I am always amazed when I am asked if my child knows he is
adopted from Ukraine. Why shouldn't he? Is there something to be
ashamed about being adopted? That is exactly how I don't want him
to feel. And really, if they are asking me this question, does
anyone believe it will be a secret for long?
While like how Tracy confronts this question and worries about
families that choose to hide the fact that they are adopted from
their children. A friend told me a story of a man in his 50s, who
found out he was adopted only when his parents passed away. He
was devastated and very upset. I think most of the problem is a
sense of betrayal in hiding a fact, like it is a deep, dark
secret. In my mind, sunshine is always the best policy and I
speak to my son often and openly about his adoption and want him
to be proud of his Ukrainian heritage.
Posted byTracyRaztoDouble Vision
Ten years after adopting our twin girls, the question that still
surprises me the most is, "Do they know they're adopted?"
followed closely by "When did you tell them?"
The question is surprising to me because, in this day and age,I
can't imagine why anyone would keep adoption secret. Or even that
anyone would have an actual sit-down conversation with their
children to disclose "the truth." We've told our children that
they are adopted about 47,000 times since they joined our family
and I expect we'll mention it another 470,000 times before we
leave this early plane. There's nothing embarrassing, weird, or
evil about adoption, so why not just let it be a part of our
But then I ran an adoption support group at a twins club
convention, and one of the moms there had decided not to tell her
children the circumstances of their birth and the other was on
The reasons? Because their children weren't really "adopted" --
one set was born throughegg donationand the other throughembryo
donation. With new technology, it seems, comenew questions and
It's not my place to tell anyone how to run their family; if you
want to keep this information secret, that's between you and your
child(ren.) In most of those cases biological parents aren't
known (although some embryo adoption organizations do keep those
records), so it's difficult to have any sort of open relationship
with biological relatives.
But that doesn't mean they don't exist. And the truth always has
a way of coming out.
During our group discussion I posed what I believe to be the most
important question in dealing with any adoption (or frankly,
child-rearing) issue about which you lie or conceal the
truth:What are you going to say when your children find out the
truth?For me, this includes everything from the existence of
Santa (I lied to preserve some magic in your childhood) to high
school hijinks (gotta tell the truth about this one if only to
serve as a cautionary tale to my daughters) to the choices their
birthmom has made since placing them with us (shared gently, as
they have gotten older).
If you think you've got a good reason for concealing the truth
and you can handle the emotions of your child when he or she
finds out, then go ahead and keep the truth to yourself. I'm not
sure if egg donation or embryo donation is a good enough reason
to keep the truth to yourself, though.
Both women in the workshop believed that telling would only
confuse the children (and what adoptive parent hasn't worried
about that once or a million times?) because they don't have a
way to find out additional information about their biological
families. It would only make them feel less connected to their
family, one of the moms said, and it would serve no additional
So I asked myself if we would speak about adoption in our house
if Banana and Little Bit's adoptions were closed. Or if their
birthparents were completely unavailable. Or if their
birthparents were predators or deviants. Or if there was no way
they would ever find out.
And for me, the answer was always yes. The truth is the truth,
and we all come from a gene pool that is both pristine and
polluted -- it iswhat you do with this body and soul you've been
giventhat's important. As humans, we have a right to know as much
as we can about that -- even if it is simply that you are not
biologically related to your parents. For me, that should be true
if your parents worked through an agency, a country, a lawyer, or
a test tube.
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Ukrainian Adoption 101:
Conversation On International Adoption: Opportunity, Process,
Concerns and Questions
Monday, November 12, 2012 6:00-7:00PM
Location: Califon Book Store: 72 Main Street, Califon, New Jersey
Ukrainian Adoption Information Meeting
Wednesday, November 28, 2012 7:00-8:00PM
Location: Wellness Rocks: 133 Rupell Road, Clinton, New Jersey