Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Follow Up: How much info is too much info?

I want to thank everybody for the comments (on and off the blog). It's really interesting to read the varying opinions on this. Like I said, in the midst of all of my adoptions I would consider ANY information the coordinator might know about my case to sort of belong to me. I would feel that the information was MINE and should be shared with me. There is still a part of me that feels that way. However, I question whether that is healthy in the end.

I want to clarify that I would never ever in a million years withhold information about the child to be adopted. Never. Any tidbit I receive about a child (good or bad) I consider to be the adoptive parent's information. If the child bites, I want them to know that. There was one very sweet little girl that I had a run in with when I was last in Ghana. She made some poor choices and I put her in time out. She was MAD! I had never seen that side of her before. I shared that story with her adoptive parents so that they would know that side of her existed. =-) If a child goes to the hospital....if the child has a cold...if the child has a favorite song, I want to share ALL of that with parents. If I know about it, I share it.

I also feel that bad news belongs to parents as much as good news does. Just because I might not WANT to share with a family that we're having a hard time getting a birth certificate, doesn't mean I don't have to share that. I do. And I need to share WHY it's hard as well. And I do.

It is only the side talk--the worries about a potential problem down the road; or an unsubstantiated rumor; or talk that a certain judge just MIGHT change this or that about procedure--I've learned that those things often caused parents needless worry because most of the time those problems, rumors, or changes in procedure never come to fruition. So for that, I have made an understanding with myself that I only share things that I feel are 90% likely to happen.

Someone made a comment that I shouldn't have a set policy--that I should consider how each family handles news. I think that's a valid consideration, but doesn't really work when put into place. Parents talk. If Steady Susie talks to Worrier Wendy about little tidbits that Anita shares, and Worrier Wendy doesn't get those tidbits from Anita, it causes feelings of unfairness to rise up. As it should. Also, try as I might, I simply don't KNOW each of my families that well. I connect on a personal level with some families more than others. I can't always know what would cause one family to feel worried while actually encouraging another family.

In the end, I think each adoption provider has to make a judgement call about this sort of thing. Families move towards coordinators they click with, and away from coordinators that give them a bad feeling. I know that I give my families WAY more information than I was ever given by any of the adoption coordinators I worked with in the past. For some families that will be too much information, and for others it won't be enough.

I keep thinking about Kendi's adoption. Kendi's adoption was the easiest adoption we've gone through, even though she had medical needs that were scary (while she was in Ghana) and even though it wasn't our quickest adoption. I think the reason for this is because I didn't get a day by day. Our coordinator in Ghana is wise beyond his years. =-) He has learned that, like some adoptive parents, I too will obsess about rumors and possibilities. So over the months he has learned it doesn't benefit anybody for him to share those things with me. He shares when things become reality. He shares when good AND bad actually happens. He gives the highlights. Because of the way he shares information, my own adoption was less stressful. The same on the Eban House side. I didn't hear about it every time Kendi had a cold. If I would have heard every time she was sniffly, I would have worried sick, so I'm thankful for that (in retrospect)! Just seeing a snotty nose in pictures made me worry. Eban House gives updates on kids when something is seriously wrong. No update is good news. That's how I've learned to view it.

Again, thanks for the food for thought! Now that life has settled back down again I want to write more about these types of topics.


Laurel 8:47 PM  

Glad to hear that you share EVERYTHING about the child (the good and the bad). We were told all of the WONDERFUL things about our chidren, but the not-so-wonderful things were kept from us until the day that we picked our children up in Ghana. Not good. If we would have known the not-so-good, it would not have deterred us from the adoption ... but we would have been more prepared for the situations that arose once we got home.

Keep up the good work!