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.


Chinazhoumom said...

WOW - that is amazing for 9 year old ! Way to go Zoe!

harriet glynn said...

Interesting. I imagine that were she older the response might be quite different. I guess the assigment also reveals her desires at this moment in time.

skaterlilismom said...

My 7 1/2 yr old daughter is obsessed lately with her birthmother and the possibility of finding her. She always asks "Do I think she was watching her when she got adopted? Do I think she followed us around China? Do I remember who the person sitting next to us on the plane was do I think she followed us back to the US? She is so wise, way beyong her years. She even gave her a name years ago Ling. She also talks about which siblings Ling kept because of the 1 child policy. Its amazing but is becoming dispruptive. Ive had to tell her lets put it on the shelf and we will bring it out at night and talk about it when I put you to bed.

Adelaide Dupont said...

We never know.

I enjoyed reading Zoe's final draft.

So well built-up for the reader.

Stop wondering and start doing.

LisaLew said...

I think her words are very eloquently written, and well thought out. This is how she feels, this is her heart at this stage in her life.
Isn't it amazing how children "hear" things that their imagination creates? This is a tough one.
You don't want her to have false hope, yet you don't want to crush her spirit as there "may" be some hope to get information later in her life.

cindy psbm said...

tell your daughter that she has really good writing!! seriously!!
I'm impressed with her handwriting!!

The story was really awesome too.