Friday, March 13, 2015

Nikki Pauls DeSimone: Sharing their Stories

When I started working in adoption in 2004, the adoption community was sort of in an odd place. We were coming off decades of a thick veil of secrecy in adoption. Being a kid of the 90’s, I knew kids who were adopted, but we sure didn’t talk about it. If they celebrated “Family Day” in their own homes, nobody was sharing that information at school on Monday. And that was even more progressive than the previous decades of maternity homes (aka. spending the summer with Aunt Ida in Iowa), parents not telling their kids they were adopted until they were adults, and sealed adoption records. So when the 2000’s came, we were like “hey, that’s clearly not a good and some kids are really struggling as adults. Let’s just do, well, I guess the opposite.” So we did. And then we had people telling their 3-year-olds everything known about their birthmoms, sexual assault, how babies are made, their own fertility struggles, China’s one child policy, poverty, and a host of other topics clearly inappropriate for a child who was also learning how to pee in the potty.

So rather than going too far back again, some of us have come up with a brilliant idea to bring it more into the middle. Let’s talk and be honest, but let’s be age appropriate about things too.  For some of our children, the stories are all they are ever going to have. As such, we must covet and cultivate our children's stories for them until they are ready. In this breakout session, we will cover how and when to share our children's stories with them, find creative ways to share, and examine the importance of being age appropriate when talking with children about their stories. This session will also touch on what is appropriate to share with others and how to equip our children to answer those hard questions that are inevitable with children who have been adopted.


Nikki, MSW, is an adoption social worker, turned adoptive momma, who resides in Prairie Village, Kansas with her husband Brian and daughter Yiyi. Nikki also serves as an Assistant Professor of Social Work at Avila University in Kansas City, Missouri. 

Read More About the Retreat Sessions here

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