me: Thank you for letting me share daddy’s Starbuck’s morning tradition. He’s so lucky he gets to bring you…What are two of your favorite ways to pass the time?
Bear: Drawing and playing with my iPad.
me: What is it that makes those fun for you?
Bear: ‘Cause I can either be alone if I want to be alone or I can be around people if I want to.
me: You’re gonna go to camp for the weekend but you can only take three things with you. What do you take?
Bear: My sketch pad. Money. And…if I had a phone I’d say a phone so I could call you, but, um…my iPad.
me: So I want you to imagine five years from now. What do you think your life is gonna be like?
me: I’m sure it will be.
Bear: I’ll be able to drive. Probably. I’ll have more freedom.
Bear: I’ll be different. (laughs)
me: When you close your eyes what do you see?
Bear: Me. Driving a car.
me: Okay, silly.
Bear: To be more specific, a Jeep.
me: Ah! A Jeep, in particular…
Bear: Or a truck. I don’t want to drive a short little car.
me: ‘Cause you are a big powerful girl. What’s the first word that pops into your mind when I say “adoption”?
me: Boop! First word.
Bear: “Uh.” (laughs)
me: True. Then the second one.
Bear: A different family than I was born into. It’s not one word, but –
me: But it’ll work. Absolutely. You’ve known all your life that you were adopted. We started talking to you about it before you even knew what we were saying. How is it different now that you’re older?
Bear: I wonder more about what my biological family was like. I wonder if I’ll ever be able to meet them…That’s about it.
me: ‘Cause you’re older now and you’re a thinkin’ girl. Let’s say you met someone in their twenties who’d been adopted when they were a baby. What kind of questions would you ask them?
Bear: I would ask them what their feelings were like…If they were adopted into a good family…Do they wonder about what their biological family is like.
me: Do you wonder about any experiences they might have gone through that you’re gonna face?
me: What’s it like for you to have white parents? Does the fact that our family looks different from each other come up for you?
Bear: No. It doesn’t make us any less family.
me: Well, that’s true, it doesn’t. Is it ever an issue?
Bear: Not usually…I can’t remember the last time it came up.
me: I think that’s a good thing. So…we’re not in the future anymore, we are here right now. When you close your eyes and picture yourself, what do you see?
me: Describe yourself. If you had a pen pal across the world, how would you describe yourself to them?
Bear: Tall. Poufy haired. (laughs) Strong. Not twiggy.
me: Also true. What are some of the beautiful gifts that you bring to the world? The Bear gifts.
Bear: The Bear gifts?
me: Yep. Everybody brings gifts.
Bear: I like it when people are nice to each other?
me: You are a peacemaker. That’s true. What are some of the things that are unique to you?
Bear: Umm…I’m a mess maker.
me: Tell me, how do you think the fact that you’re adopted might change somebody else’s life?
Bear: They may be adopted, too, and they may have questions that I could answer.
me: And you’d be willing to do that?
me: That’s very kind spirited. Do you care for others? (Bear nods.) Even people you don’t know? (nods again) I’d say that’s true. I’d say that’s one of the gifts you bring to the world.
me: All right, so at the end we flip the interview and you can ask me anything. Any question you want to ask, adoption related or not.
Bear: Hmmm…when will I get a phone?
me: Oh, geez, ask me a question I can answer! ‘Cause if you ask me that question I have to give you the same answer I gave your brother which was it’s balanced on responsibility and readiness and when you need it and when we think you need it and that’s not really an interesting answer for you.
Bear: Can I have a puppy?? I want a puppy.
me: Okay. I cannot say to you “yes, you can have a puppy.” I cannot say that. Do you know why? Daddy would be beyond angry if we came home with a dog…plus I don’t think what you want is what would really happen. ‘Cause when you say “Can I have my own puppy?” it seems like you’re saying I want a dog who will sleep with me, follow me, spend all its time with me, right? What does “my own puppy” mean to you?
Bear: Like, I’ll take care of it and feed it and everything.
me: Well, yeah, but you can’t forget about the other two dogs in the house. You already help take care of them and feed them. Now, this is putting aside the whole your dad says no way are we getting a third dog thing, okay? I’m just talking to you, girl to girl, real life…I don’t know if you’re really thinking about what it would be like to bring a dog into a house that has more people than you and two other dogs. It’s different if you’re living on your own and you bring a dog home. Then you are the pack leader and that is your dog. You bring a dog into our house right now, it’s joining a pack. There are two other dogs in there. There’s dad and I, and we’re the natural pack leaders…I don’t know if you’ll get the feeling that you’re looking for…and did you know that Gracie is yours and Turner’s dog?
me: When we got that dog your daddy said I want to get a puppy, and I said are you crazy? Why are we getting a puppy?! ‘Cause we’d only gotten dogs that were twelve months or older. And he said “I want to get a puppy because I want a dog that will grow up with the kids and hopefully be with them all the way through until they go off to college. I want them to grow up with that dog.”
Bear: (laughing) Gracie keeps eating that stuff she’s probably not gonna live that long!
me: Lord help us, I know…so really, if you’re looking at it from dad’s perspective, Gracie’s your dog.
Bear: I think she knows that.
me: I think she does! She loves you guys beyond all reason…all right, you good? We’ll flip the interview and every time we do one of these, you’ll get to ask a question.
Bear: I’m gonna keep asking can I get a puppy.
me: Oh boy, then that’s gonna get to be a real tired answer, isn’t it? I love you.
Bear: I love you, too.
me: (blows a kiss) Thank you.