On Sunday, we’re hosting a cook-out at our house for families with children born in Guatemala. This is our third year holding this event, so it’s officially considered part of our family tradition. If you live within driving distance of Marin County, are a family through adoption with children from Guatemala, and you’re free on Sunday afternoon, please email me and I’ll send you directions. Apologies for not notifying you sooner—party-planning is not my strong suit, as anyone who knows me can attest.
Anyway, today as I was checking out at Costco, my cart loaded with hamburgers and hot dogs and chicken apple sausages, and piled high with assorted condiments, cheeses, and sides, the woman behind me said, “That’s a lot of hamburger buns.” She was middle-aged and harried, which is to say, she looked a lot like me.
Maybe I was feeling energized from noshing on too many free samples of jalapeno dip, madelines, and sliced tri-tip beef, but for whatever reason, I told her about our cook-out and my hope for warm weather, and how most of the guests had kids the same ages as mine, and how our kids and their friends have anticipated this party since Christmas, they’re one another’s BFFs. I finished my spiel by explaining, “The way we all know each other is that we’re families through adoption.”
The woman stared at me, her eyebrows rising ever so slightly. “So the kids know they’re adopted?”
Her comment stopped me short. Was it possible, in this day and age, that some adopted children might not be aware of how they came to their families? I thought of the other adoptive parents I know, the dialogue we started the moment we first held our babies, about their other, first mommies, the ones whose tummies they grew in, a dialogue we continue every day; the workshops and seminars we attend; the books and blog posts we read; the groups we belong to; the heritage camps where we get together annually. The meetings with birth mothers we arrange, the relationships to foster families we maintain, the Spanish classes, the life books, the trips to Guatemala.
And yet. Here stood a woman before me, oblivious to any of it. Here stood a woman who thought it could be possible our beloved children might not know they’re adopted. I was reminded once again, standing in line at Costco, that not everyone sees the world of adoption through the same lens I do.
Realizing that, I said simply, “Yes.”