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Talking to your child about adoption

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  • Date published:

  • Author: alexmantle

Adoptive parents may worry about when to tell their child that they are adopted, especially if they are concerned about their child learning from other people.

It’s important to note that when this conversation happens, it should make your child feel very positive, accepted and loved by you and your family.

Here are some tips:

  • Stay positive about the reasons your child came to live with you instead of staying with their birth parents, help them to accept this as part of their identity and be proud of who they are.
  • Keep the details simple enough so that your child can understand, you might find it useful to use children’s books or illustrations about adoption to help explain.
  • Stress that just because they are adopted, this doesn’t mean they are loved any less than a child raised by their birth parents.
  • Reassure them that they are special to you, and mention how excited you were when they first arrived.
  • Be sensitive and patient if your child wants to ask questions, or if they become upset or confused by the news. Each child will react differently, but some may be calm when you tell them and react later on. It might help to think about some of the questions your child may ask in advance of telling them, so that you can prepare for this.
  • Remember to tell your child the truth but keep in mind that, depending on their age, some information may be hurtful to hear – try to hold this back.

If you’re finding it difficult talking to your child about adoption, you’re not alone, but try not to show this. Your child might pick up on this and see their adoption as a negative thing. For support for adoptive parents, you can visit AdoptionUK.

Useful links – How to tell your child they are adopted