The importance of talking about birth parents

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The importance of talking about birth parents

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Adoptive families are different because adoptive children have two sets of parents. Adoptive parents, us, I am an adoptive parent. Also, birth parents, who they were born to. Very often, society wants to minimize that distinction because we are afraid that our children won't feel as connected to their adoptive parents, if they are thinking about their birth parents. Who wouldn't think about the parents they were born to. I haven't met an adoptive child, and I work with them, that doesn't wonder why what happened to them; who their birth parents were, and the circumstances. I say to parents, we need to talk about these parents. We need to reject the notion that, somehow, if children think about their birth parents, it means they don't love their adoptive parents. In fact, I would say to you, it's the opposite. If I know I can trust you to talk about something that is dangerous or a little competitive, then I know I can trust you. I can trust that we really are connected. It is really important that we acknowledge those people. I remember when my daughter was 7, I turned to her and I said, "We haven't talked to about your birth mother in a little bit." She turned to me -- I said to her, "You know, I want you to know, it's okay with me if you love her." That little 7 year old turned to me and she started crying. That's a clue, folks, these kids are thinking about this. We don't want to leave our little 7 year old babies thinking about something this complicated, this important, this moving, to do by themselves. We need to talk about it.

Watch Beth Hall's video on The importance of talking about birth parents...

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Beth Hall

Director, Pact - An Adoption Alliance

Beth Hall is an adoption educator who co-founded Pact, An Adoption Alliance, which is a multicultural adoption organization dedicated to addressing essential issues affecting adopted children of color. Pact offers lifelong support and placement services for birth and adoptive families with adopted kids of color. A national speaker, she is also the author of numerous articles and a book, Inside Transracial Adoption, which is filled with personal stories, practical suggestions, and theory, and delivers the message that race matters; racism is alive; and families built transracially can develop strong and binding ties. In 2010 she received the Outstanding Practitioner in Adoption Award, from the Adoption Initiative at St. John's University. She currently serves as a contributing author and advisory board member for “Adoption Clubhouse,” a project promoting positive identity in transracially adopted children for the Evan B. Donaldson Institute for Adoption and as an Advisory Board Member for the On Your Feet Foundation, dedicated to supporting birth mothers of adopted children.Commitment to family is a way of life for Beth. She is the white adoptive mom of two young adults: Sofia, a Latina, and James, an African American. Beth grew up a member of an adoptive family—her sister, Barbara, was adopted. She lives in Oakland, California, with her husband and sometimes her adult children, when they are home.

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