Our family became one through the long journey of adoption. While we had expected an assault on our privacy as the adoption agency did their work to prepare us, e.g. home studies, financial and police, checks, we were less prepared for the questions about adoption that came our way, and to our children. Innocent things said to us that suddenly now meant something different.
So, picture this – my preschoolers and I enjoying a lovely outing at our neighbourhood park and packing up after a couple of hours of play. As we collected our sand toys to head home, a curious parent approached our happy little crew. She was a stranger to my two beautiful Chinese girls and to me, however, it didn’t stop her from asking one of those dreaded stranger questions, “Are they yours?” “They sure are!” I proudly replied continuing to gather our things. Then, the even more dreaded question, “Are they really sisters?” My girls stopped what they were doing, clearly listening in. “Yes, they are,” I said without hesitation. “No, I mean, are they really sisters?” A curious stranger in front of me and two little, wide-eyed girls holding my legs on either side…what could I say? “Of course, they are really sisters.”
Truth be told, I knew that what this parent was really asking was whether or not our girls were biological siblings. They were three and five years old at the time and definitely sisters with the mutual love, care, imitation, fights, humour, and private jokes that siblings share. They are sisters through and through regardless of biology. They are “really sisters”.
This question also made me realize that at three and five years, the adoption story was no longer my story to tell, it was also firmly planted in the hearts and lives of two lovely little girls. No doubt, my husband and I were key players in their story, but how open or private they chose to be about this history was just taking shape. If I had said to them, “Well, girls, are you really sisters?” what would their answer have been? No doubt, it would have been a resounding “Yes!”
Are you a parent of an adopted child or children or are you an adoptee yourself? What question(s) have you faced that delighted, surprised, challenged or even annoyed you? Share your story with us:
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About this guest blogger:
Bonnie Hewitt, RN is a supervisor with the Early Years Health Program. Although she has 27 years of experience working with families of young children, she turns to colleagues for parenting advice. She has 2 lovely girls who are tweens.