Talking With Your Kids About the Hard Issues In Adoption

Adoption always happens in less than ideal circumstances, but some are harder to tell children than others.  Should we tell our children about rape, drug abuse, or physical abuse that may be a part of their birth family’s history? How do we explain poverty so extreme that a family is forced to place a child for adoption?  How do we handle the possibility of corruption or fraud that happened in their birth country?  How should we tell, how much should we tell, and when should we tell? Join our guests Marilyn Rich, district supervisor and adoption social worker at Adoptions from the Heart with over 15 years of experience in adoption; and Rebecca Hackworth, Director of Social Services Dillon International.

Hit the Highlights
  • Adoption by its very nature involved hard choices and loss, but some situations are more complex to explain to children and many parents wonder if they should tell.
  • How do you help your child realize that their existence is worthy of celebration even if their conception story is not ideal or their birth parents made poor choices that resulted in their conception?
  • How do you share hard details of your adopted child’s story without damaging their self-esteem?
  • What are the dangers of telling too much too soon?
  • What age should you start talking to your children about the tougher issues of loss, bad decisions, etc. involved with their adoption story?
  • Who is best to talk with children about difficult birth family history or information?
  • How can you help your child realize what information they should share with others and what information they should keep private?
  • Should you tell your child that he was conceived through rape? How to you share this information with a child? How old should your child be when you tell?
  • Does it make a difference when talking with an adopted child about her conception if it was from stranger rape, incest, or date rape?
  • How do you share with your child information on their birth parent’s drug and alcohol abuse? How old should your child be?
  • How do you share with your child information on their birth parent’s incarceration? How old should your child be? Should you tell your adopted child what crime their birth mother or birth father committed?
  • How do you share information with your child about the extreme poverty of their birth country and birth family without putting an undue burden on the child?
  • In some adoption situations and in some countries, female children are less valued and more often placed for adoption or abandoned. How do you share this information with your child? What are some resources you can use to help explain the Chinese one-child policy.
  • If the adopted parents do not know the whole story as to why their child was placed for adoption or abandoned, how much should they speculate when telling the story to their child? Is it always best to tell the full truth?
  • How do you talk about the fact that your child was abandoned or placed for adoption because of a physical deformity or special need?
  • Should you talk to your children about the possibility of adoption corruption in their birth country?
  • What age should you talk about the possibility of adoption fraud? How should you address it?
  • How to talk about birth parents that abused your child before adoption.

Don’t miss an episode. Be sure to subscribe.

Leave us a rating or review.

Image Credit: ambermb