Rape/Incest & Adopted Child: On-line Resources

September 7th, 2007

For the past several days, I have been discussing how to handle talking with an adopted child who was conceived through rape or incest. Several readers have contacted me with questions that I did not cover in this series, and I am working my way through answering those questions.

One reader asked the following question:

Do you know of any online resources that discuss ways to talk to kids about rape, or that suggest any strategies or suggested language we could use?

I did some Internet research, expecting to find many resources and only found one. I searched amazon.com for books on the subject and came up empty. I am shocked that there are so few resources on this subject because it is such an important… [more]

Prostitution & the Adopted Child

September 6th, 2007

For the past several days, I have been discussing how to handle talking with an adopted child who was conceived through rape or incest. Several readers have contacted me with questions that I did not cover in this series, and I am working my way through answering those questions.

One reader raised a question that I had not even considered: How do you talk to your child about being born as a product of prostitution?

Prostitution is known as "the world's oldest profession." Clearly someone is paying these women for their services, but society's disdain seems to fall squarely on the shoulders of the prostitutes without doling out a whole lot of judgment on the men who hire them. Society perpetuates a warped view of… [more]

Rape/Incest & Adopted Child: Doubting the Story

September 5th, 2007

For the past several days, I have been discussing how to handle talking with an adopted child who was conceived through rape or incest. Several readers have contacted me with questions that I did not cover in this series, and I am working my way through answering those questions.

One reader asked the following question:

How [do you] deal with the fact that we can't know with absolute certainty the "true" story of what happened to our daughter's birth mother? . . . We are pretty sure the story she told us is accurate, but we do have a slight tidbit of doubt. How do we deal with this part of the issue? We don't want to tell our daughter that her birth mother was… [more]

Rape/Incest & Adopted Child: When Should I Tell?

September 4th, 2007

For the past several days, I have been discussing how to handle talking with an adopted child who was conceived through rape or incest. Several readers have contacted me with questions that I did not cover in this series. My next three posts will respond to those questions.

One reader asked the following question:

What ages would be ideal for telling a child this information? We are thinking before the teenage years, but how early is too early and how late is too late?

I do not believe there is one "best" age for every child. I believe that this will come at a different time for each child and that, to a certain extent, you will need to trust your intuition to know when the… [more]

Talking about Incestuous Rape with Adopted Child

September 3rd, 2007

Throughout this Adopted Child Conceived by Rape/Incest Series, I have been exploring the difficult issues surrounding whether or not to tell your adopted child that he was conceived by rape or incest. I combined the two topics because, in most cases, pregnancy resulting from incest was also through rape. The only difference is that a blood relative committed the rape. While most of the issues surrounding rape and incest are the same, some important differences need to be noted.

When a child is conceived through incestuous rape, one of the motivations for many birthmothers to choose adoption is to rescue the child from a similar life of abuse. Many young women who are victims of incestuous rape have no way to get out, especially when… [more]

Rape/Incest & Adopted Child: Issues to Consider if you Do NOT Tell

August 31st, 2007

If you choose not to tell your adopted child that he was conceived through rape or incest, you will be living with a secret for the rest of your life. This secret can be an emotional time bomb waiting to explode if your adopted child finds out in another way. Before deciding to keep this information a secret, consider the following issues:

1. What will your cover story be?

Your child is likely to have questions about his birthfather that you will need to answer. If you choose to keep the truth a secret, then you will need to have alternative answers to those questions. What will you tell your child?

If the child’s birthfather is also his birth grandfather, then you will not be able to answer questions… [more]

Rape/Incest & Adopted Child: Reasons NOT to Tell

August 30th, 2007

Monkey by Fallen Tree (c) Lynda Bernhardt

If your adopted child was conceived through rape or incest, should you tell him? Many people argue that an adopted child should never be told this information. Here are the reasons why:

1. This knowledge can affect your child’s self-esteem.

It is a struggle for many teenagers to feel good about themselves. Between their raging hormones and all of the angst that comes along with the teen years, many teenagers struggle with their self-esteem. A child’s adoption adds another layer of issues to work through. Throw in being conceived through rape or incest, and a teenager’s self-esteem can really take a nosedive.

2. Nothing good will come from the child knowing this information.

Many people argue that we should not… [more]

Rape/Incest & Adopted Child: Issues to Consider if you Tell

August 29th, 2007

Water Lily (c) Lynda Bernhardt

If you choose to tell your adopted child that he was conceived through rape or incest, you will need to proceed with caution. This kind of information has the ability to set off an emotional explosion for your adopted child. Before discussing this information, consider the following issues:

1. Decide when to tell your child this information.

Rape and incest are difficult topics for adults to discuss, and they are even more complicated to discuss with a child. This is not information that you want to share with a young child. You will need to use your best judgment to decide when your child is old enough to understand and process this information. Trust your intuition about when your child is… [more]

Rape/Incest & Adopted Child: Reasons to Tell

August 28th, 2007

Plant (c) Lynda Bernhardt

If your adopted child was conceived through rape or incest, should you tell him? Many people argue that an adopted child is entitled to know this information. Here are the reasons why:

1. An adoptee’s history is his own.

Many people argue that an adoptee is entitled to know the truth about his own life. No matter how ugly the truth might be, an adoptee’s right to know the truth outweighs well-meaning secrets. Nobody likes to feel like everyone around him knows more about his own history than he does.

2. Adoptive parents should never lie to an adopted child.

If you choose not to tell the adopted child the truth about his beginnings, then you will have to make something else up… [more]

Adopted Child Conceived by Rape/Incest Series

August 27th, 2007

Snake (c) Lynda Bernhardt

One of the most controversial areas of adoption is the decision of whether to tell an adopted child that he was conceived as the product of rape or incest. Many people feel very strongly one way or the other, and each side of this issue makes some very good points. I do not have the answers for whether it is better for an adopted child to know this information about his beginnings. However, I can offer you a discussion about both sides of the issue and then let you draw your own conclusions.

I have combined the topics of rape and incest because, in the vast majority of cases, pregnancies resulting from incest are really the product of incestuous rape. The… [more]