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

CHAPTER ONE
The Power of Secrets on Family Relationships

To keep a secret from someone is to block information or evidence from reaching that person and to do so intentionally. It is a purposeful act. To keep a secret is to make a value judgement, for whatever reason, that it is not that person's right to possess the secret. To keep a secret requires a complicated maze of family communication manipulated by concealment, disguises, camouflage, whispers, silence, or lies. 1

Laurie, a tall, beautiful adolescent with a gregarious personality, dark curly hair, and a winsome smile, always celebrated her birthday at the family reunion. This year, now her fifteenth birthday, would be no different. The entire clan was there. However, right after the usual rite of birthday songs and presents, a casual conversation with a cousin forever changed Laurie's perception of who she was and how she came to be with her family.

Laurie had always known she was adopted. She knew the story inside and out. When she was barely two years old, Laurie came to her family as a foster child. She had been told that her mother died of natural causes and that her distraught father could not care for her, left her with a friend, and took off. They didn't even know his name.

That afternoon after the celebration had quieted down, she and her cousin went to the pool. Laurie sat dumbfounded as her cousin told her what her mother had just told her--the truth about Laurie's birth family. Her mother had not died of natural causes. Her father hadn't just dis-

-1-

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