Monday, February 19, 2018
As a parent I always thought that no matter what life threw at me I would be there to protect my children - and I try.
My daughters are now 26 and 30 so what we deal with these days is so much more complicated and harder than any adoption discussion.
Another shooting. This time in a high school in Florida. In explaining what happened, the media mentioned the shooter was adopted and went on to say his father died when he was young and his mother last year and implied that the adoption had something to do with his problems. I wish they had just said that he had many losses in his life prior to the incident. They if they wanted to mention adoption, the loss of his parents and being taken in by another family, it would have some context.
I thought the news media had advanced and was viewing adoption more positively these days, but I guess not. Many times, it reinforces the incorrect concept that adopted children are emotionally disturbed. That they snap and do unimaginable things. That adoption somehow makes them unstable. FACT: the overwhelming majority of adopted kids are just fine.
As we as adukts decide what and how we an make the world safer for our kids, I can only imagine the discussions or lack thereof with our kids. My younger daughter and I discussed this event. It came on the heels of the horrific Las Vegas shooting (She lives in Las Vegas). She was overwhelmed with sadness and anxiety and is more vigilant than ever.
Adopted kids have an added layer of identity. They need to know where they came from and how they joined our families. They need to know adoption is one piece of who they are. They need to understand the losses in their lives. They need you to help them with that.
With my daughters – I shared their adoption story and helped them learn what to say and what information to hold close to their hearts. We talked about when to tell their friends or when to reveal at school as part of homework or a classroom assignment. They knew what they would choose to tell others about their own adoption and when it was better to provide generic information. They understood and later became advocates as they grew older.
With this troubling story in the news and the adoption being repeated in the media coverage again and again, take this opportunity to discuss adoption with your child. To explain that the media often uses words without always being aware of the impact it may have on others. That adoption is not a precursor to violence. Tell them to talk to you if they have any questions. And, take what they say seriously. Seek professional guidance, if they are struggling with adoption or any other issues in which you don’t feel you are prepared to help. Asking for guidance is not a sign of weakness in you or your child. It is a sign of strength.
Kathy Ann Brodsky, LCSW is a New York and New Jersey licensed social worker, adoptive mom and advocate for ethical adoption practice. Through her private practice and agency affiliations, she has prepared thousands of adoption homestudies, counseled expectant, birth, pre/post adoptive parents and adopted persons, as well as trained professionals to work with adoptive families. She was Director of the Ametz Adoption Program of JCCA and a member of the Advisory Board for POV’s Adoption Series and is currently a member of the Adoption Advisory Board of Path2Parenthood, Adoption Professional Advisory Council of HelpUSAdopt and active in the Adoptive Parents Committee in New York. Her blogs and written contributions can be seen throughout the Internet, including her BLOG and as Head Writer for ADOPTION.NET She was named an “Angel in Adoption” by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption in 2001. You can reach her directly at EMAIL