Discussing Adoption with Your Kids

When and how to have this important talk

There are different approaches to discussing adoption with children. Some parents prefer to wait until children are older, believing their understanding will be more complete. Others believe that a child should never remember a time when they didn't know about their adoption. Regardless of the route that your family chooses on when and how, it is important to remember that a child should not be told just once about their adoption, but talked with throughout each of the stages of childhood development. The key is to provide a comfortable, accepting atmosphere in which a child can communicate the questions they are thinking about and get the answers they are searching for. Linda Bothun, author of When Friends Ask About Adoption: Question and Answer Guide for Non-Adoptive Parents and Other Caring Adults, offers several suggestions for talking about adoption with children:

1. Attempt to be honest without burdening children with more information than they are able to cope with at a given time.

2. Don't read more into a question than is actually there.

3. Deal with the children's emotions about adoption; emotions which usually appear at various phases of their understanding.

4. Decide what information should be shared with siblings and friends and what is strictly private (for the adopted child only).

Source: National Adoption Information Clearinghouse

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