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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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5 Reasons to ADOPT 5 Kids

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I read a blog post in The Huffington Post this morning. It was titled 6 Reasons to Have 6 kids. I found the the article amusing, and shared it on my facebook page. Until a friend pointed out…”At the risk of sounding really bad here, that was a pretty awful article. Those reasons are nice reasons but not important enough to have six kids sort of reasons. Are any of those children adopted? Why bring so many into the world when so many are already here? Just MHO. Not trying to start any arguments here.” She was absolutely right! originally I went through the article and laughed, agreed with most of the items, and did the mental check…

1. It’s cheaper:

Well not exactly, our grocery bill did double, but we do pass down clothes, books and toys from kid to kid. I also learned that it’s usually cheaper to purchase the museum family membership (and in some cases, it’s tax deductible).

2. You have nice kids:

Well, I don’t know about that, I hope they are. I think the spoiled thing is more about what you decide your family values are. L&D are not any more or less spoiled then when it was just the two of them.

3. You’re not sleeping, anyway:

True, but now we are sleeping even less. With 5 kids (or 6 in her situation) the odds are against you, and at least one child is guaranteed to wake up.

4. You have a built-in entertainment system.

I do agree with this. I love watching the kids play together and there are more opportunities to learn sharing and conflict resolution skills.

5. It makes them social.

Yes, and no. I can also see how my kids have kept within the ‘safety’ of their family circle at parties, events and activities

So here is my 5 reasons to ADOPT 5 Kids!

1. There are an average of 130,000 children in the U.S. foster care system waiting to be adopted & there are an estimated 153,000,000 orphans worldwide.

2. Because each one makes my heart burst!

3. You lessen the Carbon Footprint on the world (since the children are already here).

4. It’s best to keep sibling groups together.

5. Every child deserves a forever home!

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Jestine’s Kitchen: A Story to Make Your Heart Sing

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Recently our family was on a trip to Charleston, South Carolina. After a long day of sun and water fun we ended up at Jestine’s Kitchen, a Charleston landmark eatery.  One of the things about Jestine’s Kitchenis that you have to wait in a long line that wraps around this historical building  for up to hours. Luckily we only waited about a 1/ 2 hour. I say luckily because we had the whole tribe of five with us.

Immediately we had a gentleman strike up a conversation with us. We found out he was a retired military officer from NYC. He was on a 3 month vacation on  his boat. We shared the story of our family. How we met, and became a family of 7!

Jestines line

Before we knew it, we were seated. The table next to us quickly engaged with the children and us. The owner’s of the restaurant were more than accommodating, bringing toys and activities to the table for the kids.

It was a great meal and we made a few acquaintances. When we asked for our bill, our waiter told us that someone in the restaurant had paid for our families meal. They wanted us to know that we have a beautiful family, and they wanted to do this for us.

What a beautiful gesture. Having our meal paid for was such a nice surprise, but more than that what touched me, is that someone was moved enough to act on this beautiful gesture. I hope this makes you smile, and you think of paying it forward today!

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Cinco de Mami

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We didn’t set out to adopt five children. But I am so thankful that we have.

When I was growing up, I didn’t babysit like all my friends. I found it boring and I wasn’t particularly fond of children. It wasn’t until the eighth grade that I fell in love with my first baby. My sister had a baby girl, and I wanted nothing more than to spend time with her. She had 3 more, and my brother had a baby.  I loved all these girls, and volunteered to babysit them at every opportunity. But,…the idea of being a Mother evaded me.

My ‘life paper’ I had to write for my senior year of high school included lots of travel, a successful career, perhaps a husband, but any hints at maternal matters was missing.

While my friends began to have children, and grow their families, I moved around a lot.(Hawaii, LA, San Diego and NYC).

It wasn’t until my late 30’s that I began to think about motherhood, and eventually made a conscious decision to become parents…we discussed the HOW of it…”well let’s see what happens first adoption or pregnancy”, and at the age of 40, we became parents through adoption.

Everyday I hear ‘Five? Oh my gosh, how do you do it?” I laugh to myself, because the truth is five really hasn’t been all that different from just two. Yes, there is some juggling and I have had to learn to be a bit more organized, but that is about it. It works for our family.