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Explaining Adoption

Explaining AdoptionExplaining Adoption

Explaining Adoption

One of the important issues in bringing an adopted child into your family is learning how to help that child, and those around you, understand that adoption is an act of love.

Explaining Child Adoption to Your Child

Adoption can be an emotionally charged issue for you as the adopting family, for the adopted child as they grow and develop, and for other children in the family. If you can approach adoption with a clear and comfortable understanding of your own personal feelings you will have a much easier time explaining it to your child and to others. The more comfortable and open you are with adoption the more willing your children will be to sharing their thoughts and feelings.

The way in which you explain adoption to your adopted child, family members and others in your child's life will impact on how your child sees themselves and on their level of trust in you.

We are often asked what is the best age to tell a child they are adopted, or what is the best time, or what is the best way to tell them.  There is no one answer for everyone but in general, the best time to tell them is as soon as possible even if that is before they are cognitively able to understand what the words mean.  They will eventually grow to understand the words just like they grow to understand words like mommy, daddy, sister, brother, love, and God.  Your level of comfort, tone of your voice, and loving feelings are usually more important than the actual words you use. 

It is important that your child learn that they are adopted and learn about adoption from you and not from a neighbor, one of their friends, or someone at their school.  Unless you plan on trying to keep the adoption a secret from everyone, which is probably not possible and not healthy, others will know you have adopted.  And the only way for you to make sure your child learns about adoption from you is to make sure you are the one who talks to them first.  And the only way to do that  is to do it sooner rather than later.

Just like there is no best time (except for as soon as possible) there is no one best way except to be open and honest and never lie or mislead your child.  To help you there are books written on the subject and there are adoption theme books that can be read to children such as Sesame Street's "Susan and Gordon Adopt a Baby", Anne Brodzinsky's "The Mulberry Bird", Jamie Curtis' "Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born", and many others.

For additional information and more guideline, please visit the link Explaining Adoption.  You may also find the links Adoption and Schools as well as Adoption Emotional Issues helpful.

Help for Adopting Families by State

 Alabama  Montana
 Alaska  Nebraska
 Arizona  Nevada
 Arkansas  New Hampshire
 California  New Jersey
 Colorado  New Mexico
 Connecticut  New York
 Delaware  North Carolina
 Florida  North Dakota
 Georgia  Ohio
 Hawaii  Oklahoma
 Idaho  Oregon
 Illinois  Pennsylvania
 Indiana  Rhode Island
 Iowa  South Carolina
 Kansas  South Dakota
 Kentucky  Tennessee
 Louisiana  Texas
 Maine  Utah
 Maryland  Vermont
 Massachusetts  Virginia
 Michigan  Washington
 Minnesota  West Virginia
 Mississippi  Wisconsin
 Missouri  Wyoming
 More Adoption Help
 Pregnancy  Placing a child for adoption
 Parenting  Adopting a child

Explaining AdoptionExplaining Adoption