Thursday, May 5, 2011

Rituals in adoption

There is a sort of coming of age ritual for many parents in families formed by adoption. It comes at a time when your child has an understanding of adoption that lets him (or her) know that the pool of potential parents was not limited to just the parents who raise him.

It usually manifests itself in the middle of a...discussion (we'll call it) with parents when it occurs to the child that perhaps, if he had different parents, he would not have to brush his teeth, take a bath, go to bed at 8 o'clock, clean his room, do his homework... Perhaps, if he had different parents, he would have an i-pod touch, his own handheld gaming device, be allowed to play Call of Duty, engage in on-line gaming with total strangers, and...

The particulars of the cruelty to which the parents are currently subjecting the child are not really important. The important part is that the child--in an "Ah ha, moment"--realizes that, for him, things could have been different. The ones born into the family, well, they didn't really have any other options, but for him...suddenly, the opportunities seem endless. (And yet, in a cruel twist of fate, instead of ending up in Buckingham Palace, his cousin's house, or some other home with reasonable parents, he ended up in a place where the parents are Luddites obsessed with dental hygiene. Life can be full of disappointment.)

How proud the parent feels when, hearing the child testing this new concept with a few loving words like "I wish you never adopted me", she is able to calmly respond: "We can talk about adoption later. Right now it is time to get ready for bed, and you need to brush your teeth."

I didn't know this day would come so soon, but I didn't laugh out loud (hey, you gotta give the kid points for trying), and it shows he understands something about adoption (which is pretty advanced, I think). So all in all, I am feeling pretty good about it. Rituals are important, and sharing them lets us know that we are not alone.

1 comment:

  1. Brushing his teeth and no Call of Duty??? You run a tight ship my friend! XOXO