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I was adopted as a baby, always knew I was adopted, and was part of the process in "picking" my baby sister. I see my parents as my parents, the "birth parents" simply being a fairy tale (or creation story).
You saw how I turned out, balanced, normal, charming (for a Brit anyway!)
I dawn, i just posted a blog about my adoption. I knew I was adopted my whole life and my parents told me that it was something that made me so much more special and precious. I think kids should know from the get go!
In Islam, adopted children deserve to know that they were adopted by the concerned family since the very beginning for they have no blood relation with the family. They deserve to know where they are from, who their real (biological) parents, especially for a adopted daughter -- once they will get married in their future time, their adopted father has no right to be their guidance in their marriage. Moreover, from my experience, there have been great disappointment arise from many adopted children who know that they had been adopted at the time they have been an adult.
When they are old enough to understand it. My Mom told me when I was 13. (Mom is my biological Mother, Dad isn't my biological Father.)
At what age do you think your child is ready to accept the truth of adoption?
Beleive it, or not, I have been told to tell your child that were adopted a early in life as possible. The longer you wait the more apt that your child might think that their life was a lie. If you have anything the adoption, like picures or document, make sure that your child get them when they are mature enough to handle the emotions that will come will it!
It would be helpful for the child to be able to comprehend the matter first. So, I would say about 10 or older, in today's society.
I can't agree with you Cagsill. I think 10 is far too late. 10 is a difficult age for girls and boys,(hormones are starting to come into play)and to find out something like that is awful. Betrayal by your parents and that's how it would feel to some kids is awful. A younger child won't try and reason it out in the same way and that can only be an advantage. Of course they will be puzzled but they are far more likely to be convinced of being loved and just as important as any other child in the household. By the time you are ten you are less likely to be convinced. Besides, it would be very odd if a child hasn't asked anything about about their birth before that age - so there are plenty of openings,and I believe it's wrong not to use them. I was fostered from the day after my first birthday, which is not exactly the same. Because my ethnicity was different from the people that fostered me, it was always obvious that I wasn't their child butI was aware of the differences from three. If a child looks different they are going to remark on it - and it may just be the colour of their hair. I have two close friends that were told when they were older and it has haunted them all their lives.
We adopted my grandaughter a couple of years ago and we remind her the judge said she could live with us forever and we tell her everyday how lucky we are for that. She was at the final adoption and we have pictures with the judge. My husband adopted his son from a previous marriage, he always said to tell them from day 1 so they understand - if questions come up they are much easier to handle than the child finding out later. His son is married and has 3 1/2 children (baby on the way) and he is the best dad I have ever met.
My adoption was finalised and I was taken home from the Hospital at just 7 days by my adoptive parents, both of whom are fantastic and have provided me with more than all the love, the care and the advantages throughout life than most people could only dream about.
I was always aware from a very early age that I had been adopted. This may fly in the face of what everyone says but I always wished I NEVER knew, that I'd never been told... I grew up feeling different from everybody else.
The adoption was never mentioned by anyone in the family ( because I got upset ) and I bear more than a striking resemblence to my adoptive parents so no outsider would ever have guessed in a million years that I was adopted, I look more like my adoptive mother than my natural born brother LOL! I don't know why I carry a guilt over been adopted, I don't now why I wanted it secret as a child because my Adoptive parents did it by the book and gave me everything in life... but I still grew up feeling different and feel inside that I would've been a happier child and now adult had I never known...perhaps having natural born siblings one a lot older and one slightly younger is at the route of this, I guess what I'm trying to say is that each circumstance is different.
haven't had the experience personally. do know a couple of people that knew from an early age and had a normal, healthy loving upbring. but now with the internet and more relaxed confidentiality around adoption laws, bio parents may be seeking out adult children - (and vise versa) so it is probably better to find out from your parents rather than from someone who has not been a part of your life. my brother inlaw's bio parent sought him out via facebook and unfortunately it has just caused turmoil with everyone involved.
quite the topic this one should be!
and another, what about children that may have been abandoned by a parent when a divorce happened.
As early as possible. You have to be creative in doing this in age appropriate ways and build on it. There are story books to help your child with acceptance and to feel really special about being chosen versus abandoned.
I know of some real challenges adoptive parents are facing with the self identity of their adopted children who discovered later, pre teen or teen years that they are adopted and felt deceived by their parents.
My youngest brother was adopted, he is 15 years younger than me. He was 8 months old at time of adoption and his last name was different than ours. But because of problems with his biological parents we couldn't change his last name so he figured it out pretty early on. He just accepted it like it was an ordinary thing. He only asked once time about his birth mother when he was about 13 or so and never brought it up again. I think if you have a loving family and he knows he is loved just like the rest of us. Even more so in my opinion he or she will be alright with it. He is now 25 and our family is like it always was it never was an issue with him. BTW at 18 we asked him if he wanted to change his last name as planned and he said yes we actually went to the courthouse on his birthday and completed the process.
Tell them as soon as they're old enough to understand. There is no shame in being adopted, but if you lie to "spare their feelings" they'll feel betrayed later. Let it be a part of their lives, let them know you love them, and it won't even be an issue.
My first son is adopted. I told him when he started to ask about where babies come from. He was three. It was easy enough. (I've written about it elsewhere.) It was a matter of, "Well, here's how and where they grow, but sometimes....." The one thing I did do (that a lot of people wouldn't agree with was to be careful to use the term, "the lady who had you". It was a closed adoption. He was still only three. I didn't want to introduce an "invisible, 'other mother'" and hope he could process that at three. Once he was old enough he knew the term for "the lady who had him", and he eventually met her.
I think this requires the experience of adoptive parents to answer. There is already some excellent advice from those who have adopted children here.
The birth mother should be referred to as the "birth mother". My youngest adopted child was unable to grasp the "birth mother" concept but we saw her birth mother at a park once per month. The birth mother was called the "play mommy" and I was called the "take care mommy." Adopted children are entitled to know that their parents will always tell them the truth.
That's exactly why I went with "lady who had you" when my son my was three. As he gradually got old enough to grasp the concept of birth mother without it confusing him, it just kind of naturally fell into place for him (what the term, "birth mother" meant).
Not all adoptions are the same, especially closed adoptions. My son had the truth of a medical history of a skull fracture, scar tissue on his retina (and a few other things) that I had to figure out how to share with him a little at a time, when he was old enough to understand. As far as I was concerned, "the lady who had him" (and who had harmed the infant I'd bonded with just the way I would eventually bond with the children I delivered myself) was a true first description for this individual.
I spent his whole childhood trying to figure out what to tell him when in a way that meant he'd always get the truth, but not a truth so hard for a child (or even an adult) to understand it would cause him to wonder what, on Earth, kind of person gave birth to him. He grew up being certain I'd always give him the truth, but sometimes the truth I gave him was, "Here's this much information, and we'll talk more about it when you're a little older."
Knowing that there was this awfully difficult and ugly truth to share with this little boy, when so many other children have birth stories so free of such ugliness, meant I had to figure out what would work best for him at any given time. This particular little boy needed his mother to be "Only Mommy" until he was old enough to be able to understand that "birth mother", "mother", and "Mommy" are often very different things. I let the truth of his birth story and reason for his being placed for adoption to unfold, sharing the most basic truths a little at a time and creating a foundation so future "bits of information" wouldn't be so disturbing (and would, instead, just seem like more non-surprising/shocking facts).
Funny story: When I was expecting my daughter I had three Koosa (dolls in the early 80's) in a bag (with plans for my two sons to get one for Christmas). My son saw the bag, asked about them, and I said they were for the baby. Later, when he got one for Christmas he made a big issue about my having lied about the Koosas. All through his childhood when I'd say, "You know I've never lied to you," he's inevitably say, "except about the Koosas". It became a joke between us. Today, he's over 30, and every once in awhile he'll bring up that thing about how I lied about those Koosas. His trust in my word remains solid (except, of course, about the Koosas).
A few days ago my children's father brought the movie, "A Light in the Piazza" (from the 60's). It wasn't about adoption at all, but the last line in the movie the mother of a grown daughter said, "I did the right thing." Any time I write about how I handled sharing my son's birth story with him I think, "I did the right thing." There are a lot of other things in life I'm not all that sure about; but on this, I am.
From a birth mothers perspective... I had 2 sons, my oldest released for adoption from birth. I told my second son about his brother when he was very young. We have celebrated his birthday together, we share our thoughts of him together through the years.
He has known of his brother for years as I felt it was unfair to let him find out during the throws of puberty. He hopes they will someday find each other. I do too.
h.a. borchich, I think it's really nice he does know. My son (and I) had no idea about who/what he had for "blood" siblings. (Again, closed adoption. All I knew, and could tell him, was that he wasn't this woman's first delivery.) It took some processing for my son (and for my other children) when he eventually met the whole birth family (and extended family). They all knew about him, so they were actually helpful in sharing information with him that the birth mother wouldn't/couldn't.
Over the years I often thought about my son's birth mother (even if she did things I couldn't comprehend) and hoped she knew, at least, that he was so loved. Even with his being injured as an infant, I always knew that she was the person brought this child I loved so much into the world. His birthday is as special to me as my other children's, but each year as I know it's coming up, I do think of her frequently - even though I don't say it to anyone else.
My wife and I adopted a son at age 4 months. We decided to allow him to know he is adopted from the earliest age possible. He is now five, he knows he is adopted, he identifies with his mother who is also adopted. His birth mother talks to him occasionally and he talks to his birth siblings. He understands that we chose him, that his birth mother couldn't take care of him and God placed him into a family who could care for him because he loves him so much.
well , having been adopted twice myself (unfourtanatly they were all druggies that adopted me) but anyway .... I can tell you either tell them from the start - when they are little and bring them up with the understanding - or wait until after the teen years - don't tell them during puberty or between the ages of like, 9 and 19 because it could really screw em up ...
I dont really think that there is a right age. It basically depends on how mature your child is. Some children are like old souls others are a bit more immature. It is all up to the parent to really decide if the child would be able to deal with this type of news.
i have 4 adopted children... i have always told them from day 1 that they were adopted....
as an adoptive/foster parent trainer i get this question a lot....of course every family is different...but i have learned 2 things from telling my children the truth up front
1. It takes away the negativity of adoption...people have a tendency to view it as a bad thing "oh your adopted" Or this is the "adopted child"... but adoption is such a wonderful and powerful act of love...it should not be snuck up on a person...but it should be shared through out their life...reinforcing how much they are loved.
2. It lets the children know how loved and wanted they are. Those who have been adopted have a tendency to feel unwanted and unloved...but sharing this with them from the beginnig lets children just how special and loved they are..
for tips on telling a child or other question...feel free to write me or email me for advice...that's what my blog is about...
Definitely as early as possible. As the parents, you want to be the ones to tell your adopted son/daughter this important information. It IS a big deal to a lot of people and people can be ignorant and careless. You don't want some drunk uncle or spiteful cousin spilling the beans.
I agree with those who say that waiting too long risks the child thinking their life was a lie.
I will give you two scenarios, both true:
1. I was adopted at 7 months old. Closed adoption (as was the custom in those days). My parents emphasized how much they wanted me, how they felt when the nuns brought me out and they saw me for the first time, etc. They told a cute story about me having to go in front of the judge to finalize the adoption and them fearing I would tell him my name was Sally Brown (my fascination with Peanuts started young). In short, I have always known and have always been made to feel SPECIAL because of it.
2. My friend Bob was informed by his parents the day he graduated from high school. He walked out the door and never looked or went back. I imagine that is how betrayal feels.
Day 1 is when you tell them, and keep it an open topic. Talk about it when it comes up. If you don't, they will always think that you are hiding things from them.
I think when they ask. it is always important to tell them the truth. The child has a right to know who their real parents are. Even if they weren't there at first, everyone makes mistakes. You want to make sure they are mature enough to take the information in though. This could be a major shock to them at a young age. But, the sooner you clear everything up, the easier it will be. Some kids may not even want to know. It is the parents call, but I suggest this way.
I think it is best to grow up knowing. I was always told a story about how I came to my parents. This made me realise from a young age and I was not in shock. However, we still have to come to terms with the realisation of it. There is no easy answer here. But I still believe that my parents did it right!
I don't think there should be a specific time to tell your child they are adopted. That makes it sound like it's a horrible thing, like, when should we tell him he's going to have to go live with mean aunt Martha? Or, when should we tell her she's actually not human? Adoption does not need to be a bad thing. My kids have always known they were adopted. It was never something that we didn't talk about. In fact, at dinner sometimes, we still all thank our mothers, wherever they may be, for giving us life and for loving us enough to allow us to be adopted. Giving up a child so that they may have a better life takes a lot of courage, guts, and, well, love.
If adoption is presented as a positive result of being loved so much, and adopted kids are encouraged to know their birth parents (however that may look), then they are less likely to suffer from that great void of identity loss that is so often accompanied with adoption. Just love them enough to be honest with them from the start.
My twin sister and I were adopted together at the age of two. I can't say exactly when we were told, but I have always known. When I was 16 yrs old I found and met my birth parents, and my brother who is only 10 months older than me. My mom (adoptive mother) has, and always will be my mother. I still keep in touch with my "birth" family.
how can one know that she is adopted at such a tender age!!it reads a heart- wrenching experience to me.I salute your courage.HAPPY NEW YEAR,GOD BLESS.
I was adopted many years ago when adoptions were closed and sealed. I always knew I was adopted and I never remember finding out. I think that is VERY important. I understand people's feelings when they believe children are too young to understand but in fact children are never too young. They will hear the words and not understand (like everything else they hear including red, green and triangle). Kids do not know what things mean until they have multiple exposure to the words and ideas. My mother had a book and it was most likely the only one on the market them. Just check out Amazon today for 1000 books on all kinds of adoptions. Today there are many different kinds of adoption so each family must decide the names and wording based on their individual story but I firmly believe that no matter what the situation if a child has a moment when they realize then they were adopted that is not the best. It should be something they are exposed to like being girl or boy and when they get old enough they will understand what it means and ask questions but they will never have the moment when they realize they are not the biological person they thought they were. Just my 2 cents from my own life.
my son is adopted and I thank his birth mother every day for being strong to making the life that made mind . He is grown now . Im am so proud .
My husband and I adopted my daughter when she was 3 and is now 7.We have talked about a good time to tell her and how to tell her.Both of her parents are on drugs bad and her mother just got out of prison and her father is back in prison again.I just really need some guidance on what and how to tell her.....
Personally as an adopted child and with two other unrelated adopted siblings as well as other unadopted siblings. I was told when i was really really little that was adopted. my parent told me i think when i was 3or 4 we had these little kid books about adoption. And how it means your special because it means you were loved by two mothers not just one. I never really minded or thought about it much until i was a little older and then wanted to know about my biological mother and family. I think the decision to tell your kids should rely on why they were adopted if it was for tramatic resons just saying we adopted you and will love you forever because we are your forever family would probably work the kids really don't need or want the details. If they want them they'll ask. my brother for example was adopted from an orphanage when he was 3 1/2 he never asked or wanted to know about his adoption it was to painful. My little brother wanted to know though he doesn't want to find his birthmother. I'm really yhe only one in my family who wanted to know specifics.
I's say 12 is a good age just make sure their some what emotionally secure.
From the beginning - they may not understand what it means at first and you should not offer more information than they ask for. Simply answer questions as they ask through the years.
Kids love stories about themselves. Tell them about the first days of coming into your life, the first time you saw him/her, photos of the homecoming, etc. Make it about you and them and leave out the bio folks until the child asks.
A child should grow up with the word "adoption" as part of his or her vocabulary. I learned when in 5th grade to a great deal of stress and trauma. Rocking some one's world with that kind of news later in life can be traumatic to say the least.
I agree with the replies that suggest as soon as the child can understand. Certainly it should be done well before the onset of adolescence. Adolescence is already such a hard time for kids in terms of dealing with issues of identity and significance. Children can create a lot of unhealthy stories around adoption so parents need as many years of parenting as they can get to help kids better understand the adoption process and what it really means for them as parents and what it may mean for the the child.
If parents can encourage a healthy dialogue around the process it will make a huge difference in the long run. Of course when the child is young the terms of reference will be simplified but the more parents can revisit the topic as the child develops and becomes more sophisticated the more likely it is that a child will develop a healthy attitude about adoption.
Young children in particular are quite resilient about issues like adoption but if they do start yo act out parents will have some time to respond and address the issues, and therefore support the child through the process of healthfully defining their identity. Dropping a bomb like adoption on a teenager seems almost cruel given all of the other issues they will likely be struggling with.
Yes, they should just grow up with the knowledge.
There are so many ways of finding out and it's best of it doesn't come as a shock ~ perhaps, even, when they are alone, without their parents' support. That could be traumatic.
We spoke about it as it was a natural thing. I would tell the children around two or three how God picked them out of all the children so we could be their mommie and daddy. I told them how special they were. Sort of lilke a story before bed. They love it and asked us to tell the story over and over.
asap. Otherwise you're asking for problems.
If you tell them asap, and they don't understand what it is, they grow up accepting it.
If they get to hear stuff from their peers, and it's negative, the longer you wait, the worse they'll take it later.
Telling a three year old, "Darling, Mummy loves you so much that she adopted you," means that when she hears that word adoption later, it doesn't have a negative connotation.
Just rethinking that, anyway. I've never understood why there is so much trauma about being adopted anyway. When I occasionally heard that someone was adopted in my youth, I never ever thought there was anything wrong with it. And I most certainly don't think there is anything wrong with it now.
I think the only time it gets a negative association is when:
a) the child is in an unhappy home and gets the idea that their own parents would be better.
b) others have told the child that there's something wrong with being rejected.
The adoptive parents would know at what age the child can appreciate that information. A young child would not really grasp the meaning of the word "adopted". If you have a meaningful and loving relationship with the child - he or she would not pay much attention to what is being said on the outside via peers and other friends. You as a parent need to create a beautiful and wonderful bond with that child. Let that child know that is LOVE that brought you together. As the child become more involved in your life - you will know when the time is right and appropriate to voice the term 'adoption'. The child will not feel excluded. Give the reason for the adoption process and inform the child of the biological parents - as there will always be questions. Do not hide any information - be realistic and honest. You adopted child is actually part of you if even not from birth. That child has adopted all your ways because that is what he/she is seeing on a daily basis and is being taught. There is no connection to the biological parents except through the birthing process. That child is yours and will grow loving you unconditionally. LOVE CONQUERS ALL!
My parents used the words "adopted" and "adoption" around me as long as I can remember. I was always led to believe that adoption made me special. I took it to the extreme, though. When a neighborhood child tried to tease me by saying in a very snarky voice, "Well you're ADOPTED!" I had the perfect answer for her. I said, "Yeah, my parents picked me out special. Your parents were stuck with you!" She never gave me a problem after that!
Having adopted a child myself. I would definitely advise telling them from the time of adoption. Yes even if they cannot understand. Our son was still a virtual baby.
Yet we always told him that we chose him because he was so special. Then as he grew he was told more of the truth. In fact in primary school he was so proud of being chosen into our family that he told everyone at school.
The only problem was that another child told him that he was doctored too. And wanted to show him. Our son was saying no I am adopted. It did cause a bit of confusion at the time.
Never ever put it off thinking it will be easier as the child gets older. It won't in fact it could cause more problems.
Honesty from the start is always always the best and loving way to have a great adoptive family member especially if for instance you have other children and maybe a natural birth child too.
My ex and I adopted my son right out of the hospital. We agonized for a long time about when it was right, and got many conflicting answers. Wait until he is mature enough to know the difference and accept it. Do it as soon as he understands the English language, so he gets used to it fast. Looking back, I'd say 9 or 10...they really aren't mature enough to handle what the differences...and therefore the significance of...being adopted. We told mine about then, and he was more interested in the fact that everything was going to stay the same. Good luck.
My oldest two are adopted. I never once have kept it from them, I and my wife talk about their adoption infront of them and things it was the other day that my son who is 8 realized that he was adopted and became like aware for the first time.
I don't think it's something that should be like hidden from the child because then when they would find out it makes you look like a liar or like it's something t be ashamed of. I think that adoption is something that shouldn't bemade a big deal of.
With my experience. I am a birthmother and we have a very open adoption. I left the telling when, how, why, etc, up to them when they felt the time was right and she can come to me to fill in the gaps that she wants to know. Well, through the whole thing "J" has always known she was adopted. I may be the birthmother but she considers me like an aunt, but if you ask her where she came from she will point to me and say "from her". I believe that it does help to tell them young and let them be open to ask the parents the questions when they are ready! It'll help with the "Well, you're not my real parents!"
Many don't have that option of an adoption being open but the child does have the right to know. I guess it's in the judgement of the parents and the situation.
The sooner the better. The Truth hurts for only a very short times. Where lies and deception hurt for much longer...
Right from the start. Of course if adopted as a baby you would need to wait until they are maybe around 3 years old. There is no need to hide it. Just be honest and be straight out. Then no one gets hurt. Child knows right from the start. I do not think it makes you love the child any less or the child love you any less. Secrecy is bad!
by colp 10 years ago
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