Uncomfortable Questions About Your Child’s Adoption

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Parents need to prepare for the age when their kids will wrestle with questions about identity and culture.

The farmer at the produce stand shook his head. “They look so normal,” he said. “So American.”

I laughed politely. “All three are American. They became naturalized citizens when they were adopted.”

He gave my children a stern look. “You kids better be grateful.”

I mumbled something about being grateful for his produce, paid for the pumpkins and herded my kids away from the stand.

“Why are we supposed to be grateful?” my oldest asked in a loud voice.

The farmer was busy with another customer. Relieved, I promised to answer any questions my son had in the car. Once inside, though, he forgot all about the farmer. But I didn’t.

I kept replaying the conversation in my mind. Of course, my kids weren’t “grateful” for being adopted from developing-country orphanages. Then again, biological children usually don’t ooze gratitude for being born to their parents, either.

I was glad my son didn’t ask for an explanation. I didn’t have one, not even a 30-second sound bite to give to people like the farmer.

Before long, my children will reach an age where they will wrestle with questions of identity and culture. They’ll wonder, Why am I here? The fact that my children have been adopted internationally will add another layer to their questions.

So far, our children’s questions about their adoptions are few, so our answers are relatively simple. My husband and I have begun teaching them Ephesians 1:5, explaining how Christians are adopted into God’s family and that God has a plan for each life. Yet it won’t be long before the questions become more complicated. They will learn about kids who have lived their entire childhood in orphanages, never having a family to call their own. And my children will realize that some of those orphans slept next to them as babies.

We are preparing for those “Why me?” questions. As a starting point, we’ll teach our children that God has a plan for every life, even though it’s difficult to understand why some people are removed from bad circumstances and others aren’t.

My husband and I don’t hide our struggles in discerning God’s plan; instead, we discuss these difficult questions in front of our children. We don’t know what answers God will reveal to them when the questions begin, but we do know that God’s promise to each of us is the same — we all have a future and a hope in Him.

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