“Mom, I think one day when I get a girl I’ll name her ‘Hot Dog.” What do you think she’ll say about that?”
This was my oldest son Oscar–being eight, dare I say being an eight-year-old boy, simultaneously thoughtful, farcical, and provoking–contemplating the significance of his future one moment and a split second later coming up with an accompanying detail clearly intended to shock.
I told Oscar that my future granddaughter may want to have a conversation with him about his choice of names. He laughed and came up with several others equally egregious; and while he did I went back to his original question–” . . . one day when I get a girl . . .”
As an adoptive family, his word choice did not immediately cause me to sit up and take notice. In fact, it all but passed under my radar until many moments after Oscar uttered it, when I was all but fully ensconced in a new thread of conversation.
We do not tend to use such informal language where adoption is concerned. We use positive adoption language, of course, but we also are apt to pepper it with a bit more formality. But that an eight-year-old would take language he’s heard from adults and make it own is not surprising. And his phrasing speaks to the depth of his comfort with adoption, with his adoption.
Our children understand and will continue to appreciate the myriad ways families are formed. But just as families formed biologically may sometimes see other family formations and configurations as “other,” Oscar sees the way our family was formed as not just typical but perhaps, right now, even as his only option. He will learn, of course, that adoption is one way; he may choose to pursue another–if any.
But here today, as my son is eight and forming every day aspects of his identity, of which his adoption is a part, I take great comfort in his comfort with how his family was formed.