“Daddy, can a woman with no husband have a baby?”
Uh… Quick… Don’t panic! Don’t panic! Hmm… What exactly is she asking here? How much do I need to tell her? Why is Krista upstairs? Uh….
“Well, that’s a good question sweetie! Why are you asking?”
This is what started our conversation over the breakfast table before church this morning. I was caught totally off guard and for a short while had absolutely no clue how to respond. Luckily a well-crafted question bought me some time to think as well as figure out just what my 5 year-old daughter was wanting to know.
Turns out she was at a church consignment sale with my wife yesterday and they had posters up advertising an adoption information meeting. We also have been sharing openly about a family from church that has just adopted a little boy from a teenage mom. While we have gone into just a little detail recently about how boys and girls are different, we haven’t had that talk yet. I surmised that what she really wanted to know was whether it was okay or not for a child to be in a family with no daddy. I think she was also wondering why a mommy would choose to give her baby up for adoption.
I am often amazed at the weight of things kids think about. Our daughter is surrounded at church and homeschool events by families that have adopted. We talk about adopting into our own home and how much of a blessing it would be to both the child and our family. We had never really given much thought about how, for a five-year old, it wouldn’t make much sense. I wanted to be sure to respond carefully.
“You know, I love how you are always thinking of other people. I can tell this is important to you. Remember how God made everything and had a plan for how it would all work? Sometimes things don’t work out the way God had planned. This isn’t because God was wrong or couldn’t make it work. Sometimes people think it would be better to try a different plan. God’s perfect plan for babies is that they would have a mommy and a daddy who are married to each other. There are lots of reasons that a baby might be born without a daddy. Sometimes it can still work out good, but God’s ways are always better.”
I was amazed at the attention span of my little girl. I didn’t want to keep talking if she had checked out of the conversation so I asked her if this all made sense. She nodded that it did but I could tell that she needed a little more explanation. I began telling her about the family from church that just adopted a little boy. I explained that the mommy just felt that it would be better for the baby to be in a family that had a mommy and a daddy who were married to each other. I shared how difficult it must have been for the little boy’s mommy to make that decision but because she loved him so much she wanted to do what she felt was best for him.
Our conversation seemed to answer her questions for now. She will likely have additional questions soon so we will continue talking about it as she puts pieces together. I love these talks we have because it just broadens the communication pathways between us and our children. Without reacting we set the stage for future conversations that might be more difficult. I also love them because it gives us a chance to share with our daughters God’s heart. I didn’t go into any detail about mistakes that people make with pre-marital sex or how families end up divorced. But through talks like this we communicate a very important message: God loves his people and wants what is best for them. This will be a thread woven into future conversations with our kids. We want them to know that God’s love is bigger and better than anything we could want. Because of this, he can be trusted with our plans.
I would love to hear from others who have had conversations like this with their kids. Share what your conversation was like in the comment section and how you felt it drew your children closer to the heart of Christ.