Telling the Truth to Your Adopted or Foster Child: Making Sense of the Past

By Betsy Keefer; Jayne E. Schooler et al. | Go to book overview
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withholding that information. If the child was in fact abandoned, the adoptive family should go with the child to the agency to hear that information from the social workers or attorneys who facilitated the adoption. Ways to share information about abandonment will be explored in a later chapter.At times, families who have adopted internationally have very little information about the birth family, or they may be told that the child was abandoned. Those families adopting Korean children should be aware that "abandonment" is the way children are freed for adoption in that country. Birth mothers who wish to make an adoption plan for their child may leave the child at a police box and hide until they are sure that an appropriate authority has taken charge of the child's welfare. It is critical that international adoptive parents research and understand the social situation in the country at the time of the adoptive placement. Some families have adopted privately through a physician or an attorney who may have retired or moved out of the area. Adoptive families can petition the probate or family courts that finalized their adoptions to determine whether the files can be opened for purposes of sharing more complete information.
Gathering background information is an important task for foster and adoptive parents. It is crucial that they understand the importance of having the information. It is their right and that of their child to full and complete disclosure.
1. What barriers have you encountered in obtaining social/medical information from your child's agency?
2. What type of information do you feel is most valuable to you in making a decision to adopt a specific child?
3. What information is missing from your child's history? Why is it missing?
4. If you have missing information about your child, what are your options in obtaining that information?
5. What do you see as your responsibility regarding responding to background information?

William H. Singerland, Child-Placing in Families: A Manual for Students and Social Workers ( New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 1919).


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Telling the Truth to Your Adopted or Foster Child: Making Sense of the Past
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