Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sharing The Back Story In Adoption: Should we?

One of the most polarizing topics in adoption this winter has been the concept of sharing adoption history.  I have intentionally not posted on it because my opinion on whether adoptive families should or should not share adoption history is really irrelevant,  As are my views on spanking, eating organic foods or homeschooling.  My opinion is simply that...what I think - and I'm no expert.

That said, I will venture to mention that there is more to the discussion than what I have seen presented on the 'hot' adoption forums.  This isn't simply an issue of if an adopted person has a right to know their own history before it is shared with those outside the family (which I think is a good question to ask about any child in our home - adopted or biological.)  The concept of back story actually has overlaying layers of emotion and assumption which individuals might want to consider before polarizing to one side of the issue and lobbing verbal missiles at those who fall on the other side.

After all - if we stop for a moment and think about how strong our own bias can be against those who carry labels such as prostitute, alcoholic, unmarried, teen, homeless, abusive, welfare, unable, unwilling, incarcerated, addicted, and disabled, we might find that the gut reaction to those words can make the privacy discussion more about our own discomfort than our children's right to privacy. 

I caught myself there.


In asking myself the questions about privacy I realized I wouldn't mind sharing the 'positive' details about my children's pre-placement history in the larger circle....but those ones I felt were negative.  They were better left unsaid.

Which actually said a lot about me outside of my role of adoptive parent.

It showed I was still making judgments about people based on what I saw on the outside and on some stupid human ranking scale that makes some people 'good' and others 'bad.'   Some things that happen in life acceptable to share and others....better kept hidden until 'later,' it  brought up that powerful word ....shame.


Lord forgive me.

I want to see all people as hurting, longing, needing and precious to God - I need to see the inside and not get caught up in the outside appearance. I don't want to judge based on words - shoot - I don't want to judge at all.

Which is why I have been so utterly silent on this up till now.  I have so many of my own issues to deal with that I can't even begin to have an opinion on how other people might run their lives and if they should or should not share the back story of their children's adoption. 

I'm not taking a stand - but I am praying over my own deceptive and judgmental heart.


MARY B. said...

Good question...I haven't been reading those "hot" adoption forums to know this topic is out there...I'm not sure I have the right answer. I know what I've been doing but I realized it wasn't a deliberate decision. Regarding "judging others"...we often remind others (and ourselves) who begin down that slippery slope of condemning that we are all just one decision away from what many of our birth families are dealing with. One drink, one drug, one crime, one moment of anger, etc...that can continue in the form of addiction, mental illness, incarceration...Thank God I have been spared by keeping my eyes fixed on the One who can save me! Praise God.

Mama Ds Dozen said...
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daysofwonderandgrace said...

We've had similar discussions in the community I part of. I completely agree with, "There but by the Grace of God go I." And theologically, I cannot find that it is Biblical to rank sins --like those attributed to birth family members being worse than grumbling in dissatisfaction at something God has given.

At the same time, being able to understand and frame our kids birth stories rightly, as you do here, represents a level of maturity many kids do not have and some may never reach. So I find myself filtering the stories I share so that my kids so not hear details of their own stories that I don't think they are ready to hear/understand --are at risk of internalizing in a harmful way.

I am grateful that God has lead me to place of peace with my kids stories. But at the same time, I'm protective of my kids. I want them to hear the details from me,from a place of grace and mercy, not filtered through somebody else's guilt and shame.