Talking with Adopted Kids about Birth Parents

Talking with Adopted Kids about Birth Parents


It is normal for adopted children to be curious about their birth parents.  How can adoptive parents talk with their children about their birth parents? In this course, Dr. Jennifer Bliss, the National Associate Counseling Director at the Independent Adoption Center, a non-profit domestic infant adoption agency; and Danielle Goodman, Lead Social Worker in the Delaware office of Adoptions from the Heart, a nonprofit domestic infant adoption agency, talk about how to start a conversation with your child about their birth parents.


Intended Audience:

This course is designed for adoption professionals and pre/post-adoptive families.

1- Hour Online Audio Course (Certificate of completion will be immediately awarded upon successful completion of the course including passing a 10 question quiz with a grade of 80%)

Course Overview:

This course includes:

  • Many domestic adoptions are open, while most international adoptions and foster care adoptions are closed. How does openness or lack of openness affect how you go about talking with adopted kids about birth parents?
  • What term should you use when talking with adopted kids about birth parents? Is the term birth mom confusing by introducing at a young age the concept of two mothers?
  • What about the term “Tummy Mummy”?
  • What can a preschooler understand about the concept of birth mother?
  • What age should you start talking about birth parents?
  • How much should you speculate about birth parents when you know very little?
  • How to talk about birth fathers? How to explain the birth father’s role when you don’t want to talk about sex.
  • How to talk about birth fathers when the conception was not consensual (i.e. rape).
  • When should you tell a child some of the “bad things” about their birth parents and poor choices their birth mother and birth father made?
  • Do adoptive parents have to pretend to respect birth parents who behaved poorly?
  • We have a very open adoption with our teen son’s biological mother and maternal relatives. His biological father has chosen to have no contact. How do we handle the questions about why his father chose to discontinue contact?
  • How should an adoptive parent navigate varying levels of openness among siblings (all of whom, or some of whom, were adopted)?
  • What to do when a birth mother or birth father regrets their decision to place for adoption and are sharing this information with the adopted child?
  • Suggested books for talking about birth parents with adopted kids.

Please contact the Education Director for technical assistance or disability accommodations.

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Image credit: Randen Pederson

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