Eliminating secrets and shame

There are so many angles I could go with this post. So many "talking points." So many thoughts running through my mind. The secrecy that still lurks in the adoption community is disheartening and frankly could very easily be avoided. I think we can all agree that secrets cause issues that could have been avoided if we took our own selfish desires, jealousy, insecurities, etc. out of it.

Some of the most common acts of secrecy I hear about from those in the adoption triad are from adoptees. Because, let's be honest, they are the ones that are most affected by the adoption relationship.

It's a common conversation for me to see adoptive parents sharing in online groups and forums that they haven't told their 2 year old, their 5 year old, their teenager that they are adopted. WHOAH, hold up and slam on those brakes. Keeping your child's story from them will (not could, it WILL) create an environment for many things to manifest. One being mistrust. If you choose to not tell your child that they are adopted, and then all of a sudden spring it on them one day, they will wonder what else you are hiding from them and they will always have that thought in the back of their mind (and you can't undo this). Another area of mistrust will be in relationships, both romantic and non-romantic. They could have a hard time with connections and thriving in a relationship where they should be able to fully let down their guards. There is never a reason a child should not know their story in age appropriate ways! NEVER!

Another act of secrecy I see in the adoption space is keeping original birth certificates from adoptees. This is actually being done at a state level. Many states have original birth certificates sealed and adoptees don't have access to them. If they do gain access, the names of the birth parents are oftentimes black marked, other identifying information is black marked, and so on. The reason this is damaging, is that adoptees SHOULD have the right to know their true identity from birth, not only from when they were adopted.

Adoptees need to be able to gain biological information that could allow them to have access to vital health information. It also seals the name they were first given (if that differs from their current name, which is another post for another day), the hospital they were born at, etc. Adoptees have the right to know where their beginnings took place. They have a right to know this basic information that isn't kept from any other American. Adoptees are having to go to court, spending thousands of dollars to fight to get access to their own personal records. That is simply ridiculous.

I believe that there is a better way, a way in which we don't have to alter the identity of the adoptee by changing their birth certificate to reflect the adoptive parents as if they gave birth to them. I think there is a way to hold the integrity of the original birth certificate, while acknowledging the adoption that took place.

Again, there are so many other things I wish I could share here, but this post would go on and on and on. So, for now, I will stop with the conclusion that adoption is the result of a fallen world and so are the secrets. Adoption has many ups and downs and everything in between. Adoption can be done wrong and adoption can be done well. By pulling uncomfortable topics to the forefront of the conversation, it allows for the age old cycle to be broken and changes to take place!

Thank you for sitting here with me by pulling a seat up to the table!

Blog written by: Mallory Fogas, owner of Arrow + Root

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