I had a wonderful conversation with my daughter on the long ride home from a recent activity this past weekend. She volunteered to work as a "counselor in training" at a local culture camp, something she has done several times in the past and really enjoys.
We talked about the ways she wanted my husband and I to support her. At one point I asked her if she had adopted friends who had expressed feelings of guilt about wanting to know their first families. She said she'd heard friends say they didn't talk about their first families because they believed it would hurt their adoptive parents.
As we talked further, I asked if she felt this was because their adoptive parents had set that tone, and had made her friends feel they couldn't speak openly. She replied that she didn't think that was the case. It was, she said, something any adoptee might feel.
I've always thought that speaking openly and ensuring that our children knew we wanted them to talk about their families would be enough to prevent the emotional pull that accompanies so many adopted people throughout their lives. That may not be the case, though, because the guilt may be the emotional tension, tug-of-war even, that is part of the experience of being adopted. And it may be something that an adoptive parent can't influence or resolve, simply acknowledge.
As I wonder how I can best support my kids through these feelings, I see no easy answers. But even if I can't resolve or remove what they may feel, I can provide comfort. And I can continue to confirm that our children's first parents are a welcome part of our family dialog, and welcome members of our family. With open communication, hopefully they'll keep talking.