Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Dear Kal: You Were Adopted...

Dear Kal,

As you know, you were adopted. This ain't news. It's a part of who you are. It's a unique aspect of the story of your life. You keep a picture of your birthmama in your room. You have a book she recorded herself reading that you love to flip through and hear her voice read the pages. You're pretty amazed that you grew inside her tummy... or anybody's tummy, for that matter. Birth isn't really a concept you understand yet. But you will. And you'll have more questions as time goes on.

I've been working on a baby book for you and it includes the short and sweet version of your adoption story and how we all came to be family. I tell you that same story sometimes at bedtime or when you're upset and just need me to hold you and you like to hear me talk. I automatically start pulling that story out, because I want you to know it through and through. I want you to hear it so often that you can be confident in who you are and who loves you. And so that you know without a doubt that you are where you are supposed to be and that the reasons you couldn't be with your first mother didn't have a thing to do with whether or not she loved you.

That's why we want you to grow up knowing who she is, personally. Telling you your adoption story is nice, but being able to say, "I don't know the answer to that question, sweetie - why don't you call your birthmom?" is a whole lot better. And when you get older and your questions get more complex, that's exactly what you're probably gonna have to do. Because even if we know the answers, it might mean more coming from her.

Even with a happy ending, adoption isn't a fairy tale. Adoption is messy. But you need to know the truth. Did you know that for a long time it was normal for adoptive parents not to tell their children that they were adopted? Or to discuss anything about their genetics? Doesn't that sound pretty ridiculous? I promise we will not have to have an awkward family meeting when you're in elementary school in which we announce to you that you were adopted when you didn't have a clue. Or that you'll "discover" something as a teenager or an adult and find out you were adopted. That's a completely unnecessary surprise. You will always know.

I promise you we will always welcome your questions, always build a relationship between you and your birth family while you're still young, and always value that you came into our family the way that you did. We will never be dishonest or secretive about it with you. Because we are not ashamed. We are not insecure. You are our son and we love every little single thing about you, including every little genetic part of you. You didn't come to us as a blank slate. You came with an entire family tree attached. How awesome is that?

Being adopted doesn't make you any "different" than any other little boy. You still eat, cry, poop, sleep, and play. Ha ha. But it's your story and you don't have to share personal information with anybody you don't want to. You don't have to introduce yourself as, "I'm Kal, I was adopted." Any more than I would introduce myself as, "I'm Alice Anne, I was birthed and parented by the same woman." It's not a banner you have to wear and it's not a secret you have to be ashamed of. It just is what it is.

You're young now, but one day you'll know more and see the big picture. And you'll understand that genetics most definitely matter... but they also kinda don't. Family is family, and that doesn't always mean sharing the same DNA. We ALL love you - my family, your dad's family, and your birth family - and we are all pretty amazed at how lucky we've all been to have you come into our lives. Thank God for that.


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