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How to Talk With Your Children About Adoption: LOVE Makes a Real Family

EXHIBITION

It’s National Adoption Awareness month! I thought it was a perfect time for this post. How many of you that have biological children have sat down and talked to your children about adoption? If your not having the conversation with them, they are having conversations on the playground, or just leaving the details up to their imaginations. Here are a few comments and questions my kids have had to deal with:

  • Why didn’t your REAL mom want you?
  • My mom told me your parents were bad, and that’s why you had to get new parents.
  • How much did it cost?
  • Why are you brown and your mom is white?
  • Is THAT your brother/sister?
  • Do you know your REAL mom?

You can imagine how painful and uncomfortable these questions can be. I encourage you to please take the time to have this conversation with your children. There are many great children’s books on the subject of adoption (I caution you, every adoption story is as unique as the child, so the books are not a one size fits all).  Here are some basic points to help start the conversation:

All families are different, but the one thing they have in common is that the parents LOVE their children very much! Some families look alike, and some look very different from each other, but inside their hearts are the same.

Sometimes families with adopted children look different, because the children grew in another person’s belly, and may look more like that person.

Many children grow in their mommies bellies, but adopted children grow in someone else’s belly, while they grow in their Mommy and Daddy’s hearts.

The other person who’s Belly they grew in is called a Birth Mother.

Their REAL Mom and Dad are the ones that they call Mom and Dad (their adoptive parents), that they live with now and who love them.Their brothers and sisters are the ones they love, and call brother and sister.  This makes a REAL forever family.

There are lots of reasons birth moms aren’t able to care for their children and decide to give them up for adoption. This is a very difficult decision for birth moms because they love their children. Ultimately, they decide adoption is the best, most loving choice for their children.

Adopted children have another set of parents called birth parents, but this is private information, and adopted children don’t always know their birth parents or want to talk about them. Please know it is rude and potentially hurtful to adopted children to ask them about their birth parents.

Families being different is what makes us special! Let’s celebrate our differences! Can you think of other ways families are different? (This could lead to a discussion of single-parent families, grandparents as parents, same-sex parents, step-parents, etc.)

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If you would like me to talk to your family, church group or classroom, and you live in the Raleigh-Durham area,  I would be more than happy to!

Please share this with your friends, school, and moms groups!. Please do your part to educate others Thank you!

**Special thanks to my fellow adoptive Mom, Kathryn for letting me borrow some of this text!

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They’re Ours!! Adoption Finalized!

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1 year, 9 months and 8 days after meeting our three youngest children for the first time they are ours! Adoption complete! What does this mean for our family?

  • No more home visits!
  • We get to make all decisions regarding our children (without counsel from The Team)
  • We are free to travel anywhere and anytime with our children, without special permission and notes
  • No one can take them from us. No changed minds, or family members suddenly appearing
  • We all have the same last name! We are now the Le Chevalliers!
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It Takes Two To Make Things Go Right! It Takes Two To Make It Outta Site!

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When we began our adoption process we decided we would apply for two children at the same time. We asked for one boy, one girl, both under the age of two. It was important to us to adopt two from Guatemala at the same time. It didn’t cut down on the piles of paperwork and red tape or offer any kind of financial break. It did offer our children a guarantee that they would always have someone in their lives that understands their journey, and always have someone sitting across the dinner table from them that looks like them . We felt both of these things were important. Thankfully we did bring them home at the same time, because six months later, all international adoptions in Guatemala closed.

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This past week our decision was affirmed. We were enjoying dinner, when Diego asked if he could talk to me after our meal. “Sure”. As we continued our dinner, he began to become noticeably upset, and then began to cry. I went ahead and wrapped up dinner quickly and took Diego in the room to talk. He asked that Lola come with us too.  He told me that he missed Guatemala. Since he left Guatemala one day before his first birthday, and does not have any conscious memories of it, I imagined it was something else about his adoption that was concerning him, but he was having a hard time articulating just what it was. I pulled down his special box that contains the outfit he was wearing when he came to us, the outfit he wore on the plane ride home, and the few photos we have of his “Belly”-Mom. He looked over the items, asking a few questions. Lola helped to console him, and agreed that Guatemala is a beautiful place, and some day we will visit. The comfort of knowing that Lola knew what he felt, was a huge comfort to Diego, and set this Mami’s heart at ease.2008-04-06 01.49.41

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Fingerprints-3 /Criminal Record-0

About a week ago we finally made it down to get our fingerprints done. The first time we got fingerprinted was in December of 2005, I remember the date because it was such a huge milestone for us. We were so excited, and I remember someone mentioning that they had never seen anyone excited about getting fingerprinted.  The second time we got fingerprinted was in Charlotte in June of 2006. We were actually supposed to wait for the appointment date that they sent us, but I went ‘Rogue’ and we drove up there on our first day off together (which happened to the day of a very important futbol game for G’s).  My antics paid off, 20 minutes and we were in and out and no one even mentioned that we were about a month early for our appointment. So, 6 years later, and 3 fingerprinting trips behind us, it’s still worth writing about!

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L & D In Vegas!

A few weeks back we took a trip to see G’s parents.  I love visiting, for several reasons! G’s dad being French, means that we will eat well, and with his mom being Puerto Rican, means we will celebrate and party like we are in the Caribbean (although, the Puerto Rican food we eat is pretty Nom too!)! It’s also great being in their town, Vegas! The kids love to travel, and I love that they have the opportunity to speak Spanish with their Tio, Abuelo, Abuela & Papi (yea, I am still learning).  Our family is made up of many cultures, I am from California, L & D were born in Guatemala, and Georges was born in France, spent all his summers growing up there, and  raised in Puerto Rico. G lived in NYC for over 5 years, before moving to the South. When people look at our family and ask “Where are you from?” our short answer is…. Guate-Cali-French-a-Rican…and if any of the children we foster join our family as a forever member then we will add SOUTHERN to that list as well.

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Travels Begin

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A few weeks ago I posted on facebook that we were beginning a new chapter in our lives…many of you that know us well, guessed it, and we have shared this decision with a few friends and family. Instead of the excitement that we are feeling towards this new journey, we have felt trepidation from some…so I am hoping this blog will help friends and family understand our decision. I am also hoping that friends, family and possibly strangers may stumble upon this and realize the many blessings that adoption and foster care bring.

We adopted our two children from Guatemala 4 years ago, and we have always talked about adopting again. When the conversation of becoming foster parents came up, it wasn’t completely a new idea. It has been an evolution though. We were first introduced to foster parenting through our beautiful children’s foster parents, Rosa & Lorena.  We are still in touch with Rosa, and have had the privilege of  being  able to see her twice now, and we talk on the phone frequently.  We were/are very grateful for Rosa and Lorena, the two women who fostered our children while we were waiting to bring them home.  We thought, “How can they do this…love these child, and then let them go?”. Well, now we ask “How can we NOT love these children and possibly let them go?”

Now it’s the first question that I am sure many of our friends and family are asking.”How will they be able to let these these children go without their hearts breaking?”  We expect there to be heartache along this journey, and if there isn’t, it means we are not doing our job with our hearts open.  Here’s a question…if you knew that you would only have a year, 6 months or even a week with your child…would you choose not be with them? I believe that these children are meant to be ours, and imprint on our lives, as we imprint on theirs. It may be a few days, months, or they may stay forever…but whatever the length of time they are with us…they will be Family!