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Surnames and confidentiality(10 Posts)
Hi everyone, would love to hear ideas/perspectives on this situation.
We've worked really hard to keep DS's surname confidential (from him) for security reasons - we wanted to try and share this information with him when we felt he was old enough to handle it well rather than risk tracking down birth family on FB (understand this might happen anyway, but want to minimise the likelihood).
However, we are soon to receive his life storybook which will have his family tree (plus surnames) and birth certificate etc which will mean all this info is available for him.
How has everyone else dealt with this situation?
I understand your reasoning but personally I think his surname previous surname is exactly that, his. I think if you start keeping things from him you are in fact encouraging him to go behind your back and find out info that you aren't prepared to give him. You may end u pushing hi into doing the very thing you are trying to avoid. The more open and honest you are with him about his past the less likely he is to go elsewhere to find out more or to do that without telling him. If he thinks you will help them he is far more likely to come to you first. It's counter intuitive I know but personally i think it is important to be open and honest.
I should probably add that I am not an adoptive parent yet but on the way to being one.
Yeah, I hear you - it is his, as is his whole story and experiences, but I think there's something to be said for helping him access this information in an age-appropriate way at a point when he's mature enough to (potentially) make good choices with it. I suppose in the same way that I wouldn't give him all the ins and outs of his early experiences at 3 because emotionally it would be too much, his surname isn't emotionally triggering in the same way but is information that could be used in a way that leads to situations that are well beyond his ability to handle.
You are right to be wary about the surnames, particularly if there is a security risk, and right to want to be able to manage when he receives that information at a time when he can handle it, along with all the other information.
I had no choice, my son was nearly 8 when he arrived so obviously knew names and addreeses.
Ask the SW not to include surnames or the birth certificate in the book, they don't have to be there. You could also re-do the book yourself. Books provided by the LAs are often not that great and people end up doing them again anyway.
Mine are pre-teens and we are yet to tell them surnames. They have not asked. Their life story books were redone by specialist therapists who did not include surnames.
We have particular risks so have been careful...
We're doing the same. You can either ask the SWs to omit surname from life story work or recreate it yourself with only whatever you want in it.
IIRC, we got an 'age appropriate' life story book for when LO is still young which doesn't contain it and a more complete version for when LO is older which does and which we'll make a decision about at the time.)
I really understand your worries. Our sons birth name is very unusual and I have been very protective about photographs at school and the press using even his first name. Sadly he will never know about his birth family due to what his mother did to him, but he is just so beautiful.
I do not think this will help you but felt I wanted to vent.
I think it's sensible to withhold surnames until adulthood. The risks of social media contact are too high. I do agree that the information belongs to your children, but there is a difference between being open about adoption and oversharing.
I seem to think the first draft of DD1s life story book had surnames in, so I got them removed.
If, for some reason, the LA are reluctant to give you an electronic first draft and then make amendments, just do your own life story book instead.
We re-wrote the life story book because it was so bad. Really 'couldn't be arsed' bad.
I think surnames, in this day with SM etc, are private. Once they ask, and have the maturity to handle that info, then, yes, it's their information. But most young children just care about who they are now, and hardly understand that, and undermining their identity as a 'Brown' by telling them they used to be 'Smith', before they can handle that information and keep it private, is just as wrong as telling them 'yeah, your dad did crack' before they're ready for that information.
All in good time.
This is really helpful, thanks everyone. Glad to hear others have thought the same thing.
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