The Simba version
For the last eight years we have been telling all of our adopted children pretty much the same adoption story. “The people who made you (name and name) loved you very much but they couldn’t care for you so the judge had to decide what to do. She thought about it for a very long time and decided that Mummy and Daddy loved you so much too and could keep you safe and so we would be your forever and ever Mummy and Daddy” We wait for the next questions and answer them as and when they arrive, thus hoping not to overwhelm with uncomfortable information but not hiding anything either. It is a bit of a balancing act but we were congratulating ourselves recently on this albeit small success.
Then Moo, placed with us at 7 months and now 7 years old, explained her adoption to a friend of ours. “My first parents weren’t married so they weren’t allowed to keep me. The judge took me and held me up and said “who wants this baby” and Mummy and Daddy said they would take me so here I am…”
How did our carefully crafted explanation become such a scrum? How did she become a small lion cub held over the edge of a rock for all to see? I am fascinated that she has absorbed such an outdated social judgement (certainly not from us) and added her own touch of drama to a story that she has heard over and over again and yet I am also well aware that this is exactly how she feels about it and am in awe of her ability to translate that feeling into such clear words. Of course she felt like a cub on a cliff. It is EXACTLY what she was.