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 THREE
Just the Facts, Ma'am: Why Do Children Need Them?
Isn't fiction better than fact if the truth is painful and disruptive? Isn't it better to protect our children from difficult truths that might overburden them, destroying self-image and confidence? Can't we wait until our children are adults to share their story with them?While it can be very tempting for adoptive parents to "protect" children from painful realities, we must question our motives. Are we protecting the feelings of the children, or protecting ourselves from those realities? By refusing to talk about painful history, we can pretend these circumstances don't really matter. When we try to ignore realities, they can become even larger, threatening to overwhelm the child with fantasies, guesses, and assumptions (many of which are more hurtful than the truth).Adult adopted persons have taught us the importance of communicating information about a child's adoption as he moves from one side of childhood to the other. Why are facts so important to an adopted individual as he grows up and sorts out his identity? There are a number of reasons.
Uninformed adopted persons develop unrealistic fantasies about their histories.
Many adopted persons with little or no information about their histories become confused about their identities and experience long periods of experimentation, at times self-destructive experimentation.
All children are magical thinkers. Adopted or foster children might believe

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