When hubby and I made the decision to embark on our adoption journey, we knew very well that at some point our new family would be asked the question ” Where’s mommy?”
We knew that the question would come from different sources.
As much as you think you will be ready for when the question pops up, from my personal experience I don’t think you will ever really be ready for it.
The question pulls at your heart.
Although the question is asked with no malice, usually, I felt at the time…“Why are you asking?”
“What business is it of yours?”
“It is too soon for you to be asking me that son…” … but is it really?
The reality is that the “Mommy” question will come up. In your head, you will have prepared responses to many scenarios. It will come up when you least expect it, and you will have an age appropriate response…. The truth!
Until recently our young man was content with the fact that he has two dads, while other children in his class and his cousins only have one. If anything I am sure to some extent he felt “special”, yet different from everyone else. I am very grateful to his teacher last year, who played a significant role in educating his classmates that there are an array of family setups in the class, such as how our son has two dads. It was because of her that although the school is already progressive, embraced our family.
First, we had …
Son: Do I have a mom?
Me: Yes you do.
At the time of the question, I think he was about two, the reply was enough. When we embarked on our family journey we read somewhere that it’s important not to lie to your children, just as it’s important not to overstate. Respond age appropriately, but always give a truthful answer.
Where’s my mom? Does she know where I am?
Me: hmmm .. stumped! I look at hubby for guidance and we mentioned a city.
How do we respond without lying to our son? We opted to share the name of a city. Adding that his mom had asked us to look after him because she loved him, and knew that we would love and look after him.
This year he is in a new class made up of mostly a new group of children. Inevitably “Where’s your mom” was raised. I’m not sure what his response was, but it came up during our quality bedtime conversation. I love how the questions are never the same about his mother. They evolve the older he gets.
At times these questions don’t come from our son or the kids in his class. They come from adults.
On a recent cross-border trip, we were asked, “Where’s his mother” from one of the border control officers.
In South Africa if you plan to cross the border with a child, be it at the airport or road point of exit or sea for that matter you are required to share a copy of your child’s birth certificate with both parent’s names on it… along with the child’s.
I’ve had to learn to stay calm during these situations.
Funny part the question is normally asked by South African border officials who should be aware of the rules and of the many family setups we have in this country. If they only took the time to read the details on the passports and birth certificate shared, in some cases, even the adoption papers… all would be clear.
We’re only required to travel with the birth certificate reflecting all our names, but from day one we’ve always travelled with the adoption documents too because of these questions.
As a gay couple and a family made up of two same-sex parents and a child, the “Where’s mommy?” question will continue.
We will continue to answer truthfully.
We don’t have to go into detail.
Answer only what is asked.
Should you not be comfortable, to answer a question from an adult, don’t!
The choice is yours.
Just be truthful.
It’s really none of their business.
Where your own child or a child is concerned, ALWAYS answer honestly but age appropriate!
There will always be a mother where your child(ren) is concerned. She may just not be part of your lives.
Always have your child’s interest at heart.
They need to always feel that you will always be there to protect them.
As the parent of a child you have adopted, how have you handled questions from your child about their birth parents?