Talking to a Child About Their Adoption
Talking to a child about his or her adoption is not the taboo subject it once was. There was a time when parents tried to keep the biological parentage of their children a secret. We now know this is unhealthy.
All children need to be treated with honesty and openness. Revealing to your child at a young age that he or she joined your family through open adoption helps your child to look at adoption as the positive, loving experience it is. Introduce your child to the birth mom. Make your child aware that you are grateful for her because she gave you the great gift of becoming a parent.
As your child ages, new questions may arise. The most common are those about why the birth mom chose adoption. It is more important than ever to be open with your child about this decision. Even those instances that may be difficult to talk about are vital for your child’s awareness and understanding. Use plain language, but also be aware of any accidental connotations.
The birth mother may have chosen adoption because she was too young to raise a child. She may have still been in school or didn’t have a support system in place. To adults, these seem like reasonable reasons to choose adoption. A child may be frightened by them. The child may see that the birth mother has grown older, is now in a stable relationship and has a secure job. The child might think that the change in the birth mom’s situation could mean that the birth mom will try to reverse the adoption. It is very important that, when explaining the reasons behind the adoption, you also explain that adoption is permanent and forever. Even if the birth mom’s situation has changed, your child should know that you will always be mom.
A common reason adoptive parents state is that the birth mom was too poor to raise a child. This may have been true, but it can cause undue hardship on your child. He or she may begin to wonder if you will choose to pursue adoption each time you voice budget concerns. Be sure, when talking with your child about the reasons behind adoption, you share that there will never be a day you choose to reverse the adoption.
One of the most difficult decisions to explain is when a child is the result of sexual assault. While many victims of sexual assault choose closed adoptions, there are those who prefer open. Again, it is important to be honest with your child. Explain that the birth mom was assaulted and became pregnant. Tell your son or daughter that he or she is the one good thing that came from the attack. If she is open to it, ask the birth mom to talk about it with your child.
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