My husband and I are blessed with children through birth and through adoption. Our older three (ages 9, 6, and 3) love to hear the tales of their births (sans gory details), particularly when their birthdays roll around.
When our youngest (now 2) came home from Guatemala, it seemed appropriate to continue this tradition as best we could. Unsure of how or where to start, I hit the books.
Not thick parenting texts or adoptive family literature, though — children’s books. Last spring an adult adoptee shared his life experiences at a Katelyn’s Fund support meeting, and the age-old question was directed to his mom: "How did you tell him that he was adopted?"
She told of how, even as a newborn, he curled up in the crook of her arm while she read aloud a children’s book about adoption, following up with his own special story. From their earliest moments together, his story was recognized and celebrated.
In search of a beautiful picture book to provide the jumping off point for our son’s tale of his arrival into our family, the answer was discovered on our book shelves — Over the Moon by Karen Katz. The child in this story is a little girl and the adoption timeline is a bit unrealistic, but after we read Katz’s words aloud, we page through the book again telling our son’s story: that he was born in an exquisite place nicknamed "The Land of Eternal Spring"; that he grew inside his beautiful birthmom and was born early on a rainy morning (thank you, Weather Almanac!); that generous foster parents nurtured him for nearly two years; that we waited a long, long, loooong time for the call to meet our sweet boy; and that he was more than worth the wait.
There are many ways to convey our children’s stories to them, and this is just one small example. The things we say aren’t as important as the fact that we take time to say them.