- That they were adopted. If you’re struggling with how to begin that conversation, start with reading age appropriate adoption books and making a lifebook.
- That adoption is a normal way for families to grow. Children can be raised by the parents who gave birth to them or by parents who adopted them. Both ways are great ways to create a family. Check out these really great books that talk about all the different ways families can be made.
- That they were born to a mommy and daddy just like all kids. They didn’t just appear; they grew in their birth mother’s tummy (or uterus). These books will help you explain that concept, and this Creating a Family radio show breaks down how to start this conversation at every age and developmental stage.
- That there was nothing they did that caused their birth parents to place them for adoption.
- That their adoptive parents care and speak respectfully about their birth parents. Yes, this is important even if you do not respect the choices that your child’s birth mother or birth father made. See Do I Have to Pretend to Respect My Child’s Birth Parent.
- That the groundwork for understanding their full adoption story has been laid. There may be a part of the adoption story and reasons for adoption that is too complex for children under the age of six to understand. (Ex. drug abuse, domestic violence, imprisonment, poor life choices, etc.) It is important to lay the groundwork for these parts of the story in the early years so that you can add more detail as the child ages. If you’re uncertain of how to begin (and who isn’t?!?), we have two really terrific Creating a Family radio show (here and here) you can listen to which explain why this is important with concrete examples of language to use. Also, check out this article: Should I Tell My Adopted Child He Was Conceived by Rape, His Mother Was an Addict, etc.
Have you told your child these six crucial things she has to know about adoption? What resources were helpful?
Image credit: #1 (Andre Chinn); 2 (Todd); 3 (Lali Masriera); 4 (jon jordan); 5 (svenwerk); 6 (Stephen)