My Motherlode essay about the very first conversation my daughter and I had about my adoption and its part in our family history:
I knew this was knowledge she ought to have, given how my adoption has and will continue to affect our lives. But as I watched her frown, unable to hide her worry, I blamed myself for putting that look on her face. I had not thought about how strange or frightening even my simple explanation might sound to her. I don’t think she had ever imagined that a parent might not keep a baby.
“Am I going to be adopted, too?” she asked.
“No,” I said. “Most kids, like you, live with the parents they were born to. But some, like Mama, are adopted and have other parents, too. You will always be mine and Daddy’s.”
“I bet you liked your first mama best,” she said. “Because I like you the best.” …
I tell myself that these conversations are good; they are necessary. My daughter should know about adoption and how it has shaped my life, and hers by extension. I tell myself that she knows I will always be her mother, the one who takes care of her. She is just beginning to understand what adoption is. One day, I hope that she will be able to talk with others about it as well – my parents, other birth parents, other adoptees. One day, I hope that she will be able to grasp adoption’s complexities.
Yet sometimes I can’t help wishing that I didn’t have to talk about it with her just yet. I worry that by answering her first innocent question about adoption and talking about my own history to a child so young, I have given her something new to worry about. Before I told her about my adoption, she never had reason to even consider what it would be like to be given up, or given to others. Now she does.