Whether your child was adopted as an infant, child or older teenager your child is a welcomed addition to you family. However, there are a few challenges that go along with adopting a child. One of those many challenges is telling them that they were adopted. Adopted children are chosen by their parents in many different ways, and have a special place in the family they belong to.
Talk to your partner
Before telling your child they were adopted you need to speak to your partner. Let them know that you want to tell your child, and agree that it is time. You both must agree that it is something you want to do, and the details you want to share. If you child was adopted by both of you from an agency or in a ‘traditional’ adoption then they may come easy. However, if the adopted child is from a previous relationship this may become a more delicate matter. You never want to belittle or talk bad about your child’s biological parent. Having a conversation with your partner will better prepare the both of you for talking to your child.
Timing is very important in talking to your child. If you child does not know because of their age or because of the fact that it has always been discussed openly then timing is critical. You must want for the time when you child is hold enough to understand a bit about what adoption might mean, but if you wait too long you might come across as lying for the previous years. If you wait for too long there is also a chance that someone else may tell your child. If this happens, it can damage the trust you have with your child.
Before you sit down for ‘the talk’ ask for advice from others. A school counselor can be a great resource. There are many books available to read. Checking out the ones for children to read may give you a better understanding of exactly how to explain the situation to your child. Letting other family members know that you are going to tell your child and what you are going to say will help. Having other people that your child can talk to is very important in case he or she feels as if they may not talk to you about the subject. Remember that not all of the research you do can prepare you for every outcome. You need to come to the conversation with resources for your child in case they have questions.
Consider the Why
Part of telling your child they are adopted is the reason why you are telling them. Is it out of fear? Do want to tell them why they have a feeling of not ‘fitting in’? Once you understand why you want to tell your child it will be easy not to bring your own emotional baggage to the conversation. You need to understand that your child may have questions about the biological parents. You must not feel betrayed by these questions. Make sure you are comfortable talking before talking in front of your child. Children can sense when you are uncomfortable and will close up on you if they feel you are not comfortable with the subject.
Just as adopting a child is a special moment so is telling them that they were adopted. Adopting a child means picking them to join your family. They are always loved in a way that DNA cannot separate. Telling your child you adopted them does not have to be scary.