Sunday, March 20, 2011

Class Act

A few weeks ago, Dylan was invited to my colleague's Child Psychology class. She was teaching infant development and thought it would be instructive for the college students to see a little kid in action. Along with my guy, my good friend's eight-month old girl was on exhibit.

It was fun! Of course, I loved hearing the students exclaim how cute he is and try to catch his eye. A little shy at first, Dylan soon started flirting as usual.

The professor began by asking my friend and me to relate our children's birth stories. I hesitated for a moment, wondering how relevant his adoption history was to the class, and then decided that though it really wasn't, learning a bit about open adoption might actually be interesting (and potentially useful?) to these students. I ended up saying something like, "Well, Dylan was adopted, which means we first 'met' him when his birth mom was about eight months pregnant and she selected us to be his parents. We are still in contact with her, and we are grateful every day that she gave us the opportunity to raise such a beautiful kid."

Then the professor moved on to asking us about various developmental milestones. How were our kids sleeping? What did they eat? How would we discribe their temperments? How did they communicate? She demonstrated a few things, like object permanence, for example, by taking a toy away for Dylan and showing the class that he knew to go looking for it.

A few times, I felt a little nervous that he was expected to demonstrate something that he wouldn't be ready to. She gave him a bright plastic Easter egg that he could hear had something inside of it. She explained that at about 18 months, many kids will learn that certain adults can be counted on as "helpers." Sure enough, after trying to get the halves apart himself for awhile, he came to me, shaking the egg so I could assist with unscrewing it.

The only task that he "failed" was when she smudged his nose with some lipstick and explained that doing so will upset many kids about his age when they see themselves as "blemished" in the mirror. But when Dylan saw his reflection, he just chuckled and moved on to rolling his truck along the floor.

And then class was done and the students scooted off. I was really touched, though, that a few of them came up to thank us for coming and to tell me directly how sweet my son is. One young woman in particular waited to speak with me. She said, "I wanted you to know I think it is so cool you adopted him. I'm adopted, too."

I said, "Oh, great. Thanks for saying that. We feel so fortunate to have him, and I love hearing about other families built by adoption."

"Yeah, I have a younger brother and sister, and they were also adopted. They're all closed adoptions though. He's really lucky. I know he'll have a great life with you." And off she went with her big book bag slung over her shoulder.

I'm not sure whether she thinks Dylan is lucky because he is in an open adoption, because he was adopted at all, or because he was adopted by us in particular. Whichever, I left the class reminded that I am the lucky one.

1 comment:

harriet glynn said...

I ALWAYS think that we are the lucky ones but I've been surprised how many adoptees have told me that we have done a wonderful thing and that our son is so lucky to have us. That always surprises me but makes me feel good as well.