Our society gets plenty wrong about birth mothers. We could spend thousands of words listing it all out, but that wouldn’t help anyone. Instead, let’s focus on one big, important misunderstanding: that women who place children for adoption don’t want to be mothers.
This can go two ways. You may already have children and then create an adoption plan. Or, you could create an adoption plan and go on to have children several years later. This is not only normal; it’s true for the majority of birth mothers. But that’s not common knowledge in our culture.
That’s a problem, in part, because it creates a lack of resources. No one is providing the help you need if no one understands that position you are in. This leaves many women searching for answers to hard questions. Chief among them: how do I talk to my kids about my adoption?
Explaining your adoption plan to your other children can be hard. It’s emotionally sensitive; plus, depending on their age, it might be difficult for them to even understand the concept of adoption. That’s why we decided to create this short guide.
We want to help you navigate this delicate conversation with your children. Every family and relationship is unique, so you’re going to have to fill in the gaps with your own personal choices. With that being said, here are five things to keep in mind when you are talking to your children about your adoption:
Kids Don’t Need to Understand Everything
Age-appropriate learning is real. Some women become flustered trying to help their children grasp the adoption process. But the process is confusing! Most adults don’t fully understand it — so there’s a good chance your 5-year-old child won’t quite get it. And that’s okay.
The important points for a young child to understand are that adoption was hard, but that it was also important. It created a better opportunity for yourself and the baby. Ultimately, your child needs to understand that they are loved. If your child feels loved and secure during this conversation, they will begin to understand that the same love was present when you chose adoption.
It Will Take More Than One Conversation
The back-and-forth with your children about the baby you placed for adoption will likely unfold over many years. Don’t try to cram the whole story into one conversation. As your kids grow, they’ll have new questions. They’ll begin to understand things about themselves, the world and family. As they do, they’ll understand adoption better and want to know more about your choice. Embrace this long-running discussion, if you can.
The Sibling Connection Can Still Exist
“So, does that mean I have a brother?”
Kids are smart. They’re going to connect the dots. If you had a baby, that means they do have a sibling. Even though adoption has created separation, the sibling connection still exists. It’s okay to explain this rather than attempting to deny it.
You could say, for example, that they do have a sibling, even though that sibling has a different mommy and daddy who love them very much. This helps you child understand that there is a connection and reinforces that everyone is safe and loved.
Be Proud of the Brave Choice You Made
Children are often more intuitive than we give them credit for. They’ll pick up on what you’re feeling as you display it through tone, word choice and body language. If you approach adoption carrying a sense of guilt or shame, they’re probably going to sense that. And when they do pick up on any fear or negativity, that changes the whole tone of the discussion.
Every birth mother has a unique healing process after adoption. Some take a long time. If you’re not in a place yet, mentally and emotionally, where adoption is a positive part of your story, then that’s okay. You may want to wait to have this conversation with your children.
If you can speak of adoption with confidence, explaining how it is a choice that created a better life for yourself and the baby, that positivity will be soaked up by your kids.
Get in Touch with a Specialist
You don’t have to come up with all the answers on your own. There are plenty of helpful resources out there, and the best may be talking with an adoption specialist. We can help with this.
Contact us any time if you are considering adoption for your baby or have adoption-related questions.