In the past, adoption was a topic that wasn’t discussed. It’s hard to believe that there were adoptees that didn’t know they were adopted, sometimes their entire life. However, times have changed, for the better. It’s important to be considerate, sensitive, and to share truthful and relevant information to help your child understand their adoption story.
It’s Their Story to Share–Not Yours.
Let me tell you from experience–everyone is going to ask you for details about your child’s adoption story. Some are curious because they’re going through the adoption process and some are just nosey, but either way, it’s not your story to share. It’s your child’s. It’s important to keep their story private, and to allow them to share what they are comfortable with when they’re comfortable sharing it. It’s up to you to share relevant, age appropriate information with them to allow them to understand their unique story.
Sharing your Child’s Story in Age Appropriate Ways
Obviously, every detail of your child’s adoption is not appropriate to share. We always told my daughter a basic adoption story from birth on, so that she would understand that she was adopted and what that entailed. There are also a lot of books to read to children about adoption. (One of my personal favorites is The Not in Here Story.) As your child ages, they will have more questions about that story. Adoption professionals have told me it’s important to be as truthful as you can be. Of course, we won’t always have the answers to those questions, but I make sure to answer any question that I can. If I don’t know it, I honestly answer that I don’t know.
Use Appropriate Adoption Language
It is important to always use appropriate adoption language when discussing your child’s adoption story. Though they may hear other language outside of the home, it’s important that they hear the correct terminology from you. Positive adoption language is so important. You can learn more about what terms to use and what words you shouldn’t here.
Finding Professionals to Help Answer Questions
Talking about adoption can be hard and emotional and sometimes, though we are trying our best, we need help. I am lucky enough to know some social workers, but also to be connected to our agency. Try to find someone who can help explain more when you need support. Also, I am the first to admit that my kid doesn’t always want to hear from me, but when speaking to another adult, she may ask more questions. If you can, get the support that you need to handle difficult conversations.
For more information about teaching children about adoption, click here.