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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sex Talk...

This weekend we attended an adoption seminar that was really wonderful! The workshop was about talking to your children about sex... and although we are several years away I jumped at the opportunity to see the speaker and take notes for when the time comes.

The workshop is called Sooner Than You Think and the speaker was Mary Flo Ridley. She has been talking to parents about having "the talk" with kids for years and has a dvd series called Simple Truths. But this was her first time to speak to an audience of adoptive / foster parents and though the message was much the same there were some really helpful things to think about sex from a perspective of adoption.

Some of differences between talking to bio kids and adopted kids that we discussed were things like the following...

1. It is suggested that you must start talking with children with to two things... a clear message about your family's values about sex and a basic biology of how this all works. For little children one of the first things you teach is that babies grow in Mommy's tummy... right? But then explaining that not all mommys are able to grow babies in their tummy (helllloooo infertility...) brings in the opportunity to not only talk about reproductions but about the idea that families are created in many different ways... and that can tie in with learning more about birthparents.
2. In the middle years the talk about sex for families of adoption can include talks about infertility... because kids will have questions... they may understand the mechanics the way they are designed to work... but what happens when you want to be a parent but the body doesn't work? Not every seed in the package sprouts into a flower... so although infertility may not be something discussed in most homes with the sex talks... with adopted kids it may come into the conversation.
3. Just pre-puberty we may continue to discuss our values in relationship to sex... this is the whole "don't you even think of doing it" part. However... in an adoption situation you may have to be careful in the way you word things... Telling a child it is morally wrong to have sex before marriage can, in the child's eyes, become a slam on birth parents who didn't wait... A discussion on the importance of using birth control if you do have sex may become, in a child's mind, a hard thing to hear because they are perhaps alive and well because someone didn't use birth control... So as you can see she brought up some very interesting points that I had not ever though of... and I am glad to start thinking about them now... way before I have to answer the questions.
4. In the teen years you may have to have a conversation about un-consensual sex... especially if you are trying to remain "transparent" about your child's conception and that is a part of their adoption story.

Remember this is only bullet points of the adoption/ foster portion of the workshop... there was so much more! I am so glad to have gone. And although her dvd series is not adoption based you may want to look into it... and who knows maybe this workshop will develop into a book about specifically talking to adopted kids about sex.

Oh yes... and when she was asked "at what age do you need to talk to you kids about sex" this is what she said.. " Take the youngest age you might think you should start talking... subtract 3 years.. and you will be about a year late!"


Blogger Linda S said...

Great information, and thanks for posting it! Just to give you some more words to use when you have The Talk...

The topic of unplanned pregnancies came up with a group of my friends recently. This group included me (obviously) who had given a baby up for adoption when I was 19 and my friend who got pregnant at 19, got married, and whose daughter was also in the room (listening in). The one point I hope she heard, the one point I hope the daughter I gave up hears, is that I do not regret getting pregnant, because regret would mean that I wish it hadn't happened. I would not UNDO giving birth to Madi and giving her to her parents, giving her life, giving them a family. But, I hope my daughters don't have to experience that pain, and for that reason, I hope they will wait until marriage, use protection, and avoid repeating my experience. That's my 2 cents, for what it's worth.

8:04 PM  
Blogger Tracey said...

You can regret doing something without regretting the consequences. Even my sister, who has 2 bio kids, regretts marrying the man she made their father, but certainly doesn't regrett them.

Great post Mrs. D....on a different note...I to got the harassment you did....I saw your name mentioned on the same posts mine was...I believe I'm in good company. Thanks lots to think about.

5:19 AM  
Blogger KLTTX said...

I attended this seminar too and thought it was great. I came home and told my husband that it was time we started talking to out 6 yo about sex and he freaked out thinking we had a few more years before then. Good news is that I asked my son if he had ever heard the word "sex" and he said no so at least he's not getting it from school. He has started to ask how babies come out of mommy's tummys and since he is bio and our other son is adopted, we get to tell him both ways.

5:37 AM  
Blogger Frenchie said...

Wow--that brings up some really interesting points!!

4:28 PM  
Blogger Anna said...

Mary Flo is a friend of mine and speaks through the organization I work for. It's so encouraging to hear how she has impacted you and other moms! We are really excited about branching out into foster and adoptive families because it is so close to our hearts. If anyone has questions about her program, don't hesitate to email me at

7:46 AM  
Blogger Tracey said...

You've been tagged....come over and see


2:19 PM  

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