Because, I’m Not Ready To Talk About My Child’s Story.

Sometimes you feel that you owe the world an explanation. You don’t! You feel your child’s choices, behavior, or lack of social interaction, warrant a full-blown summary. They don’t. Here’s why…

Diverse group of people holding question signs

I’m going to do my best to give you, foster and adoptive parent who feels isolated, a voice right now. You who’ve grown tired of fielding question after question after question about your child’s special need, recent public outburst, suspension, arrest or social shortcomings. I’m going to do everything in my power to walk in your shoes and let you know you are not alone. I want you to know, as we begin, that your family’s business is nobody else’s business on the face of God’s green earth!

I’m tired. Seriously….tired. So tired, I can’t see straight. I’m tired of the questions…glares….well-meaning but judgmental glances…eye-rolls they think I can’t see. For every amazing, understanding person we encounter, there’s that one who just misconnects altogether. Or worse, thinks it’s his or her job to parent my child, or pry into the details of why we can’t right now. Yes, I’m tired. The prying! The haughty glances! That look I get when I give encrypted answers! Tired of it all. As if I owe anyone in this world an explanation of my child’s behavior? As if I need to explain away his choices, or share his current circumstances? Fact is, his story is not public knowledge…ever.

Are you feeling validated? I hope so. I told you you were not alone.

I get you. I see you. I understand. And I want you to know a few things…

You don’t owe an ounce of an explanation to anyone in this world. Because, much like me, you probably aren’t ready to talk about your child’s story. Perhaps you never will be, and that’s okay. No where in the foster or adoptive parenting manual (as if there ever was one to begin with), did it say, “Must share full-blown details with every human being that asks.” Nope. You don’t. And believe me, they will ask. In the grocery store…at the mall…at the baseball diamond…in your own front yard. Human beings are curious to begin with. We slow down for car accidents, not just because there are rescue vehicles, and traffic is merging, but also because….we want to see what happened. We have this need to reassure ourselves that someone else’s tragedy is not our own.

We’re sympathetic, and sometimes empathetic if the shoe fits, but, glancing in to someone else’s disaster is a relief to us, when said disaster hasn’t struck us personally. And that’s the root of the questions you receive about your child. Well-meaning people (sometimes) who probably are sympathetic (hopefully) but are thinking, “Glad it’s you and not me.” And for them, that’s okay. It’s okay to think this way…as long as it doesn’t cross into judgmental territory (which it often does).

At the end of the day, your child’s story is his story, her story, your story…and no one else’s. If you’re tired of the prying, the glances, the unending questions, or just the look down the nose….I’m with you my friend. I get it too. There’s a person who lives near us who thinks it’s their job to parent one of my children for us and it’s exhausting. Not only parenting, but question after question. Frustrating. This is the part of the post where I wish I could use the Facebook angry emoji. We’re already on display as a family. But, the storyline of some of our kids has thrust into situations where we’ve felt exposed, and spotlighted. We love them deeply so we fiercely guard most of those details.

Because of this, I’m not ready to talk about my kid’s story. I’m not ready to share the details of everything we’ve walked through. I’m not ready to share how many nights we’ve laid awake hoping, praying, wishing, and praying some more. I don’t want to answer any more questions, or explain anything else away. You don’t either and that’s okay.

Question: Have you fielded question after question about your child’s story? Share your story with us in the comment section below… You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • Aleena Andrew Birch

    Of course it is your choice to share or not share your child’s story but my two adopted children’s mother drank alcohol during her pregnancy and I use every chance I can to share my knowledge about the affects of alcohol on a fetus from as early as the embryo implants into the uterine wall till the day of birth and continue to affect baby through a nursing mom who drinks. I am shocked at how few people, including medical personnel, are aware that there is no known safe amount of alcohol that can be consumed during pregnancy. I use those “inquiring” minds (maybe busy bodies) to help spread the word. It’s the least I can do to help me kids lives make a difference.

    • This is true, but educating inquiring minds on the realities of drug and alcohol use when you’re pregnant is much different than sharing the details of your child’s legal issues, emotional struggles, and struggles with mental health.

  • hippocampus

    Nope, my daughter’s story is hers to tell only. We are lucky in the sense that not only is our daughter white like us, she shares similar facial features to me and can be mistaken for a biological child. If the conversation comes up about adoption, I will discuss that I did adopt my daughter and how foster adoption works, but nothing will be said about my daughter’s history unless she tells that part or gives me permission. I have permission from her to post online as long as I stay anonymous. My daughter actually did give a speech this past May at my husband’s base to try and encourage other military members to adopt from foster care. I was so proud of her and at least 10 families have started the paperwork here and some others are transferring this summer so they are going to start when they get settled in their new location.