17 answers

How and When to Tell My Child She's Adopted

I adopted my little girl at the age of 2, she's now 6yrs old. Last year she came home from school very excited that her teacher was having a baby. Every day she would tell me how big her teacher's tummy was. Then her question was, did i come out your tummy mama?
My answer was no you came out of my heart. My question is at what age should i tell her about the adoption and her biological family?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I would like to thank everyone for their advice on telling my daughter about her adoption. It went well, I know she didn't really understand but with time she will. The only thing she wanted to know was her bi-mother's name, I'm preparing myself now for the BIGGER QUESTIONS. Thanks again

Featured Answers

Hi V.,

My mother got pregnant with me and married at a young age. The marriage didn't last, but she did remarry and the man she married adopted me. This didn't happen until second grade. I didn't quite understand and remember asking my mother if she was my real mother. It was very confusing. I think if you are going to tell her, talk to her about it all the time. I was too young to understand fully then, so they told me again when I was in seventh grade (12 or 13 maybe).
I was really disappointed that they had kept this from me and I was missing out on a relationship with my grandparents. They had been sending me birthday cards and such all those years.
Sometimes the truth is hard, but if you share it with her she will appreciate it.
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Don't put it off for another second. It would have been best to tell her the day you brought her home and talked about it over the years as she got older. The times children have huge problems with being adopted is when they haven't been told all their life and it comes as a total shock when they are older. If you talk about it from the time they are small, that is the only thing they will know. They will not get older and remember in detail that one day they were told they were adopted. And so, it won't be a shock to them. Please talk to her ASAP. Just my advice. You don't have to take it, as it is my opinion, but it is what I believe 100% in my heart.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

Ideally she would have always known. Even as a toddler you can talk about adoption. But if that is not the case, please start talking about it now. The last thing you want is for the information to come as a shock leaving your child wondering "what else hasn't my mom told me?" Don't think of it as one big talk, rather as something that is a very natural part of your lives. It should come up in conversation from time to time - sometimes she will have lots of questions, others not so many. But when she asks about preg ladies is a perfect time to say, "I remember how excited I was when you came to be my daughter." Tell her the story like it is the best thing that ever happened to you (because it is!). Don't be embarassed or think that being adopted will hurt your child emotionally - she will take her lead from you. If you think adoption is awesome and special, so will she.

No need to tell her more than she is ready to hear. IF the details about bio family are not so great, a simple "they loved you but couldn't take care of you." will work. Older children will be ready for more info about why. If you are having a hard time getting the story going, there are now many children's books about adoption. Go to amazon and search for children's adoption - lots of stories about bringing a new child into the home. It doesn't have to be exactly like your story, but would help to get the conversation started.

Good luck - please start talking now.

2 moms found this helpful

I agree, the earlier you tell her the better. You can make it a lovely story. Instead of saying, "Your birthday mother gave you away," it is better to say "She placed you with us because she loved you so much and wanted better for you than she was able to give you." Or something to that effect. There are some good books out there for children, so I'd go to Borders or Barnes and Noble and look over what is available to see which book is a good fit for your daughter's and your circumstances. It is important to be honest but keep it simple. If you don't know the answer to a question, you can always say, "That is a great question, let me think about how to answer that and I'll get back with you on that." This works for any sensitive questions such as sex questions that inevitably come up. I do like that you told her she grew in your heart. Enjoy your sweet daughter!

1 mom found this helpful

I am the adoptive mother of one son, now 23 years old. I studied how and when to tell him and, like you, agonized about it.

It is considered best to make the adoption just a matter of fact "I chose you" story from early childhood rather than having the big sit down "guess what" story later. I always made comments to others about how special he was because he was chosen and adopted. When he began asking the usual questions about growing in my tummy, my story was that I wanted him very much but no matter how I tried, I couldn't grow him. However, I prayed to God and begged God and one day God found someone who would grow my son for me.

When my son became 18, I gave him contact information for his birth mother and for his four biological siblings. An interesting side story to this is that his oldest bio sibling, a sister, is a single Mom to one. Her little girl calls me Grandma.

I know a lot of people who were adopted. They never forget that the parents who raised them are Mom and Dad and that the woman who gave birth to them was just their birth mother.

My son is currently on what I hope is a temporary voyage of discovery. He has been trying to move in with his birth mother and has stopped contacting me. Although it hurts, I feel that he needs to do this in order to find out about himself.

1 mom found this helpful

We have two kiddos from Guatemala. I don't think I could hide their adoptions even if I wanted to...they look quite different from me! We have always been very honest and matter of fact about it. Our son is still not old enough to ask questions but our daughter (5) goes through periods where she asks. I just answer what I can and if I don't know, I tell her that too. I show her pictures from her life before me (those I have) and tell her how long we waited to bring her home. So far that has gone well...I guess time will tell! I rarely bring it up with her; I wait for her to ask me. And she will. I do pray sometimes at night, specifically thanking God that she is in our family, thanking Him for her birthmother, thanking Him for His plan to bring her to us...

Best wishes! It is hard/scary at times, but a natural step for adopted kids to want to know...

1 mom found this helpful

One of my best friends in school is adopted and she always knew it. I would say to tell your daughter now; she is old enough to understand. Let her know that God gives us all babies to love. Some come out of our tummies and some don't, but the love is still the same. She should know now instead of accidentally finding out from someone else later. Good luck.

J.

1 mom found this helpful

Don't put it off for another second. It would have been best to tell her the day you brought her home and talked about it over the years as she got older. The times children have huge problems with being adopted is when they haven't been told all their life and it comes as a total shock when they are older. If you talk about it from the time they are small, that is the only thing they will know. They will not get older and remember in detail that one day they were told they were adopted. And so, it won't be a shock to them. Please talk to her ASAP. Just my advice. You don't have to take it, as it is my opinion, but it is what I believe 100% in my heart.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi V.,

My mother got pregnant with me and married at a young age. The marriage didn't last, but she did remarry and the man she married adopted me. This didn't happen until second grade. I didn't quite understand and remember asking my mother if she was my real mother. It was very confusing. I think if you are going to tell her, talk to her about it all the time. I was too young to understand fully then, so they told me again when I was in seventh grade (12 or 13 maybe).
I was really disappointed that they had kept this from me and I was missing out on a relationship with my grandparents. They had been sending me birthday cards and such all those years.
Sometimes the truth is hard, but if you share it with her she will appreciate it.
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Honestly you should have started when you first adopted her since she was already 2 yrs old. Please look into some books for kids on adoption http://www.comeunity.com/adoption/books/0children-adoptio... has a good list. Don't worry about a lot of details until she gets comfortable with the idea that she is adopted. Make sure to not cast her birth family in a negative light and let her know that she is so loved by all.

My daughter was adopted at birth and when she started talking we just introduced the word adoption into her vocabulary. Then we told her she was adopted and when she was a little older I told her how she grew in her birth mom's tummy. We just progressed from there and always answer questions she may have but on an age appropriate level. It's no big deal to our daughter, just like you have aunts, uncles and cousins; she has a birthmom. We talk about how much we love her birth mom for making us a family.

Another helpful source for other adoptive parents is www.adoption.com They even have forums for parents who adopt from a relative or from the foster care system.

Good luck and just always be honest without putting down her birth family. It's best to leave out the bad details until she is older and can process what might have happened to her.

1 mom found this helpful

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