"Mum I've found a relationship" said child 3 as we left a small charming cemetery through its beautiful wrought iron gates. Of course she meant that she had found a grave with the same surname as her so assumed they were related to her. When ever we pass a cemetery we are often tempted in to read the stones, and I know that we are not alone in this pastime. These places are usually situated on hills overlooking the area and are quiet, peaceful places full of green, flowers and birdsong, tempting passerby's in to wander through their aisles. I found that I am drawn to those of similar names to myself and people I know and the dates that they died. Curious about the types of lives they led, if they married and had children and grandchildren.
In this particular graveyard their were those that had died in the 1st and 2nd world wars and a family who had perished in a local flood all buried together, their ages ranging from 3 to 64. So sad that a whole family could have been wiped out in one night. Then there were all those with similar surnames to ours, could they be distant relations? What did they do?
This set me thinking to child 4 who will be joining us on these occasional forays, which names will pull at him, shoud we also look for gravestones with his birth surname on? For our children I suspect having another name to be on the lookout for will just add to the adventure and speculation of the possible exciting histories of our ancestors - (see the post Family Tree May 2013). As child 4 matures this casual acceptance of where he came from, will hopefully help promote his sense of identity, after all he will have been adopted, we cannot change that fact only help him to accept it as part of his history and to help him understand that it does not have to have a negative impact on his future!
It is important for children to have a record of significant people, places and events in their life. Every child needs to have a sense of identity and of their origins so they can understand the person they are. The life story book belongs to the child but is usually given to the adoptive parents or permanent foster carers, so they can share the information sensitively with the child, when age appropriate, as some information may be painful or difficult to understand. Some children may choose to refer to their life story book regularly; others less often, or hardly ever. Be My Parent
British study found that birth family contact: 1) promotes the child's ability to develop a healthy sense of identity; 2) reduces the child's feelings of rejection and abandonment; and 3) helps the child integrate with the adoptive family and provides permission to attach to them. Contact can also help the child to resolve any feelings of grief about the past with truth, rather than fantasy. And it allows the ongoing exchange of important medical information. When adoptive families consider all of these advantages, they often choose to help sustain their child's birth family connection Lowe N, Murch M, Borkowski M, Weaver A, Beckford V with Thomas C, 1999. Supporting Adoption: Reframing the Approach. London, BAAF.