Because its Father’s Day today I want to repost a previous blog about Jazz’s family. Family history can be a difficult issue in adoptive families. Sometimes information that comes via files, assessments and court proceedings is not enough to fill in the gaps or give a fair and rounded perspective on what led to such a major separation.
I feel we were lucky in that we could safely trace Jazz’s family and be given their story directly. This isn’t always possible or safe and adopters are not to blame for this. The local authority didn’t make it easy for us and I was extremely aware that it was a risk I was taking on my own.
Parts of Jazz’s family history are really sad. It’s not all hearts and roses and it is full of what if’s and if only’s. I have to constantly balance my anger at what Jazz’s Mum failed in and my empathy for her, and more importantly so does Jazz.
We have managed though and if it is at all possible to do it safely I recommend looking beyond the files (without informing your child at first), and doing some “who do you think you are” detective work of your own. Sometimes bits of information from beyond the point of ultimate tragedy striking a family can be very helpful in a child’s identity. Things like a grandparents name, a birth place, a family trade, a photograph.
These can be used positively to make life story work more rounded and perhaps a little less based in endings and separation.