Friday, January 8, 2010

Scott Simon Talks Adoption With His Daughter

Scott Simon of NPR has two daughters adopted from China -- 6-year-0ld Elise and 3-year-old Lena.You can listen here to him and his wife talking and singing with Elise, telling her the story (or is she telling them the story?!) of going to China to get her. As he notes in his commentary:
Not every question "can be answered by love, fun or ice cream," says NPR's Scott Simon.

As part of StoryCorps' National Day of Listening project, Simon explains how he responds when asked, "Where did I come from?" by his 6-year-old daughter, Elise.

Simon and his wife, Caroline, adopted Elise and another daughter, 3-year-old Lena, from China. They've grown up knowing they were adopted and are naturally curious about their birth mother.

"We don't conceal any details from our daughters — they're cunning enough to catch us anyway. But every few months they absorb a little more and the older and smarter they get, the more questions they have for which we have no real answers."

So far so good -- they know they are adopted, they feel free to ask their parents questions, their curiosity about their birth parents is natural, and no details are concealed.

I wish it could leave it as just a cute story, but I have to mention that the story he tells Elise -- we wanted a family, so we went to China -- is woefully incomplete. He is telling HIS story, not hers. I believe that every (and if you've been reading here for a while you know I hardly EVER say EVERY about anything!) adopted child's story should begin with the child's gestation and birth -- "You grew in your birth mother's tummy until it was time for you to be born." Without this piece of the puzzle, an adopted child can't really know what adoption means. Now, it could be that they talk about that piece, too, but you wouldn't be able to tell that from the audio report, so I felt I had to mention it!


sluggomarie said...

You make an excellent point (and I've only recently discovered your blog so my apologies if you've made it was excellent then too, I'm sure!) The point is to tell the child's story, not our own (or, occasionally and as appropriate, both).

Thank you for the link -- it will be mighty handy as I continue my dissertation writing on, in many ways, exactly this.

Mei Ling said...

"the story he tells Elise -- we wanted a family, so we went to China -- is woefully incomplete. He is telling HIS story, not hers."

That's the adoptive parent version of the story.

That is not the child's story.