Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Talking about our child's history

Now that we're learning about children who could become ours, it's a good time to mention our policy on disclosing information about our child's history.

Because our child's history (I will use the word "his" since we will most likely adopt a son, although we don't know that for sure) will be his history and not ours, we are going to let him determine what is publicized, when, and how. It will not be up to us to disclose our child's personal history to anyone but him. At the point that the child decides to disclose his information to family and friends, then it will be on his terms.

Those of you who know our travel plans and see pictures of the foster family or orphanage where we pick up our child will know whether he was in foster care or an orphanage. However, we will refrain from answering such questions as "How long was he in an orphanage?" and "Why did his mother make an adoption plan for him?"

This is the widely accepted stance on childrens' histories because there is a high possibility for inaccurate information to be spread around. Suppose, for instance, that we tell Andy's brother about our son's history within earshot of his son. His son is not old enough to process all that is being discussed and may pass along to his brother or to our son, even, that our son's mother did not want him or took drugs or whatever. First of all, it's not appropriate for our son to hear about his own history from someone else if we have not found the appropriate time to disclose everything to him. Second, the incorrect history or tactless way of describing it could be passed along to numerous people without our son's approval for the information to be publicized.

So, although we don't intend to be rude or keep secrets, there is one thing we will keep secret and that is our child's history. We will tell him age-approriate information as time goes on and then allow him to discuss with his family and friends those details which he wishes to share.

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