Talking with Children About Adoption at Different Ages

Do you wonder how to talk to your child about adoption? What if they don’t seem interested? How do you talk about some of the hard stuff? This episode explores talking with children about adoption at different ages with Mari Itzkowitz, with the Center for Adoption Support and Education (CASE). She is an adoption-competent therapist and leader of the CASE Training Team, providing training and education to professionals and parents.

In this episode, we cover:

  • How does an adoptee’s understanding of adoption differ by age? 
    • Infants
    • Toddlers & Preschoolers 
    • School Age 
    • Tweens 
    • Teens 
    • Young Adults 
    • Older Adults 
  • How to talk about adoption at different ages? 
  • Should you wait for the child to ask questions before you tell them about their adoption story?
  • What if your child or youth shows little or no interest in their adoption story?
  • How does openness or lack of openness impact a child’s understanding of adoption? 
  • Should adoptive parents bring up the idea of searching for birth family?
  • How does transracial adoption impact a child’s understanding of adoption? 
  • Our focus is often on birth mothers. How can you talk about adoption and the role of the birth father with young children who do not understand the concept of sex? 
  • What to say when you know very little about the birth parents?  How to handle hard birth parent stories? Should you tell a child that they were conceived by rape or that their birth mother is in jail or birth father suffers from addiction? At what age should you share this information? 

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Music Credit: Michael Ashworth

Image Credit: Ron Lach