Daycare Delimmas

The Woob has been with the same in-home care provider since he was eight weeks old.  We love her and the other kids she cares for.  She loves him.  She provides a clean, stuctured, comfortable place and lots of fun activities.  Perhaps I’m a bad momma for sending him to daycare in the first place, but if a person has to do it, all they can hope is that they find a place like J’s for their babies.  Julie knows that Woob was adopted, that he has another Mama that he sees.  Its not a usual topic of discussion, but she’s aware of how we do things, and I don’t think she thinks we’re crazy for it.

Since she’s a single provider, when she gets sick, goes on vacation, has a family emergency, etc., we have to scramble to find alternate arrangements, or take off work ourselves.  Its not easy at times to explain that to even the most understanding supervisor.  Since Woob is two, he is now eligible to attend the daycare at Papa2Roo’s place of employment.  A little while back, I got us put on their waiting list and they indicated that there might be an opening at the end of the year.  Surprisingly, Monday, while I was off work, (ironically in J’s absence), the care center called saying they have an opening NOW.  Wow.  I wasn’t ready for that–the adjustment Woob’ll have to make from someone he’s known his whole life.  And I know he’ll manage and adjust and likely thrive.  Its a very cool place with great people and Daddy is right there on campus with him if he needs him.

So I got the paperworkand was filling out the usual information and came to the page where they ask us to “Describe your family structure.”  At first, I’m all “huh?”  Ohhhh, they want to know if we’re married, single, living together, divorced, gay…it took me a minute to realize I could easily fill the blank with “adoptive family.”  Hmmmm…do I add that, or not?  It occurred to me that this is really the first time we’ve been confronted with whether or not to share this information with strangers.  Certainly, we don’t hide the fact that Woob was adopted.  Since he was working there before Woob came along, all Papa2Roo’s coworkers know how he came to be a part of our family.  We had to notify HR when he was born in order to iron out the insurance stuff.  J, the babysitter had to know, because we lined her up before he was even born.  So those folks were told out of necessity.  I certainly don’t want to share that information and have it used in a negative way (i.e., new caregivers thinking my kiddo misbehaves or cries or hits because, why of course, he’s adopted!)  If he does those things, I’m pretty sure that its because he’s two and gets frustrated, and tries to see what he can get away with behaviorally, like every other two year old.  So my first inclination is just to say that we are in a two-parent, married household with no other children, skip the adoption stuff.

Then I think back to a post that Nicole wrote where her daughter Sunshine shared with her daycare teacher that she had a sister, Moonbeam, and because the caregiver didn’t know about the daughter Nicole placed, the teacher thought the child was fabricating her sister.  I don’t want that to happen.  i want Woob to be able to know and talk about his little sis, J., even though she doesn’t live with us, and for other people not to think he’s making things up, or ask all kinds of nosey questions.  But I also want to protect his ability to tell his story as he chooses once he’s more aware of it, and not have to wrestle with other people’s understanding or misunderstanding of the situation.

I still haven’t filled in the blank, even three days later.

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9 Comments

Filed under adoption, motherhood, open adoption

9 responses to “Daycare Delimmas

  1. We’ve faced the same thing twice now. For what it’s worth, I opened with the basic two-parent household, etc. info then wrote something like, “Other relatives Puppy may talk about are his grandparents (who live nearby) and his birth parents, K & R (with whom we’re in an open adoption)” At this stage of his life, it was important to me that his regular caregivers affirm and validate the first family relationships if he brought them up. To do that, I felt they needed to know at least this minimal information about the adoption. I think that will change once he is older.

    Your mileage may vary… 🙂

  2. M.

    Thanks for the feedback, H. Any other takers out there??

  3. For us (and something my mom did, since I’m adopted to!) was to not put anything down on paper and to talk to people one on one. That way, you know that the person getting the info is understanding it the way you want it explained and not jumping to conclusions based on a word or two on a form.

    There is nothing worse then a teacher deciding that a child has a “problem” at school BECAUSE they are adopted because that teacher thinks all birth mothers are crack addicts. And by having it on paper, you cannot control who reads it.. the secretary, the admin staff etc.. they just don’t need to know.

  4. I second what Andy says….on MAM’s forms we filled out for her daycare (two years ago this month), I don’t think I wrote anything down on paper. I did mention it to the director, I think, when we registered. And then when MAM started talking, I mentioned it to her teacher, so that she would know who she’s talking about.

    As a teacher, I’ve had parents mention their child’s adoptive situation it to me, and it’s never really been an issue for any of my students (I’ve had several over the years). Usually it’s a verbal thing.

    I’d just write down your immediate family structure, and then maybe mention it to his new provider so she’s hip.

  5. Wow. I hadn’t thought of some of these things. I’m glad you posted this! This may be something we’ll be dealing with over the next year.

    I’m currently working with a friend about possibly starting a support group for adoptive and waiting families, and this is the type of topic many people would have input on or be interested in. Discussions with other adoptive parents like this usually do bring to light different points I might not have thought about.

    I’ll have to add this one to our list of topics for meetings/informational notes.

  6. Nan

    Hi! Just found you via Soper…hope you don’t mind.

    Great topic, which sent me scrambling back to the paperwork from when our Little Man went into daycare (which he adores, btw). We didn’t write anything down, but I did discuss our family with the director. She has one open and one int’l adoption in her own family, so she really understood not only our situation, but also how to use and encourage positive language.

    For us, it was important that the care providers knew at least part of our story…LM looks more like his 1st dad than either of us and I want the fact that he’s adopted to be a natural thing, just like the fact that his little pal has blonde hair, and the sky is (generally) blue.

    By the way, when we transitioned from a nanny to day-care at about 20 mos, I saw LMs personality really blossom and his skills start to skyrocket. He was able to observe more children, and learn from them as well as his teachers. He’s become much more social and verbal, and can do things I never would have thought him ready for.

    The only part of the transition that was really tough was his naps – we really had to work w/the teachers to find the right environment so he could sleep in a room with others. He didn’t nap at all the first week, but after that it settled down nicely.

  7. I had the same thoughts that Andy did. I would probably not put anything down on paper but go in and talk to people one on one. Like you, I don’t want my child labeled but I don’t want to hide the fact that he was adopted and make him feel ashamed of it.

    Let us know what you decide in the end. I’m curious.

  8. thanksgivingmom

    I’m curious too 🙂

  9. I was just thinking about you this afternoon and wanted to drop by to say, “Hello.” 🙂

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