Now that Bunny has turned six, I am anticipating the question all parents dread…where do babies come from? Six years ago when Elle was getting ready to ask the question, I did my homework. Rather than write an elaborate answer with technical terms and diagrams, I did the smart thing. I bought a book with a lot of colored pictures…age appropriate pictures, of course.
Actually, I bought three books, each containing the basic information with cute cartoon characters dressed up as sperm and eggs, and each geared towards a different age range. I felt it would be easier to hand Elle a book, let her read it, then let her ask me any question she wanted. My plan has worked well. At 12, Elle understands where babies come from and all that goes along with it. But, she also knows she is adopted.
Telling my children where babies come from has an additional layer of complexity added in. When I talk about babies coming from Mommy’s tummy, the distinction will need to be made that they came from a Mommy’s tummy, just not mine.
We decided early to be honest with our children regarding their adoptions. As early as possible we’ve talked about Russia and Guatemala, and how they were delivered by airplanes, not obstetricians. I’ve always had the philosophy that if the girls were old enough to ask the question, then they were old enough to be given an answer.
I once asked Elle what she would feel like if we had never told her the truth about her adoption and she found out about it as a teenager, or an adult. She was thoughtful for a moment then she said she would be very angry. She knows that a parent/child relationship is built on trust, if we would have lied to her about the very basics of where she came from, she couldn’t trust us any more. If we would have lied about that, then what else would we have lied about?
It is every adoptive parents right to tell, or not tell, their children who they are and where they came from. As more and more people are adopting, both domestically and internationally, it is not the taboo subject it was decades ago. When you tell your children they are adopted, along with where babies come from, there will be difficult and uncomfortable questions asked. Age appropriate honesty has always worked best for me.
And if you are really lucky…there will be colorful, illustrated books to help.