Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thoughts on Alex and adoption

Adopting a child and adopting a dog should not use the same verb.

Since we brought Beebe into our home, I have tried to avoid the word "adopt" when referring to Beebe. But the shelter sent us home with a pamphlet and a DVD about bringing an "Adopted puppy" into the house. Alex can't avoid seeing the phrase.

So, how does it affect him? It seems it has brought some negative feelings to the fore, and allowed him to articulate some things he needed to articulate.

While driving in the car last week, he asked me, out of the blue, "Why did my other family give me away?" Okay. Let's talk. First of all nobody EVER gave you away. Your other family was supposed to take care of you just until we came along, until a family that was going to keep you forever could take care of you. Next he asks... "But what about the mom who had me in her tummy..." No, Alex, she didn't give you away. The grownups had to put you with a different family because she was too young to take care of you properly.

I think that is what I said. That is what I've practiced and thought about saying ever since we took adoption classes nine or ten years ago. One thing the classes talked about was having a way to explain the adoption that doesn't make it sound like it was in any way shape or form the "fault" of the child. I don't want to tell Alex that his medical condition was a factor, because that makes it sound like it was something about him... It is all these nameless, faceless, "grownups" that made huge decisions about your life over which you have never had any say...

Bless him. I hope this is all part of him learning to be more open with his feelings. I hope it is the beginning of the conversation, not the end. I pray for the right words each time I have the chance to talk with him about his past. I don't like to belabor the issue. I try to let him bring up his concerns naturally. I may have to look for more openings to say little things that reassure him, and give him the opportunity to ask questions more often.

1 comment:

Krista Buyno said...

This made me cry. I love you guys. Love to the boys for me.