Posted by: icmadoptionnetwork | March 22, 2013

What Do We Tell People??

On our way home from Taiwan last week, Steve and I had a discussion regarding our son’s story in terms of conception, birth, and adoption. As in most adoption cases, there are some things that are extremely private and personal, and also difficult to talk about. So there were two questions we were considering:

How much do we tell family and friends?

What and when do we tell our son?

Those are two difficult questions that every adoptive parent needs to think, discuss, and pray about.

When it comes to discussing your child’s story with friends, family, acquaintances, and strangers, there is one important fact to keep in mind. The story is not yours to tell… it is your child’s story. Does this mean that you cannot share their information with people?? No, you will want your friends and family to know about your child, and they will want to know about him or her. But when it comes to sensitive subjects (abandonment, criminal behavior, rape, drug or alcohol abuse, physical abuse or neglect, mental or physical illness), it is important to keep in mind that if your child might not want people knowing these facts about them or their biological parents. It is always important to protect your child and their story.

The other sensitive question is what do you tell your child about their past or their biological family? This is mainly particular to the sensitive subjects mentioned above (abandonment, criminal behavior, rape, drug or alcohol abuse, physical abuse or neglect, mental or physical illness). There are a couple of factors to keep in mind.

  • Honesty is always the best policy. You do not want to lie to your child. Many times the only truth they will ever know about their history is the truth that you tell them. In order for your child to establish a healthy self-image, they will need a full understanding of who they are.
  • Now the really important thing is deciding when to tell your child. There are some sensitive subjects, such as rape, that would be best discussed with the child when they are an older teenager. Be sure to speak with your child on their age and maturity level.
  • It is important to always speak of your child’s biological family with the utmost respect and love. In essence, a large part of your child is who his birthparents were. If you make them out to be “bad” people, the child might then feel that he is a “bad” child.
  • Help your child understand. Children oftentimes don’t want to hear the factual details. Many times they want to hear the whys of the matter. For instance, if your child was abandoned, he doesn’t really want to know the details of their abandonment; he wants to know why. He wants to know what his mother was feeling and experiencing.
  • Always affirm your child and his biological parents to the best of your ability. In every story, bring out your child’s good qualities and never lose sight of their beauty. Also always relate to your child beautiful aspects of his birth parent. For instance be sure to talk about how your child’s mother must have loved them very much to make the decision to let you raise him.
  • Make your home an open conversation environment. Your child will most likely not feel comfortable coming to you to discuss issues regarding their history or their biological parents. Be the conversation starter. Whenever the subject of birthparents arises, do your best to not become defensive. Encourage the conversation and know that it is completely normal for a child to have these questions and desire to know more about their biological family and in turn themselves.

The most important fact is to spend time in prayer for your child and also with your child. God will give you the perfect words to say to help your child understand him/herself better.



  1. Our so was born with congenital syphalsis. This required weekly blood draws for the first two months of his life with us. His medical records and friends questions and concerns brought my decision to the forefront . I told friends but ask for their help to give me time with Taylor untrue could take in this info about his birth parents…..needless to say 6-7th grade was interesting. It was worth the talk and waiting for his maturity and health education.

    Sometimes talking to your child about such personal issues is the hardest talk in the world. But knowledge is power no matter how uncomfortable mom and dad are.

    • Geeze spelled syphllis wrong sorry

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