GAY COUPLE ADOPTING : WHO AM I?
#WorldAdoptionDay was created to celebrate family. In particular, families created through adoption. It’s a day to raise awareness for adoption. You can read more here.
This year’s celebration was no different from the previous. At some point during the day, when we were all eventually home, I managed to get everyone together and take our photo celebrating #adoption.
This year though was a little different. We still had the usual grumbling from our son, “Oh, dad not another photo” :-), yet he obliged and we took the photo and posted it to our Instagram Stories. I thought that was it, and we would continue with the evening as normal. Far from it!
While having dinner later that evening, halfway through his meal, he asks “What’s my other surname?” To be totally honest the question caught both Darren and I off guard. Not for any specific reason, other than that it came so unexpectedly. I think in my head, although I expected this question to come at some point in our lives, that point wasn’t now. Don’t ask me when I was expecting it either, because there isn’t a perfect time for that question. Questions about his identity will pop up when he feels he needs to know more, not when you as the parent feel he should be asking them.
As I’ve mentioned before, Darren and I have vowed to always be honest with our responses when our son asks questions relating to either his adoption or birth mother or father. I know that one isn’t ever prepared for these questions, as they are asked so randomly and for some reason, he caught me off guard. At first, my body tensed up and I went into defence mode in my head.
Now you need to understand that this is all happening in seconds, but it felt like a few minutes went by. I immediately started asking myself questions like;
“Why is he asking us this question?“
“Did someone ask him this question at school, if so, why?“
“Should we answer him truthfully?“
I wasn’t sure how to respond so I redirected the question to Darren. Asking him if he “recalled” our son’s birth surname, but what I was really saying to Darren was “OMG! Do we respond truthfully this time?“.
Darren answer truthfully again.
I was relieved.
We did ask our son why he wanted to know and went on to explain how both his dads had their own surnames before we created a brand new one just for our family. Seems he was honestly curious to know out of his own accord. He wasn’t cornered at school, at least by his own admission.
It’s since not been spoken of again. It was one of those questions I guess that came to him momentarily for whatever reason.
It was answered.
He was satisfied with the answer.
He has moved on to what is currently more important to him, PlayStation!
Although the question really caught me off guard, and I was temporarily questioning if a truthful answer was required at this point, I am happy that my husband took the lead and answered honestly. Our son has a memory like an elephant. Jay’s response to our answer just confirms the importance of adults being truthful and honest at all times when our kids ask questions. Age-appropriate of course. It is after all their truth.
A step towards them finding out “Who am I?” and so much more important to him from a self-identity perspective than it is to us considering that his awareness and acceptance of himself is now starting to awaken and will continue to do so as he grows older and matures.
The questions, the probing, the journey to self-discovery will now only intensify and become a more regular feature of his growing up. I guess up until now we have been living in the hope that he accepts the status quo as is forever, but with his recent line of questioning, it’s time for us to ‘man up‘ and get ready for some direct and honest questions that we dare not avoid or try and sugar-coat.
If we lived on an island in total isolation, where we were the only family in existence we would be able to mould our ‘truth‘ and it would stick, but our reality is so much more complex than that and we need to now roll with the punches and make sure we answer honestly, directly and factually. Failure to do that will only serve to create a relationship based on selfish convenience and not one where our son and his ultimate happiness, self-awareness and self-acceptance is concerned.
Adoption is not a random ‘feeling‘ but rather a life-long commitment to someone whose path you ultimately have the ability to shape negatively or positively. Resentment of any sort or in any form is something we want to stay away from!