Adoption is an incredibly beautiful and brave life-long commitment that changes and saves the lives of children every single day. To be adopted means to be loved on such an incredible level!
Being a parent comes with its own set of challenges, but for parents who have adopted their children, it can be a little tricky when it comes to deciding when to speak with their children about how they came to be a family. For parents who adopt children as infants, it’s advised that they should introduce storybooks on adoption early on and can start to talk about it around three years old. Though it can take a while for them to fully comprehend it all, it’s recommended to slowly introduce it to them and over time they will better understand it.
Though it may seem like a difficult subject to breach, being honest with them will actually help build a greater bond of trust and love between you. Kids are smart so being truthful with them from the start will also save them from feeling suspicious or seeking out unanswered questions.
There are different ways to approach the subject, and one way is to talk to your child about your first day together as a family. Tell them how you felt, who was there, and what it was like when you held them for the first time. Those moments are magical! You can also explain to them all the diverse ways that families come together through births, marriage, fostering, and adoptions.
In time, you both might be confronted with questions that are difficult for your child to answer, like if someone remarks on a lack of family resemblance. This is when being honest and open about their adoption journey is helpful.
Depending on the circumstances of your adoption, you may want to encourage questions. For example, if you have an open adoption, you may want to consider having a photo of your child’s birth mother. If they were born abroad, you could highlight their birthplace with a photo or map of their country of origin. Celebrating their journey to you can be an enriching and gratifying experience for you both, and one of which you can be all be proud.
Patience is the key to communication and a successful relationship with your kids. Allowing your child time to adjust to the understanding that they were adopted and keeping the lines of communication open will show them how you understand and respect their feelings. Though you might secretly fear that they would prefer their birth parents over you, being a parent is far more than just giving birth – don’t discount your relationship and all the time you have devoted to your child. During this time, do your best to listen to what they have to say, consider their feelings, and don’t jump to conclusions. In the end, you may find that you are closer than you ever were before.