Sometimes I have trouble keeping my mouth shut (no comments from the peanut gallery please). The other day I saw a story on TV and I was literally yelling at the screen. It was about two young brothers, 10 and 11 years old. Their parents died unexpectedly when they were little. The 11 year old ended up living with his grandmother and the 10 year old was adopted. The two boys met each other (through a twist of fate) this past summer and were reunited for the first time since they were babies. The thing that struck me about this story was that the reporter said "Isaac, the 10 year old, did not know he was adopted." WHAT? This is the year 2012 and we are still neglecting to tell our children where they come from? I was annoyed... Annoyed that it was mentioned by the reporter so nonchalantly and not addressed any further (why even mention it in the story?) and annoyed with the mother for not being open and honest with her child. Perhaps she was scared or was protecting her child. I understand that she probably had the right intentions, but I just do not get it...
It is your children's right to know who they are and where they come from; it should not be kept from them. It makes them who they are. I understand that sometimes their story may be tainted by difficulty, but it's still their story and they have the right to it. By keeping information from them, isn't that indicating that they should be embarrassed or ashamed? And if and when they do find out, how will they ever trust you again?
As an adoptive mother, I have been given an indescribable gift and knowing where my children come from and being able to share that with them is part of that gift. One of my favorite quotes from James Gritter's book, The Spirit of Open Adoption is "In the absence of information, fantasy abounds." It's so true...for everything...when there is no information, we concoct things in our heads and there is no limit to what we could imagine and create. Given all the information, our children are able take it in, process it and move forward without having all the "what ifs" floating around.
I'm always shocked when people ask me if my children know they are adopted. For us it's like asking if they know what color eyes they have. Of course they do, why wouldn't they? It's is part of who they are and I do not have the authority to take that away from them, nor would I choose to.
"Children thirst to hear where they came from...
they need to know that they were desired, that their birth was a wonder, and that they were always the object of love and care."