The Ten Commandments of Telling: Principles to Consider
"Do I really have to tell the whole truth?" "How old should my child be when I do?" These are questions frequently asked by adoptive parents. This chapter will respond to those questions and share other "commandments of telling" that will aid parents in this vital task. While few rules are really written in stone, some principles, applied consistently, will enhance communication about adoption. These principles can also provide some welcome direction to adoptive parents besieged with well- intentioned advice from family and friends who really do not understand the complexities of adoptive parenting.
Parents often handle discussions about adoption in the same way they handle conversations about sex. They believe they should wait until the child asks questions and answer only the questions asked by the child. This strategy is not helpful in assuring that children understand their histories.
Children often believe that they are being disloyal to the adoptive family when they have feelings and questions about the birth family. As a result, they may avoid conversation about the adoption and the birth family even when they have burdensome questions or troubling feelings. Adoptive parents must look for opportunities to raise the issue for adop-