Are there any ‘good’ secrets in Adoption?

In a word no.

adoption-Secrets-in-birthmother-Marriage

Adoption in many ways is a Pandora’s box in reverse it’s been opened and you can’t close it. Well that’s been my personal experience.

As a private individual as well as a transracially adopted child and one of the first in a small group of organised transracial adoptees to the UK in the 50s and 60s from Hong Kong; I’d have to question – why would you keep secrets from your child?  What’s the thinking behind this, why would you want to cover, hide, conceal from your child their origins, their history, something that will always be part of them? If you have transracially adopted a child then there may be obvious physical differences. The colour of your complexion or the facial structure. If you have adopted from within your own “ethnicity” social and cultural group then it may not apparent that your child is adopted. But take it from one who was adopted, where you come from what ties you to the world, how you relate to your family, your history, your culture, your identity is incredibly important. It might not hit home until the adopted child becomes an adult. But eventually the facts about who you are and where you came from come into play.

If you’ve been brought up in an environment where you have always known who and what you are then questions of identity appear to be more easily handled. Whereas if you’ve grown up only being told half-truths or no truth at all the adoption turns into something that it really is not and should not become. What should in essence be a positive if not challenging intervention becomes a negative and all the beneficial aspects which may have come about via the act of adoption can be cancelled.

Part of what I do now is what I call transracial orientation for both parents who wish to or have transracially adopted and for those who have been transracially adopted. For the former I face many eager, hopeful and in some senses naive people. Because they have never had to think or view the world from a point of view of “disadvantage” or from the point of view of not being in the dominant social and culture group. For the adoptee, it is usually pain, anger, a sudden awakening or crisis point instigates personal feelings, thoughts or a search for their roots. The latter is the post painful and distressing for all concerned and leaves indelible scarring. Sometimes this wounds and those that have been responsible for causing them are never reconcile such is the depth and severity of the hurt, mental anguish and emotional turmoil.

It is never, in my opinion ever wise to contemplate hiding facts from an adopted child. We hide things because we are ashamed. We hide things because they engender feelings of guilt within us, and we don’t want to be associated with such matters. So by “hiding” adoption what are we unconsciously saying to our adopted children?

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