As adopted children develop their identity and self-esteem, it’s especially important for them to grow in their understanding of adoption through you, their adoptive parents – and others.
Adoptive parents know that the way they talk about adoption with their children will change and grow over time as age-appropriate conversations evolve. Additionally an adoptee’s understanding of his or her own adoption story will also change. While you – and your child’s birth family (if they’re available) – can help to answer your child’s questions, he or she may also benefit from having an adoption mentor.
An adoption mentor could be someone who is also adopted or, for a transracial adoption, could be someone of the same race as your child. An adoption mentor can help your child to process emotions about being adopted, connect with others with similar cultural or racial backgrounds, feel acceptance and belonging on common ground, share issues related to adoption and develop a meaningful relationship with a positive role model.
While there are a few programs that facilitate adoption mentors (like Adoption Mentoring Partnership, AFC and Connect-a-Kid), finding an adoption mentor for your child may require you to network in your church or community.
And although some adoptees benefit from an adoption mentor, others may find a special and fulfilling bond through an adopted sibling, relative or friend instead!