When do we tell our child he’s adopted?
A question I get asked a lot when I’m working with adoptive parents is “When do we tell?” When is the appropriate time to tell your child he was adopted? When is your child old enough to understand what “adoption” means? How have you told your child she was adopted?
When should you tell? My answer to that, unwaveringly 100% of the time, is IMMEDIATELY.
Start talking about adoption to your newborn. When you hold her close as she dozes off after a bottle, talk to her about the day she was born. Tell him about the woman who gave birth to him. Talk about your feelings. Your love. Your anguish.
WHY? Your newborn doesn’t understand what you are saying about adoption, right? So why? Can’t you wait until later?
No. Talk about it NOW. Talking about adoption to your newborn is more for you than for your baby. Talking about difficult topics to a human who doesn’t understand is good practice for when she DOES understand and asks you the tough questions like “Why did my mommy give me away?” Talk about it now so that when your child is older, you’ll feel comfortable answering those questions and that lump in your throat will be a little bit smaller. Talk about it now because putting your thoughts and feelings into words is part of the healing process.
Talk about it now because honoring your child’s other family is the right thing to do. It teaches your child that adoption isn’t a secret. Secrets are inherently bad. Dirty. Adoption isn’t a secret.
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