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Identity Preservation for Children of Divorce

Posted By Jolyn Rudelson On 06.06.2011 @ 9:25 PM In Children of Divorce,General | Comments Disabled

A recent NBC Dateline program entitled “Lost and Found” concerned a woman who deprived of a birth certificate didn’t really know who she was.   Preserving identity is so important to all of us but so many people take their identity for granted. They think it is a God given right that may be invisible, but is always there.  Those are the lucky ones.  Our identity is the right of everyone. But there are those, however, for one reason or other, have been deprived that right.

This was an amazing story about a woman’s search to be able to finally prove to others who she was.  Her search produced the shocking revelation that not only was she kidnapped once from her biological mother as a young child, she was kidnapped a second time at the age of four from her adoptive parents.

After an extensive search she was finally reunited with her adoptive parents  leading finally being reunited with not only her biological mother but her older sister  as well.  But it turned out; the family was not yet complete.  There was still a missing younger brother.  Finally found he was united for the first time in 37 years with his family. He walked into the room and embraced the three women that waited for him. His first words were “My Blood.”

Never has this longing for biological connection of someone  who has been deprived of their true identity been expressed so eloquently.  If you have any question about it, identity matters. That is why you hear of donor and adoptive children having such a continual desire to know whom they are biologically connected with.  It isn’t because they don’t love and feel connected to the parents who have raised them or those whose “Daddy’s Name is Donor,” it is because of an instinctual need to find out whose bloodthey share.

In one way, children of divorce are very lucky.  They have two known parents whose names are on their birth certificates, as well as on their parents’ divorce decree.  The problem for them is when one of their parents withholds the other parent from having contact with them. Added to that preventing a relationship with their grandparents increases the isolation with one side of who that child is.  The problem increases when upon the remarriage of their mother; children of divorce are placed in a position where they are especially vulnerable to misidentification.

Childhood is a time when children begin to understand their identity.  It is up to their parents, grandparents, teachers and other adults around them to not only support their identity, but to preserve and strengthen it, certainly not to confuse it.

In my book, ‘IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU: A Grandparent’s Guide to Surviving Divorce in the Family” I ask, “What’s In a Name?”  The answer is “Everything!”  “The Divorce Family Pledge” asks members of the family to  pledge the following:”

“The right to always be referred to and identified by their rightful name in all situations, regardless of the name currently being used by a parent or other adult in their home which differs from theirs.  Along with this comes the right to be identified as the daughter or son of their natural or adoptive parent.  Stepfathers or stepmothers may think they are helping their stepchildren to claim them as their own, but to these children this misidentification only adds to the longing they have for their very own absent parent.”

Children of Divorce need the support of everyone around them to be always identified as the children of their own parents.  Also adopted and “My Daddy’s Name is Donor” children have the need to be supported in any search they feel compelled to make to identify that biological part of them. Identity is important and there is nothing reinforcing it more then to be connected at last to  “My Blood.”


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