father and daughter “Why is the sky blue?”  “Why do giraffes have long necks?”  “Why do I have to brush my teeth?”  “Why do I have blue eyes?”  If you are a parent, you’ve heard these and a million other “why” questions before.  Children ask questions to figure out the world they live in.  Some questions are easier to answer than others.

For children whose families were created by adoption, their questions may be tricky to answer.  Their understanding of adoption is an ongoing process.  Here is a list of common questions that adopted children ask, ranging from the basic preschooler inquiries to the more complex adolescent interrogations.

Did I grow in your tummy?

Actually, you grew in your birth mother’s tummy.  When your birth mother and birth father found out they were expecting you, they knew they couldn’t take care of you on their own.  Your birth parents loved you so much that they found us and we became your parents.  This is called adoption.

Why didn’t my birth parents keep me?

Sometimes a man and woman know they can’t take care of the baby they’re expecting.  Babies need a lot of care, like food to eat, clothes to wear, and a place to live.  Your birth parents knew they couldn’t give this to you, so they looked for parents who could.

Why don’t I look like everyone else in the family?

Your birth parents have the same beautiful skin color/curly hair/brown eyes as you.  I was born to Grandma and Grandpa, and I have the same skin color/blond hair/blue eyes as they do.  We usually get our looks from our birth parents.  That’s why we look the way we do. Just because you have different skin/hair/eyes, doesn’t mean we love you any less.

Do I have other brothers and sisters somewhere?

Yes, you do have birth siblings.  Your birth mom has older children, and she knew that even with their help, she couldn’t give you everything you needed.  Your birth mom made a very hard decision to find a family that could take care of you.

Will I go back to my birth parents someday?

Your birth parents made an adult decision to give you a family that could take care of you forever.  You will always be our son/daughter, and we will love you and take care of you forever.

What happened the day I was born?

Describe the situation as you know it.  If you were there for the birth, tell them.  Share a picture if you have one.  If you don’t have any information about your child’s birth, explain what it was probably like when they were born – in a hospital, with doctors and nurses, who gave them the best care.  Talk about the day you brought them home.

Is it okay to think about my birth parents?

Of course, it’s ok to think about your birth parents! I always think of your birth parents on this day (child’s birthday, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day).  I hope they are happy and healthy.  I thank them for giving me the gift of you.