I’ve long advocated for openness in adoption for the sake of the adopted person, the baby/toddler/tween/teen/adult who is gradually building their identity, their relationships, and their patterns for how they will move through the world.
But, as an advice column in Slate shows, openness can also save the adoptive parents from a world of hurt. Namely, of being gobsmacked by their son’s/daughter’s “sudden” interest in birth parents.
The Either/Or mindset that we inherited from the Closed Adoption Era is so strong and so prevalent. As a result of it, some parents cling to the hope that, to their child, they are the only parents. As if to confirm their bias, they assume that if the son/daughter isn’t talking about birth parents, that they aren’t thinking about them.
Ever on the lookout, I love finding adoptee voices that help me better understand the mosaic that is the adoptee experience. So many generous adoptees over the years have made an inestimable difference in the way I connect with my children. My entire family benefits when I listen to understand.
Enter Sara Easterly. Sara is new on my radar, but already an accomplished author and writer. I met Sara last month at the Tattered Cover for an author event around her new memoir, Searching for Mom. In this guest post, Sara explores a word that can roll off the tongue just as easily as it can pierce a heart, with or without that intention.
Sometimes, as Sara tells us, that word can be a sacred invitation to abide with someone in their grief.
Rant: I’m frustrated that these questions still come up (and surprised because my readers are adoption-savvy, so I start thinking everyone is). Who is preparing adoptive parents for adoption telling? And who should be preparing them? What can we do for the current and next generation of adoptees to help them own their story from their very beginning?
But time alone doesn’t mean all adoptive parents and hopeful adoptive parents have gotten the message of dealing in truth and openness. The adoption professionals who are launching these moms and dads into the world of adoptive parenting are not, as a group, doing a good-enough job preparing their paying clients to parent with openness and disclosure (there are definitely some exceptions).