5 Adoption Moments You Should Keep Private

Ultimately, your adoption story is the child’s story to tell and no one else’s.

Sherri Eppley November 24, 2017

Social media sites have made sharing information with friends, family members, and the world so easy. I probably share far too much about my life and kids on the internet – after all, my kids are so cute and I want to share every precious, sweet, funny moment with our loved ones.

Being a foster and adoptive family, we also get asked a lot of questions about the kids and adoption from people we know and even strangers. So how do we determine what is acceptable to share and what things we should keep private? How do we find a balance between spreading awareness of adoption, helping people understand our children’s’ unique challenges and our struggles, while respecting our children’s needs, wishes, and right to privacy? In my opinion, here are just a few of the adoption moments that should be kept private.

First Meeting
1. First Meeting

Meeting your child for the first time should be a special moment for just you and your immediate family. There will be plenty of time to introduce the child to the extended family and all your friends. You may even want to have a welcome party after the child has had enough time to settle into their new home.

Depending on the circumstances, the child might be scared and easily overwhelmed by meeting too many new people all at once. As excited as the adoptive parents are to be welcoming their child into the family, the child is most likely still dealing with trauma and separation from birth family among other things. Even infants can easily become overwhelmed, so you might consider just some quiet, private family time together when they first come home.

Why They Were Adopted
2. Why They Were Adopted

Almost everyone you meet will wonder and most likely ask about your child’s adoption. What happened to their birth parents? Why were they placed for adoption? Why were they in foster care? How did they end up in an orphanage and what was it like there?

As foster parents we are not allowed to share any personal information about the children in our care. Once they are adopted, of course, we are the parents and can choose to share whatever we want, but that doesn’t mean we SHOULD share everything.

Rehearsing some scripted answers to some of these common questions may be helpful in providing a tactful answer without divulging too much information that should remain private. If your child is old enough to understand, decide together how you want to answer these questions. Some children will be more open and share too much information while others will not want to talk about adoption at all.

Ultimately, their adoption story is the child’s story to tell and no one else’s. They should be able to choose what, when, how, and with whom they share their story. Remember that the little baby will grow up one day and might not be too happy that nosy Aunt Betty or the entire church congregation knows everything about their painful past and even things they might not know yet.

Medical History
3. Medical History

Choosing to share information about the child’s medical history can be tricky sometimes. Obviously, their physicians need to know, but you might also need to share some information with their teachers, daycare workers, or babysitters if it affects how they care for the child.

Other times, you might feel the need to share information about their diagnoses or conditions just so people understand your daily struggles or stop judging you for your child’s behaviors, etc. In the end, your child’s medical history is no one else’s business. Let your child be seen for who they are rather than their labels, diagnoses, or limitations. Allow your child to maintain their dignity and privacy by keeping their medical history and biological family’s history confidential.

Announcing Adoption Day
4. Announcing Adoption Day

The adoption day is an exciting day for the family, so I understand you would want to shout it from the rooftops and blast it all over social media. We chose not to announce the specific date and time of the adoption prior to that day. Our family and close friends all knew but we didn’t share the information on the internet for privacy reasons. Keeping the announcement private will ensure that only guests you invited are there.

Every child will differ on how they want to celebrate adoption day and the yearly anniversary. Discuss with the child what they want to do on that day. They might want a big party, or they might prefer something quieter and more private. Some adoptees choose not to celebrate adoption day at all because it is also a reminder of their past and their family they lost. Don’t assume your child wants this day to be public.

Visiting with Birth Family
5. Visiting with Birth Family

Many adoptees maintain some type of contact and relationship with their birth families. Visiting with their birth parents or siblings is a special time for them and does not need to be shared with the whole world. Allow your child to have these private moments. Likewise, the birth family might not want you sharing information about them or posting pictures of them on social media. Respect everyone’s right to privacy in this situation.

These are just a few of the adoption moments that should be kept private, along with anything else that your child requests not to be shared. Respect your child’s wishes. If your child is too young to communicate their wishes, think about how they might feel when they are older and find out you shared private details of their life with everyone.
Are there any other adoption moments you think should remain private?

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Sherri Eppley

Sherri Eppley is a Storyteller for adoption.com. She is a registered nurse and currently a full-time stay at home mom. Her and her husband have adopted their son and have been foster parents since 2014. She is on the steering team for her local MOPS group, attends Crossroads Church and just loves helping people anyway she can.

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