Last week I took a walk with a new friend. I pushed the stroller and she held the leashes of her dog and mine.
We chatted about all sorts of things new friends talk about, including the dramatic tale of Owen’s arrival in our family. She asked me when or how we’ll tell Owen he’s adopted, and I realized two things: First, that I didn’t know how to answer the question. Second, that I’ve always known the answer to the question.
Owen will always know the story of his coming to our family. Just like parents who gestated their children tell the stories of rushing to the hospital, or of eighteen hours in labour, or of the dramatic delivery in the back of a cab, Owen will hear over and over again about the phone call and the emergency trip to Babies R Us, and the amazement we felt when we held him for the first time.
He’ll hear over and over the story about how our friends who hadn’t even met him yet toasted his arrival with champagne on New Year’s Eve. He’ll hear over and over how his Gramma Janet screamed when she heard the news, and how his Uncle Eric and Auntie Alana extended their holiday visit so they could stay with us for another few days and help with the new baby. He’ll hear over and over how his Grandma Shari booked a plane ticket right away and told so many of her friends how happy she was that his closet filled up with gifts from people I don’t even know.
It is not a touchy subject, that we adopted Owen. There’s no stigma about this. Owen’s story is as uniquely his as any person’s story is. His story is full of happiness and love, just as every baby’s should be.
It may be that at some time or times during his life he’ll have a lot of questions and fears and concerns related to his being adopted, but we all have questions and fears and concerns about things as we grow up. It’s serious business, growing up. It’s serious business crafting one’s story. And I, just like every parent should, will try to help my kid explore and examine and understand and accept and feel secure.