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Am I being over-sensitive?(11 Posts)
I'm sat at my computer at work and I'm so conflicted in terms of what to do.
It's my first day back to work (in a new job) following a year off on adoption leave after adopting a little Girl, our first child.
The placement was a confidential/anonymous adoption due to risk of birth fam issues (serious risk from baaaaad people) I choose not to discuss my daughter's 'status' with anyone but close friends and family - one of the main reasons is that it's her story, we live in a small village and I believe she should ultimately chose who to tell. She's our daughter, end-of and it's no ones business. I'm so very proud of her. We talk about her adoption openly with her as a point to be celebrated (if u know what I mean) and it's never hidden. But I truly want it to be her choice to share her story when she chooses.
Her background may mean that I'm more sensitive than most and I'm prepared to accept that.
BUT - bearing it's my first day in a new job and I know nobody, my boss has just emailed the whole Division to introduce me as joining the team. In the email, it stated ive just returned to work following 'adoption leave after adopting a baby girl'.
I'm horrified. People I don't yet know, colleagues I have no idea about, know my family's position. For all I know, there maybe someone who works here that lives near me and will meet my family. There's Over 200 of people that received email. I just wouldn't have told them - I've said ive been on family leave/career break so far. Our situation is highly confidential and although personal info wasn't shared, anyone who ever meets my daughter will have an awareness that I'm just uncomfortable with.
Arrrrgh!!! I'm so conflicted. Am I being sensitive - it's my first day and I'm feeling 'at sea' anyway.
No you're not being over sensitive at all. I'm shocked that your boss has been so insensitive.
Do you think there's any merit in recalling unread emails? You should certainly let him/her know it's confidential for future reference.
Most people scan or don't read this kind of email anyway but it's ill considered at best.
No I don't think you are being over sensitive either. However I do think that when people publicise your adoption they are, generally, well motivated in that they are treating it as a celebratory issue the same as giving birth. They think that they are being inclusive by not treating a child through adoption any differently from a child through birth. They are usually not involved in the adoption community and don't think ahead in terms of outing your little girl in the future. It does seem like a huge blunder on the part of your boss but please try and think of it as an honest mistake.
You could have a gentle word with your boss to explain this, s/he can't take back what has been said in the email but it should raise awareness for the future.
I absolutely agree with what you say about wanting her to decide when and what she tells people when she's older. But, and I'm not challenging your wishes and feelings at all here, but have you considered how your DD is going to handle her history in the future? Our DD was adopted under the age of 2 and for as long as she can remember she has known that she is adopted. This, without doubt is better that the old practice of dropping the 'A' bomb on a child at an older age.
But what this has inevitably led to is her telling other adults and children about her circumstances at a young age (she's not ashamed, why would she be?) and then that info being used to tease and bully her. This is the double edged sword of being open with your child about adoption. Our DD (aged 12 now) often says she regrets having told people about her circumstances when she was younger but now that info is out there. When she was little I did try to explain to her that this info is private and to be careful about who she told but kids don't get this and just blab it out.
So, what I'm saying is that whilst I fully understand your concerns and upset, I can't see any way that your child is going to handle the fact that she is adopted whilst keeping that fact confidential. It is soooo difficult and I've agonised about it over they years.
You however are in a position to tell anyone who asks about your daughter that this information is private and personal.
Please feel free to pm me if you want to talk further. Best wishes.
Gosh yes I think it was wholly inappropriate to put that in an email to your new colleagues.
They won't know that there's a more than usual sensitive background. If anyone brings this up with you just be very abrupt with them and make it clear that you won't be discussing it.
A little over sensitive.....but i understand why.
I would say the email was send with the best of intention....treating you equally to a mum returning to work from maternity leave....(if you didnt want it know then you should never have disclosed it at interview and simply said career break or similar). Your boss had no idea of your personal situation bar that you are starting work post adoption leave of your little girl.
From here just try to make the best of it....'yes we have a lovely little girl but i dont tend to talk about her at work etc' .....you may even find some other adoptive parents come alongside you who understand.
Hardly anyone in our village knows of our family....and no one in school knows, but keeping secrets is exhausting and friends in the know are much needed at times.
Of course I had to disclose it, I've been on adoption leave for a year, had to delay my start date because of it, statutory benefits are discloseable and references are taken.
This isn't an issue with secrets ... it's not a secret. It's confidential. There's a difference.
His email was genuinely supportive and of course he meant no malice at all. But he's taken a decision to disclose some private information and taken that decision away from me. I love talking about my daughter In a way most mums would - that's not really an issue - it's a difficult one, I'll accept
I guess he thought he was helping? Perhaps? Being new and all. I don't know. If you'd given birth and had started this job would he have put that info in the email? He could have thought this was the correct thing to do?
UltegraGirl you are totally right to be royally pissed off and I would make sure I told my new boss, politely, that it was not appropriate.
In terms of the things other have mentioned we adopted our son at age 3, so he always knows he was adopted, although I think at times he may forget.
We made a conscious decision that we would not tell people, although of course a selection of people do know because they knew us before he came (almost all my friends and our birth dd's friends, and their parents).
There is no risk for us and I am open at work about ds but chose in situations where ds would make friends, school, church, any holidays we go on etc not to disclose.
Good luck, UltegraGirl.
You're not being over sensitive, but it's done now, so apart from talking to him to let him know it wasn't appropriate, you need a plan for dealing with it.
It happens a lot so I would go and see him/her and say - "just a heads up that not everyone knew I was on adoption leave and I wasn;t planning on telling the whole company"
I was twice at an adults drinks party and knew few people and the (differnt both times) hostess brightly and loudly introduced me to someone with "This is Kewcumber and she ADOPTED her DS" and left me slightly at a loss for words (and more than a bit peeved that it was the most interesting thing she could think of to say about me)..
One of life's more bizarre random introductions - I look forward to "This is Bertha and she delivered her child VAGINALLY" one day.
Feel your pain!! I know what you mean, we are in the same position as you regarding the 'story' it's horrific, horrendous and makes my stomach churns just at the thought of it. Its not my story to tell anyone. If I need support I will speak to my husband or professional services. This cannot be trusted with anyone. There are people I would trust with my life but I simply cannot afford to take the risk. Maybe many years down the line when our lo is aware and knows. I'm not embarrassed or hiding anything I just want and need to protect from those horrible disgusting people in her birth family. Enough about me..... I totally get where you are coming from with your boss....I went back to work and my boss talked really openly about adoption. Three was no malice just totally naive to the fact I wanted to blend in.
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