My children have known since the day they entered our home that they were foster children and then adopted children. We began, very early, telling them about their biological families to the best of our abilities. Although their beginnings are shadowed in trauma, they deserve to have positive thoughts and feelings about where they came from.
We often talk about “the mommy whose belly I came from” and as my children have aged their questions have gotten more in-depth. It’s tricky and can be down right heartbreaking at times, but it is imperative they know these stories. It’s imperative they recognize these stories as an essential part of who they are.
My oldest knows that he likely got his love of swimming from his biological mother. My middle knows he has nine brothers and sisters. Telling my children stories of their biological families shows them that I cherish where they came from. It reiterates that I cherish them.
The stories of my children’s past will change as they grow. Some day I will have to tell them the nitty-gritty details, but that’s not today. I will continue to tell them the parts that are appropriate until I have to dive deeper. When that time comes, I will have already constructed a road of honesty and respect that allows me to share without hesitation.
The stories of my children’s biological families are all they have left of those families. I have been tasked with an incredibly important job to keep them until they are ready to be passed on. Likewise, you have been tasked with the incredibly important job to keep the stories of your child’s relatives until they are ready to be passed on.
You may not have the same dynamic in your relationship with your children and that’s ok! You still have opportunities to go deeper into the family tree. Tell your children stories of your parents and grandparents; dig more deeply into the family allowing your children to construct an all-encompassing picture of the people who have shaped who they are.
If you are divorced or separated from your child’s other parent, you also have been tasked with the important job of telling your child stories of them. By relaying stories of their biological families you are making deep connections reiterating that where they came, who they came from, is important.
Keeping it age appropriate, don’t be afraid to retell the stories you hold dear to your heart. Don’t be afraid to let your children know who and what has made them.