One morning this week, when I was late getting into work and BJ was already at day camp, dh said I want to talk to you about something. He was very serious.
It turns out one of the young women who work at the summer camp approached him as he picked BJ up earlier that week. She said, without preface, "Is BJ adopted". DH was taken off guard and uncomfortable. He stuttered a bit and said "yes." The woman responded with something along the lines of "wow, she looks so much like you". DH did not ask what brought it up or why she asked."
DH is not terribly comfortable talking about adoption. He knows BJ and I do, and only recently BJ has become more comfortable talking about it in front of DH. He says - I just don't think of her as an "adopted daughter", she is just daughter, and the rest is no one else's business.
So, DH was worried about why BJ would have announced it at camp, and even more so that she would be teased by other kids. He wanted to ask BJ about it but didn't want to say something to make her feel bad.
So, I took a breath and as non-confrontationally as I could, I said. Well, the last thing we want to do is make BJ feel like that she did something wrong or that there is anything shameful about being adopted. He said, No.. no.. of course not. But what was said?
I responded that BJ had told me that two of the women are pregnant. I would guess that something was said about a baby in the tummy and BJ said something about being in her first mother's tummy or not being in mine. DH nodded at that.
I said, or she is testing the waters with the kids to see what reaction she gets.
He was still not comfortable going back to the teasing possibility. I reiterated that it is her story to tell or not, and she has to test somewhere. He can talk with her about it, but to be casual and just ask - don't question her. He said he would feel more comfortable if all three of us talked about it. I said that if we all sat down to a family meeting to talk about the fact that she mentioned adoption at camp, it doesn't matter what we say, the subtext is that it is a big deal and not OK.
I summed up by just saying... you are uncomfortable. And he said yes. And the fact I said it without sounding judgemental seemed to help. Just owning up to the fact that he doesn't want to discuss the adoption with acquaintances.
I mentioned that BJ brings up the "I never got to see her" a lot and that we need to do what we can before the teen years to contact L. He said, Oh I don't mind about talking with L about it, or family - but others I don't like - and when she is a teen, she can handle other kids (I think he has forgotten what it was like to be a teen).
We ended with me agreeing to gently see if I could find out how it came up at camp. I asked a few generic questions like, so what kinds of things do you talk about at camp and I got quite a teen sounding response out of my seven year old: "why, why do you want to know," and I let it go, because really if that question triggered a sense of privacy, there is no way I can get to something that was said a week ago in a context I have no way to enter into the conversation.
Plus, again - its hers to tell or not, and while I hope she chooses trustworthy people to share anything personal in her heart, it is my job to be there to pick up the pieces if someone is cruel and she has to learn by experience that people say stupid things. She has to learn who to trust sometime, and she has gotten teased on regular kid no real reason stuff enough to know that teasing happens.
So... DH's feelings about it aren't something I am really comfortable with myself. But telling him his feelings are wrong wouldn't move him along the spectrum. He is much more conservative about adoption than he was when we were going through the process with the county. But I wonder if it isn't sort of OK for dad's. I mean, I love my daughter and my embracing of her full history and connections to L doesn't mean I see her as any less my daughter. But in that daddy=daughter adoration, wouldn't it feel comforting that none of it all mattered to him or was on his radar. That you just are who you are, and in his mind, that is his beloved daughter? It just seems like its different with moms/daughters. If you turn a blind eye or even just overlook something important, it IS denying or hiding it. The subtext between moms and daughters is so huge. If daddy does it, its just because he is dad.
Or am I justifying for him?