So as I mentioned, I've been reading a lot of chat rooms and blogs lately. I came across one called Adoptees' Cafe. It is one of the more uplifting ones that I have read. I especially like her post which talks about the biblical analogy of horticultural grafting, as in how we all are "wild" and separate from God's family, but can be "grafted in" and become "tame" and nourished by His roots. The author goes on to talk about how adoption works in much the same way. (You have to click the link above to her blog. I can't copy and paste it into my blog because it is copyrighted material.)
Tim and I openly talk about life "before" with our kids. We talk with them about their lives in Colombia with their biological parent(s) and also the years they spent in the orphanage and their friends and caregivers there. We also talk about how things were with Tim and I before our "life with kids" began. One of the easier things about older child adoption is you don't have to ever have the "you were adopted" talk with your kids. They were there and very aware of what was going on as we were in Colombia finalizing. I think the time to start talking about adoption with your kids is in the very beginning, no matter how old or young they are.
The Director of the Colombia Program at our agency was herself adopted as an infant (domestically). She talked about how her parents handled talking to her about adoption in our last email newsletter. I think her parents handled it perfectly:
I was adopted at the age of two months from Catholic Social Services in South Dakota. My parents always told me that I was adopted. They used the word often and I grew up in a positive atmosphere. I learned that families are created differently and that mine was pretty unique. I was open with my friends about my adoption and in fact, in elementary school many of my friends told me that they wished they were adopted like me! Every year we would celebrate my “Special Adoption Day,” the day that my parents got me. My parents would let me pick where I wanted to go out to eat. My mom was happy when I stopped saying McDonald’s! My Dad would get off of work early and we would spend the day together. Not only did my parents talk to me about my adoption on this day, they did bring it up other times throughout the year as well. I remember once when my mom tucked me into bed on my birthday and she said, “Let’s say an extra prayer for your birth mom today, because she is probably thinking of you.” Because my parents brought my adoption up and talked about it, I grew up with the sense that it was okay to also bring the topic up myself, if ever I had any questions, because they were open about it. Mine was a closed adoption, so we didn’t know much about my birth family, but as I said, I was able to talk about the subject with my parents because we had such an open and honest relationship.
I know I probably don't do as well as I could at being as open as our Director's parents were with her. I do try. However, I also believe that our kids don't feel self-concious about being adopted by us any more than we are self-concious about being adopted by them... and they did decide to adopt us too. But they don't usually really "adopt" you until long after all the paperwork is finished. ;-)