Aidan at Beach

Aidan at Beach

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Open and Honest. . . As the Age Suits

‎3 Years ago this morning we watched our Easter sunrise as we were driven through the frozen Siberian tundra from the Cheremshanka Airport to the city of Krasnoyarsk.

We have been open and honest with Aidan so far that he was born in Russia and that Mommy and Daddy had to go alllllll the way there to get him.  We will be completely open and honest with him as he grows up with all of the details.  However, we are doing it as his age suits.  Meaning he will be told information as he matures and is ready and able to handle more of his story.  If he asks a question, I will always be honest with him, though.
That being said, yesterday I had a situation come up with one of the neighbor children.  Out of the blue the statement/question came out, "Aidan came from an orphanage, right???"  Yes, he did come from a baby home, and he knows he is from Russia and that his Mama and Daddy had to go there to get him, but he doesn't really know what an orphan........"Hey Aidan you came from an orphanage!!!"  Mama, what's an orphanage?. . .sigh. 
I did quietly, but sternly tell that child that I think that was completely inappropriate, but I have to be honest and say I was very upset by this incident!  I don't want things like this coming at me out the blue and I certainly don't want Aidan having things like this coming at him out of the blue.  How to explain an orphanage to a four year old??? 
I really want to use the term "Baby Home" when discussing this with Aidan. . .


Tamara said...

Oh, that must have been really hard. So sorry that happened, but I guess we need to be prepared for that. Anja has asked very few questions regarding Russia. I'm not sure she really gets it yet. Like you, I answer her questions honestly but only answer as much as she asked and not overwhelm her. I wish I could just explain it all to her now so that someone else doesn't bring it up before she's ready. I like baby home better than orphanage as well.

Joy said...

Oh Stacy,
This is our biggest fear. What other children do not realize is that their words can be hurtful even though they may not be intended in a hurtful manner.

Gerard has been very sensitive about keeping Anna's information from Russia private. I think I have slacked off a bit but after reading this I have to rethink the things that I share.

I just love the pictures of Anna from the Baby Home but perhaps Gerard is right that I should keep those pictures more private.

I am so sorry that this happened to Aidan and you. I bet those words felt like a knife. Children are very good at pointing out the differences of others.

Stacey said...

Yeah... from the mouths of babes. My guy is not quite 4 yet but knows he was born in Russia and Mama came on an airplane to "the room full of babies" (thank you to the book "I love you like Crazy Cakes") and brought him home forever. I think the balance of when and how much info to share will be the hardest part. You bring up a good point though - "Orphanage" isn't a word that as AP's we use but the rest of the world does... so, I guess now that you made me think about it, I'll have to work in that we call it a baby home but other people might call it an orphanage... and also what an orphan is. The more normal I can make his information to him, maybe the better he will be able to handle the questions from other kids? I dunno... I'll figure it out as I go. P.S. he's so very handsome in your pics!!!

Anonymous said...

we have been very open with our little guy. He will be 4 in June and has been home for a year. There is a great book called, "Mishka" that we have read to him that explains everything really well. We use "orphanage" and "baby home" interchangably and always talk about the "ladies" who took care of him. We haven't gotten to the questions about where he was before that or why he was there...but, I think it has been very helpful to put words to his memories/thoughts. and there is nothing shameful about any of the parts of his story...orphanage seems to feel like a "bad word", but if it used often and as a place of affection, it can be a word, redeemed. we talk about it often...sometimes we bring it up, sometimes he does. Usually when he wants "Mishka" to be read means he's been thinking about it...

Beth said...

Hi, My son has been home from Ekat Russia for 1 year he is 3.5 and I do not think he really understands that he is from Russia and that he lived in a baby home though I talk about it all the time. That being said I have a 5 and a half year old son from China who has been with me for almost 4 years. He is very mature for his age and has been since he has been home. He talks about being from China and when he was 3 he even made up a song about coming home on a plane!! He hears me talk about Jakes baby home and knows I was able to visit it when in RUssia so Mattie asks what number baby home he is from in CHina. They do not number them there so I made up #1.

What I am going to find hard when it comes up is that I never got to go to the orphanage in CHina so I have no pictures and I do not think Mattie relieves that yet.

Yes out of the months of babes but kids will be kids and I think being honest with the kids and the way I deal with things like that is yes he did live in a orphanage and now he lives here with me his mom.

While I am babbling I will tell you Mattie on day in Macys just came out with "Mom some babies are born in their mommys bellies and some are adopted like me and Jake right?? Now I have no idea why he asked that when he did but I just said yes you are right and he moved on to another subject.
Hope my babbling on helps you.


sonflowerjax said...

Sigh....I really need to start rehaersing my answers now. The best advice I read recently is to tell them now, while they don't completely understand (I know, this applies to my 2 year old...not your almost 4 year old...), but just so you as a parent get used to saying it yourself. But, in my opinion, nothing prepares you for those questions. :(

Laura said...

Tears welled up in my eyes as I read your post. My 4-y.o. daughter knows she's from Russia and we talk about the place where she lived with all her friends. I know she doesn't get it yet - but she might soon as some of her friends are now having baby brothers and sisters and she wants one...

I never heard "baby home" until after I came home from trip #1. Our agency and in-country reps always said "orphanage". I have always used "orphanage" in my blog but I have comtemplated going back 2 1/2 years to change it all to "baby home" just because it might sound better.

Now that I have read SteveandKate's response, I think I will keep it. It's how *I* present the information that will form Kristina's view on the terms orphanage and babyhome. I can't shape everyone's view on it (especially children who can be hurtful) but I can shape Kristina's view on it and prepare her for responses.

The tears I shed, though, are because I wish in my heart our little ones did not have go through what they did...but it is reality and something we have to prepare for.

Thanks for the head's up, I only wish I could offer some good advice. Looks like I have to start thinking about getting the books "I Love you Like Crazy Cakes" and "Mishka"!

Laura :)

Melissa said...

This post really opens up my eyes. We ahve always been very honest about Colby being adopted. I am actually quite proud of it and I hope one day Colby will be too. We have always said "baby home" and i have corrected that with many people. Colby was not an orphan but he was a baby who needed a permanent home. We do have the book Mishka but Colby loves another book "Borya and the Burps". It is about a baby Borya and how he lived in a baby home until he was adopted and the story goes through living at the home, court, and coming home. The Dad and Bprya are truly a family in the end because Borya burps just like Dad. We read it but put in Colby's name and then Mike and Colby both burp. Gross but true. As for other's comments I don't say much except to change their misunderstandings. We know a lot about his birth family but will not share that. But with a child, I think I might be dumbstruck like you. It's always a puzzle dealing with kids but as long as Aidan feels loved that's what matters.