So many people have a preconceived notion that if you adopt a child as an infant and you are the only parents the child has ever really known that they will not have identity issues or questions about their birthfamily. Things could not be more wrong! It doesn't matter when a child has been adopted or how long they have been with you....they still have those questions that most adoptees do.
Mr. A is now 7 years old. We have an open adoption with his birthparents (still together) and will call/email to keep in contact. They live very far away, so we do not do visits at this point. Anyway, we have never kept the fact that Andrew is adopted from him. He has always known about B. and L. and we are very open with him about this.
The other day we were on a mini-vacation and the kids were all playing in the hotel's pool. A. was having a super fabulous time going down the water slide over and over and over! I don't even remember the initial thing I called him over for, but when he got to the bottom of the slide and surfaced I called his name to come over to me for just a second. What came out of his mouth next were the words I knew would be coming one day, but I froze as he yelled "You're not my mom!!!!" Something kicked in and told me to stay calm! Expecting those words one day was one thing, but then to actually hear them come out of his mouth was something totally different. He came over to me and I simply said "Yes, A. I am your mom and you need to obey me or sit out of the pool." He did what I asked and went on his merry way.
Later, I brought the subject up and basically just told him that it's ok if he has questions regarding his adoption or adoption in general and we will listen to any feelings he is having and talk about them together. Well, that's not really A. He is not one to show emotions...period. It all stays inside UNTIL that one gentle moment when he feels like talking. I know in those moments I better clear my schedule and make time for him NOW! I'm waiting for that moment to come up in regards to this situation.
This foster care world seems to keep some of those feelings pretty close to the surface for both of our boys. Mr. I will often bring up his foster mom/birthmom in conversation even though we know very little about them and have no contact. It has created questions (mostly from I. who wears his feelings on his sleeve!) like "Why didn't my foster mommy want to keep me?" Pretty deep question for a 5 yr old, but at the same time he is able to see why she wasn't able to parent him when I explain about our sweet baby and how God has designed someone else to be his forever family, but he just needs someone to love him until they can be together forever :)
Today I took him to see Kung Fu Panda II. Ahhhh....if you haven't seen it....it's all about the Panda Po who is adopted and the movie is spent searching for his birthparents. In the last scene of the movie Po returns to his adoptive father ( a duck :) ) and his father asked him what happened. He said that he learned that he (the duck) was his Dad and they hugged. I started to cry-LOL!! Everyone probably thought I was the crazy lady in the theater, but oh well!! After the last few days of this being on my mind it was just the thing to trigger a few tears :) A. didn't really say much about the movie, but much like his emotions, comments about the movie will come down the road....sometimes it can be months.
Wikipedia says the following...(bolding mine)
Adoption is a process whereby a person assumes the parenting for another and, in so doing, permanently transfers all rights and responsibilities from the original parent or parents. Unlike guardianship or other systems designed for the care of the young, adoption is intended to effect a permanent change in status and as such requires societal recognition, either through legal or religious sanction.
Adoption is a permanent thing...it's a one time act, BUT it is something that an adoptee deals with for much of his or her life. As our children grow up they will reach new levels of understanding and acceptance about their adoptions. It is our job as their parents to make sure they feel secure in who they are and give them what they need when they need it. Easier said than done, but with God's grace we can do it!! :-)