More Answers from Sherrie Eldridge!In a recent interview with Sherrie Eldrige, more questions arose concerning her book 20 Things Adopted Kids Wished Adopted Parents Knew. Sherrie was kind enough to return and answer two of them that were asked:
1. In Chapter 17, Ms. Eldridge talks about, "Don't tell people I'm adopted without my consent." Well, that's a little difficult for us. With inter-racial adoption, it's usually obvious to everyone. Do you have any advice for us?
Sherrie: This is a good question! Usually, with inter-racial or international adoptions, it is obvious that adoption has touched your lives. Racism is a totally different subject than what I am addressing here. What I'm talking about is the development of basic trust between you and your child. No one, especially an adoptee, likes to be pointed out as "different," even though we all are, whether our skin color shows it or not.
Let me give an example. One woman I know introduced her 4-year-old son to me as her "adopted son." The poor little guy hid behind his mom after the insensitive introduction. True, you can't keep the confidentiality that your child has been adopted when it is written on him/her by the skin color, but you can honor her as an adopted person by not labeling her in front of others. This is the issue I'm addressing. For fascinating answers to the racism question, visit www.answersingenesis.com.
2. In the chapter about being honest about birthparents, conception, etc... Ms. Eldridge does mention that "you may not have all the answers, especially if you adopted internationally." We really don't have ANY answers. Being honest with my daughter means telling her I DON'T KNOW. Do you have any advice on how to handle this a little more?
Sherrie: Yes, with international adoption, there is the "missing history" aspect to help your child integrate into his/her identity. I agree, honesty is always the best--many times you have to say, "I don't know."
Let me say, however, that the subject of birth parents can be very threatening to some adoptive parents, and they avoid it like the plague. Out of sight, out of mind! Not so in the heart of an adoptee!
Let me take you a step further in addressing the "I don't know" statement. Your child still has the need for connection with the birth mother. How can you meet that need?
A couple of ways have been special for me, as I don't know half of my birth history and never will. Both answers and insights have come from Scripture. Deuteronomy 29:29 says that "the secret things belong to the Lord." Knowledge of who my birthfather is, is a secret. Only God and my birth mother know who he is.
The same Lord who hung the moon and the stars has my birth father in the palm ofHis loving hands. If He wanted me to know who he is, it would be no trouble. Since He hasn't revealed it to me after much searching, I trust that he is in God's hand and I will know someday, although I believe on that day it won't be very important!
The second thing that has helped me is the concept behind the children's book I have just written called Forever Fingerprints, due out the summer of 2007, by EMK Press. I won't ruin the surprise for you, but it definitely deals with this aspect of not knowing one's history, yet still having the need for connection.
Visit my web site http://www.adoptionjewels.org/, and at the bottom of the welcome page is a place to sign up for updates. Sign up, and you'll be notified when it is released.
Thank you, Sherrie. I'm thankful to have such an amazing resource as we go through our adoption journey.
If you have any questions for Sherrie, please leave them in the COMMENT section. Thanks!
President Jewel Among Jewels Adoption Network, Inc.