Friday, August 27, 2010

About their past

Sometime soon I will be posting my travel notes that I wrote while we were in Ethiopia.

You may find something curiously missing from my notes.

There will not be any photos or information about my children, 
their birth-family or our meeting.

I may share some emotions I felt, but nothing specific.

Why, you ask?

I know several other blogs who have shared information 
about their child’s birth parent, even photos, 
and that’s fine for them…
But, here is MY reasoning (take it or leave it).

My children have a story.
It is THEIR story.

The details surrounding how they happened to join our family are private.

Since the whole concept of the internet is foreign 
to those in rural areas of Ethiopia,
we do not know if our children’s birth family member 
would approve of having a photo posted online.
Hence, the photos we have will be for our children 
to share if they choose – 
some day in the future.

Some things should just be theirs.

They can’t retain the sights, smells or sounds of their home country.

They can’t retain the feeling of their first home 
or the arms of those they first loved.

They can’t hear the words spoken about them, 
the hopes and dreams their family member shared…

But they can have this:
The knowledge that the love, hopes and desires of their first family will be treasured by us and saved for them and their eyes, ears and heart – for when they are ready. 
It's not much, but it is the best we can do.

Someday they will know the questions we asked, 
the questions we were asked in return, 
and the covenant we share with 
the only other person in the world who 
knows what it is to call them “my baby”.

Someday we will tearfully explain, in great detail, 
the moments in Ethiopia that took our breath away.

Someday I will hold them while they cry 
and mourn the loss of their first family.

Someday I will cry as I tell them how I sobbed on their 
Daddy's shoulder by a coffee tree after our meeting was over, 
knowing we had just said 'goodbye' to the only 
connection to their past. 

Someday my children will know how much they are loved- 
on two continents, in two languages, by many hearts.

But it won’t be shared here.


  1. That was beautifully written, Chrissy. I totally respect your decision and completely agree.

  2. beautifully put and so very heart felt. I am torn with my little man, he was abandoned and found by the police. I thought not having to visit the family owuld be a convienience, but I know it is just easier for me int he short term. In the long term I am sure he will have questions and I am saddened to have nothing to offer him. I hope your little ones can understand the love they had /have on two continents

  3. Such respect for your children and their birthparent. You can never take back words that are said...

  4. By holding their story close, you are giving a gift to the babies AND to their father. I know at times meeting the first family member feels like it's all about us and our heartbreak - but it's not - it's really not at all. We are in many ways just the vessel that holds our children's story (what tremendously little we know) safe until the time comes when we can hand it over to them - tears, pictures, dried grass, clay pottery and all - to decide for themselves what to do with it.

  5. Ya, I did the same thing. Posted about our trip, even details about our trip south to Durame, but no specifics about birth family meeting or our daughters background. In my opinion, the blogging world is just too "public" to share such personal details about loved-ones...details that should be held close to the heart.

  6. I completely respect your decision to keep it close.
    Consider that for some the picture is a representation of family. The child's story and background are kept private. As far as strangers seeing the pictures and knowing that the child has birth family in Ethiopia...that is just breaking down the walls of misunderstanding about orphans.
    None of us should pass judgment on how anther family processes these things with their children. I know you said take it or leave family and other like me really come off poorly in this post.

  7. Full disclaimer. :) I am a friend of Chrissy and I do share this viewpoint.

    I would say that she wasn't trying to pass judgment, but this is something that she feels very strongly about. I agree that this is something that for me feels best to keep personal and I put almost everything out there. I try to keep it mostly to MY story however and I feel like if I blogged about that meeting then I would be telling my daughter's story and her family's story and I don't think that's my place.

    I think it is a valid point about how seeing a picture can break down some misinformation about the process. I hadn't thought about it in those terms. I can see how that would do some good. Even that though is still posting pictures of someone else at a very personal time without their consent, which is generally frowned on.

    For me, I think the blog posts that I find disturbing are when it is pictures and details about the meeting. It just feels like too much for me. With Cindy's viewpoint I could see (maybe) posting a picture, but not the details. When I can read a blog and then explain to someone else why a child was relinquished I think that I have too much information.

  8. Wow, Cindy... I had no idea I made other people look bad with this post. I was honestly just posting my opinion as some had asked me some personal questions recently about the kids' birth family. It's totally up to each adoptive family to share or not share whatever they wish about their children's stories. For me... I just feel like it's not my place to tell their info. For you and others, it's perfectly fine! I have to use my own feelings and judgement on this issue as does everyone and on this particular issue... I am choosing (for MY family) to remain silent. Sorry if you or anyone else felt like I made them look bad. We all know going into adoption that this is something we have to face one day... those questions in the supermarket about their "real family", or "what happened to their real parents?" ... we have to decide how we will approach those questions ahead of time so we aren't surprised when they come up. This is just an extension of that. I would not tell a stranger at the supermarket about my kids' birth family's situation... so I wouldn't share it on a public forum either.

  9. What an awesome post and such a beautiful family! My husband and I brought home our daughter Charlotte from Ethiopia in May 2009 and are in the process of adopting twins from Ethiopia... We could be getting our referral any day now! We'll have five kiddos total so I would love to follow along on your journey and collect some knowledge along the way! My blog is Beneath the Acacia Tree ( I look forward to getting to know you!

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  12. Loved your post and couldn't agree more! Wishing you and your family all the best!

  13. I Loved this post. I think it's a sweet thing, and so sensitive, that you are keeping things for your child to share when they are ready.

    I found your blog from my friend, Jennifer Hambrick's blog. You had commented about her little peg boards and what they are called.

    I found mine at a homeschool convention and they are WONDERFUL.

    They are called Lauri "Number Puzzle Boards & Pegs". They have different age categories too:) The set I have comes with numbers that the holes and pegs can be matched with.

    Here's a link to Amazon's sets. Hope this helps:)


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