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Adoption Blog: My Paperwork Pregnancies

An Adoption Game Show

The other night, I was on a game show. It took place during my children's bedtime in my daughter's bed. I was the only contestant and had to respond to rapid-fire questions from the three hosts. There were no wrong answers, as every time I answered a question one of the hosts (who were also the audience members) cheered, "Yes!" in excitement.

OK, so it wasn't a game show that you'd find on the Game Show Network. I just felt like a contestant when a recent story time with my kids turned into a crazy game of me having to explain the details of each of their adoptions.

I was reading to my three children, ages 3, 6, and 8, from one of my favorite adoption books, Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born by Jamie Lee Curtis. It closely resembles all three of my children's adoptions as they all entered our family through domestic newborn adoption.

Whenever we read this book, I try to insert some personal details into the story. For example, on the page where the couple is on the airplane to get their baby, I tell my two oldest children that their dad and I went through the baby name books and chose their names on the flight. Or when the baby in the story doesn't care for his first bottle, I tell my youngest that the first bottle he ever took was one from his dad.

Knowing the details of how your child came into your family is one of the billion responsibilities a parent holds. For most families, there is one story, which involves a pregnancy, a delivery, and a trip home. For an adoptive family, there will be two, possibly three, stories. First is the story of the birthmother's pregnancy and her decision of adoption. Second is the adoptive parents' route to parenthood, which includes meeting the child and bringing her or him home. And in some cases, there is a third story, which is the child's alone, about what happened to them after birth until their adoption. These are a lot of details to keep straight, especially when you have to recall the stories of multiple children.

My head is swimming in details from all three of my children's unique stories of how they entered our family. So when my children started throwing out questions to me while I was reading to them, I was taken aback. "Mom, which of us had the most hair when we were born?" "Mom, whose birthmother was the tallest?" "Mom, who was in the hospital the longest?" "Mom, who drank the most from their first bottle?" "Mom, which of us did you wait the longest for?" "Mom, whose birthparents did you talk to most recently?"

Before adopting, I had always pictured talking to my children about their adoptions while sitting down, face-to-face, in a quiet environment. In my mind, it may even have begun with my child asking, "Mom, can you tell me all about my adoption while I sit here quietly for an hour to listen?" Now, I can assure anyone that most all of my adoption conversations with my kids are never planned and only last a few minutes. Some are initiated because of a show we watched or a question a stranger asks us. A lot of these conversations come in gasps between them asking me if we can go to McDonald's and telling me about some video game they played. After years of receiving adoption questions out of the blue, I have grown accustomed to having to recall adoption details immediately.

However, I had not envisioned a conversation with all three of my kids happily shouting adoption questions at me, shouting with joy when I answer with their name and bouncing around the bed with excitement. I'm sure if anyone had been watching us, they would have thought we were nuts.

On this crazy adoption game show, I didn't get to win any prizes, but I was still thrilled to have played. I loved that my children were so comfortable asking me questions about their adoptions. It was so cool how excited they were to compare their adoption stories and one-up each other. I'm not sure if a situation like this one is unique to adoptive families, but I was happy that it applied to mine.

Who knows if my three adorable game show hosts will ask me to play on their game show again. Just in case, I need to go study my kids' scrapbooks to get all the details in order so I can get the all-time high score.

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kid #1 loves to say   “J called and said ‘L is coming!”  that is his favorite part of his adoption story. (and that he was in a hurry to be born!)

worried about how kid #2 is going to handle his oh so different story with so many less positives and so much sadness.

By lincolnlog on Monday, June 27, 2011 at 10:20 pm.

We love that book as well. So far, though, my kids seem to skip part the fact that there was an adoption involved and focus more on the cute pictures and lots of details.

What an awesome thing that adoption in your house is such an easy, natural conversation. We are striving for that as well!

By Gaby on Wednesday, June 29, 2011 at 4:16 am.

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Danielle Pennel

Danielle Pennel


I have recently adopted or am adopting from...
U.S. Newborn, U.S. Newborn

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