Concerning adoption, there are two main schools of thought: Tell your child or don’t. Telling your child is favored now, as of 2010, whereas past generations tended to keep this information a secret. Modern parents are wise to celebrate the child’s adoption story, giving reassurance of their love for their adopted child.
In generations past, parents who adopted a child often kept this a deep, dark secret, believing it was in the adopted child’s best interest not to know, according to the American Adoptions website. When the child inevitably did find out, she would likely feel confused, angry and hurt. This secrecy gave adoption a negative connotation.
Most kids become curious about who their biological parents are and what were the circumstances of their adoption when they are between 7 and 12 years old, according to the Healthy Children website. By the time they are teenagers, this curiosity can add to the struggles teens typically have. Kids want to know how they are like their biological parents, both physically and emotionally.
Many adopted children crave knowledge about their biological parents but are too afraid or guarded to ask you. They may believe this could hurt your feelings. If you bring this information up and have an ongoing dialogue (that ideally began around age 2 to 4), it will be easier to discuss any knowledge you have.
The majority of adopted children deal well with the fact that they are adopted, according to the Healthy Children website. But, some kids have unhealthy thoughts. One worry is that since the biological parents did not want him, some day, you won’t either. This worry can manifest itself in two ways. Either the child becomes overly obedient in an effort to please you or he misbehaves as a test to see whether you will love him anyway. Some children act out because they assume their biological parents must have been antisocial in some way, and they are trying to identify with their birth parents.
Some teenagers decide they want to find their birth parents. This can be an emotional time for you and for your adopted child. If you maintained contact with the birth parents through an open adoption, the process is far easier than it is to find the birth parents of a confidential adoption. If you decide to help your child look for her birth parents, you can get help from groups, such as the Adoptees’ Liberty Movement Association. Prepare your child for the chance of finding out information that is not what she expected.