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Silencing the Savior Complex

I’m sure you’ve all experienced it…walking through the grocery store, leaving the school play, grabbing lunch at your favorite local diner, the church parking lot…it doesn’t matter where you are, I’m sure you can all spot them, or at the very least feel their stare as you wrangle the kids from point A to point B. You know, it’s that one smiling person who just can’t peel their eyes off of you and your family. They get closer and closer – and if you’re anything like me your inner self has a quick debate – walk quickly and avoid eye contact at all costs or let them engage and give them a little dose of a day in the life. And then it happens…before you know it they are blessing your heart, thanking you for rescuing these wonderful children and “bringing them in” to your family.

Sometimes the interaction takes only a moment, and before you know it the kind stranger has expressed their gratitude and moved along; other times, it feels like the questions will never end. There is really no right or wrong way to handle these scenarios, but it may be helpful to discuss a plan ahead of time so you and your family have an opportunity to share your story on your terms.

Family Preparation – What is Mine to Share? Depending on the ages of your children, work together to decide exactly who gets to hear what. As parents, our adoption story is much different than our child’s; it’s exciting to tell the story of their adoption and to let others know how they became a part of our family. Our children’s adoption story can be surrounded by complex feelings and stories that may not be ours to share.

WISE Up®! Give your children the tools, language, and confidence to share or not share, in a way that makes sense to them.

Walk away or ignore the other person.

It’s private and I don’t have to answer the question.

Share something about my adoption story.

Educate others about general adoption.

It is inevitable that your family will be asked about your adoption story. The ongoing societal inquiries can eventually become tiresome and redundant. Take time to consider how you can provide accurate information to inquiring minds, and capitalize on opportunities to educate others about adoption in a way that is compelling, but confidential, and respectful of your child’s story.

Find comfort and confidence in controlling your narrative…

Kristalle Hedrick, LMSW

Vice President of Kansas Programs, FosterAdopt Connect

Former Kansas Foster Parent, and Adoptive Parent

Here are additional resources your family may find helpful as you prepare for sharing along your adoption journey: