Putting the Pieces Together: The Significance of the Child’s Story

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Curiosity about who we are, where we came from, and our significance in life is universal. Today, opportunities abound to search family history to fill in the missing pieces of the past, whether a family member shares stories from one generation to the next or we search on social media and genealogy websites for clues. For many adopted persons their life story has missing parts and unanswered questions—and, as a result, some may feel like their identity is an incomplete puzzle.

This article addresses the importance for children who were adopted to learn about their biological family and their origins, to have their life story preserved accurately and completely, and for that story to be easily assessable. In the past, transparency in sharing about a child’s history and maintaining biological connections has been limited in adoption practice in an attempt to protect the child, birth parents, and adoptive parents. Efforts to maintain anonymity for the biological parents, and adoptive parents, resulted in the adopted person having limited or no information about their history. Adoption professionals today recognize that that level of secrecy ultimately served no one’s best interests.

Adoption practice is evolving with more recognition that transparency in sharing information early on benefits the health and well-being of all parties, including adopted persons. Today, there is increasing openness in adoption, more information passed on, and more connections being maintained across time. Although improvements have been made, barriers still remain for adopted people to seek and find the missing pieces of their sacred life story.

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