When There’s No Birth Parent Information to Share

Question:  For adoptive families who do not have contact with birth families due to a variety of situations — perhaps their child was adopted internationally or through a relinquished/closed domestic infant adoption, and they did not receive much if any info about the child’s birth family — what would you recommend for how to raise their child and talk about their adoption story, knowing that they do not know much about their child’s past and there is no contact with the birth family? What issues should parents and professional look out for, and how can we all best support these kids?

— Kim, adoption professional

open adoption advice

Guest advising today is Gayle Swift, founding member of GIFT, Growing Intentional Families Together. Gayle is an author, coach, and adoptive mom to two grown children.

Counterbalance Fantasy with a Cohesive Narrative

Dear Kim: It’s so great that you’re looking out for your clients and their children. As we know, children yearn to hear their story. They hunger for details—large and small—and seek affirmation of their pre-adoption life experiences. We must honor and share their journey.
filling in the adoptee's story when there's no birth parent information
When information about a child’s history is absent or incomplete, through a combination of detective work and supposition parents must piece together a cohesive narrative of the child’s pre-adoption life. In the absence of facts, children will develop fantasies. Wild fantasies. Continue reading When There’s No Birth Parent Information to Share

Cover Story: Biology Matters in Embryo Adoption

My article is the cover story for the current issue of the magazine Pathway2Family, which aims to apply what we now know about infant adoption to the realm of embryo adoption.

biology matters in embryo adoptionBiology Matters, And That’s Why Openness Does, Too

Below is an excerpt from the Summer/Fall 2015 issue of Pathway 2 Family.

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Why not just stick with secrecy?
The way we once did traditional adoption didn’t always work so well, especially for the child at the center.

  • With secrecy we acted “as if” nothing remarkable had happened in the building of our family.     But it had.
  • With secrecy, we assumed the baby would be a blank slate on which we could write our own story.     But she wasn’t.
  • With secrecy, parents may not have fully grieved their own losses, been comfortable with difficult emotions that stem from those losses, nor have been open to answering questions the child may have asked of her beginnings. If we ignored those icky feelings and pushed away those hard conversations, we once thought, they’d just go away.     But they didn’t.

People used to choose secrecy out of fear.     But we no longer need to.

Openness is the antidote to both secrecy and fear. Continue reading Cover Story: Biology Matters in Embryo Adoption

Open adoption parenting & living mindfully