How to Tell Your Child’s Story: 3 Thoughts

You are raising an incredible, resilient child.

And, by design, you are your child’s greatest cheerleader. You get to champion the story.

As a fellow adoptive parent, I have the desire to shout from the rooftops what God is doing in my child’s life. Even further, I want people to understand how far he’s come to get where he is. My son has overcome incredible obstacles and is a spectacular illustration of God’s grace.

But with that said, I’m constantly juggling how much of his story I should and shouldn’t tell.

Maybe you understand.

On one hand, I want people to know what a great kid he is—and his past is a big part of that. On the other hand, I don’t want to overshare details that belong to him.

So here are 3 thoughts when it comes to what we share—

1. We are the first keeper of our child’s story.

Especially when our children are really young, we are the first people who get to hold the details of their story in a safe and sacred place. We should honor and protect their details as carefully as if they were about us, and we should assume every detail we share with others will get repeated back to our children at some point. Imagine how our kids will feel if they grow up to learn that we guarded their story and kept the details for them.

It could further communicate how very much we love them.

Lifeline Children’s Services says it this way—

“Before you tell or post information about their past, consider that once you let go of that information, you lose control of it.”

2. We have incredible power to impact our child’s outlook.

How we tell the story is as impactful as whom we tell and why. 

As we speak to doctors, counselors, or educators about critical parts of our child’s story—and sometimes those conversations are necessary for health or educational purposes—we should always do so in a dignified way. We should always tell the story as if our child were there, hearing and understanding every word we say. (Because someday they will.)

They may not understand the words we use, but they’ll always understand our tone and compassion.

As it pertains to really hard details—like abuse or abandonment—Jayne Schooler with Back2Back Ministries offers this helpful perspective—

“Poor choices do not justify wrong actions, but perhaps a truthful, compassionate perspective will lead a child to understand and maybe one day forgive her birth parents.”

3. We should always seek to give our child hope.

As our children grow, we have the ability and responsibility to infuse their story with the grace of God. This doesn’t minimize what they’ve been through, but it can maximize Who God is and how He is masterful at bringing beauty from ashes. Yes, there is grief, but there is also great hope.

We can inadvertently forfeit this unique and precious opportunity if our child ends up hearing the story from the wrong person who doesn’t handle the details with compassion.

Emily Chapman Richards, Executive Director of Show Hope, says it this way—

“We have an incredible opportunity to frame stories prophetically. There’s a day coming where all sad things are going to come untrue. And God is going to make all things new. So we hold stories with honor and honesty, and yet reveal glimpses of that world coming.”

There’s truly no greater privilege.

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