We have just finished a terrific little book called In on it: What adoptive parents would like you to know about adoption by Elisabeth O'Toole. It's a short, 150 page, informative adoption guide for family and friends of those who are adopting. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has someone special in their lives that are adopting. I know I will be passing our copy along to my family.
One of the topics that I wanted to touch on is privacy. I know having a blog that I am sharing parts of my life with you, but that doesn't give me the right to share my child's personal history. Adoption is not secret, but some information about our child will remain private.
People are curious by nature and may ask questions about an adopted child that are far more intimate than what they would ask about someones biological child. Family and friends are sometimes caught off guard when they are asked specific questions about the child's history. Many times these questions are asked in front of the child. (Try not to do that.) In on it has some great suggestions on how to handle these questions while protecting the child's privacy, integrity and their right to a sense of normalcy.
A good rule of thumb shoud be that your response should always be what you'd want the child to hear. You are speaking on their behalf. This is good practice even when the child is too young to understand what you are saying. Children may not seem like they are paying attention, but they are taking it all in. If it is a question that you are not sure how to answer simply reply, "that is not for me to share". Never feel obiligated to answer any question you are not comfortable with. There is a balance of presenting a positive attitude about adoption and also taking care not to compromise the right of privacy of the family.
I am sure we will share some of our child's history with immediate family and very close friends. Don't take it personally if boundaries are implemented. Some information that might be off-limits would be birthparent information, details about early living conditions and specific reasons why the child was available for adoption. Ask yourself why do you want to know?
You are an important part of this child's life. "Adopted" is usually secondary in importance to "family." Take care in protecting the newest member of the family.
♥ If you would like to help us adopt, we still have puzzle pieces available! Click on the fundraiser tab for more information and to get yours! Thank you.