Yesterday my six year old daughter came to me and asked me what the word ”adopted” meant. I was not surprised since I have worked in the adoption field as a social worker for the past eight years and the word adoption is frequently used in our home. When she came to me with this I asked her where she had heard that word before. I was curious if she had heard it from me, from television or where. Since adoption is a huge topic in the media with all of the celebrities that have adopted in the past several years along with the sitcoms that have had adoptions in them such as the very popular Friends and now the well-liked Modern Family, it is a term that more and more people as well as children are hearing. I explained to my daughter what it meant to be adopted and why children are adopted. After making sure she understood and having her explain it back to me I asked her if she had any questions. I was surprised when she asked, “Am I Adopted?” I just assumed that she knew she was my biological child but I realized at that point that it does not matter if your child is adopted or not, all parents should teach their children about adoption and talk with them openly about it.
Because of the media and all of the new technology with social networking, adoption is becoming a very popular and widely used word. If your child is adopted then it is extremely important to talk with your child about adoption from a very early age and to be honest with them about their adoption process. Creating a Lifebook and reading children’s books to them about adoption is a couple of great ways to share the adoption experience with your child. Be sure to be optimistic about the adoption journey and to talk about adoption in a positive light. Not sharing with your child the fact that they are adopted can be detrimental in the future to your relationship when your child finds out. It is helpful to continue discussing the adoption experience with your child during the many stages of their life and answer their questions openly and to the best of your ability about their biological family and why you chose to adopt them.
Even if you child is not adopted, it is important to talk with your biological child about what being adopted means. There are many different kinds of adoption and sharing this with your child and explaining the meaning of adoption to them means that you can be assured that when your child is faced with this in the future at school, with friends, or in their social clubs that they will not be judgmental or uncaring. That your child will understand what it means to be adopted and will be supportive and considerate.
The process of adoption has changed greatly over the years and acceptance of this method is making adoption appear in the headlines, news and in story lines including children’s shows and movies. Discussing the topic of adoption with your child upfront will give them the understanding that they need to know that being adopted or adopting a child is a wonderful and loving way of creating a family. It may be a different way of doing it but the outcome is the same.
There are many different books and articles with great tips about talking to your child about adoption. Family to Family is available to provide our information and expertise on this matter if you would like. Please contact us and we will be happy to talk with you about this. We also would love to hear from you some great ways that you have talked with your about adoption that we could pass on to others.