It's Serious Business

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.

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You are awesome. I don’t know you or Owen or your family, and I’m sitting here crying because the love and joy in his arrival into your family shines through. 

Thanks for sharing.

Forgetful Man

Yup, that’s exactly what we did too. Short notice and all.  You’ve gotten it exactly right. We’re ten years in and our girl knows whatever she wants to know, and she’s cool with it.


My sister adopted two kids and it’s been just like you described.  There was no big moment when they were “told”, we just always talked about it (now they are Korean and we’re caucasian, so there is that….but kids don’t get that for a while anyway :))  (Like Billy Crystal’s mom in City Slickers who calls him every year on his birthday at the exact time when he was born and tells the story again)

And also because we got them about 6 months after they were born, we celebrate “gotcha day” every year.  We tell the kids it’s the day we ‘gotcha’ – and we look through the little photo albums that show the trips to Korea to go get them.  Such fun!!! 



I LOVE the idea of celebrating “gotcha day” – that’s fantastic!

Harriet Glynn

Yes adoptive families have birth/arrival stories too! How you joined our family. How the stars aligned. How we never the joy and love we now know.  How we couldn’t imagine anyone but you in our lives. 

Of course the actual details will emerge later… stay tuned….


Not sure why my photo does not show up (apropos of nothing). Testing!


So much better to not turn adoption into a hidden secret thing.  I have a friend who has 3 kids, the first kid by another father but adopted by the current husband (and father of the other 2).  The parents decided not to tell the kid that the dad isn’t her blood relative.  Man, one day that secret is going to come out and it’s going to be DEVASTATING.  And it doesn’t have to be that way. 

So yay for being open and honest and not turning mere facts into scary hidden things!


Wonderful, and I totally agree.  One of my best friend’s two children are adopted, and she handled it exactly as you describe.  They are amazing, well-adjusted 9 and 6 year-olds, and understand how much they are loved.  She made them hard-bound books from an online photo company that are photo albums, but also tell the great stories of their arrival in their family, and they love to look at/read them and share them with others.


I just found your blog today  and looking back through your posts found this one.   As someone about to begin the adoption journey, I just wanted to thank you for sharing this.   It meant so much to me to read it at this time.

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