Telling a child he or she is adopted can be a trying task, but this is only the first step. After becoming aware that he or she is adopted, the child will question the details of the adoption. The truth may reveal details that are painful and sometimes traumatic: a parent is in prison, a drug addict, or even a rapist. In Telling the Truth to Your Adopted or Foster Child, Keefer and Schooler demonstrate that in even the most difficult situations, foster and adoptive parents must not withhold or distort information about the past. Though sometimes including difficult truths, communication between a caregiver or parent and foster or adopted child can help a child grow up into an emotionally and psychologically healthy adult.
Providing help for parents or caregivers wishing to productively communicate with their child, Keefer and Schooler answer such questions as: How do I share difficult information about my child's adoption in a sensitive manner? When is the right time to tell my child the whole truth? How do I find further information on my child's history? Age appropriate guidelines will make an arduous task organized and easier. Detailed descriptions of actual cases help the parent or caregiver find ways to discover the truth (particularly in closed and international adoption cases), organize the truth, and explain the truth gently to a toddler, child, or young adult that may be horrified by it. Parents, teachers, counselors, and other caregivers will come away from this reading with a sharper knowledge of how to make sense of the past for foster and adopted children of all ages.
About the Author
BETSY KEEFER is a Training Consultant for the Institute for Human Services in Columbus, Ohio, where she has been instrumental in the development of adoption training curriculum for professionals used nationwide. She has almost 30 years of experience in child welfare, adoption placement, post adoption services, and training.
JAYNE E. SCHOOLER, an affiliate trainer with the Institute for Human Services and Program Manager for the National Foster Parent Association, has over 20 years of experience in child welfare, first as a foster parent, then as adoptive parent, adoptive professional and educator. She is the author of The Whole Life Adoption Book, (1993) and Searching for a Past (1995).
Table of Contents
The Power of Secrets on Family Relationships
Truth or Consequences: A Great Debate
Just the Facts, Ma'am: Why do Children Need Them?
A Fact-Finding Mission: How to Gather What You Need to Know
Adoption Through a Child's Eyes: Developmental Stages
Through a Parent's Eyes: Core Issues, Coping Styles, and Communication
The Ten Commandments of Telling: Principles to Consider
Sharing the Hard Stuff: The Adoptive Parent's Challenge
Tools of Communication Between Parents and Children
Transracial or Transcultural Adoption: Talking About Adoption Within a Minority Families
Kinship Foster Care and Adoption: Telling the Truth When It's "All in the Family"
Opening a Closed Adoption for School-Age Children: Questions Most Asked by Parents
AdolescenceChronic but Not Terminal: Keeping Lines of Communications Open
Opening a Closed AdoptionThe Teenage Years
Communicating about Adoption in the Classroom: Teaching the Teachers