The difference between two kids raised in the same house can, at times, be astounding. One distinct thing that separates my children is the level of interest they show in finding out information about their birthparents. We have had both of our children since birth, so neither one have any actual memories of their birthmoms.
Maggie asks a ton of questions about her birth mom and her background. I can remember the exact moment when Maggie realized that she wasn't "the same" as Chris and me. She was about two years old and sitting on her potty chair before she got in the bathtub. She was completely naked, and for whatever reason, she looked down at her belly, then over at the dog and declared, "I'm brown like Dempsey. You're not brown like me and Dempsey." And so it started.
Maggie has always had an intense curiosity about birth mom. We have tried to answer her questions as honestly as we could, at the level she was ready for. A lot of her questions we don't have answers for, simply because our knowledge about her birth mom is limited. Some questions she asks over and over again, as if wanting to solidify certain facts in her mind, lest she forget them. I would say that at least once every two weeks, she asks me some question about her birth mom, her adoption, or something that relates in someway to her background.
Being only seven, Maggie doesn't have a real solid grasp on how the whole adoption thing works. In reality, you fill out scads of paperwork and have every angle of your life examined top to bottom. You give intimate details of your marriage and upbringing to complete strangers at the agency. You have people come to your home and measure and inspect. You take classes to educate you on adoption and parenting. You pay money. And then you wait for the phone to ring.
I think in Maggie's mind, she envisions us walking among the little baby beds in the hospital nursery, carefully inspecting each baby before we finally settled on her. I have tried to paint a more accurate picture for her, but I can't seem to dispel this fairy tale notion that has settled in her head. I know that when she is older, she will be better able to understand.
As for Aleita, the child has yet to ever ask a one question about adoption. Now granted, she is only four, but by the time Maggie was the age Aleita is now, the questions had already started to come. In fact, Aleita has yet to ever mention one word about the fact that she is a different skin color than Chris and me. She has, on occasion, made reference to her own brown skin color, but it has never been in contrast to the white of Chris and myself or to question why we are different from each other. She has been in the room or in the car several times when Maggie has asked questions of her birthmom and such, but seems to have no interest in pursuing the conversation further regarding her own adoption or birthparents. One time, when sitting at the table at dinner, Maggie tried to pique Aleita's curiosity about her birthmom by throwing out a few random things that she remembers from when Aleita was born. I pulled Maggie aside and told her that when Aleita was ready and wanted to know more, she would ask the questions and that it wasn't Maggie's job to instigate it. As for Aleita, she has made reference several times to the fact that she came from heaven - - I think as far as she is concerned, that is all the background information she needs to know.
I am not bothered by Maggie's need for answers about her history, or for the lack thereof on Aleita's part. I just find it interesting the difference between the level of curiosity of each of them regarding this topic.