How Will the Adoptive Family Talk to My Child About Adoption?
Why Adoptees are Told About Adoption When They are Young
If you are considering adoption, you may be wondering how your child will be told about his or her adoption story, and about you. You may even wonder if your child will be told about the adoption at all, or if the child will grow up not even knowing that he or she was adopted.
Today, children are told about their birth families and their adoption stories from the moment they come home. Adoption is always a part of their family’s story, so it’s always a normal part of their lives. These findings about how adoptive families talk to their children about adoption may put your mind at ease:
Children Grow Up Hearing about Their Adoptions
A 2007 federal study from the National Survey of Adoptive Parents found that 97 percent of all adopted children ages 5 and older know their adoption stories. A 2012 study from the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute titled “Openness in Adoption” found that 95 percent of today’s adoptions are open or semi-open, meaning children and their adoptive families maintain some form of contact with their birth families. As the statistics show, modern adoptions have done away with the antiquated secrecy in favor of openness. This has been shown to benefit everyone involved, but most of all, the adopted child.
American Adoptions recommends that adoptive families tell their child that they were adopted from a very early age, so they grow up understanding their adoption story. Most families begin with books and story time to help familiarize the child with the vocabulary of adoption. As the child gets older, they’ll share more details of the adoption story, making sure that they are age-appropriate to the child’s stage of development. Most importantly, they try to make sure the child feels safe and loved and has positive self-identity.
Most families will tell their child everything you want him or her to know about you, your adoption decision and the rest of your family. In addition to sharing this information, most families will tell the child about the time they got to spend with you, how special you are and how much you love your son or daughter.
If there is anything special that you would like the adoptive family to share with your child or keepsakes you’d like for them to have in the future, talk with your adoption specialist and the adoptive family to ensure your wishes are met.
Keep in mind that if you and the adoptive family agree on sharing an open adoption, you will be able to share the adoption story with your child yourself one day. Many birth parents choose this type of adoption so that their child can come to them with any questions as they grow.
What Adoptive Families Will Tell Your Child About You
Even if you choose to be less involved in your child’s life after the adoption, your child will still hear about you from their adoptive parents, to whatever extent the adoptive parents know about you. Adoptive parents are taught by their American Adoptions specialist how to talk to their child about birth parents who prefer a more closed adoption. Your child will know whatever details about you that you would like him or her to know, and they will always know that you love them and that you chose adoption because of that love.
If you choose to have an open adoption, then you will be able to tell your child these things yourself in addition to their adoptive parents telling them this as part of their adoption story. You and your child can get to know one another directly with this option. Many birth parents have a relationship with their child and the adoptive family much like extended family.
Adoption Is Spoken of Positively
From the moment the parents you choose for your child brings their baby home, they’re encouraged to speak to him or her positively of their adoption story and of you. Despite the loss that is felt in adoption, so much of adoption is rooted in love. Adopted children are always made aware of how much they’ve always been loved and will always be loved by both their birth and adoptive families.
This is why the use of positive adoption language is so important. As young adoptees grow, their families won’t be the only people they hear speak about adoption, so it’s important to encourage everyone to use positive adoption terms. Antiquated phrases that place negative emphasis on adoption not only hurt your sense of self-worth, they can hurt that of an adopted child’s. Speaking about adoption in a positive way assures children that their adoption is never something to be ashamed of and reminds them that adoption means love.
Ultimately, you’ll be able to talk directly to your child’s future parents about how they’ll talk to your child about adoption, if you like. Together, you can discuss how your child’s adoption story will be a part of his or her life, and how you’d like that story to be told.
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