The adoption story we tell always starts like this: "You grew like a flower in your birthmother's tummy until it was time to be born. Your birthparents couldn't take care of you, so . . . . " (I can't take credit for the "you grew like a flower" line -- it comes from one of our favorite books, Over the Moon, by Karen Katz. I love to use stories to discuss "issues" with my kids!).
Well, for the first time, in June, Zoe asked WHY -- "WHY couldn't my birth parents take care of me?"
Like most of these things, the question came out of the blue -- we had just come home from somewhere, and Zoe and Maya had immediately fallen to the floor of the family room to play "Warriors," a game involving a cadre of knights and Polly Pockets standing in for the princesses. I followed into the family room a bit more slowly, and Zoe looked up at me and asked the WHY question.
I admit, I was surprised. We talk about her birthparents fairly often, she is sad that we don't know who they are, but she's accepted the "couldn't take care of you" line for years without question. But I guess it was about time. From what I've read, age 7 is a pretty common age for that big question.
I answered, "Well, sweetie, since we can't ask your birthparents, we really can't know exactly why they weren't able to take care of you the way a parent would want to. We can only make some guesses based on what we know about China. Do you want to look at your lifebook, and talk about what some of the reasons might be?"
(I'm a HUGE proponent of lifebooks -- more about them later, but look at Beth O'Malley's site for the BEST info about lifebooks.)
Zoe said yes, so we pulled out her lifebook and talked about China's one child policy and the social preference for boys. Zoe didn't have much reaction, but I knew we were no where near finished talking about this!