Today one of the beehives (the 12-13 year old girls that I work with in my church calling) brought a friend (who is not a mormon) with her to church. I happened to be one of the speakers in sacrament meeting and to start out my talk (about keeping the Sabbath day holy - I joked over the pulpit that I found it highly suspect that the bishopric assigned me this topic the week after the Super Bowl) I introduced Paul, Clara and myself to the congregation since I know that there are a number of new families that I haven't met yet. I mentioned in this introduction that Paul and I are advocates for adoption (because we are going through the process again after all and I like to keep the idea that adoption is a normal thing that happens a lot more than people are aware of) and that we are so grateful for the eternal families and adoption, having just been sealed to Clara in the temple in December.
After the three hour block of church meetings, three of my beehives and the visiting friend found me in the hallway where I was trying to calm a wild and sleep-deprived almost-nine-month-old Clara. I smiled at them and figured they were just going to pass me by since my beehives sort of seem to ignore me most times.
But the visitor, who surprisingly must have been paying attention to my talk at the beginning of church, piped up and boldly asked "Are you going to tell her?" nodding to Clara. "You know, that she was adopted?" To her credit, the girl didn't stage-whisper the last part, thank goodness.
The other beehives stopped cold in their tracks, impressed with the boldness of the question and obviously equally intrigued as to how I would answer.
I mulled over what to say for a second, honestly a little taken aback at this question in that setting and from this particular person. Of course Clara is going to know that she was adopted! The idea of keeping that from her is frankly beyond absurd to me. Adoption is not the taboo that it might have been in the past. And we are at least going to do whatever we can to eliminate any taboo surrounding adoption by talking openly to pretty much whoever will listen about it.
"Yes," I told the girls, "I will tell her that she was adopted."
"Like when she is older?" they voiced in an almost unified chorus.
"Well, no," I explained. "She will know from the very beginning. She will always know. Adoption is very special and it is not something to be ashamed of. Besides, is that something you would want to find out when you were 15 years old?" They shook their heads solemnly at my wise response.
Then I explained to them about open adoption and how Clara knows her birthmom and how we are excited for Kayli to come visit and what a special place Clara's birthmom will always have in Clara's, and our, lives.
"Well, she's sooOoOoOo cute!" they all cooed as Clara gave them sweet, sleepy grins, her eyes almost crossing from fatigue (this 9:00 a.m. schedule is killing me since that is when Clarabelle almost always goes down for a nap and she just can't sleep at church no matter how comfortable I try to make her).
I love adoption and I love that I was able to demystify it for these girls, even if just a little bit.