A Unique Way to Talk About Adoption
By: Jerry Woodward
There has always been a debate on the best way to handle telling a child that they were adopted. Long ago it was taboo to even discuss such things and often thought of as a shameful thing. Today is different though, we see stories of adoption all around us, celebrities traveling to third world countries, or reality shows of teens trying to find their biological parents. So what is the best way to explain to a child the journey of how they came to be in the family.
Writing Her Own Story
One such mom decided to create a fanciful story to explain to her little boy why he was such an important part of their family. Berta Serrano had always had an open discussion with her son about his adoption, but one day he was struggling that he had not come from his mother’s belly and was missing that special biological bond. She wanted him to know how important he was to her so she created Born From The Heart. It’s a story about a mother what wanted a child and so she goes to the doctor and get a prescription for just that “One pound of love, two cups of enthusiasm and one and a half tablespoons of patience.” After a little while she returns to find out that “I believe you are going to have a child. I can see something gleaming in your heart!” The story continues with her going on a journey to get her child and as she travels her heart begins to grow with love until at the end of the journey her heart bursts with joy and she is left there to hold her new child in her arms.
Don’t We Use Stories All the Time?
Many in the adoption community think this level of storytelling is the complete wrong way to discuss adoption with a child. Some have gone on to say that children are literal creatures and that filling them full of fantastic ideas only causes more harm than good. “We don’t want children believing that baby’s come from hearts.” Is that really true though? Don’t parents use exotic stories to explain everyday events? A jolly red-suited man that uses flying reindeer. A giant lumberjack and his big blue ox cutting down forests in a single swing. A talking elephant that hears a tiny voice coming from a speck of dust or any other story from the mind of Dr. Suess. Children thrive on stories and if we start to worry about the literal meaning of everything, the magic of being a child would start to be taken away.
It’s Best to Keep Communication Open
Serrano has come back in her defense to state that this is only one method she has used to talk about adoption, it worked for a time but as her child grew older he understood more that he wasn’t born from her heart but the real message of how much she loved him stayed with him. She continued to have an open dialogue about adoption with him and has said the story was never about covering up his adoption, only to help him understand it on his level.
Dealing with adoption can be a difficult task and may require help from a professional counselor. If you and your family are struggling with discussing adoption call Trinity Teen Solutions at 307-202-8400 and find out about your options. Our professional counselors are here to help you to create the positive change that you are looking for.