Bringing your infant home is just the beginning of your adoption journey. Every decision you make will help shape your precious baby. One of the decisions that will have a significant impact on your child’s relationship to her adoption is how you tell her adoption story. Is it ever too early? Is there a right way to do it? Today we invite you to lean on Lifetime Adoption’s community of adoptive parents and glean from their experience.
Tim Elder is the proud father of three children through Lifetime Adoption. After years of infertility, Tim and his wife, Tisha, decided to grow their family through infant adoption. They adopted their first daughter in 2007, their son in 2012, and their second daughter in 2017.
After Tim’s successful experience with Lifetime Adoption, he decided to pay it forward. He created the Infant Adoption Guide podcast and website so future adoptive parents would have a place for resources and support on their adoption journey. Last summer, Lifetime shared about an episode of Infant Adoption Guide podcast in the post “Couple’s Podcast Shares What They’ve Learned in 3 Infant Adoptions.”
In episode 71 of the Infant Adoption Guide podcast, Tim’s oldest daughter, Arianna, joins him to share her experience as a teenage adoptee and to offer valuable advice for hopeful adoptive parents.
“He always used to tell me my adoption story, and it used to be so animated. I could just tell how much they loved me.”
Arianna begins the podcast by discussing her earliest memory about being adopted. As a child, she always loved nighttime stories, so Tim turned her adoption story into a bedtime story. Arianna recalls how her father’s animated stories helped her see just how much her parents love her.
Since adoption has been a part of Arianna’s identity since her earliest memory, she sees how being adopted makes her special and unique. She feels like she is part of a special family.
A Growing Family
“I was going to be the first one to hold him.”
Arianna recalls how she always wanted someone to play with when she was Tim and Tisha’s only child. When Arianna was in kindergarten, her parents announced that they were adopting another baby. She was thrilled that she would have someone to play with, and she wanted to be the first to hold him. Arianna loved her new brother.
After a few more years, Tim and Tisha announced they would be adopting a third child. Arianna recalls her complicated emotions and how her newest sibling turned out to be the greatest birthday present ever!
Benefits of Open Adoption
“It’s important because you need to know your roots.”
Arianna expresses how valuable open adoption has been for her developing identity. She stresses that it’s important for her to know her roots.
The family’s experience with three open infant adoptions has also shown them that there are different ways to have a positive relationship with the birth parents. The family mostly communicates with Arianna’s birth mother through Facebook, but they have a closer relationship with their son’s birth parents. Arianna recalls going on vacation with her brother’s birth parents, and she values the relationship she has with them.
Advice from a Teen Adoptee
“You need to tell your kids that they’re adopted.”
Arianna’s biggest tip for adoptive parents is to tell their child his or her adoption story from an early age. She explains how hearing it over and over turns it into a positive memory. Knowing her story helps her understand her roots and makes her feel special.
Tim adds some advice of his own. He stresses the importance of an open adoption plan because you never know what kind of relationship you are going to have with the birth parents.
For more episodes and free resources to help save you time, money, and stress on your adoption journey, visit Infant Adoption Guide. You can also join Tim’s adoption support group on Facebook.
Listen to episode 71 of Infant Adoption Guide,
“Thoughts from a Teenage Adoptee”
on iTunes, Spotify, Google, or right here!
Heidi Keefer is a Content Creator for Lifetime Adoption and has 15 years of experience in the field of adoption. An author of thousands of blog posts over the years, Heidi enjoys finding new ways to educate and captivate Lifetime’s ever-growing list of subscribers.
Heidi has a keen eye for misplaced apostrophes, comma splices, and well-turned sentences, which she has put to good use as a contributor to Lifetime’s award-winning blogs. She has written and published hundreds of adoption articles which explore the various facets of domestic infant adoption today.