How We Explained Surrogacy & Adoption To Our Kindergartener

by Jaime and Kristina

Explaining adoption to a kindergartener

In life, there are many things people want that they don't have. For children like our sweet six-year-old Olivia, wanting is even more challenging to comprehend. What she wants is not an object or a special outing. She wants a sibling, or what she calls a “little Sissy”. This wanting is not shared by her alone; it's truly what my husband Jaime and I want as well. For our six-year-old, the waiting for an adoption is pretty hard. In her mind, all we are asking is for our party of three to become a party of four. How hard can that really be?

We have gone through the most obvious stages of understanding with Olivia. But thank goodness, rarely on the same day. Otherwise we would be in a little bit of trouble trying to find the right words for a six-year-old. The cutest by far was, "Mommy, can't we just go to the store and buy a Sissy? You have money." In her mind, when we want or need something, we go to the store and buy it. My response to her was, "Unfortunately, it's not that easy. Mommy and Daddy wish it were. We have to go through a process.”

Her next question was, “Why don't you have a baby in your belly?”: like some of her friend's mommies. This one is always tough for me to answer because she doesn't know the full story of her big brother in Heaven. She knows that her brother is with God and visits his niche in a special chapel. But she doesn't know that I delivered him stillborn at 20 weeks or so. Definitely a talk we will have with her later. For now, we keep that conversation very basic.

Eventually, I explained to her that there are two others ways for a family to have a baby - adoption and surrogacy. Our initial preference was just to explain adoption and wait to explain surrogacy until she was much older. However, a close family friend is a surrogate for her brother's family. We know both families very well and felt that we needed to have the conversation with Olivia since she was going to see our friend at all stages of her pregnancy. My husband Jaime felt like I would be the best one to explain it to her. So one day, I took a deep breath and started. I told her there are some mommies that cannot have a baby in their tummy. The mommy then asks a very nice lady if she can hold the mommy and daddy's baby in her tummy instead. When the baby is born, the nice lady gives the baby to his/her mommy and daddy. Olivia understood the concept of surrogacy enough to ask a couple of heart-wrenching questions: 1) Mommy, can Aunt Kika (our friend) hold your baby in her tummy? 2) Why does Tidus get to be a big brother first and not me? Tough questions. But at least this showed me that she understood the general concepts of surrogacy.

These conversations transitioned nicely into an explanation of adoption. I explained to her there is another way for families to have a baby and this is the process we're going to follow. It's called adoption. I told her that there are mommies that have babies in their tummies and these mommies are looking for special families to give them this biggest blessing. The mommy-to-be has a hard decision to make. If she picks our family, she will call to let us know she selected us. Then when it’s time for the baby to be born, we will go to the hospital and that will be where you, mommy, and daddy will meet Sissy for the first time. When the doctor says the baby can leave the hospital, we will head home to share Sissy with our family and friends. Deep conversations, right?

I proceeded to tell her that we have to be patient and continue to say our prayers for the mommy-to-be to pick us. We just have to continue to believe. I asked her if she believed that she would be a big sister and with full confidence she said, “YES!” I told her that Mommy and Daddy do as well.

It’s hard to explain, but we have a deep feeling in our hearts that we will be a family of four. There are moments when we want to throw in the towel on the dream of welcoming a second daughter into our family. Moments where we just want to be content and grateful for the healthy and beautiful daughter we already have. And we are so grateful. But something in our hearts says don’t give up just yet. We know there is a mommy-to-be looking for a special family to adopt her unborn daughter. We’re just waiting for her to pick us and call.