Linda Grant is a social media and marketing professional by day and by night, blogs at nycsinglemom.com where she writes about raising her adoptive tween daughter in New York City and trying not to be run over by the craziness that defines the city.
I have chosen to live in New York City not only for it’s diversity but mainly because there are so many adopted kids. I adopted my daughter when she was just 11 days old so any issues she may have are all on me. As my daughter entered second grade, I thought it was an opportune time to sign her up for an adopted kids workshop. Let’s face it, I hardly think she and her fellow adopted classmates are likely to be “talking about being adopted” at recess. This workshop would provide her with a safe environment to chat with an experienced social worker and other adopted kids about feelings they may be experiencing.
During the conversation with Mary, the social worker, she told me that it was recommended that I have a discussion with my daughter about the birds and bees, okay, she was more professional and said “sex.”
“Really, she is only 7 going on 8, isn’t it a little early, is it really necessary?” I asked uncomfortably. I could deal with almost any topic even raising a child on my own, why I didn’t find “Mr. Right” all seemed like a cake walk but “the sex talk”, I rather poke my eyes out.
“Yes, I recommend you have the conversation before the class.” Mary said firmly.
“Why???” I asked.
“Adoptive parents seemed to be focused on the birth mother and forget there is also a birth father. At some point, children realize it takes two people to make a baby but not sure how it works. Also, because she will be in a group with kids who are older (the group was made up of both second and third graders) as well as kids with siblings, the topic of sex may come up and you don’t want to her to hear it first in that type of setting.” Mary explained.
So I off I went to the bookstore with the social worker’s recommended titles. I asked the salesclerk where the books about “sex” were. A twenty-something girl guided me to the section and happily told me that she thought the books with cartoons would appeal to a child.
I picked up a couple of books and promptly put them back. Looking at the books, I was somewhat appalled at the “cartoon” people who looked distorted and freakish. Maybe it’s me but a cartoon penis and breasts seemed so unsophisticated like cartoons you would see in a men’s magazine rather than the sophisticated stylings of The New Yorker. On second thought, the New Yorker cartoons are not very attractive either, so scratch that.
That was my signal to leave the bookstore with no visual aids for my “sex” discussion. With only days to go before the support group session and just could not find the “right” time to broach the topic.
On the day of our workshop, I waited for the social worker to scold me for not having done I was told but as I sat there listening while the other parents detailed their adoption stories, everyone admitted that they just could not have the “sex” talk with their child. Yes, they could talk their children about their birth parents and adoption but sex, yikes!
The social worker started to laugh and said “that’s okay, rarely do parents have the discussion but it’s at least a start you are now thinking about the topic so you can have the talk.”
I walked away with from the workshop feeling not alone in my fear of having the conversation. That said, it’s been weeks since the workshop and yet, I have yet to find the right time. Let’s hope I do soon.