Practice Makes Perfect: Our Plan for Telling Our Daughter Her Adoption Story

by Scott Effler and Geoff Gaspar

Geoff Gaspar and Scott Effler live in San Francisco with their 9-month old daughter, Lilly. Geoff works as a Project Manager and Scott is a Technical Evangelist but they love that their first job now is being a dad. Geoff and Scott contributed their family story to help us to create our first LGBTQ Family Story book. We asked for more insight on their story, and they wrote an essay that speaks to the considerations most LGBTQ families must reflect on. We can't thank them enough for sharing it with us here and writing it in our book.

During our adoption journey, we took a “Preparation for Adoption” workshop. The workshop opened our eyes to a number of adoption-related concepts, but one of the aspects that really stuck out to us was a piece of advice about how to tell your adoption story.

Essentially, the advice was: Start practicing early and often. Start telling your baby the story of their adoption even before they learn to talk. When you have a sweet, cuddly baby in your arms, they won’t notice if you start to look nervous when you hit one of the sensitive parts of the story. When they’re older, they will notice. With practice, your story will become second nature. You’ll be able to iron out the wrinkles long before she really starts paying attention.

When we sit down with our nine month old Lillian right now, she does stop to listen. She’s more interested in figuring out the best moment to stick her finger in our mouths, but she’s listening, no doubt. So for now, she might not really care what we say about her adoption, but over time, she will.

That’s when we, as gay parents, start to feel a little pressure. Some people have to explain adoption to their children. We have to explain adoption AND why our daughter has two dads. There is a lot of story to get right. A lot of places where we might quickly get uncomfortable diving in too deep. As we’ve begun practicing our story, we’ve had to remind ourselves to keep it simple. The nice thing about our Twigtale book is that it’s given us a simple and straightforward starting point. It provides a quick and easy explanation about our family.

At some point, that’s going to seem like the easy stuff. As Lillian grows up, she may want to hear about what it was like in the hospital on the day she was born. When she’s even older, she might have questions about how that curious shape in the ultrasound image was one of the earliest photos we have of her.

For now, we have our Twigtale book to be our guide so we can practice starting the conversation. We can get to all the other details in due time, because as much as we practice, she’s still bound to surprise us with a curveball question at some point.  

This essay was originally published on June 30, 2015