How do we tell them?

Because our boys were so young when they came to us, and still were at the time of adoption, they have no memory of anything other than our family. No reason to believe they didn't "come from mommy's tummy". We knew it was something we wanted to be open with them about from the start, but we wanted them to be old enough to understand. After a while, it became clear we really had no idea how to break the ice, and no real good reason to tell them yet.

I would, however, tell them this bedtime story: "There was a mom and a dad who wanted a baby but weren't able. They prayed and prayed for God to bring them a baby and He did! It just didn't come from the mommy's tummy. The baby came from another family who couldn't take care of the baby and, since God's knows the beginning and the end, He knew this little boy would go to live with the mom and dad who couldn't have a baby, and they would be a family. And the mom and the dad and the baby were so happy and loved each other so much. They did not think they would be any happier. Then one day, there was a call for another baby boy. He was the new brother of the first little boy! The mom and the dad and the boy were SO happy and they loved the new baby so much and they were a family. They did not think they would be any happier."

And when I'd tell this story (I still tell it sometimes!), they would just smile and cuddle, and after hearing it a few times, they would say "and guess what happens next mom...".

"And then, one day, the mom and the dad found out that God decided it was time for them to have a baby...this time from the mommy's tummy! The mom and the dad and the two boys were so happy and could not wait to meet the new baby. When they found out it was going to be a boy, they were as happy as they could be. And they were a family."

The boys love this story and will say, 'tell us the story of the boys that came to the mom and dad'. We had hoped maybe the message was clear that this story matched our family. But, not so much. I realized this one day when Timothy said, "Mom, I was the first from your tummy like Elijah and had milk from you just like Elijah, and then Mason was second, and the Eli." Welllllll..... we hadn't really discussed how we were going to answer these questions when they came, so I just grinned and patted his head. After the next few times I told Scott, he's old enough and needs to start understanding the truth.

So, I told the story again, and told them how God puts families together in all kinds of ways and sometimes brings babies from the mommy's tummy and sometimes from someone else's tummy.
"Yeah mom, be we came from your tummy and I was first, then Mason and then Eli."

Oh boy.

So, we decided to wait for our adoption anniversary, when we celebrate Akinpalooza, and explain why this is such a special occasion for us.

A few nights before our December 19th date, just last month, while sitting at the dinner table, I said, "Boys, do you know why we are going out to the fire restaurant (what they call Kansai)? Do you know why we are celebrating?"

"No, why?"

"Because it's the day we adopted you." Blank stares... "Do you remember the story of the little boys that God brought to the mom and dad who couldn't have a baby, and then they had a baby too?"


"Do you know who that story is about?"

Timothy, with a half guessing, half light bulb expression, said, "Us? First me, then Mason was the baby and then Eli from your tummy?"

Newborn Elijah

Well, we knew it would take more than one fact, both of us having been adopted by our dads, know full well, this is a topic that will be discussed many times in our home over the next many years as questions and emotions rise to the surface. So, I told the story again and he smiled and said, "Oh yeah. So this is Elijah, right?"

"That's right baby, but you were, and always will be, Mommy's first, the one that made me a mom. The one that God brought to us because we all needed each other, because we were meant to be a family, and because He knew what a great big brother you would be."

My Timothy

With a few snuggles he said, "Ok mom."

It's not easy, nor will it be perfectly smooth through the years, but in time, I hope they will all see, what makes a family, family, is not whose tummy you entered the world through... it's whom you choose to love.