Today’s The Blog post come from Kat, whom you’ll find more about on our Contributors page.
When our children came home, we always said, there’ll be no secrets in this house. If they ask a question they’ll be given an (age-appropriate) answer. Our daughter has memories of her life pre-adoption and she’s been very matter-of-fact about it and we talk openly and honestly. Our son, removed at birth, has very different experiences, but since he came home at 7.5 months, if our daughter has been looking at her Life Story Book, we’ll get his out too and we’ll compare pictures, talk about their birth family and who fits in where; she tells him all about it and he ignores her and tries to eat the book – it’s all very ‘normal’ in our house, so hopefully it will become just another part of his life too in time.
Doesn’t all this openness sound simply fabby?
There is however, a rather large elephant in the room and it’s called Letterbox.
We haven’t told her that we write to members of her birth family or to her brother’s birth parents. She has the vocabulary to express how she feels about anything and everything, but not necessarily the understanding.
She has just come out of a phase of being absolutely afraid that her birth family will find her, so the fact that we are in contact at all will completely freak her out. We just don’t feel she could cope with knowing at the moment.
At the same time, I feel very hypocritical. I am proud that we are open, that nothing is off limits but at the same time we are hiding the fact that we correspond with members of their birth family (although it’s one way traffic at the moment). A Twitter friend suggests that next year when Letterbox comes round again I could ask her how she would feel if I wrote to them and gauge it from there and I think that’s a good plan to have in mind.
In the past, she has said that she wants certain birth family members to say sorry to her. She also says that she doesn’t want to see them ever as she has (in her words) ‘a happy time now’. I know this will probably change, but I doubt her desire for privacy ever will.
Our daughter kind of instinctively ‘knows’ what she can talk about outside of the home, whilst inside the home anything goes. I don’t know if it’s something to do with her absolute watchfulness that barely slips, or whether her nature is that she separates the different areas of her life. Maybe we’ll never know.
Since the age of 3, she has said, “People are always talking about me. I want them to stop. I don’t like it at all,” And yes, that’s all she’s ever known since Social Services became involved when she was 6 months old; whispers, talking, medicals, more whispers. So how will she feel when she discovers I’ve been writing about her to the family she was removed from?
Either way, one day I’m going to have to bite the bullet when I feel she’s ready, put my feelings aside and tell her.
What are your thoughts on Letterbox? Do your children know you write or like Kat, is it something you’ve refrained from sharing with them?