Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sneaking adoption into casual conversation with a 3-year-old

My newest dilemma: AwesomeCloud is almost three and a half and I've hardly made any effort to talk to him about adoption, families, our family, and China. He's overheard me talking about those topics to other people, but those conversations happen less frequently as he gets older. There was a time when random people on the street would come up and boldly initiate conversation, and I would share and educate. Because I was lonely, because they were interested, because they needed to be corrected.

Nowadays, not so much. People are less bold and I'm less sharing.

Cloud is old enough to understand what's going on; I think people are able to correctly assume that at first glance. However, he's not verbally articulated enough to hold a conversation about such topics on his own. If you want to talk about trains, trucks, or cats, he's all there - as long as you don't need him to utter all the words that form complete sentences. He kind of skips around like someone on a cell phone with a bad connection. That's fine if he needs to ask for apple juice. It's not great if he wants to inquire about his first mommy.

I thought maybe I could just start rambling to him about it while we were doing other things. But that's easier said than done. It's not like talking at a wordless baby anymore. He interrupts me to talk about trains or trucks or cats, because there is usually a train or truck or cat nearby to be discussed. So far, he's done it every time I've mentioned adoption. But so far, I haven't mentioned adoption very much.

It's not like he's living in a vacuum. He has picture books. He goes to adoption agency events. A couple of times, we've spent time with other families with mismatched races. We don't have travel group reunions like some other families, because we didn't have a travel group. We don't have any China adoption BFFs. I am possibly failing my kid by not immersing him in Adoption-World or China-World. But he's not completely isolated from it, either.

I don't know what I plan to say when I do get to talk to him. But I'm not anxious about it yet. I just want to get the basics out first. I hope he'll ask questions when he can; I may need the extra prodding. THEN I can be anxious. But I'm much better at answering questions than I am at blurting things out.


  1. Not sure if you are looking for advice or not, but with my daughter who is now three (and also into transportation vehicles) I try to work her beginning story in little bits. Whenever she points to an airplane in the sky, I mention something like "Cool, an airplane! Do you remember your airplane ride with Mama and Daddy on the way home from China? You liked looking out the window and playing with the tray table". It isn't so much of a conversation, but rather a comment on my behalf, laying the ground work for future discussions.

  2. Advice is good. I hadn't thought to ask for any. Thanks.