Placing a child up for adoption is a brave, selfless decision. It’s one made of unconditional love that should never be taken for granted.
We know that you’ve put so much thought and care into this decision. That’s why it’s normal to wonder how your child will grow up hearing about you and your adoption story. You probably have questions about when, how, and what the adoptive family will tell your child about his or her adoption. Will your child always know that he or she was adopted? What will your child know about you? How will the adoptive parents share your child’s adoption story?
In most modern adoptions, adoptees know exactly where they came from. Diana, an adoptee, grew up knowing about her adoption from the very beginning.
“There was never a time when I didn’t know that I was adopted. My older brother was also adopted through an open adoption, so I remember assuming that this was the norm. Like most very young kids, I didn’t fully understand what [adoption] meant, but I do remember I was about 4 when I grasped that other children came from their mom’s tummies and that my brother and I did not.”
Below, we’ll talk more about how adoptive parents talk to their child about their adoption. But if you’re looking for more information right away, you can always fill out our online form to speak to an adoption agency.
When Will the Adoptive Parents Tell My Child About their Adoption?
It is highly recommended that children know about their adoption from a young age. And, in most adoptive homes, it is something to be celebrated and discussed regularly. When choosing an adoption agency, you should find one that encourages and emphasizes the benefits of openness in adoption. The best adoption agencies are made up of birth parents, adoptees and adoptive parents. And because of the personal experience, they know just how important it is for the adoptive parents to be open and honest with adoptees.
As you can probably imagine, trying to keep the child’s adoption story a secret is a recipe for disaster. Adoptees who find out about where they came from later in life must deal with the emotional consequences of a lifelong deception. They can even struggle with their self-confidence and identity as they get older. And when it comes time to possibly meet their birth parents and learn more about their history, it can be incredibly difficult to know where to start.
That’s why today, many adopted children are raised knowing that they were adopted and that their birth parents chose adoption out of love. Many of them, like Diana, grew up knowing that adoption was never a secret in their home:
“My parents told our adoption stories from the time my brother and I were infants, so it was a normalized and positive thing. They talked about our birth parents with love. All of our family members welcomed everything about adoption, and therefore us. Not only is my family full of awesome people — they’re also incredible examples of openness in adoption, and they inadvertently led a revolution when they were just trying to have a family.”
How Will the Adoptive Parents Tell My Child About their Adoption?
After you place your child for adoption, it will be up to the adoptive parents to introduce the topic of adoption to the child as he or she grows. Many of them start with children’s books that talk about adoption and others create scrapbooks to help the conversation as their child grows up. However, you are in control of your adoption plan, and you can choose a family that will provide the best life for your child and share the information you want him or her to have about their adoption story.
The amount and type of adoption information that is shared with your child will be up to you and the adoptive parents to decide. You can work with your adoption professional to discuss this topic with the adoptive family prior to placement. Here are a few additional ways to make sure your child knows what you want them to know about their adoption:
- Share your wishes with the adoptive family prior to the adoption. As you are getting to know prospective adoptive parents, ask them how they plan to talk about adoption in their home. Consider asking them when and how they plan to introduce the topic of adoption and what details they will share with your child. You can request that they share as much or as little information about you and your circumstances as you’d like.
- Determine the type and frequency of post-placement contact you’d like to have with your child and the adoptive family. Today’s adoptions are increasingly open, and it is up to you to decide how much or how little contact you’d like to have after the adoption. You have the option to receive pictures and letters with updates about your child as he or she grows. You may even develop a close relationship with the adoptive family that allows for more frequent phone calls, emails or visits. If you choose to pursue an open adoption, you can play a role in telling your child his or her adoption story someday.
- Give your child a gift, letter or another symbol of your love for them. Many birth parents complete a keepsake book for the adoptive parents to share with the child. This could include photos, letters, drawings, important family history and medical information, and anything else you’d like your child to know about you as they get older. Giving a keepsake book or letter to your baby gives you the opportunity to share your reasons for choosing adoption. And it allows you to tell them, in your own words, how much you care about them.
Your child’s adoptive parents will likely be very grateful to you for making their dream of parenthood a reality. By choosing adoption, you are giving them and your child an incredibly loving and selfless gift. That is something irreplaceable they will likely be eager to share with your child. But even with these additional tips, don’t forget that you always have the option of being part of your child’s life. You can be there to remind them in your own words of how loved they are throughout their entire life, whenever you want to.
If you’re looking for more information on how the adoptive parents will talk about adoption with your child, you can always fill out our online form to get in touch with a specialist.