their unsolicited parenting advice. ~Jessica
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