Forever Family: unanswerable questions

The kids loved throwing questions at me when they were little, and on my good days I’d do okay catching them.

“Why do the clouds move like that?  How many stars are there?  Why can’t I have more ice cream?  What’s your favorite color?”  (That one was trickier than you’d think.)

Ah, the good old days.  When even the most difficult question could be tackled with “let’s Google that” and a little research.  These days some of our questions are a whole lot more challenging, and the answers are nowhere to be found in cyberspace.

In many ways we’re lucky that we know a lot about our kids’ birth families and the history behind their decision to pursue adoption.  When T-man and Bear began asking questions we were typically able to answer them, and that went a long way toward building trust.

I know there’s the whole tooth fairy thing, but generally speaking I think a kid can tell when you’re lying to them.  The truth always rings…well…truer, which means it was a big deal that we could honestly share details about the kids’ birthparents with them.  While the conversations might not have been comfortable for us, they gave T-man and Bear what they needed to work through their feelings.

These days, though, the questions have gotten harder.  There’s a very big difference between “why didn’t my birthmom keep me?” and “why doesn’t she want me to know where she lives?” The first we can answer directly, at least based on the facts we were given at the time.  That second question, though?  Any answer for that one involves either a great deal of supposition on our part or outright commentary on the most likely reason Miss M chose a closed adoption, and there’s the tricky part.

Truth rings true, and we don’t want T-man or Bear to start thinking we’re holding something back from them.  Then again, we have to remember that they’re kids, so unleashing brutal honesty on them right now could do more harm than good.  Plus there’s the fact that no one ever truly knows another person’s experience, which means we don’t actually know the answer to many of their more finely nuanced questions.

  • Why doesn’t she want me to know where she lives?
  • Why didn’t this other person stick around when I was born?
  • How will I ever really get to know her?

New questions pop up every month or so, and we keep walking the line, hoping our guidance lands somewhere in the loving and supportive range without suggesting that we have the answers for all of this.  Because we most certainly don’t.


Riddle from the Middle has blessed me in a lot of ways, one of which is hearing from so many different people.  Bloggers, parents, friends, and strangers…people who were adopted or who have adopted children themselves…each story or piece of advice is being woven into an incredible quilt detailing a picture of raising (adopted) children from every perspective, and that’s truly priceless.

So I send out a heartfelt Thank You to all of you who have visited, thoughtfully read, posted your opinions, or shared Forever Family with your adoption groups.  You’ve made this series into a wonderful experience.

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