We all desire to know who we are and can think back in our mind to know where we came from in most circumstances. When we cannot remember portions of our lives, family members are there to fill in the blanks. Who does this for our adopted children?
When our children were adopted, caseworkers gave us the information they knew in most cases. Then we tucked this back for our children in a “me book” or in our minds for a future conversation we would have. Sometimes the information that we received is hard to understand even as adults.
According to Dr. Greg Keck, adopted parents should give children their history even if it not favorable from our standards. If not, children will make up stories or blame themselves for not being with their biological family. This I have witnessed first hand as an adopted parent.
When we adopted our children, ages 4 and 22 months, our oldest never talked about his biological family. As our youngest son grew, he started asking questions about his mother and his father, who was already deceased. As a social worker, who had worked in family preservation, I was not comfortable telling my son that his father committed suicide. The older he got the more he wanted to know. At one point he even asked if his brother's dad had killed his dad. To this I told him “no”.
When I attended Dr. Keck's seminar, I asked him this question and he told me to tell him the truth. When our son asked again, I told him, and he has never asked anything else. I learned on that day that our adopted children need to know their history, good or bad, to help them in their own minds make sense of the lives they are living each day.
Dr. Keck goes on to talk about telling our children the truth about their past helps us stay connected with them in the present and future. They will know that good or bad we will always share the truth with them. This is a win-win situation for parents and children alike.
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