Family matters: Reunion, family, and openness

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Author: 
AFABC
Source: 
Focus on Adoption magazine

My partner and I adopted a child two years ago. We are Caucasian and our daughter is African-American. I want to adopt again so she has a sibling. My partner refuses. What should I do?

This is a conversation that should have taken place before you adopted a child. However, there are a couple of things you could do. First, try to clearly understand why your partner doesn’t want to add to your family. Once you discover the reason, there may be room for compromise. Secondly, find information on why it is so important for transracial adoptees to have siblings and then ask your partner to at least sit down and review this evidence.

My children have closed adoptions. How do I keep their sense of birth family alive?

Comment on your children’s gifts and characteristics that they may have inherited from birth family. Speculate on who they got their lovely eyes or hair from. It’s also helpful to talk about why people make adoption plans and to have open-ended conversations about birth parents. Suggest your children write letters to birth family, even if they aren’t mailed. This can help you gauge your children’s current feelings (if they let you read them), and it can help them express themselves. It’s also important to honour birth family with candles on special days such as adoption day, Mother’s and Father’s day and on birthdays.

My ten-year-old nephew recently told my ten-year-old son that he wasn’t his “real” cousin. This upset my son and angered me. What should I do?

This is not an uncommon situation. First, talk to your son about how he felt about the comment and reassure him. With the permission of your nephew’s parents, take him aside and talk about what makes us love people—is it really birth or blood relationships? If his parents aren’t okay with you talking to him, ask them to do it. You can provide them with a copy of AFABC’s fact sheet Adoption for Family and Friends. This would also be a great opportunity to share some adoption stories with your nephew and your son. If your son has a lifebook, and he is willing to share it with his cousin, that might also help him understand adoption.

My 18-year-old daughter is expressing interest in finding her birthmom. She was adopted in BC. How do we start our search?

Before you start the process, you should learn as much as you can about reunion. As a first step, download the excellent search and reunion guide available at www.mcf.gov.bc.ca (search for adoption reunion) and visit AFABC’s library at www.bcadopt.com. BC’s Adoption Reunion Registry can also help. Depending on the circumstances, the staff can find your daughter’s birthmom or guide you to do it yourself. In addition, call AFABC at 604-320-7330 for advice on the reunion process—several staff have reunion experience.

Do you have a question? Ask one of our Adoption Support Coordinators!

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