Answering questions about your child's birth family

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Answering questions about your child's birth family

The best way for parents to deal with the wide range of personal questions about their family that will inevitably come their way, there's two pieces to it. The first is to make it clear that it's okay to talk about it at home. You'll have to take the initiative about this, so you bring it up. Make it clear that, again, your children are not obligated to answer anything they don't want to. And then as fast as you can, you should get your hands onto something called the Wise Up Powerbook, which is an excellent resource. It will walk you and your child through four distinct response channels for questions; the questions that, here are the questions: How much did she cost? Where did she come from? What happened to her real parents? Are you really related? Why didn't your parents keep you? They're uncomfortable questions, and they can really throw you for a loop if you're not ready for them. And the great thing about the Wise Up Powerbook is that it gives your child control of the conversation. They can choose to share, they can choose to not share, they can choose to educate.

View Maureen Donley, MA, MFT's video on Answering questions about your child's birth family...


Expert Bio

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Maureen Donley, MA, MFT

Adoptive Mom & Therapist

As a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Maureen's practice spans all ages and holds a focus in creative professionals, adoption and trauma work.  She earned her MA in Clinical Psychology with a Child Studies specialization from Antioch University in Los Angeles. She has also worked as a Counselor in both K-8 and high school settings and is finishing her third year as a Counselor at the Southern California Counseling Center working with individuals, families and couples. She completed the Family Training Program Certification there, and will hold both TRM and EMDR trauma certifications in July 2013. In addition, she is working with Jeanette Yoffe in a monthly adoption support group on the Westside, as part of her new non-profit, The Celia Foundation, dedicated to all members of the adoption constellation. Maureen also facilitates both parenting and adolescent groups at Dr. Bonnie Goldstein’s Center for Psychological Services on the Westside. 

Before joining the psychology field, Maureen's first love was the arts.  As a producer and studio exec, she was part of the Feature Animation team at Disney during the Renaissance years of The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and Toy Story. Maureen subsequently had a production deal at Fox under which the animated feature Anastasia was released. Prior to moving to Los Angeles to join the Mermaid team, she was based in New York City.  While there, she was on the faculty at The Juilliard School (Drama Division), and was a visiting professional for the Yale School of Drama. Maureen worked on many theatrical productions as a stage manager including the Broadway production of The Glass Menagerie with Jessica Tandy, the Off-Broadway and Broadway productions of Pump Boys and Dinettes and the 1st and 2nd National Tours of Cats in Boston, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles. She says, "being part of telling timeless tales was great preparation for helping people discover the true stories of their own lives."


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