As this book about adoption communication draws to a close, we would like to emphasize the following principles to guide adoptive families in helping children understand their histories:
First, the needs of adopted children are to be held paramount in all decisions regarding adoption history. For too many years, adults of the adoption triad have been "protected" at the expense of the children involved. The priority must now be shifted to adopted persons. The needs of adopted children for compassion, empathy, understanding, and positive self-esteem and identity must supersede the needs of adults who wish to deny, withhold, or distort information because they find it painful, embarrassing, or shameful.
Second, honesty is essential to integrity. Truly, it is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. An unwavering principle of honesty should guide all parents in their communications with adopted and foster children.
Finally, love for your children and hope for their future as well- adjusted, secure individuals should be the final principle underlying communication about adoption. Adoptive parents hardly need assistance with this final, but most critical, ingredient for positive communication.
We hope the information and tools provided in these pages will be helpful as you share your children's history in a way that helps them grow up understanding themselves, while at the same time living these principles.