Understanding His Adoption

Updated on June 09, 2010
L.C. asks from Paramus, NJ
10 answers

My son turned 5 in May. I have a book that tells the story of his adoption, that we read 1-2 a month. One of his friends mother is pregnant with twins - he tells me all the time she has two babies in her tummy. The other day we were talking about the babies and he announced that he was born from my heart not my tummy he was in Karoline's (his birthmother) tummy. I was so happy to realize he has been listening and is starting to understand - Here is my problem he now thinks that he came from his classmate Caroline's tummy. How can I explain this that will make sense to him? I do not want to confuse him anymore than he is. Sam's was a domestic adoption. He has a few friends that are adopted but most of them are international adoptions.
Your thought s would be appreciated.

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for your thoughtful answers. My son does know that families come in different forms - he has a classmate with two moms and a few that are mixed religions and as well as mixed races. My parents taught me to always treat people the way we want to be treated and I have tried instilling this in my son. I do know he is listening. Thanks again

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answers from New York on

Just let him know that it is a different Karoline, not his friend's mother. He'll understand that. He is young, but if he understood the meaning of adoption he will understand that there is a different Karoline and not his friend's mom.

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answers from Austin on

Just explain that there are lots of L.'s in the world, but only you are "L. his Mother". If his name were "Sam" and he met another child named Sam, only he would be your son not the other Sam..

Then explain that the friends mother just happens to have the name Caroline, but is not his birth mother Karoline..

I would think once he starts to read and sees the spelling, it will make even more sense to him..

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I wouldn't go with JC's answer about having to be married to have a baby. That's simply a lie, your kid will encounter someone who isn't married and is having a baby and not understand why you didn't tell the truth, and most birthmothers are not married anyway, so that defeats the purpose esp if his birthmother was not married.. What I think he needs is not actually more discussion of adoption, but discussion of the facts of life - pregnancy and birth. That is the part that he does not seem to understand. Babies don't magically come out of people's "tummies" at random. They grow in a woman's uterus. A grown woman (or at least a teen). I would explain the basics of pregnancy to him so that he understands how silly it would be to think that his classmate is his birthmother.
Good luck!



answers from New York on

I'm currently pregnant with my 3rd and my son knows that only girls have wombs and can have babies. The other day he asked if his little sister, 20month, had a baby in her womb. I just explained that only grown-ups have babies. (While unfortunately that isn't true anymore in today's world, my son is only 3 and doesn't need to know or understand that, in my opinion). So, maybe just explain that little girls can't have babies. ???



answers from Chicago on

great to talk openly about adoption. as others have said, talk about how there are many people with the same name. explain karoline (first mother) is different than caroline (classmate).

also, discuss how he has friends who were adopted from another country. you can say something like, "do you know how your friend was adopted from guatemala? as you know, you were adopted too, but from here in the united states."

i think it's important to talk about adoption at every opportunity so the child knows you're not trying to hide something or are ashamed. sounds like you are on the right track.

good luck!!



answers from Buffalo on

The biggest issue with your son's adoption is behind you...letting him know he was adopted. When and how a child is told can have lasting effects on a child. I still remember vividly being told that my dad wasn't my birth dad (stepdad adopted me) and even though it's not quite the same as being "completely" adopted, it still left questions and doubts about the love he had for me, where I came from, etc.

So your son knows he has you as his mom (gotta love his answer about where he was born) and there's a Karoline out there who gave birth to him. The fact that he's confused and thinks his classmate, Caroline, gave birth to him is adorable. You can try to explain that there are many Karolines in the world and the Karoline he came from isn't a little girl, that little girls can't have babies. He might listen and understand and he might decide Caroline is still his mom. I believed my "boyfriend" Duncan was the owner of Duncan Donuts when I was 4 and NO ONE could tell me otherwise. LOL Just a part of being a kid. Either way, he'll grow out of it and understand eventually. This is an adorable little hiccup which will be a cute story to remind him of when he's older. =0)



answers from New York on

This might sound overly simplistic, but talk to him about how several people can have the same name. My children have four uncles, three of them are named Mike (all on my husband's side--crazy right?)
If you aren't ready to talk about the more complex issues I bet the explanation of the fact that his classmate is a different Caroline will be enough before he really starts asking the more detailed questions.



answers from New York on

I tell my daughter that you have to be married in order to have a baby. It helps to draw a line between adults, teenagers and kids (well, in her mind). But whenever someone gets married she asks if thay are going to have a baby soon!! :)



answers from Topeka on

Do you have an actual picture of his birth Mother? Maybe you could show that to him and let him see that even though the names are the same, they are different people. Or think of someone that you know who has the same name as one of his Grandmothers or Grandfathers, or two of his friends who have the same name. Don't worry about it too much, this is just something that it will take him a while to process!!!



answers from Jamestown on

This might sound weird but...introduce him to two people with the same name at the same time. That way he will know that Karoline and Caroline are two different people too and that their names are spelled different. If you had a picture of Karoline, that might make it easier for him to distinguish the differences..


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