Deciding on whether to tell your child they are adopted can cause stress and anxiety on your part. Experts all agree that your adopted child has the right to know the truth about their birth and this should come from you. Based on data, 97% of adopted children over the age of five know about their adoption.
You know that the moment your child knows their history, something will change. This is a revelation that defines who they are. This is not just any other information but this is the missing piece about their existence.
Why is it important to tell your adopted child the truth?
1. Your adopted children will learn it from other people.
No matter how difficult and heartbreaking it is for you, you need to gather your strength and lay down the truth to them. This could be the most important information about their life and it is always best that you will be the person to tell them. The older they get, the more people they meet and one of these people may accidentally slip this truth.
2. You are empowering them.
This is not be obvious to many adoptive parents but telling them gives them the power to really know their real selves. This gives them an opportunity to decide on what is best for them. Whether they want to know their birth parents or not, they have this chance to make choices that will define their future. Along with your guidance, you are instilling in them how to face life and its challenges.
3. Your adopted children will know their history and background.
One important reason to tell your adopted child the truth about their birth is to partially know their history. This could mean that you and your family will have an idea on the kind of people the birth parents are, their medical and family history.
What should you do?
There are no easy ways to tell your adopted child the truth. When you decide to adopt, you have also considered how to tell them. There is no point in delaying because they deserve to know as early as possible from you.
1. Let them hear the word ‘adoption’ often.
If you have not told them the truth yet, do not ban this word in the family. Introduce this even when they are a baby. Let the conversation about adoption grow along with the child. “Dad and I are so happy that we adopt you” is an example of letting the concept of adoption waves its way to the family.
2. Remind them that adoption is good.
Adopted children should see that adoption is a good thing. There are adopted children who have positive feelings about their adoption because they feel the love and care of their adoptive parents. Adoption is not about giving kids to people but it is all about the feeling of completeness to those people who are longing to have children.
3. Do not criticize their birth parents.
Your child will ask you questions on why their birth parents give them up and you have to tell them the truth. However, do not ever criticize their birth parents. Do not describe them as bad people or irresponsible parents because this will just hurt your child.
4. Let them ask questions.
It is normal if your adopted child asks many questions about their birth, their biological parents and about your reasons for adopting them. Answer and explain to them in a way that could be easily understood at their age. Save those complications once they are old enough to understand but do not ever dismiss their questions.
5. Be mindful of their reactions and feelings.
Not all adopted children will feel happy and excited about their adoption story. They do not like the idea of being adopted. Children’s ways of accepting the truth varies and whatever it is, you need to stand by their side. They need to be assured that there are people who love and accept them.
Where to ask for emotional guidance and support?
You can find so many groups and forums that discuss adoption online. You can also inquire within your community for easy access and convenience. You need to know other people who choose to adopt and how they successfully deal with it.
You can also seek assistance from licensed therapists and psychologists on how to talk to your child about their adoption. Placing their emotions and behavior on top is important. You have to ensure that they will still feel safe and comfortable after knowing the truth.
Mindshift Psychological Services will guide you to the right path as you open up the truth to your child. They make sure that you are mentally and emotionally ready to discuss sensitive facts about your child’s life.
Know more about their services on their website and contact them at (714) 584-9700 to schedule an appointment. What is hard for parents is not knowing that there may be psychological issues that could possibly affect the child after learning the truth. That is why this must be considered beforehand.