Life story work and contact with birth family is such an important part of the adoption process. But it’s definitely something where one size doesn’t fit all. How you go about it will depend on so many different factors.
Some children haven’t lived with their birth family. Some have but were too young to remember. For others, their birth family will have been their everything for a lot of years.
The majority of help and support that’s available to adopters and their children is from adults. Adults telling other adults how to share sensitive and sometimes difficult information with children. I often worry how my children will feel when they’re older, particularly teenagers, about the steps we’ve taken now to keep in contact with their birth family. Will they think we should’ve done more or done things differently?
There’s no way of being able to second guess that. But what we can do, is learn from those who’ve been through it. I’ve recently come across an inspiring group of teenagers on Instagram. Teen Talk Adoption is an Instagram based online teen adoptee community created by the Scottish Adoption teen ambassadors.
The teen ambassadors have created a safe space for adopted teens to connect with other adopted teens to share their experiences and support one another. One of their aims is to educate others about the issues that affect adopted children as they grow up.
Some of the ambassadors have written blogs sharing their experiences of different topics. I think all of the blogs are brilliant, but two of them really struck a chord with me. This one about life story work talks about a lot of the concerns I have for our girls when they’re teenagers.
I worry we won’t be able to give them all the answers they’ll want, simply because we don’t have them. Reading the blog really brought home the kinds of issues adopted children face as they grow up. It’s one thing to experience those things, but to want to share them so that others can learn from them is really inspiring.
The second blog which really resonates with me is this one about coping with isolation. It’s such an honest blog and I hope Tegan feels very proud that she’s written it. Again, it’s given me a lot of insight into issues that my daughters may face as they grow up.
I started this magazine to share with the wider world what adoption is really like. I wanted to give a voice and platform to those who wanted it so they could share their experiences of adoption from different perspectives. Reading about adoption from a teenagers perspective is humbling but also enabling. It gives parents of younger children tools to help them support and guide their little ones as they grow up and navigate their feelings about who they are and where they come from.
I hope to be able to share more blogs from the teen ambassadors in the future. If there’s a particular topic you’d like them to cover, let me know. I’d encourage everyone to follow them on Instagram @teentalkadoption and to read their blogs because they have so much to teach us.