Are Adoptive Parents Oversharing About Their Child’s Adoption?

An adoptee's perspective.

Rebecca Tillou May 19, 2016
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To share or not to share . . . that is the question. 

I am an adoptee. My parents shared with me that I was adopted from the day I was brought home at one month of age. Of course I didn’t understand at that age, but they shared with me by telling friends and family about their adoption journey. I may have been sleeping in their arms when they told their story to others, but I was absorbing it! My parents also shared my adoption journey with me by reading children’s adoption books out loud. 

As I got older, around 5 or 6, they kept reading books to me, and they also talked to me about my adoption journey. I was ecstatic that they shared my journey with me. They did not hide my adoption from anyone, most importantly me. Friends, family, coworkers . . . they all learned about the journey that brought me into the Kulak family. 

So, in my opinion, adoptive parents are in no way oversharing about their child’s adoption. An adoption is a process, just like getting pregnant and giving birth. Many people share their journey of pregnancy and birth with their friends and family. Many give details of the “gross” topics of pregnancy and having a baby, such as vomiting while pregnant, constipation, diarrhea, and pooping on the delivery table! Now, I don’t mind details like that, but some may consider that information as being overshared.

I think one needs to consider their audience. If they are sharing their pregnancy and birthing details with someone who is newly pregnant or about to give birth, I say “leave no stone unturned!” Details, even the gross ones, are valuable so the person can prepare for what could happen. I have the same feelings about adoptive parents sharing their adoption journey. They should take into account whom they are speaking to. When adoptive parents choose to tell their adoption journey, if they are speaking to another person or couple hopeful to adopt, I don’t think any detail should go untouched. I believe that details help people prepare and decide how to move forward. People know their friends and family pretty well in most cases. They should be able to decide how much and what details can be shared without being seen as that person who doesn’t know when to button it up.

I have a cousin who adopted a little girl from China almost 21 years ago. Now, she told her family and friends about the state the orphanage was in. There were 3-4 babies in a crib and they did not get picked up and rocked often. The contact with adults was minimal. Now, some may say that is too much information to hear and she should leave those details out. I  disagree. The world is not all butterflies and rainbows. Adoption journeys are not stress-free, where every moment is wonderful. There are bumps along the road, and there are parts that adoptive parents wish they didn’t have to see, or hear, or have their child be a part of, like the orphanage this little girl was in.

I believe there is no oversharing when it comes to a child’s adoption.  I do think one needs to consider their audience, but other than that, l say: “Don’t hold back, tell your story, the good, the bad, and the ugly.” Through truth, expectations are set, and journeys can begin.

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Rebecca Tillou

Rebecca was adopted as an infant. She found her birth family in May of 2013 and continues to keep in touch with them. Sadly, her birth mother passed away in 1999. She and her husband live in New York and are the parents of two beautiful little boys, Dominic and Nicolas. They also have a German Shepherd mix named Chester. She was recently diagnosed with FASD at 34 years of age. She is currently working with and to get the word out that there is hope, and that you are never too old to better yourself.

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