“Why are you so white?”
“What is your favorite Disney Princess?”
“What age did you have your first period?”
“Did you bring me a present?”
“What is your favorite ride?”
“Are you married?”
“What is my birth father like?”
“Do you have any kids?”
“Why did you choose my mom and dad to be my mom and dad?”
“Do you love me?”
When it comes to questions adopted children have about where they came from, the lists are endless and varied, as different as silly and authentic. But like most things in life, we can find common themes and patterns among them.
The first and most obvious thing that adopted children ask their birth parents is physical features. They want to know if they have the same dark skin, blue eyes, curly hair, pointy ears, birth marks, freckles, or smile as their birth parents. Every child loves hearing how their nose is just like Grandpa Charlie or how their eyes sparkle like Aunt Rita or how they laugh like Great Grandma Sue. It helps them feel connected to their family and heritage. Take advantage of their interest and help create a new connection with their birth parents.
Naturally, they want to know more as they grow. When they have life experiences, they want to know if their birth parents had similar tendencies, reactions, or experiences in their lives. One of my daughters sucks her first finger and her middle finger exactly like her birth mother did. Another child of mine loves thrill-seeking adventures just like his birth mother. If they experience injuries or medical conditions, they want to know if it runs in their family (particularly if a physician asks). I have a son who shares a connection of ADHD with his birth mother. For more reasons than one, adoptive children want to know why they are the way they are.
After the physical traits and similarities are established, children want to know if there is a deeper connection with their birth parents. Do they like the same things I do? Do they have the same interests and hobbies? Are they naturally good at, or gifted, in the same ways? Do they think or behave like I do? They want to know anything and everything about their birth mother and birth father, to see what characteristics are shared and which are not.
As the questions get more intimate, adopted children most often want to know why birth parents placed them for adoption. They are curious about the circumstances surrounding this decision. They want to know why they don’t live with their birth parents. If they were married or not. If they loved each other. If they have additional children or not. If they love them. Why they chose their adoptive family.
Tell them their adoption stories. Answer all their questions truthfully and mindfully. Share your connections and common interests as birth parents and adoptive family. Remind them of God’s hand in your life and the miracles surrounding their adoption. Reaffirm them of your love and confidence in your decision to place them for adoption. It is one of the most powerful gifts any birth parent can give their child. And it reminds their spirits that they are exactly who they need to be. Beautiful children of God.