Why are truth and trust so important in adoptive families? In all families, really? Isn’t it okay sometimes to keep some things under wraps, for someone’s own good? Isn’t is sometimes OK to keep the truth from adoptees?
I’ve written before about the Greek word sorites, which means “heap.” It’s a philosophical paradox based on the idea that no grain of sand is a heap of sand, but over time, grains of sand become a heap of sand. The conundrum is that the moment of transition is not clear. This also been called the maňana paradox, an “unwelcome task which needs to be done, but is always a matter of indifference whether it’s done today or tomorrow.”
Avoiding a Hard Thing Is Normal, and Also Harmful
We can consider secrets this way. Specifically adoption secrets, or hard-to-tell parts of an adoption story, and the sometimes dreaded task of disclosing them. Of course, there is a time and a way to tell, but too often, somehow the day marked TELL THE HARD PART never seems to arrive on the calendar — and this can create huge problems.
No single day that you don’t tell somebody part of their story is a big deal. Waiting one more day is never a problem…until it is. Over time, the days pile up and seemingly overnight, you’re gobsmacked with a big secret you’d meant to deal with, and, on top of that, now you ALSO need to explain why you kept a secret. Double punch in the trust center.
No one is saying that you need to be having frank conversations with your 6 year old about their conception story or the heartbreaking details of all that led to them coming to you. Age- and developmental-appropriateness always need to be taken into account when disclosing difficult pieces of the story.
What we’re talking about here is the cost of never having these conversations, or of somehow waiting too long. And what happens when truth, as it almost always does these days, comes out. On the adoptee side, what happens when something you thought you knew about yourself turns out not to be so? What happens to your relationships when you discover you have a heap of days behind you in which trusted people allowed you to live in ignorance of your story?
When the Truth Finally Comes Out
Guests for Episode 403 of Adoption: The Long View are Brad Ewell and Fred Nicora, two men who have had to reassemble themselves after shocking truths became known to them well into their adulthood. Brad and Fred are known as LDAs, or Late Discovery Adoptees, and it’s important you see the impact breaches of trust have.
We are still, as a culture, not adept enough at knowing how to disclose and discuss hard parts about adoption.
Brad Ewell on Truth for Adoptees
Brad Ewell is a husband, father, writer, police officer, and late discovery adoptee. He made his adoption discovery in 2019 at 48 years old. Brad is in reunion with several members of his biological family and been an advocate for his father’s release from prison. He has written micro memoirs, had an article published in Severance magazine, been interviewed on several podcasts – and guest posted here in this space.
You’ve got to have the space to talk about the uncomfortable parts about being adopted.
Because even though adoption is often a very beautiful thing, there’s still some trauma and pain that goes with it, like just about everything else in life.
Brad Ewell, late discovery adoptee,
in Ep 403 of Adoption: The Long View
Fred Nicora on Truth for Adoptees
Fred Nicora has an undergraduate degree in business administration, and masters’ degrees in Management Technology, and Architecture, in addition to a lifetime secondary teaching license. He was the last in his family to know he had been adopted, when someone spilled the beans accidentally when he was 41. Today, Fred is committed to bringing truth and transparency to the entire adoption process.
My parents were good parents. They gave me a loving home. They did a lot of wonderful things and sacrificed for me.
But at the same time, there was always a barrier, a lack of truth between us.
Fred Nicora. late discovery adoptee,
in Ep 403 of Adoption: The Long View
Show Notes: Ep 403 with Brad Ewell and Fred Nicora
- Brad on LavenderLuz.com: LavenderLuz.com/brad-ewell/
- Brad on Instagram: @a_late_discovery.
- Brad online: linktr.ee/LDA_BRAD
- Fred on Facebook: facebook.com/fred.nicora
- Fred on Instagram: @frednicora
- Fred on LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/fred-nicora-4050857a/
- Fred’s website: www.frednicora.com
- Fred’s memoir: Forbidden Roots
- Adoptees rights by state: Adoptee Rights Coalition
- Is a Baby a Blank Slate? Adoptee & Therapist Lesli Johnson on ep 111
- Adoptees-as-Therapists list: growbeyondwords.com/adoptee-therapist-directory/
- Prefer to read? Here’s a transcript (but listening is so much better).
How to Tune In Regularly
You can find us on Adopting.com, and on these and other platforms.
- Apple Podcasts
- Amazon Podcasts
- Google Podcasts
- Search for “Adoption Long View” on your preferred podcast platform.
A new episode comes out the first Friday of the month. Thank you for sharing, subscribing, and rating this episode!
Lori Holden, mom of a young adult daughter and a young adult son, writes from Denver. She was honored as an Angel in Adoption® by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.
Her first book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole, makes a thoughtful anytime gift for the adoptive families in your life. Her second book, Standing Room Only: How to Be THAT Yoga Teacher is now available in paperback, and her third book, Adoption Unfiltered, will be published in late 2023.
Find Lori’s books on her Amazon Author page and catch episodes of Adoption: The Long View wherever you get your podcasts.