How to Talk to Your Kids About Adoption
While it is almost impossible to understand how your child will react to the news of their adoption, their understanding of the subject will evolve and grow as they mature. Going through the transition of telling your child they are adopted should be slow and as pain-less as possible. Experts have encouraged adoptive parents to start talking to their children about adoption early, keeping the conversations positive, and to be open to their children’s questions and reactions. Take a look at the following common strategies for talking to your kids about adoption.
By introducing the subject at an early age, you are creating a healthy, honest, and open relationship with your child. Introduce the subject by age three or even sooner. Research has shown that a gradual introduction of the subject is better for the child’s growth and psychological abilities. Though young children will not fully understand or grasp the concept, early conversations will make you more comfortable discussing this matter with your child in the future. Prepare yourself for difficult questions, and answer them with sensitivity and constant reminder that you love your child and that you and your spouse will always be there for your child. Keep up the discussion of adoption throughout your child’s life instead of giving them all of the information at one time. Doing this doesn’t allow your child to process the information well or in a healthy manner.
While having these discussions with your child, keep in mind that the experience it just as new for them as it is for you. Always speak positively about your child’s birth parents, especially during the younger and middle years. Reassure your child by telling them their birth parents did everything they could to make sure their child got to a safe place where someone could love and take care of them. Loving two sets of parents isn’t against any rules! In fact, encourage this behavior as it can help the child grow and mature.
As your child grows older, don’t assume that your child has magically adjusted and isn’t thinking about his or her adoption. This common mistake can be easily avoided by establishing a relationship based on honesty and trust. Let your child know that it is okay to come to you and talk to you about anything and that he or she can express their worries and opinions with you. If your child is reluctant, let them write a letter to you or keep a journal. Eventually, your child will feel more comfortable to talk to you.
Don’t be discouraged by any unexpected emotional reactions from your child during this process. Fear, grief, and anger are completely normal parts of your child’s growing process. Depending on their age, kids will act very differently and it is important to remember to stay calm and supportive. Positivity and love can be the best solutions. By giving them tools to answer tough questions from friends and peers, your child will be able to understand and mature in a graceful manner. Remember, families come in many shapes, sizes, and colors but the only thing that matters is the support and undying love you can give to your children.