09 February 2010

Not the Stork

Lately we've been struggling with how/when to talk to our 7 year old about her Birth Father (BF) and the Birds and the Bees. It's been something we've worried about for years. We aren't upset about teaching our daughter about sex. And we want her to be able to talk to us about ANYthing and EVERYthing. It's just that when we DO talk about her conception she will no doubt have questions about her BF. We have covered her birth a lot and she actually knows her Birth Mom (BM) and sisters and extended family, so YEA for that!!! She's never asked about him and we've never mentioned him because he chose to not have contact with us. [Note: He has our information and knows how to check on her and the door is always open for him and his family.]

Our concern is that she will feel rejected when all the information snaps into place. That thought has kept me awake some nights. Today I found a picture of BF online and it was an emotional experience for both Scott and I to see our daughter's eyes, nose and forehead on a complete stranger.

Her birth story begins with us. We met her Birth Mom 16 days before she was born. She had 2 daughters at home and couldn't care for another child so she visited the adoption agency and picked us to raise her baby. We explained that God brought us all together. We talk about her BM going into labor and us being nervous in the delivery room and trying to figure out a name for a boy just in case (because we didn't know if she was a boy or a girl!!) [Note: The name "Emmitt" was actually on the table before "EMI" came out!]. She knows Daddy cut her umbilical cord and then we brought her home the next day. She knows we freaked out at being responsible for a little baby. She knows she slept on my chest while I worked from home for 3 mos. All good details that she loves to hear about...and that put a smile on her face. She is LOVED and she knows it and she feels it from her birth family and her adopted family as well as many of our friends and people who hear our story.

My point is: Emi knows a LOT about adoption. She has a friend at school who is adopted (she's black and her adoptive parents are white) so it's not a foreign concept at all. We've read books about adoption and fielded questions from long ago preschoolers who wondered why her skin was black and mine was not. And we even experienced a failed adoption 4 years ago....but once again, in that attempt, we only dealt with the Birth Mom side of the family. Of course Emi does know that her almost sister is with her Birth Father so this concept is something she is familiar with even if we've not discussed it. She seems to feel quite comfortable in talking about adoption and her Birth Mom and also brags to her friends that she has 2 sisters, and another who died when she was a baby. We visit her BM and her sisters and the term "Birth Father" doesn't come up (to our knowledge) because her sisters' BF is not around.

All signs are pointing to us to broach the subject of BF and the "Birds/Bees Lite" discussion with her soon so that she can develop properly into a mature, loving young woman with high self-esteem. One major sign has been Emi's size. She's a big girl (tallest in her class) who will probably be an early bloomer (according to her pediatrician). So last month I was talking with her BM and told her that Emi's ped thinks she will hit puberty within the next 2 years (God help me) and that one effect of early puberty was that growing tall stops when menstruation begins (I know ALL about that!) and that Emi will probably only be about as tall as me (I don't know about THAT!). We were discussing this in the room where Emi and her sisters were playing, and her BM said that she thought Emi would be taller because her "daddy" and his family are tall. Emi didn't acknowledge this comment but I am sure she heard. Not sure what she thought of it. Maybe she thought her BM was talking about Scott. Later on I told her BM of our concerns about Emi feeling rejected and that we might have her answer some questions that Emi will have because we don't know many details of the BF. I am soooooooo glad that we are close to Emi's birth mom because she can see her sisters and extended family and know her roots and heritage.

So I figured that we should probably have a book on hand to reference and give us the[Editor's note: Why is IT that "consternation" was the first word that came to mind here and when I look it up it's SO not what I want(ed)? a sudden, alarming amazement or dread that results in utter confusion; dismay.] fortitude [–noun mental and emotional strength in facing difficulty, adversity, danger, or temptation courageously] we need. Or maybe something to look at so that she doesn't see the tears in our eyes. Dr. Google pointed me to Amazon.com for some good "birds/bees" books and when I went to purchase the first (I will probably get two minimum.) the books on the suggestion page were a little surprising. (Click the image below and look at the bottom center suggested book.)

What do you think? [Not sure we are ready to discuss sex AND drugs at the same time!]

I ended up purchasing It's Not the Stork: A Book About Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families and Friends and The Care and Keeping of You: The Body Book for Girls and A Wrinkle in Time. That last book was not related to the topic at hand but it came recommended by another Syster last year for recommended reading for little girls.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you to everyone who replied to me via FaceBook. Your thoughts really helped bring this into perspective. We know Emi will be just fine and we don't want to push her into growing up too fast. We will answer her questions honestly when she asks them. We also know that "The Talk" is not actually a single session, but the sum of all the little talks we'll have along the way...


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