Adoption is a beautiful thing that gives many families the ability to raise children when nature or circumstance has otherwise stopped them. It also gives homes to children who, for whatever reason, find themselves without a family to raise them. Adoption can be a real challenge and, with the nature of child psychology, it can be a complicated, stressful and intense task. One of the elements to adoption that can make it so difficult is needing to discuss adoption with your child. Knowing when and how to go about the task is a delicate issue that requires forethought and planning. Some children won’t have been old enough to remember that they were adopted. Others will remember it but very vaguely. Whatever the case is, you need to be transparent about these issues with your child without presenting things in too stressful a light. So, let’s look at some tips for going about the adoption discussion with your child.
Start Right Away
If at all possible, you should try and avoid discussing your child’s adoption as a bombshell that will totally alter their perception of self. This can be damaging and very difficult for both parent and child. The best way to avoid this is to discuss the adoption from the moment they come home with you. It can feel a bit silly discussing a complex issue like adoption with a baby or a child who is only just old enough to understand language. But, that said, if you can put it in their subconscious from when they are little then their discovery of what adoption means and why it happens will occur organically. It helps avoid any shocks along the way. Keep talking to them, without overwhelming them, and it will become something easy to discuss rather than some intimidating issue.
Always Be Honest
The worst thing that you can do to a child is to lie to them about their adoption. It’s bad for so many reasons, but mostly because the truth will come out eventually and you will have caused an unnecessary wound in the trust between the two of you. Obviously, depending on the details, you might want to soften the story a bit until your child is at the right age. But, with that said, nothing that you say should be untrue or intentionally misleading. Children really listen to everything that you say, so it can be really important that you consider your words carefully and make sure that the circumstances of their adoption are clearly laid out.
Use It As An Opportunity To Remind Them Of Your Love For Them
Hearing about adoption can be unsettling for children, particularly as they grow up. They will direct a lot of the issues and doubts that they might have about their adoption onto themselves and you can find that adopted children are more susceptible to confidence or self-esteem issues. It’s important for parents who have adopted a child to always assign positive connotations to the adoption discussions. Remind your child that you love them and that you chose them because they are special to you. Building this positive association will make the discussion a happy one, not a stressed one.
Don’t Get Too Upset Or Worried By Their Response
Some children find adoption a really complicated issue to comprehend, particularly when they’re not really even at the age to understand ‘normal’ parenthood. This confusion can come out in many different ways. You might find that they are constantly asking questions about it. You might find that they act out, or respond with anger. They may even seem to simply ignore it. Don’t get worried by any of response that they give. These things can take time for children to unpack so always be ready to talk but don’t panic.
Again, adoption is a really beautiful thing that deserves to be celebrated not hidden like it is shameful. So clarity and transparency are your best methods in any conversation about adoption. Hopefully you can use these tips with your adopted child to make the conversation a lot easier.