At Adoption & Beyond, we work closely with families in Kansas and Missouri as you undergo the adoption process. From beginning to end and beyond, we’re here for you. One of the questions we frequently receive as an adoption agency is, when and how to talk to a child about their adoption.
To help you reach and overcome this obstacle, we’ve compiled some information on this topic. We hope it helps.
Choosing the Right Time to Talk
When you talk to your child about adoption is just as powerful as what you say. It’s also important to note that this isn’t a singular event, but an ongoing conversation. Your child will have questions at different stages of their lives, and the information you share should always be age-appropriate.
Recent research suggests that the earlier you begin sharing your child’s adoption story with them, the better.
How to Bring Up the Subject
If you receive your child when they are a baby, start becoming comfortable with the word adoption, by talking to your child while you are feeding and rocking them, telling them how happy you are to adopt them, etc.. If you receive your child when they are a toddler or older, start by reading them one of the many children’s books available about adoption.
Some families create their own books of memories, also known as a Lifebook, and pour over them regularly to revisit the story of a child’s adoption. Having visual pictures of the day your child was born or the day they came home, and the milestones since that time set a structured and safe way to understand what adoption means for them.
Conversations at Different Milestones
What about ongoing conversations? Be honest, patient, and assure your child he or she is loved without a doubt. Most importantly share their adoption story positively and truthfully. Never assume if your child is not talking about adoption, that they don’t have questions about their adoption story. At different stages of your child’s life, they will develop new understanding and feelings about adoption. For example:
Between Kindergarten and Grade 2
As your child reaches the age of 5 to 7, the concept of family roles becomes clear. They may have questions about why they have 4 parents, but only 2 parents live with them.
Between Grades 2 and 4
During this stage of age 7 to 9, adopted children often become curious about their birth family. This is normal and no reflection on you as a parent. They may want to know more about their birth family especially if there is no contact with the birth family.
Between Grades 4 to 7
Middle school into Jr. high school brings a lot of queries about biology, looks, and inherited traits. Your adopted child might wonder if they will be tall or short, who do they get their athletics or musical abilities from? Sometimes, they will have questions you can’t answer but remaining open and honest is always key.
Contact Adoption & Beyond
If you’re an adoptive parent, we invite you to reach out to us. We are here to support you throughout your adoptive experience. Whether you have questions needing to be answered, or you simply need a shoulder to lean on, call us at 1-913-381-6919 we are here to help.
Interested in learning more about The Ultimate Guide to Family Life After Adoption? Check out our entire guide here.