When and How to Tell Your Child That He/She is Adopted

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Mother comforting her sad child

Adoption is something that everybody may not be comfortable talking about. The sheer thought that a child may behave differently after knowing that he or she is adopted may make many parents sceptical whether to tell or not to tell their kid that he was adopted. If this is the dilemma that you are facing, understand all about talking to your child about adoption, when, why and how to divulge the information to your child.

When and Why to Tell Your Child That He Is Adopted?

It is very reasonable for any child to pop the question regarding his existence and he may be interested in knowing where did he come from? So, at this juncture what should you do? Well, not telling a child they are adopted may not be the correct approach because this way you may be encouraging ill-feelings regarding adoption.

But you may wonder what may be the best age to tell a child they are adopted. We recommend that as soon as your kid comes to an age where he may be able to understand and comprehend better, you can tell him about his adoption. Divulging the information at a younger age is most likely to protect your child from learning the information from other sources, which can be extremely scarring for your child’s emotional health. The parents should positively talk about adoption and at the same time, they should make their child feel loved and wanted. However, refrain from rattling out the gory details about their birth parents as it may confuse and scare the child.

Apart from the love and attention that you shower your kid with, it is also essential to help the child understand why his birth parents were not raising him. Closures are necessary, even for the kids and if you explain positively, it may help them understand adoption better and that too without having any emotional insecurity regarding birth parents or foster parents.

How to Talk to Child about Adoption

Mother hugging her daughter

Wondering how to break the ice regarding adoption to your child? Well, following are some of the recommendations that you may consider when you plan to talk to your child about adoption:

  • As discussed above, it is important that you plan to tell your child about adoption early in life. Because when a child receives news of this kind from the people who love him the most, he may perceive the information in a better light.
  • If you are jittery about how to talk to an adopted child about birth parents, we suggest that you do not talk ill about the birth parents but at the same time, positively explain to your child why you decided to take care of him.
  • You must talk to your child about his background but keep the information short, positive and straightforward. Such kind of information may help your child know more about himself and thus help him stay away from any identity crises later in life.
  • It is very important that you explain to your child that being an adopted child does not change any dynamics with you and you will continue to love him the way you have always been.
  • Make sure he understands how special he is to you and how much happiness he has gotten into your lives as parents.
  • Be very open about adoption and do not talk about it in a hush-hush manner. Talking about adoption is an explicit manner may not give any negative feelings about adoption to a child. You should talk about adoption in a rational way without making any hue and cry about the whole scenario.
  • You can use various ways such as storytelling, showing him your love through childhood pictures or simply by role-playing, to explain to your child how he came into your life. This will also make him understand that you have not stopped loving him from the very moment he came into your life.
  • It is very normal in case you notice your child behaving differently after you tell him about his adoption. He may become angry, sad or have several questions to ask. We recommend that you exercise your patience and be sensitive towards your child.
  • Your child may fall silent on hearing the truth. This is because he may be processing the information and he may come back to you with questions. Make sure you are prepared for this situation and that you give him the facts in the politest way possible.
  • Make sure you do not give away any emotions that express any negative feelings towards adoption. This can give your child the idea that adoption is not a good thing. You may find talking about such issues extremely difficult and uncomfortable; however, try not to show such emotions. If you cannot control your feelings, you might as well talk later.
  • Ensure there are no distractions when you plan to have such this discussion with your child. Ensure that this has your full attention and that of your child as well.
  • There is no denying that you should tell the truth to the child but you should give away only age-appropriate information and save the complex information for the future when he is old enough to process such information.
  • Your child may want to talk about adoption again and again, and this is very normal too. Though it may make you uncomfortable, make sure you answer your child’s queries and concerns.
  • If your child feels angry, frustrated or confused about the whole scenario, you should give him some time to be on his own and think about the fact patiently.

Dealing with such issues can be daunting for both, you as well as your child. However, it is important for you to tell your child about adoption. If you are still unsure or feel that your child may not be able to take the information positively, you can seek the help from a counsellor or an expert in the field.

Also Read: Adoption Options Available in India

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