Should You Share Your Full Adoption Story?

chronicling a family adoption journey in a book should take into account the whole story, including joys and challenges

Adoptive parents recount memories of wishing and waiting and hoping for their children, but the truth is that the challenges often go well beyond a long wait. So, too, does the joy and fulfillment of adoption. Preserving the full story of your adoption journey may mean sharing some of the pain, too—but how much you include is a very personal decision. We can help you record your stories in a compassionate and meaningful way, preserving your adoption journey exactly how you want to.

 
 

When the adoption process is joyful, but not easy…

Your adoption story is worth preserving.

“Adopting one child won’t change the world; but for that one child, the world will change.”

World-changing. That’s what your family’s adoption story has been. And the story of something so profound should be preserved; should be accessible for your family as it matures and grows; should become an origin story so often revisited that it becomes family lore, an heirloom both physical and spiritual.

In a previous post we wrote about 9 Reasons Why Your Adoption Journey Is Worth Preserving. But just because your journey to parenthood was profound and joyful and life-changing, does not mean it was easy.

“I say to everybody: Adoption is not for the faint of heart.” —Mariska Hargitay

Children who were adopted experience feelings of loss, often grieving for the family they have lost and the world they knew before. Transitions to new schools, new homes, often a new country, can be unsettling, profoundly impacting a child’s sense of self. Adoptive children may have histories of trauma, or other types of special needs.

Adoptive parents may face great challenges—emotionally, psychologically, logistically. 

Even the adoption process itself may be anything but smooth. 

So where does that leave adoptive parents in chronicling their personal adoption journey? Do you include the good, the bad, and the ugly in an Adoption Journey book? Or do you focus on the positive and create an archive of the joys of newfound family, a historical record of how you adopted and how you became a family?

That is up to every family, and the answers may not be immediately clear.

Depending upon where you are in your adoption journey when you make your heirloom book, you may choose to include different things—in particular, different levels of reflection. An adoptive parent whose children are now older may have better perspective to help him talk about the more challenging times with an understanding and open heart. A parent who adopted a child only a year or two ago, on the other hand, may not yet be able to articulate how her own emotions or her child’s challenges are impacting their lives.

 
 

Consider what your family will want to remember.

An Adoption Journey book is a record of a milestone in your family's life. It is celebratory, without question, marking a family's reunion with their new child.

But, as with all personal history books we undertake at Modern Heirloom Books, we aim to tell your whole textured story—not every detail, but the experiences that shape and transform you. And, well, life is not all champagne and roses (despite what our Instagram feeds might proclaim!).

Consider that including some of the hard stuff in your book may be revelatory or healing for your children. It may remind you of the anxieties and pressures of the adoption process—but you persevered. Perhaps including glimpses into the struggles you and your children face as you continually evolve as a family will help you better appreciate the joys—and, research shows, it will help your children be more resilient

What are we talking about here? Some of the more challenging aspects of the adoption journeys we have chronicled in the past include:

  • agencies that have lost accreditation mid-process

  • adopted children whose mourning process or transition to their new life was prolonged or painful

  • lost paperwork (redone only to be misfiled again)

  • lack of transparency throughout the process

  • financial, legal, or medical obstacles

We want you to cherish the triumphs, but to appreciate your full journey. That may mean alluding to one or two of your challenges such as these, or delving deeply into one of them that especially marked your family's journey—or rather, focusing exclusively on the good.

 
 

Our interviewers are compassionate listeners.

One of the benefits of creating an Adoption Journey Book with us is that you, the adoptive parent, are often able to work out what is best to include through discussions with your editor. Our personal historians have your best interest in mind at all times, and listening is a skill we take seriously. You may even request an interviewer who is an adoptive parent, too, if that makes you more comfortable.

You will recount your story through a series of hour-long interviews, and during those Q-and-A sessions we will hit upon things that may not be right to include. Our editor can make suggestions for ways to present difficult material; or if you simply realize some of the stories are off-limits, then we respect that, as well. 

At all times, remember: This is YOUR story of adoption and family and love. We are there to help you tell it the best way possible.

Related Reading:

No matter where you are in your adoption journey, now is the best time to act: Preserve your adoption story in an Adoption Journey heirloom book. Because you will cherish this story forever.