Our very dear friends were in town this past weekend with their two adorable children, both adopted. We had a fantastic time as we always do when we're together. One of the many topics we discussed was the "circle of influence" in a child's life.
The innermost circle consists of the child and his or her parents. The next circle includes immediate family, including grandparents, aunts and uncles. Beyond that circle are close friends and beyond that are acquaintances.
We talked about how odd it is that some families choose to share more information with the outer circles than they do with the child, believing that they are in some way protecting the child from potentially painful information. In fact, this situation is the worst possible situation. The child is almost guaranteed to find out one day and when he or she does find out, he will not only be hurt by the information itself, but he will likely feel betrayed as well.
Say, for example, that your child was abandoned at birth. You tell your friends about it, but later realize that it might be painful for your child to know. You decide to make up a better story to tell your child about how his birth mother loved him very much and wanted him to be with a wonderful family. Do you think he won't find out one day both that he was abandoned and that you lied to him? In the process of trying to protect him, you have now deeply hurt him.
People find themselves in these situations after acting with only the very best intentions and without realizing what they've done. Needless to say, we hope to be able to do the right thing with any information we receive (or don't receive) about our child.
So, it seems we are doing something to prepare during our wait, after all...