How to Tell Your Child About Adoption
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How to Tell Your Child About Adoption

You love your adopted child every bit as much as you’d love him if he was a biological child, but it’s natural to feel worried about telling him that he’s adopted. An adopted child may feel a sense of regret, wondering why his birth mother didn’t want to keep him, which can overshadow your sense of joy over being able to bring him into your life. Experts disagree greatly about when you should tell your child that he’s adopted and how you should do it. Think about what feels right to you and use that.

Step 1

Use age-appropriate language. Young children may not be able to fully grasp what adoption means. In the early years, you can simply say that she grew in another mommy’s tummy and that you were so happy to bring her home. Older children will understand what this means, but may require more explanation.

Step 2

Answer questions about adoption honestly. For example, your child may ask why you didn’t give birth to him or why his birth mother didn’t want him. Do your best to answer these questions. Dr. Denis Donovan, author of ” Healing the Hurt Child,” suggests that you avoid stories that start with “Your birth mother loved you, but…” as this can lead to confusion in a child who cannot understand why someone who loved him wouldn’t want to keep him

Step 3

Help your child deal with her emotions. Every child is different. One child may shrug it off, not giving it a second thought because she understands that you are her real mom. Another child may become very depressed and want to try to find her birth parents. Let your child feel what she’s going to feel and try to offer your comfort in whatever way possible.

Step 4

Allow your child to seek out his birth parents if he feels the need to do so. If you had an open adoption, this may be easy. If it’s not, the child will have a very hard time finding the birth parents. Step back, even though you may not want him to search.

Step 5

Keep the lines of communication open. Even though your child may understand that she is adopted from an early age, there will be different questions that come up as she gets older. Let her know that she can always ask you questions about her adoption, and do your best to answer them.

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