He was already less-than-thrilled by the selection for family movie night, simply because it was not his turn to choose. However, he eventually relaxed and enjoyed it with the rest of us until that sudden unexpected twist in the plot. Once again a loaded adoption quote thrown into a movie script ambushed an otherwise mellow evening.
Arms crossed and pouting, he flung himself up the stairs at the film's end. I found him in our third-floor bedroom, facing off with his daddy and demanding to see papers that proved our relationship to him. "He wants to know about his 'real' family," my husband said drily as we exchanged a knowing look. Our son never uses that term, but it was the one he had just heard in the movie.
For the next three-quarters of an hour, I pulled out files and pages of documentation. Adoption decree; revised birth certificate; nurses' charts from his weeks as a preemie in the NICU. His birth mother's full name, which he asked that I write on a piece of paper for him. He wanted to see her signature (which I did not have.) None of this had been hidden from him; in fact, not too long ago we had been looking at birth family pictures and talking adoption. At the time he had only seemed mildly interested. Now, he was riled up and insistent.
We have always tried to make adoption an open topic in our family. I am pretty certain none of our children feel it is "taboo" although perhaps they are not always comfortable initiating the conversation. I try to do so in order to keep that door always open. I believe it is their right to know and own their story. Nonetheless, it throws me for a loop when at least-expected moments adoption is inserted awkwardly into something like a feature film. Couldn't movies come with a warning so we could mentally prepare our kids?
Perhaps I over-analyze or am overly sentimental, but I don't think so. I just feel bad that our kids can't enjoy a engrossing storyline without having a bucket of water thrown in. Because at least on this night for our son, one comment was all it took.