Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Sharing your child's story with them
Now Bekah Shae has been to our church The Crossing (Brandon, FL) before and my family posed with her and her husband for a picture. Needless to say in the picture Bekah Shae was holding Joanna, and she never lets you forget that! Joanna will say, "Bekah Shae hold me". :)
Ok so while at the class Pam said- I know Bekah Shae......and I said that is awesome!!!! So she texted her a note along with my address......and we got a package in the mail with "Love Glasses", a CD with the song on it- and a note to Joanna, as well as a bumper sticker too! Very sweet!
Telling The Truth To Your Adopted Or Foster Child (Making Sense Of The Past) by Betsy Keefer & Jayne E. Schooler and my world was ROCKED!!!!!! I am telling you- if you are like me.....shaking.....quivering.....praying for help with this.....GO GET THE BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Can not emphasize that enough. I got it while at our class and it has totally redefined what I think about it!
If one of our children comes to us asking a question about a birth family - we answer them at a level they can understand. We tell our family's story to them in generic terms if you like- similar to what I have shared on our blog. Nothing that is really personal (unless it was only about our struggles- not with their story).
It is selfless, hard, sometimes down right gruesome! Sometimes there are hardly any details at all to speak of which can make it even more unbearable- what do you say then?
Whew! Now that I know that....and I am still processing that......I feel better in moving forward!
1) Initiate Conversation About Adoption - don't think they will ask. If you were tired one day and your child asked and you blew it off. They may think they can't approach you. Or if you were avoidant while answering before...again they think you don't want to talk about it. If your child NEVER brings up the subject- YOU BRING IT UP AND TALK ABOUT IT!!!
2) Use positive adoption language!!!
NOT TO SAY- Real parents, natural parents, gave up for adoption, put up for adoption, adopted child (overused it makes them feel like they are weird), their own child, their real child, keeping, hard to place........and I am sure you know more.
DO SAY- Birth family, Made and adoption plan, my child, birth child, to choose parenting, waiting child, child with special needs, adopted person.....again there are more. **Expectant mom is now used before the adoption happens in domestic adoptions.
If you don't know if it is a good term to use- ask yourself if you would like to be called that, or ask :).
4) Allow a child to express anger toward a birth family member without joining in! It is good to be supportive of their feelings. It is not good to say- well I know...how could they have xyz. Don't do that! Support them however you can. Acknowledge what they are feeling and help them process it by asking them open ended questions about their feelings as well as lending a listening ear. It is more about listening and caring then stating your own opinions.
6) Don't impose value judgments on the information! This is important and that goes for positive judgments as well as negative!!! So don't say- I bet your birth mother thinks about you daily- if you don't know her. Or say I am sure xyz. DO NOT DO IT! Say things without your feelings or things you want to be true. In the same respect don't make it look worse than it is. Don't say I bet she is doing drugs right now. OYE! That is not a good picture. Now if you know because of ongoing contact with her or the agency that she still uses drugs you can share she/they still struggle with drug addiction. If you know that the birth mother has said- she thinks about them daily- then yes you can say that!
Ask them if they ever think about their birth family?
Ask them what they know about "their story"?
What is their earliest memory?
Scrap book it!!! Whatever information and or pictures you have! Even if it isn't much- won't matter!
Put up a picture of the child with their birth family if you have one.
Let them read their file if they have one- or at least the documents you have.
Let your child guide the discussion.
If you don't know something- DO NOT MAKE IT UP! Just simply say- I don't know that sweetheart- I am sorry. **If you can ask- do it!
There is more swimming in my head about this, but I pray it helps you to start thinking about it. I know it has helped me immensely!!!!!! :) Trust me I am still growing and learning with you! Maybe you have some pointers for me!!! That would be good too- would love that :)
Oh and GO GET THE BOOK!!!!!
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