We had visitors over recently. These particular visitors know some of Little MPB’s birth-family history and they were asking me some questions about Little MPB’s birth-family, as people do from time to time.
To which I am always straight forward and honest. With the only caveat being that we do not share certain details, those will be Little MPB’s decision to share should he ever want to. If I hadt been uncomfortable answering the question, I simply would have said, those are details we are not comfortable sharing and the conversation would have moved on. Needless to say, the questions on this particular day, were questions I was willing to answer.
Mr. MPB walked into the conversation, mid-conversation. His facial expression clearly confused/concerned. But, he didn’t say much and the conversation come it’s it natural end.
Later that day, when Mr. MPB and I were alone, he began asking question about the earlier interaction: How did that topic come up? What did you say? Why did you say that? Why did they even ask that?
Eventually, as I felt like I was facing the Spanish Inquisition, I simply said:
If people ask questions about Little MPB’s birth family or adoption, that are appropriate questions, I need to answer them openly and honestly. Just like if someone asks me how your sibling is doing, I naturally answer the question without hesitation. If I am awkward about it or even worse lie about it, that’s not going to benefit Little MPB in the long run as he is learning from me each time I answer these questions.
Needless to say, Mr. MPB agreed, and our conversation moved on.
I share this little story for three reasons:
- I/We are not adoption experts. We read a lot as part of our decision to grow our family through adoption, and we continue to read and learn as time goes by. But, every one of these interactions is new and uncharted territory for me. I try my best.
- I think it’s harder for Mr. MPB to understand how I just have to make up the answers to these questions as I am in the conversations. In fact in the past Mr. MPB has been annoyed by how I answered questions because I didn’t get it right. But the reality is, I cannot say, oh can you hold that thought while I go consult the internet and Mr. MPB on how to answer that. Real life just doesn’t have a pause button. I don’t get it right every-time, and there have definitely been conversations where I wish I could have a do-over. But, real life also doesn’t have a rewind button. So, I just keep trying with the goal of honouring and respecting Little MPB’s unique family.
- People still only ask me adoption related questions. In over 2 years as a family, and 3+ years in the adoption world, Mr. MPB has only once been asked an adoption related question. And when people are talking to me about adoption, with one exception the conversations pretty quickly end when Mr. MPB comes into the room. Yet oddly, people have no problem asking while Little MPB in the room. We are told this is pretty typical for families brought together through adoption. It’s an annoying gender thing that I don’t understand. (As an aside, please, if you know a family brought together by adoption, don’t shy away from talking to the dad too).
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