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Kahleah knows the difference ...


Leceta Chisholm Guibault
August 1998

A year ago when my Guatemalan-born daughter was five, I bought the book Twice Upon-a-Time: Born and Adopted, by Eleanora Patterson (I highly recommend it for adoptive families.) One evening, before bed, I decided to read this particular new book to Kahleah.

As I read the story to her, I realized that at one point the story mentions the adopted child's birthmother and birthfather. Without missing a beat, Kahleah sat up straight in bed and said, "Wait a minute! Birthfather? You never mentioned a birthfather before! I know about birthmothers ... but what is that, a birthfather?"

Once again Miss Smarty-pants caught me off guard. It is true. We have discussed her birthmother since she asked me (when she was 27 months old) whose belly she grew in. I never did get around to the "birthfather thing".

I took a deep breath ... hoping not to say the wrong thing and cause her to need years of therapy! I explained, simply, that it takes two to make a baby, so her birthmother needed her birthfather.

Kahleah didn't ask any more questions along the "sex" line, thank God. She wanted to know what his name was. I said Edmundo. Her response was to roll those gorgeous black eyes and say, "Ed-MUN-doooowww, eh? Was he cute?" And in the same breath, "Oh, I suppose you never met him ... ".

I explained that, no, we have never met him but I am sure he is "cute" if he looks like her. Kahleah thought about this for a moment. Then, with love in her eyes and heart, she exclaimed, "Well, he may be cute, but I am SURE he is not handsome like my Daddy!!!"

In that moment Kahleah made clear to me the difference between a birthfather and a DADDY. Kahleah's Daddy cried when I told him the story.
Leceta is mother to Kahleah (Guatemala, 1991) and Tristan (Colombia, 1994). Leceta and husband Jean and family live in Joliette, near Montreal.

Leceta Chisholm Guibault is a board member of the Adoption Council of Canada and the Federation of Quebec Adoptive Parents, and moderator of the email list Canadians-Adopting (

Copyright 2004 Leceta Chisholm Guibault,

First published in Post-adoption Helper No. 6, August 1998.

Also published in Blair Matthews, Touched By Adoption, Vol. 1, 1997.

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