Tonight, Zoe made an appointment with me to "talk about adoption." Most of the time, our chats about adoption just come up among chats about the book she's reading, the game she and Maya are playing, the art project they're working on. But I always love it when she solemnly makes an appointment, so sober, and then the talk usually degenerates into giggles and tickles at the end. So it went tonight.
Tonight, Zoe asked, "Will I still miss my birth parents when I'm a grownup?"
I answered, "I don't know, sweetie. But even when we're grownups we miss the people we love when we can't be with them. You miss Aunt Kim, right? Well, I do too."
But she still wondered, since Aunt Kim isn't like a birth parent! So I tried, "Remember the workshop I went to when you were at Camp, with three grownup adoptees talking? Well, they each had different feelings about their birth parents. [I summed up what they said -- two had little interest, and one had a strong interest] .
Zoe was shocked to hear that there were adult adoptees who wouldn't be interested in their birth parents. "How could they not be interested?! That doesn't make any sense!"
I reminded her that not everyone feels the same way about things, and that was OK. She finally accepted that. "So," I concluded, "there's no one way to feel about adoption or your birth parents. And you might feel one way at one time and a different way at another time."
I don't think I convinced her, though, that her feelings about her birth parents will ever change. And I have to say, I'm not so sure they will on a fundamental level. Yes, she will change and grow in understanding and acceptance, but at bottom, I expect Zoe will miss her birth parents even when she's a grownup.