Posted by: icmadoptionnetwork | February 21, 2013

Explaining Adoption to a Child

A question that we are often asked is “When should parents tell a child that he/she is adopted?” For those of you who have asked, you have probably heard our response go something like this: “If your child is old enough to remember being told, to have a concrete memory of the moment that they were told they were adopted, then you probably waited too long.”  The idea behind this is that adoptive parents should strive to incorporate their child’s adoption story into their lives, so that it can become a healthy aspect of their self-identity. This will protect the child from having a negative memory of the moment they discovered that they were adopted.

The follow up question to this answer typically sounds something along the lines of… “How do we realistically do that?” The answer is that it is not as difficult as you would think. The first is by telling your child’s story to them. Some adoptive parents make an actual storybook or scrapbook of their adoption process, so that they are able to share this story with their children through the years. Another way to help do this is by each year celebrating Gotcha Day (discussed on January 16th blog post).

Another great way to help your child understand adoption is by reading them children’s books when they are young. This also is very useful in explaining adoption to the child’s siblings, cousins, and friends. Here are some of the best books for children that discuss the subject of adoption:

  • “A Blessing from Above” by Patti Henderson.
  • “God Found Us You” by Lisa Tawn Bergen
  • “Tell Me Again About The Night I Was Born” by Jamie Lee Curtis
  • “Over the Moon: An Adoption Tale” by Karen Katz

When you are struggling to find the right words to explain or discuss adoption, then grab one of these books that are specifically written by professionals to help children understand adoption.

Remember, adoption is a positive aspect of your child’s identity, but not the all-encompassing total of who they are. Our complete identity can only be found in our Heavenly Father and His ultimate plan for our lives! Help your child to have a healthy view of adoption and develop a positive understanding of adoption.

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