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On June 1, 2018 Rebekah Henson published an important thread on Twitter critiquing the hashtags #FamiliesBelongTogether and #Ke...

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Are Adoptive Parents Modeling Enough Adoption Language for Their Children?

This post is about the lack of modeling from adoptive parents when it comes to answering questions about their child's adoption story with friends, family and even complete strangers. As an adoptee, this is extremely unsettling to me. This is the exact same approach my parents took over thirty years ago when I was a child. Thirty years ago it was a lack of information and fear that led to the absence of modeling and today it seems to be the belief is that sharing any aspect of the child's history is invading their privacy. I have heard over and over again in adoption circles that the adoption story is only for the adoptee to tell when they are ready to do so. As an adoptee that has lived through the repercussions of Adoptive Parent silence, I could not disagree more.

You see, when I grew up my parents had no information about my birth family or my adoption story. They hardly mentioned my adoption and when a friend or stranger asked about my adoption, the response was usually "we don't even think of her as being adopted." Talk about reinforcing that adoption IS BAD to your child and missing a teachable moment! I was fed the universal adoption line of the 70's, "Your Mother loved you so much that she gave you a better life." God, I always cringed inside when my well meaning Mother said this.  It never made sense to me.  It still doesn't. Shit - I love my kids too, should I send them to Dubai to live in a castle with a chef and chauffeur? Some would argue that would be a better life than what we are providing them. It's just crap. No one relinquishes their children to give them a better life. It is NOT that simple. There is typically a lot more meat in that sandwich! Any adoptee in reunion will tell you that. I will say that there has been an enormous shift in that thinking when it comes to adoption language. Families are talking more inside the home and seem to have more educated responses when it comes to the tough questions. But is it enough?