Monday, July 27, 2009

How Do You Talk About Your Child's Adoption Story?

Recently I was talking with a friend who is also an adoptive mom. She was telling me how open her entire family had always been about the topic of adoption, and how she frequently shared with others about the joy she felt when she received her girls, how they reacted, and how the days that followed their initial meeting went.

She told me, however, that recently as she discussed her older child’s adoption, she saw for the first time real hurt in her eyes. She said she stopped to briefly talk to her about what she didn’t like and then had a longer talk with her after the friend left. She was surprised to learn that there were parts of her daughter’s story that really bothered her, namely her reaction upon meeting her family and all of the grieving she did in the days that followed. My friend said that seeing her daughter’s pain made her feel horrible, as she had no idea that there were parts which hurt her so much.

How have you dealt with what is acceptable to talk about and what isn’t with your family’s adoption story? Of course sharing an adoption story can encourage others to adopt, but can talking openly about your family’s story sometimes be at your child’s expense? How do you best find out which parts of your child’s story bother them and what they are comfortable speaking about in front of another person? My friend said she never wanted to hurt her daughter like this again, and she wondered if a parent should just stop talking about their child’s adoption story altogether?

Karen Maunu


  1. I think what happened is a good thing in this case..of course she didn't want to hurt her child, but think of the conversations they can have now. They can discuss those feelings and most likely create more of a relationship/bond. Talking about it is good. For both parties. What could happen later in life if this child has suppressed feelings. Maybe this will make her daughter stronger and more confident about herself because she talks about her feelings instead of pushing them down. Maybe now there will still be an adoption story to share, albeit an abridged version. Maybe now the child can interject some parts of the story and they can tell it together.
    I think conversation is key for us as adoptive parents and not talking about it altogether has the potential for negative effects.

  2. First off, I love the new look. So cheery and fresh! Reflects the heart of what you all do :)

    Second, we are no where near the stage of conversational interaction about our daughter's story. She's not 2 yet. But I'm so intrigued by all the different perspectives and ideas on the how's and why's and when's. I just spent an hour reading over a few sites that were recommended by a friend and I'm learning so much!

  3. Thank you so much for sharing your ideas. I think it is so important to keep the communication open and that is what I think is key. I can't wait to share your advice with my friend! Karen

  4. These hurts are real, but not dicussing them won't make them go away. It is so much better to talk about them in the safety of the family. This gives the child the opportunity to discuss the hurts and come to terms with them. Then, when the child is not within the family circle and the issues come up, the child has choices of how to react because it is not the first time dealing with it.