Yesterday my birth son's family contacted me and confirmed that he doesn't know he is adopted. They really don't want to tell him. The reasons are long, complicated -- and private.
And wrong no matter what, in my opinion. He deserves to know who he is. And I do not, as a friend of mine wrote, want to be complicit in his being lied to about his identity. As I told his family, genetic tests are getting cheaper all the time, and cataloguing one's own genetic makeup is very popular with college students. What if he orders one on his own, finds out on his own that his family kept his truth from him? I'm certain that would be far more devastating than learning of his adoption from his family.
They need to tell him. I'm not going to do it. I have no interest in being the person who leaks his secret identity. That responsibility lies with his family, the people who did the work of raising him, the people who have been loving him in person for 20+ years. I have no, never had any intention of, trying to make them look bad, taking their place, or trying to insinuate myself, because any of those actions are gross as well as ethically messed up.
But this was also never a closed adoption. The fact that I have been respectful and kept my distance does not mean I don't care, don't want him to know he has a whole other story that he can access any time he likes, plus a motherlode of geeks just across the Bay who would welcome him with open arms if he chose to expand (not replace, expand) his family. He deserves the option to make the choice to know us -- or not. If he just wants info, just wants to know more about his native French speaking great-grandfather or talk about the genetics of autism, I'm OK with that.
I'm worried that his parents think adoption is shameful, that knowing he is adopted would make him think they love him less in some way, that there's something wrong with him. But how could he think that, when they've been loving and supporting him his entire life, as much as any child has ever been loved and supported? He is a wanted, cherished son who was born when I was an immature young woman who knew that the best thing for him would be to live with parents who were ready and able to be his family in a way I absolutely was not. He needs to be told. And soon, before he finds out on his own.
Thing is, next steps are unclear -- which is why I'm asking you for advice, dear Interwebs. What resources should I send to his family, to help them understand why their denying his being adopted is a really, really bad idea that will ultimately cause more harm than good?
What would you do?
|Six months pregnant and wearing a hat I'd|
made myself. Go 1990 go.