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Talking to children about their adoption


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As an adoptive parent, you need to be prepared to talk to your child about their adoption. As children grow up and become more aware of the fact that they are adopted, they will begin to have questions that will need to be answered.

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Talking to children about their adoption

  1. 1. How to Talk to Your Child about Their Adoption As an adoptive parent, you need to be prepared to talk to your child about their adoption. As children grow up and become more aware of the fact that they are adopted, they will begin to have questions that will need to be answered. By being comfortable discussing the topic yourself and by following a few basic principles when having these discussions, you will be better equipped to satisfy your child's curiosity and offer them the support they need as they process this major life event. Discuss adoption regularly One of the first steps you can take to help your child process their adoption is to bring up the topic yourself regularly and to use the word “adoption” frequently when doing so. Children can begin to listen to their adoption story by the age of one. You do not need to force discussions, but mentioning their adoption whenever natural can be a good way to make the topic a comfortable and normal one in your home.
  2. 2. Discussing their adoption early and frequently has a number of positive effects for your child. The first is that it assures them that adoption is not a taboo topic and that they may, therefore, feel more comfortable bringing up the subjects themselves. Second, mentioning the topic frequently gives them many opportunities to hear their story and provides a natural way for them to talk about any questions they have. Talk at an age appropriate level Adoptive families for children in San Antonio and elsewhere have the option of choosing from among many types of adoption, from infant adoption to older child adoption. In addition, discussions about their adoption will span their entire childhoods, and will therefore need to adjust to match their developmental stages and maturity levels. As a result, you should always tailor your discussion to their age. While you should never hide information or lie to your child, you should also make sure that your answers are given in a way that they will understand. For instance, a preschooler may simply need to hear that they grew in another
  3. 3. woman's tummy, that that woman could not take care of any baby, and that you adopted them and will love them forever. However, a middle school student may need more information about why their birth mother, placed them for adoption and a teen may be ready for the details of their birth parents' drug addiction. Allow your child to ask questions One way for you to gauge what information to include in your discussions with your child is to listen and respond to the questions they have. While you may often need to be the one to bring up the topic, especially when they are younger, there are many events that may trigger questions for them. In addition, if you create an open environment in your home for discussing adoption, they are more likely to feel comfortable asking you their own questions. You will find that your child's questions change, as they grow older. A discussion that satisfied their questions when they were six may need to be revisited when they are 8 or 12. Being willing to answer their questions repeatedly, and to have similar discussions over and over will cement your answers in their minds and reassure them of your love. Be honest When discussing adoption with your child, you must always be honest. Never lie about any of the details of their adoption, no matter how difficult those facts are, and be straightforward in answering their questions. Lying or hiding information will only serve to damage their trust in you and make it more difficult for you to communicate with them about their adoption. At the same time, as mentioned above, you need to be aware of your child's age and maturity level when discussing their adoption. When adopting an older child, you may be able to share more details sooner, while some facts may need to wait if you have adopted an infant or very young child. However, as the child grows older, they should learn more and more information about their biological family and their adoption, and they should have all of the information by the time they are late teens. Be positive
  4. 4. When discussing adoption with your child, you should also strive to use positive language. For instance, you should always emphasize the depth and permanence of your love for your child. You should always speak positively of the birth parents, even if the circumstances surrounding the adoption were difficult. Using positive language is important for reassuring your child of your love, of helping them to accept their biological parents, and for giving them the language to use when thinking and talking about their own adoption. Acknowledge their feelings Finally, when talking to your child about adoption, you should acknowledge their feelings about the adoption. Children will react in their own unique way to their adoption story, and their reactions may change as they grow. For instance, a preschooler may love to hear their adoption story, while a teen may experience anger or grief over certain aspects of their adoption. Acknowledging and validating these feelings allows a child to own their adoption experience and work through their own unique feelings. Adoption programs in San Antonio should be able to provide you with post adoption services that may help you talk with your child about their adoption. For instance, they will be able to give you access to counselors who are experienced in dealing with adoption-related issues. Regular, honest, age- appropriate discussions about adoption that acknowledge your child's feelings and cast their adoption in a positive light can also go a long way toward making your home a safe place for your child to explore their roots and be reassured of your forever love for them.