I think that adopting a child is a beautiful thing that demonstrates the meaning of love. I imagine that one of the hardest questions for the parent would be when to tell the child they are adopted. Here, Kirsh & Kirsh P.C., an attorney firm specializing in adoption, share some tips on how to tackle the issue of when to tell your child they are adopted. I hope these tips also help to sort through some of the emotional issues surrounding adoption.
A Question of Timing: When to Tell Your Child They Are Adopted
Adopting a child can be a wonderful way to grow your family. And it makes sense that you have questions about when and how to bring up the subject of adoption to a child that you’ve raised as your own. Most experts agree that rather than waiting until the child reaches a certain age and breaking the news that they are adopted, families should talk about adoption and what it means early and often–even before the child is old enough to understand.
Beginning to tell your child the story of how they came into the world, and how they came to be a part of your family, can help them to build a solid sense of identity. While talking about these subjects can be difficult, it’s important to help your child have a true sense of his or her life in an age-appropriate way.
Make it Personal
Children love hearing stories about themselves, especially at preschool age. It can be helpful to have photos of their early years to show them when they express interest. Take cues from your child. By setting a positive and open tone when they ask you questions about adoption, they will feel free to keep asking questions. This will be especially important as they get older and are able to better comprehend the situation.
Tell your child about adoption using simple and direct language. As your child gets older, it’s important to stress that adoption is permanent. Make sure they know that he or she will always be in your family. Even if you talk about adoption from the time your child is an infant, he or she may have an emotional reaction in the early grade school years. Never make your child feel discouraged from asking questions about his or her birth family and the circumstances of the adoption.
You also shouldn’t feel like you have to answer your child’s questions alone. This is especially true, if he or she has complicated feelings about the adoption. Enlisting professionals who specialize in adoption can help support you and your child as he or she gets older; for example, social workers, pediatricians, and lawyers who specialize in adoption. There are also lots of great books on adoption that can serve as resources. These are written for both the adopted child and for the parents.
When to tell your child they are adopted is an important decision that only the parents can make. I hope that these tips help you find more resources that prepare you. Have the conversation in a natural way that is comfortable as possible. Adoption is a wonderful gift to both the parent and the child. After all, the gift of loving and being loved is what makes life so wonderful. If you have any resources or advice to share from personal experience on when to tell your child they are adopted, please share it the comments. Or reach out on social media @familyfocusblog.