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Adoption Blog: My Paperwork Pregnancies

She’s Healthy. That’s All You Need to Know
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For someone waiting to adopt, one of the happiest times is when they get “The Call” about their potential new child.

They may get a picture of their child or hear about the potential birthmother’s pregnancy. As exciting as this information is, I highly recommend censoring it for loved ones.

Whatever information you share is impossible to take back. “The Birthmother has three other children.”  “Her birth name is Elena.” “He lived with his grandmother prior to the Children’s Home.” “There are a couple of potential birthfathers so we aren’t entirely sure what race he could be.”

These comments may seem innocent when you are talking about your adoption to your family and friends. However, even though you may not remember mentioning these facts, people will remember them and could bring them up in front of your child.

Your mother may wonder if your son is throwing tantrums due to his age or because he is the result of rape. An uncle could question if your daughter’s learning disabilities stem from her birthmother abusing alcohol. Your friend could ask you in front of your son if you have pictures of his “other sister.”

These are all situations that you can easily avoid. I learned this the hard way after our first adoption. Paul and I were so excited to share all the details of Keith’s adoption and never thought anything was wrong with it. Once he was born, though, we became protective of his adoption story and immediately regretted sharing information. He was born in 2002 and people still mention personal information about his adoption. 

Before our second adoption, Paul and I discussed in great detail what information we were willing to share and to whom. We are positive it was painful for our loved ones not have answers from us this time around. We had the same answer to every single question regarding our daughter. It was, “She’s healthy. That’s all you need to know.” I’d like to think that people ended up respecting us for protecting our daughter and her personal information. It was much easier to keep tight-lipped for our third adoption. We learned that, in the long run, keeping quiet is the best decision.

Personal relationships with other adoptive parents (who respected the privacy of our adoption information) helped us in many tough situations when we didn’t want to involve our loved ones for fear of them learning too much about our child’s adoption.

We will share this personal information with our children over time. It should be our decision as parents when share information. By censoring ourselves after “The Call,” we eliminated the possibility that our children’s personal information be discussed at inappropriate times. That information is for our children and, if they choose to ever share it, then that will be their decision.

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Danielle Pennel

Danielle Pennel


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