Secrets - No Place in a Family and Especially in Adoption
I know what it feels like to be growing up in a place where secrets abound. I also know what it feels like when lies, even little white lies, are used as cover-ups. I grew up as an only child. My adoptive parents didn't want to tell me I was adopted, and probably wouldn't have if not for our teenage neighbor's prank. I won't tell you what the prank was, for that you'll have to read my book when it is published in the future, only that the way I found out was unusual and I was four years old at the time. That is when my adoptive mother opened up a bit and consented that I was adopted and swore me to secrecy about it.
Years later I discovered that it was mostly a secret for me, other neighbors, family members and family friends all knew the truth. I also knew that I was led to believe that their first child before me, who died from Leukemia, before I was even born was theirs and became ill with cancer due to their being first cousins. This is not so. He too was adopted and I'm pretty sure that had he not taken ill, he too would not have been told.
For years I lived in a secret world without knowing it. My medical records were based on what I knew, and what I knew was based on my adoptive family. I now know that this can lead to serious consequences. Back then, I was a child and didn't know this.
So my point with writing this post is a call to adoptive parents everywhere - there is no place for secrets. Even the youngest child has the capacity to understand if you tell him or her at his level of understanding. When children question about where they came from, tell them they were adopted. It may end there, or it may be followed with a request for clarification. Please don't tell them that they smiled at you so you chose them. Most babies smile at people, it is a natural instinct. Tell them the truth, whatever that may be.
It took me 37 years to learn where I came from and to start being able to put the pieces together. It doesn't have to be that way. I couldn't have asked for better parents either way so why cause further issues by resorting to secrets?