As adoptees we have two different families; the family that adopted us, the family that we were born into. Both families shape who we are, what our family histories tell us also comes into play for many of us.
Today, even if you have a very open adoption, I’m wondering if your child will learn about their family of birth history, specifically their first parents, grandparents, their family story. I’m asking you to think about that question with the upcoming holidays and, even though it may not matter to your child now, it may matter later after it’s too late. I’m also asking you to be proactive and start building both their family histories; your family history and their family of birth history, both matter to me, so there’s a good chance they’ll both matter to your child too.
It’s a large undertaking but can be done over time.
Start with you and your spouse to get the hang of it, then do your parents, your spouse’s parents, remember to get some pictures too. Then do the same for their family of birth; it’d be a great tool for breaking any lulls in the conversations at visits, face time, calls. There are tools to help you; from an app to record the oral history (how amazing that would be when your child is grown and the relatives are long gone to hear their answers to the questions posed), to an endless selection of questions to pick from to ask.
I like this list as it asks follow-up questions I wouldn’t think of; go through the list and create your own list of questions you’ll ask, and be sure to include ones your child would appreciate now and, the ones they’ll thank you for as an adult. The first three questions asked on this list are below.
*What is your full name and why were you named that? (Include maiden name for women.)
*Were you named after someone else?
*Did you have a nickname when you were growing up? If so, what was it and why were you called that?
This list of questions delves more into the who they are as an individual, what matters to them, yet should also be able to be answered by the interviewee. These are the questions I can’t get answers for that really delve into who the person is, what they experienced, what makes them, them. This link also offers a link to the app to record the interview.
The first three questions on this list.
*What are some of your lifetime regrets?
*Growing up, who was the person you most adored or respected?
*What is the greatest change that you have seen in your lifetime?
And for your child’s family of birth, this is also a great time to ask and document their family health history as well, so build those questions into your list to ask each member or ask them to fill in the questionnaire and reassure them you’ll guard their privacy the same as you would yours. Family Health History Form
Once you’re done, don’t stop there, interview other close relatives over time, keep adding to it because those who went before us, should not just not be forgotten, they should be honored.