What can we as adoptive parents share with our adopted children about their heritage? Why is it so vital to have info to share with them? Is it fine to share that they have similarities with our families? And finally, what does the future hold for our adopted children?
Awhile back, my husband was doing some in-depth genealogy research on our family. He had an exciting discovery: he’d found a string of ancestors from the 1200’s. My adopted son seemed wistful about this news, and it brought up thoughts he had about himself. He began to ask more about his birth parents and their heritage. We gave him what little info we had, and he replied, “well, I guess I can just keep your genealogy mom since I don’t have my own.”
I told him that he did have his very own, too, and wracked my brain to recall what his birth mother had said many years ago. I had vague details from the few phone calls so very long ago, but not enough for our son to get excited over. My heart sank for him. I fought back tears; it was difficult to see him in this struggle. This is why getting as much information and writing all down when you adopt is invaluable to our children and their future!
Remember to gather and make note of all you learn about your child’s biological family when possible. You can get information directly from their birth parents, or via the adoption professionals, agency, foster parents or any of their living relatives. Take photos of the hospital they were born at, their orphanage, or other important locations to include in a genealogy book just for them. You might also add photos of the state or country they were born in, as well as notable events that occurred the year they were born.
There are so many books out there which can help your adopted child learn about and understand their heritage. I encourage waiting adoptive parents to start reading and learning before you bring your child home through adoption. The more knowledge you’ve gained and the more value you see in this genealogy information, the better prepared you’ll be in the future!