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Will My Child Understand My Adoption Decision?

And What Will He or She Think About Me?

Today, adoption is better understood than ever before. Not only do adopted children understand what adoption means and how it works, but they understand that it is a decision their birth parents make out of deep, unconditional love for them. 

  • You are choosing adoption because you want to give your child a happy and stable life, with opportunities that you may not be able to provide right now.

  • Placing a baby for adoption is a difficult, selfless, and heroic decision made out of love. 

  • Today's adoptees are raised knowing and celebrating their adoption story from the very beginning.

Still, you might have fears, like, “Will my child resent me for ‘giving them up’? Will they understand why I did this?” These concerns are normal. After all, you love your baby unconditionally, so you want to make sure that they will know that and will feel comfortable with their adoption and with you.  

The facts about modern adoptions and how adoptees feel about their birth parents may surprise you: In today’s adoptions, children grow up knowing their adoption stories, appreciating their birth parents and understanding that adoption is a heroic and loving decision.  

“I know my birth parents love me, and I know that they wanted the best for me, and this is how they could achieve that,” Diana, an adoptee, said. “And I’m grateful that that’s what they did. It was the hardest choice they probably ever had to make, but it’s a choice that I respect, knowing that they loved me enough to do this for me.  

“They gave my family to me, and that’s never lost on me,” she adds. “That’s never something I take for granted.” 

To see how Diana feels about her adoption story, click here. 

With over 30 years of experience as one of the largest national domestic infant adoption agencies, we know a thing or two about adoption. With the co-founder of American Adoptions being an adoptee himself and a staff that includes adoptees, birth mothers, and adoptive families, you can trust that we have professionals who know exactly how you’re feeling and who can answer any questions you may have about your adoption decision. 

This guide will discuss adoption for your baby, the feelings adoptees have, as well as explore firsthand experiences from adoptees. For any questions about adoption, you can always call 1-800-ADOPTION or fill out our online form to get more information.  

Until then, learn more about how your child will understand your adoption decision.  

Will My Child Understand My Adoption Decision?  

In the past, it was common for adopted children to not be told that they were adopted, and adoptive parents and birth parents usually did not meet or get to know each other. As a result, many adopted children would grow up with negative feelings about their adoption or be shocked when they finally learned the truth later in life.  

Today’s adoptions are much more open. American Adoptions is a leader in open adoption, educating adoptive families on the importance of telling their children about their adoption from a young age so they always grow up knowing that their birth parents are heroes and that their adoption is something to celebrate.  

Take it from Cole, who is growing up in an open adoption through American Adoptions. When his mom asked him if he remembered finding out about his adoption, his answer was, “Nope!” Because he always knew. 

“It’s just like you’re growing up knowing to spell your name,” he said. “I’m growing up knowing that I was adopted.”  

You can watch more of Cole’s adoption conversation with his mom here. 

Ninety-seven percent of children who were adopted know their adoption stories, and about their birth families. There is no shocking discovery or big reveal of a secret because they always knew that they were adopted and who their birth parents are. In adoptive families, adoption and birth families are a normal part of life.  

Furthermore, when you choose adoption, you can:

Through open adoption, you never have to wonder what your child thinks about their adoption, because you can talk to him or her about it firsthand and explain how much you love them in your own words.  

What Will My Child Think of Me?  

The term “give up for adoption” has seeped into our cultural vocabulary, as though birth mothers turn away from their children. But the truth is that a woman who chooses adoption for her baby isn’t “giving up” or “giving away” her baby; she is making one of the most selfless, courageous decisions imaginable.  

Because today’s adoptions allow prospective birth mothers to steer the adoption plan, an adopted child knows — now more than ever — of the care his or her birth mother put into selecting an adoptive family and planning the adoption.  

“My birth mother is immeasurably awesome,” Cole said.

Watch the video here.

It’s selfless love for a baby that causes many women to choose adoption. Grateful adoptive parents will be able to share that loving decision with your child. Many adoptive children feel extra special, knowing that so many people love them. And as most children get older and grow in their understanding of adoption, they’ll come to terms with their identity and realize what your sacrifice meant to their life.  

“My parents, growing up, always told, me, ‘Your birth parents loved you so much. They were not ready to take care of you, and so they trusted us with you,’” adoptee Diana said. “Out of all the places I could’ve wound up, in the world, this is where I ended up. I’m so grateful for that.” 

How Do Adopted Children Feel About Being Adopted?  

Adoption can impact a child's life in amazing ways. When a child grows up always knowing that he or she was adopted and always loved by both their birth and adoptive families, there is never a moment when they will question whether or not they were “wanted” or wonder why they were “given up.”  

Today’s adoptive families choose to celebrate adoption as a positive, beautiful event that makes each adopted child special. These adoptive parents openly share their child's adoption story. Many families even celebrate their child's adoption each year as a family tradition.  

Some adoptees are even so touched by their adoption story that they grow up to be adoption professionals, like Jennifer, Director of Social Services with American Adoptions.  

"Because of the large role adoption always played in my life, I became an adoption specialist. I found my social worker’s name on some paperwork when I was younger, and I knew I wanted to do for someone what she did for me,” Jennifer said. “I felt (and still feel) strongly that adoption is a great gift to give, and I think sometimes people think that gift is just for the adoptive family and the baby. And it is a great gift to them; they’re becoming a family! 

“But it’s a gift for the birth mom too, especially if you can give her comfort in a time that must be very painful. That’s why I’ve been honored to work with birth mothers, helping women who are in similar situations to that my birth mother was in when she placed me for adoption.”  

You can read Jennifer's story by clicking here 

Adoption shouldn’t be a dark family secret, and today, adopted children celebrate their adoption stories. They grow up knowing how special adoption is and what a beautiful gift they were given by their birth parents. While those who grow up in a more closed adoption may have questions about their birth parents and where they came from, they grow up knowing that adoption is a very loving decision, and it is one to be proud of.  

Read the following to learn more about how adoptive parents talk to children about adoption 

Your Next Steps  

You can choose the type of adoption you would like, which can allow you to see firsthand how your baby is growing up by having a relationship with the adoptive family through pictures, letters, visits, and phone calls. Continued contact with your child can help you reinforce that he or she understands adoption and knows about you and your courageous adoption decision.  

To begin making an adoption plan, or for further questions about adopted children, please call 1-800-ADOPTION or complete the following form to get free adoption information. We are here to help ensure you feel that you're making the best decision for your baby. 

Information available through these links is the sole property of the companies and organizations listed therein. American Adoptions provides this information as a courtesy and is in no way responsible for its content or accuracy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is American Adoptions the right adoption agency choice for many birth mothers?

American Adoptions is one of the largest licensed adoption agencies in the United States. Each year, we work with thousands of women who are facing an unplanned pregnancy and offer assistance to these women. Our large, caring staff is able to assist you seven days a week and provide you with one-on-one counseling about your pregnancy and available options.

You should choose an adoption agency where you feel completely comfortable with their services and staff. With American Adoptions, you will work with an Adoption Specialist who is on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Adoption Specialist will be your advocate and will provide support and guidance as you create an adoption plan that is right for you.

How will the family tell my child about me and the adoption when my child is older?

Each family has their own style of introducing adoption to the child. When you are matched with an adoptive family, you can ask them this question. If you would like your Adoption Specialist to discuss it for you, just let her know. He or she can share your wishes or provide good ideas from other adoptive families.

You will also be able to share what you want your baby to know about you. You can complete a keepsake booklet to share hobbies, stories, photos of you and your family and a letter to your baby. The adoptive family can provide this to your child as he or she grows older. Be as creative as you like! Some birth mothers have even knitted a special blanket as a gift to their baby or given a similar symbol of their love.

The father of your baby can fill out the birth father's keepsake booklet or write a letter too. You may have other family members who would also like to share photos or a letter to the baby. This is your opportunity to pass on your and your family's love and to share your personality, history and reasons for choosing adoption. The adoptive family will treasure whatever information you provide and will share it with the baby at an appropriate age. In most adoptive homes, the word adoption is in the child's vocabulary early on, and adoption is celebrated in their lives.

Additional Resources

Teen Pregnancy - Information for Young Women

While not every woman who chooses adoption is a young mother, many are. Through adoption, many young women have found an ability to give their babies the best life possible, while finding the opportunity to realize their own dreams, as well. Call American Adoptions today at 1-800-ADOPTION.

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Adoption Glossary

Do adoption terms and phrases leave you feeling confused? Learn the meaning to key adoption words and phrases with our comprehensive adoption glossary.

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