In the adoption community it has been long recognized that children should be told early and often about their adoption. Knowing the story of their birth, and how they became a part of the family is important to their development. However with the new wave of alternative ways to build families such as surrogacy and embryo donation many families are opting to keep secret how their family came to be.
The problem with this is that secrets always have a way of coming out and causing havoc in families. Information that is withheld from children can get tied up in the lies that went along with keeping the secret leading children to feel that their conception or way of joining the family was shameful or inferior. We all want our children to grow to be healthy, self confident adults and the best way to achieve this is to share with them their birth story. Conveying to them that the way they joined the family may have been different but it is also special and just a variation on the norm.
The first step is for intended parents to positively embrace the alternative they have chosen. If Intended parents feel shame, guilt or that the alternative means of family building they have chosen is inferior they will pass these feelings onto their children and to the people they talk to about it. Despite some of the misunderstanding regarding embryo donation and surrogacy, these are legitimate, positive ways of building a family. When intended parents speak to their children and to others about their means of conception or building their family in a positive way it helps promote these alternatives as viable normal options. It allows children to feel positive about their means of joining the family and alleviates any shame that they may feel if this is kept secret and comes out later.