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“We were told (8 years ago) updating our son’s birth mom once a year is reasonable”.  It this reasonable? Yes, I am sure ASC thought it was reasonable 8 years ago!  But being an adoptive parent means you must lifelong learners of all thing’s adoption. This is modern adoption. Updating your adoptee’s birth mom annually or only when they request is outdated and unreasonable now, with the numerous ways we can stay connected virtually and electronically.  

I can imagine this 8-year-old boy is going about his life, thinking all is good, becoming a strong reader, working on his math facts and of course, playing Roblox.  One day though, it may not be ALL GOOD in his little mind. Why? Where? How? When? And a few more Why’s are going to cross his mind. He’s going to possibly experience a whole bunch of emotions that he has no words for. Sadness, loss, grief, loneliness, despair is just a few that come to mind. He may even ask his mom, why did my birth mom give me up? This mom will be shocked to hear this language, as they were taught to use phrases like: You first mom made an adoption plan and placed you with daddy and me. She loved you very much but wanted you to have both of us to care for you. Where did “give you up come from”?  

If parents aren’t going to keep the family dialog around adoption open and comfortable, adoptees tend to go to society to learn and listen, and this can be harsh. This child obviously heard the old notion, why were you given up? He clung to that as that is how he is feeling deep down. 

Instead, they could have been asking open ended questions that start with “I wonder”.

I wonder if your birth mother would love to hear from us more than one time a year? I wonder if we sent updates about you more often, she would smile. I see her face sometimes, when you smile on your bike rides. Daddy and I love her so much and feel so honored she chose us.  

Every week since launching our placement team, we hear the same sentences.

We were good about talking adoption when he/she was a baby, but life went on and we didn’t want to make a big deal out of them being adopted. We wanted to focus on us being a family. Well, all well and good, but your family is made up of the roots of another family. These roots run deep within your adoptee and just as much as you want your child to feel a part of your family, your adoptee is looking for ways they can identify with their first family, or family of origin.  

If you adopted your child and you stopped communicating with your child’s birth family because you were told or assumed, it was “reasonable” after some time to lesson communication. I am here to tell you your child could benefit from you putting their First Family more prevalent in the family conversations and actions.   

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