Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Her Story

In the dust of Genea's recent question, "why didn't they want me", I received an email about an upcoming webinar class by Heather Forbes, of Beyond Consequences, Logic and Control, called "Giving Your Children Their Story".

I am so totally doing it!

I'm guessing most adoptive parents struggle with giving information to their children. I know I certainly have! To gloss over Genea's story on clouds made of fairy wings would be wrong, but to bluntly tell the whole truth would be cruel. It's hard to use phrasing that never ever hints of anything being her fault, and to avoid projecting interpretation onto a birth mother whose story is unknown. There is so much to consider, and I'm sure many other people have the issue of multiple layers. We don't just have one abandonment, we have two, along with some bizarre situations.

Other issues lurk around too. It's her information and I don't necessarily feel like I have the right to hold any of it back. Yet, she's eleven and I would not expect her to understand trigonometry. I've read from adoptee's who say their story belongs to them alone, and many don't want their adoptive parents involved at all.

I cannot even describe how perfect this is for us right now. I just wrote the post "Black Holes and Revelations" last month (title take from an album by Muse btw) where I realized Genea has gaps in her memory. Not just of the actual events but of what we have told her so many times.

I've lifted these quotes directly from the Beyond Consequences website:

"Trauma is stored in fragments within the memory system".
YES IT SEEMS TO BE! When I was telling Genea a part of her life with the first adoptive parents, she got all excited, saying she had dreams about the event that scared her, but she didn't know why.

"Pieces of memory here and pieces of memory there can create confusion and conflict".
OH YEAH WE HAVE THAT! She often still confuses the story of her birth mother with the story of her first adoption.

"Help your child in the process of sorting through the reality and magical thinking".
YUP, THAT TOO! In the beginning, Genea put her previous adoptive parents on an airplane for a solid year, and whenever one flew overhead she jumped up and down hollering "there they are!".

So anyway! The webinar is on March 11th. I was surprised at how inexpensive the class is in the first place but there is currently a discount running that puts it at just $15.00 ( Seriously?). It's live, and interactive so people such as myself (ahem!) can ask questions. AND! Heather will remain online after the class to answer general parenting questions as well! Several years ago I hauled myself across the country twice to attend seminars with her and I can say both were highly valuable and helped me change a lot.

Class fees were waived in exchange for this post.


  1. Sounds intriguing. I'm going to order her book. Thanks Essie.

  2. That whole thing about "their story being their story" just kind of offends me.....NO ONE'S story is only their story. Why should adopted kids get it any easier? Bio kids have to live with everyone knowing their dad ran off with someone else before they were born, or their birth was so hard their mom almost died, or when they were born their grandparents wouldn't come see them because their parents were from mixed religions - or whatever. And because none of us are islands, our stories belong to all of the people who love us, and (unfortunately, much of the time) to anyone else whojust happens to know it!

    I did just have a "little talk" with the principal of this Catholic school where I work, mentioning that I didn't think it really all that great to have all of the kindergarteners do "Family Trees" which are then posted in the halls. I have HEARD parents gossiping over the information contained in these assignments, and looking ahead, I really don't want Monica's out there for all to see! And, I know I'm not the only one who might not like that.

    I guess that is one "easier" thing about older child adoption - they tell YOU their story and horrify you, rather than the other way around.

    1. Well, I don't necessarily understand it myself, but I want to consider the opinions of 'those who have gone before'. You're right though, its rare that anyones story is fully private.

  3. Once I started visiting the blogs in your sidebar, but just then [coincidentally, I think] I started getting mean comments on my blog. Now that I know they came from some snark site, maybe I can go try to make new friends again. All (well MOST) of my blogging friends have pooped out.

    1. Lol, that was for sure a coincidence! Sheesh! Lemme just suggest you remove all names. Give people nicknames of saints or tree's or something.
      Most of my blogging friends went away with yours I think. We should start a movement.

  4. So re: the memories and timeline thing. I've been reading Bessel van der Kolk's new book on trauma and so many things make sense now. He said that the part of the brain that goes "offline" during trauma is the part that does stuff like timelines and creating cohesion. It clicked some things into place for me.

    1. Interesting! I wonder if that is part of why the kids don't respond well to reward systems and such. If they can't sequence, they probably cant put logic to the idea that doing A leads to B. Checking out that book!


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