Adoption creates a lifetime of opportunity for your family and the child you welcome into your home. Keeping your child’s legacy alive and facilitating an understanding of the past is a process that requires time and care.
Depending on the age of your child, he or she may already understand some of what has happened. Knowing when and how to introduce the topic of adoption can help you approach a discussion with respect and confidence.
The time is now
Even if you feel unsure about telling your child about adoption, there may never be a “perfect” time. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, experts say that waiting for the right time is not doing anyone a favor. They recommend that you talk about adoption openly and frequently from the beginning to encourage trust and understanding.
If you have biological children in your family, reiterate that every sibling has the same value. Refrain from introducing or describing your adopted child as an adopted child. Through your language and actions, you can encourage your friends and extended family to see your child as another, equal and beloved family member.
The value of objectivity
Depending on the circumstances preceding your child’s adoption, you may have opinions about his or her birth parents. However, you should never express your disdain for your child’s birth parents in front of him or her. Explain to your child that his or her parents had an important choice to make and ultimately felt as though adoption would provide their child with the best chance at living a successful life.
Your effort to maintain objectivity will respect your child’s opportunity to form his or her own opinions and feelings about birth parents. Even in closed adoptions, allowing your child to form personal judgments about birth parents, plays a critical role in establishing self-identity.