Then recently this blog, written by an adoptive father, surfaced, thanks to a link at O Solo Mama's blog:
An interesting item did come with all her "regular" paperwork, though. It was a letter that her birth father had left for her stating that he was a cold hearted man and she was a costly burden to the family...etc.... When my guide translated it for me, I read it and then promptly shredded it. My guide was shocked. When should I give it to her, I asked, her wedding day???? I felt afraid that if I left that paper around and she was to find it one day, all the positive messages I was giving her would have been diminished in a split second. To me, it doesn't really matter how my 2 girls
got to me. All I care about is that they did. I do speak well of the bio parents of each girl to hopefully keep their self-esteem afloat.
we also have the advantage of understanding our host culture’s worldview and their very deep superstitious beliefs. thus, we were not surprised that sterling was given to us with a jade luck charm - a buddhist charm meant to bring good luck, fortune and protection. we, however, know that this charm is associated with spiritual forces meant to keep people in bondage. thus, we smiled and accepted it as we should, and then later went to the park, broke it, and threw it into the pond, and prayed for our sterling that all spiritual bondage over him would be broken.I'm saddened by both acts of destruction, even if motivated by concern for the child. We have so little information about our children's lives before we met, so few mementos of their lives in their birth countries -- how could one destroy what little exists? These little bits and pieces are likely to be vitally important to our kids as they grow up, and we might well be destroying more than we know.
We might be unwittingly destroying additional information. That note from the birth father might actually be translated in a variety of ways. It might have been incompletely translated, and another translation might reveal more information. That's what happened with Zoe's note -- the translation I was given in China said the note only contained her date of birth. A recent translation revealed that it also included the time of birth, which might not seem much, but every bit of information is valuable to Zoe.
By destroying the note and the orphanage gift of a jade pendant, I believe the adoptive parents are also destroying their children's trust. Imagine what will happen when their children find out that their parents destroyed parts of their pasts. Could you forgive that breach of trust? I'm not sure I could.
Our kids' stories from birth are THEIR stories; we are merely custodians. We have a fiduciary duty -- a solemn duty based on trust -- to preserve those stories. Those bits and pieces might turn out to be valuable puzzle pieces that make clearer the mysterious picture of their pasts. They need these pieces to form and understand their identity.
We may have the discretion to decide when to share the whole story with our children, but not whether to preserve those stories. Keeping or destroying those pieces -- like deciding about eye surgery -- is not our decision, but the decision of our children as they become adults.