In the U.S., there are about 2.1 million adopted children. If you adopted your child, you may not know when to start discussing adoption or how to approach the subject. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, you need to introduce the idea of adoption as early as possible.
When you start early, you can set your child up with a positive life story and help them overcome adoption challenges.
Talk about it age-appropriately
Avoid hiding the adoption from your children. Integrate words like adoption and birth family into your child’s vocabulary as early as possible. Children begin to understand adoption through their personal development. You can start with the simple aspects of your child’s story. For example, create a life book or explain how your child came to your family in the most age-appropriate way.
Avoid letting your child assume that he or she did something wrong to be in your family. Be clear that adoption was a good decision, not one meant to hurt the child. Be careful of the words you use. For instance, avoid using such words as “given up.” Frame adoption as the birth parent’s choice to create an adoption plan.
Let your children learn their history
It may not be accessible when your children become curious about their biological family of origin. If you have older kids or teenagers who become interested and search for a birth family, it does not mean you are not still family. This is emotional growth, and you can prepare your child for any response. Remind them that you are their family, no matter the results of searching for birth families.
If your children had open adoptions, it may be beneficial to allow your children to remain in contact and explore both families’ cultures.