Talking about adoption, birthparents, abandonment, race, and China with my kids. That's not all we talk about -- but reading this blog, you'll think it's all we do!!!!!
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
School Assignments, Talking Adoption, and What Kids Hear
As adoptive parents, we worry about insensitive school assignments that might single out our kids as adopted, that might make them uncomfortable about their adopted status, that might be extremely difficult because of gaps in their history. But what about the poor teacher who gets this assignment from Zoe?!
The class assignment was to write whatever they wanted, fiction or non-fiction, so long as they did a pre-write and a rough draft (I included just one page from the rough draft to save space), and then edited the rough draft with a writing partner in the class. Zoe chose to tell about, as she says in the pre-write, "how much I miss my birthparents." And, yes, she presented this to the whole class. So much for feeling singled out for being adopted! I have to say, though, that seeing her address adoption in this "academic" fashion is a little weird for me, since she seems so grown-up, while her emotional engagement with this topic is much, much younger.
The paper also revealed that sometimes kids hear what they want to hear, no matter what we say. Zoe's conclusion reads as follows: "My mom says I"ll find them [my birthparents] someday. You never know when that day will be."
I have NEVER said that. Never have I told her that she will find her birth parents some day. Any talk of finding her birth parents has always included strong "I don't know, it would be difficult, maybe, very few people do" caveats. I can't say she will NEVER find her birth parents, because I don't know that to be true. But telling her about the difficulty of finding them translates for her into "I WILL find them." So when Zoe brought this completed assignment home, I reiterated that we don't know if she'll ever find her birth parents. I don't think she heard me this time either. For her sake, I hope it is true, that she will find her birth parents some day -- you never know when that day will be.