Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Owning my story

It's pretty obvious that my little girl belongs to me. She may not be the spitting image of me but her looks are close enough that nobody would even question her origin.

With our adoption from Haiti, that is not going to be the case. Everybody will see the biological differences. People will question. They won't always keep those questions to themselves but will voice them, often in rude ways.

I have been reading everything I can about international and transracial adoptions. One thing I have been pondering is the issue of privacy versus openness. With our own kids we will need to be as open as possible. I hope we are able to share information about their birth family. We will need to discuss pain and loss, and also joy and belonging. We will need to discuss racism because we live in the very white Maritimes. We will also need to provide our kids with boundaries.

The first time I heard the concept of "owning their story" was during a radio broadcast by Dr. Dobson. His children are adopted and during a discussion with his son he mentioned that phrase. He never broadcast the details of their adoption because it was their story to share when and if they wanted. It gave them a bit of control in a world where they had no control.

My kids won't have that control. People will know part of their story because of their skin color. But I want to save as much of their story as I can. I want them to "own their story". Because of that, we will not be sharing personal family details with our neighbors and acquaintances , only close family and friends.

I hope we can walk the fine line between clearly conveying our love and pride for our children and protecting their hearts and their stories. I hope that when people intrude on our family we can be gracious and yet aware of putting our children's needs first. I pray that our silence does not portray shame but that our concern shouts out our love. I'm sure this will all be a work in progress, but I hope that my heart and mind stays open to any and all the changing needs of my family.

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