I thought it would be fun to take Hailey questions from our Instagram community, and when I solicited questions… dozens poured in. They ranged from the simple (“What do you want to be when you grow up?”) to the offbeat (“Who is her engineering role model?”). One question, though stood out boldly.
“Does Hailey have a relationship with her biological parents?”
Hailey is only 8 years old. She knows her origin story, as much as she’s able to understand and process at her age. So I ignored that question when I thought through the video we were going to make. It’s too much to put on a kid to answer a hard question like that.
So we recorded the video, and she answered the questions with candor and humor (like I knew she would). And then it was time to choose our last question. I was scrolling through the submitted questions and Hailey looked over my shoulder at them. The hard question, about her biological parents, caught her eye even as I tried to scroll quickly past it.
She pointed at it. “Wait… that one,” she whispered. “I wanna do that one.” I asked if she was sure, and she nodded yes. Then she answered it. With candor and humor, as only Hailey could.
I almost didn’t include it in the video, and then when it made it in through the editing process I almost didn’t post the video at all. What if people saw it and thought it was inappropriate for me to let a kid tackle such a hard question? What if her birth parents saw it and it hurt them? What if other adopted people saw it and it bumped up against a point of hurt for them and they lashed out and me (or her)?
In the end, with trepidation, I posted it. And I posted it because even at 8 years old, Hailey is a person who has her own opinions, well thought-out and reasoned. She owns her own story, which she has every right to. And it’s not my job as her parent to get in her way… it’s my job to be the guard rails on the freeway while she drives. I can protect her from negative comments and the opinions of adults, because that is not something she should worry or care about right now. And it’s my job to encourage her to take the wheel, even when it’s scary to me, trusting that she will drive herself to safety.
Here’s the video, in case you’re curious!