This is part 2 of the Parenting GPS series, in which I’m sharing Q&As from a webinar I delivered recently on openness and embryo adoption (or donation — pick the term that works for you), which is similar in many ways to traditional adoption. In fact, many of the questions that arose from the Nightlight audience had to do with traditional adoption…like this one.
Withholding vs Sharing the Child’s Information
Q: I spoke with an adoptive mom who had contact with her sons’ birth moms, but the contact didn’t extend to the boys. When talking to her sons about adoption, she would not tell them their birth moms’ names, even though both boys have asked. What do you think?
Well, I think it’s a pity and a lost opportunity.* Barring some X-factor, it sounds on the surface that this decision to keep birth moms and sons separated may be based on fear and on a desire to hold tight to control. Either as a motivating factor is likely to come back and bite her. When those boys become men, or even before that, this woman may have some ‘splaining to do.
I would gently probe to find if she has a rational, non-fear-oriented way to justify this arrangement. I would try to get her to see that not addressing her own issues may cost her one day in terms of her relationship with her sons. I’d remind her that nothing is more important than the relationships we have with our children throughout their lives, and the trust that underpins it.
Healthy and sustainable relationships are based not on fear but on trust. The grownups involved must be willing to identify and resolve their own fears and triggers and issues and deal with What Is.
* I wonder if there could be a significant piece of the woman’s decision to keep people separated that’s not stated here. Like what, I can’t imagine, but if there were I’d want to re-evaluate.
What do you think? Are there situations in which it’s all right to withhold any or all of our kids’ stories?
Other questions in this series:
- How can adoption professionals better explain the benefits of openness to clients who want to keep things closed?
- My 17 year old wants to go live with his birth parents. What should we do?
- As an adoption professional, how can I help my clients move from fearful to fearless in open adoption?
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