Adoption Information from Adoptive Families Magazine: Domestic, International, Foster and Embryo Adoption Resources

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Read Our Expert Answers to the Questions Below

Jump to a specific category:

School | Talking to children | Difficult information | Contacting/writing to birthparents | Birthparents | Birth family
Open adoption | Foster adoption | Older child adoption | Attachment | Institutionalized children | Disruption
Extended family | Trans-, multi-, and biracial children and families | Medical advice | Age/development | Legal questions | Talking to Others | International Adoption


School

Q: My children (4 and 6) have been asking a lot of questions about babies recently. Can you suggest any resources to use or guidelines to follow when talking to adopted children about sex?

Q: Recently my son has begun telling classmates about his adoption, but asking them to keep it a secret. Should I be worried?

Q: How can I purge my son's school records of personal information and ensure him some privacy?

Q: What can we do about a tricky assignment in my son's middle-school health class?

Q: How can I approach giving an adoption talk in the classroom–both with the school and with my daughter?

Q: How do we discipline our four-year-old son who is acting up at day care, but is behaving fairly well at home?


Talking to children

Q: Why is my four-year-old daughter suddenly feeling bad about being Chinese?

Q: How can I prepare my adopted child for the birth of a sibling?

Q: When should we share information with our daughter about her birthmother?

Q: How do we prepare our three-year-old son for the arrival of a new baby sister?

Q: How should we respond when our daughter makes negative comments about adoption and our family?

Q: What should we tell our two-year-old as we begin a second domestic adoption process?

Q: What should I do when the truthful answers to my child's adoption questions aren't developmentally appropriate?

Q:How should we respond to questions about our blended family?

Q:How do we begin to address the questions our five-year-old son is starting to have about his adoption?

Q:Should I tell my adoptive child that I'm actually his biological grandmother?

Q: How should we share difficult birthparent information with a 6-year-old?

Q: We were told our daughter was conceived by rape. Our daughter is six now. When and how should we have this conversation?

Q: I don't want to attribute every element of my son's development to adoption, but how else could I view his vague questions?

Q: Should we tell our 9-year-old son (who's never asked) about his birthfather's death? How would we do this?

Q: What should we tell our two-year-old as we begin a second domestic adoption process?

Q: How do I explain to my 6-year-old that he has a biological sibling who I placed for adoption before he was born?

Q: My husband and I have a friendly relationship with our daughter's birthmother, but our daughter doesn't know how they are related. How do we introduce the concept of birthparents? see the full question and answer

Q: How do I answer my 3-year-old son's questions about the newborn we cared for via a legal-risk placement that did not work out?

Q: How can I approach giving an adoption talk in the classroom–both with the school and with my daughter? see the full question and answer

Q: How do I answer my daughter's questions about orphanages and why no one in her birth country adopted her?

Difficult information

Q: We were told that our child was conceived via rape. When and how do we share the difficult details with him?

Q: When should I share with my daughter the details of her birthmother's death?

Q: How can I tell my spouse and family about a child I placed for adoption years ago?

Q: Is out 10-year-old daughter old enough to know about or meet her birth siblings?

Q:Should I tell my adoptive child that I'm actually his biological grandmother?

Q: How and when can I explain what adoption means to a child who was adopted from a relative?

Q: How should we share difficult birthparent information with a 6-year-old?

Q: Should we tell our 9-year-old son (who's never asked) about his birthfather's death? How would we do this?

Q: How should we tell our son that his birth family requested a closed adoption?


Contacting/writing to birthparents

Q: My friend is looking to adopt, and has asked for my help in contacting potential birthmothers. How do I write a "Dear Birthmother" letter?

Q: Do you think it's a good idea to let my 12-year-old contact her birthmother?

Q: What can we say in a letter to our son's birthfather, who has decided to oppose the adoption?

Q: What do birthparents want to know in the letters I write?


Birthparents

Q: Am I overreacting in being upset that my daughter's birthmother signed her Christmas card "Mommy"?

Q: Is it true that using the term birthmother will confuse our child, as our social worker claims?

Q: My 5-year-old has been asking a lot about her birthfather recently (I assume it's because I'm a single mom), but I only have information about her birthmother. What should I tell my daughter?

Q: Are we being unfair in feeling uncomfortable with our son's birthmother making constant comparisons between her appearance and his own?

Q: How should we share difficult birthparent information with a 6-year-old?

Q: Do you think it's a good idea to let my 12-year-old contact her birthmother?

Q: Should we tell our 9-year-old son (who's never asked) about his birthfather's death? How would we do this?

Q: How do I explain to my 6-year-old that he has a biological sibling who I placed for adoption before he was born?

Q: My husband and I have a friendly relationship with our daughter's birthmother, but our daughter doesn't know how they are related. How do we introduce the concept of birthparents?

Q: What do birthparents want to know in the letters I write?

Q: How do I handle my child's birthmother's requests for financial support?


Birth family

Q: How can we explain our son's birth sibling in another family?

Q: I plan to adopt my fiancee's step-daughter after the wedding. Recently, birth relatives have asked for an ongoing relationship...

Q: Is our 10-year-old daughter old enough to know about or meet her birth siblings?

Q: What should I do when the truthful answers to my child's adoption questions aren't developmentally appropriate?

Q: My birth son contacted me earlier this year, and my wife (not his birthmother) and I have enjoyed getting to know him. He'd like us to come to his wedding, but I haven't yet told our 9-year-old son and I'm not sure how.

Q: Our 11-year-old daughter is the only child in our family, but her birthfather has two children that he's raising. Should we tell her about her siblings now or let her meet them?

Q: Our son has two biological brothers, but we're afraid that they may become bad influences due to their unstable home life. Should we let him see his biological siblings?

Q: How do I explain to my 6-year-old that he has a biological sibling who I placed for adoption before he was born?

Q: Our child's birth grandmother wants ongoing contact even though our child's birthparents don't have contact-what should we do?

Open adoption

Q: How can we increase contact with our child's birthfather?

Q: Our 11-year-old daughter is the only child in our family, but her birthfather has two children that he's raising. Should we tell her about her siblings now or let her meet them?

Q: My husband and I have a friendly relationship with our daughter's birthmother, but our daughter doesn't know how they are related. How do we introduce the concept of birthparents?

Q: As an adult adoptee, I'm concerned about hereditary health problems.


Foster adoption

Q: How can I purge my son's school records of personal information and ensure him some privacy?

Q: Our son has two biological brothers, but we're afraid that they may become bad influences due to their unstable home life. Should we let him see his biological siblings?

Q: How do we calm and comfort our 4-year-old daughter, whom we recently adopted from foster care?


Older child adoption

Q: My daughter is having trouble adjusting to our new son, who came home a few months ago. What can we do to remove sibling rivalry?

Q: We feel our recently adopted son might be happier in a family with fewer children. Should we consider disruption?

Q: Are our daughter's sleep problems due to adoption?

Q: When can we enroll our recently adopted toddler in daycare?

Q: What can I do about my older child's temper tantrums? Why is she so angry?

Q: How can we make peace with our extended families after a disrupted adoption?

Q: How do we calm and comfort our 4-year-old daughter, whom we recently adopted from foster care?

Q: How should we respond when our recently adopted 7-year-old daughter shows inappropriate affection to family members or friends?


Attachment

Q: My daughter has begun asking me "Are you my mommy?" when we're in public. Is this a form of separation anxiety?

Q: Our daughter has been sleeping in our bed since we adopted her three years ago. How do we get her to sleep on her own?

Q: My 20-month-old daughter (adopted 10 months ago) seems more attached to our babysitter than to me.

Q: Are our daughter's sleep problems due to adoption?

Q: When can we enroll our recently adopted toddler in daycare?

Q: My 3-year-old appears to have a higher level of seperation anxiety than most children her age. What can I do about this?

Q: What can I do about my older child's temper tantrums? Why is she so angry?

Q: How do we calm and comfort our 4-year-old daughter, whom we recently adopted from foster care?

Q: Should we let our newly adopted daughter cry herself to sleep, or should we respond to her every cry?

Q: How should we respond when our recently adopted 7-year-old daughter shows inappropriate affection to family members or friends?


Institutionalized children

Q: We feel our recently adopted son might be happier in a family with fewer children. Should we consider disruption?

Q: How should we handle our internationally adopted toddlers' erratic eating habits?

Q: What can I do about my older child's temper tantrums? Why is she so angry?

Q: Our three-year-old has generally adjusted well since we adopted her two years ago, but she sleeps through the night only about 50 percent of the time.


Disruption

Q: We feel our recently adopted son might be happier in a family with fewer children. Should we consider disruption?

Q: How can we make peace with our extended families after a disrupted adoption?

Q: Our 5-year-old son (also adopted) was very excited for the arrival of a newborn sister, but we recently found out that the birthmother changed her mind and has decided to keep the baby. How can we break the news to our son?


Extended family

Q: I'd like to blog to document our adoption process, and keep our far-flung family up-to-date, but I'm not tech savvy.

Q: How can I tell my spouse and family about a child I placed for adoption years ago?

Q: How do we explain to our families that we'd like a few days alone with our newborn before they meet him?

Q: How can I tell my spouse and family about a child I placed for adoption years ago?

Q: Should I tell my adoptive child that I'm actually his biological grandmother?

Q: Should I be concerned about not being in touch with my extended family during my homestudy?

Q: How can we make peace with our extended families after a disrupted adoption?

Q: How should we respond when our recently adopted 7-year-old daughter shows inappropriate affection to family members or friends?

Q: My husband is getting anxious about becoming a father. Is there anything I can say or do to ease his worry?


Trans-, multi-, and biracial children and families

Q: Our domestically adopted daughter's birth certificate says she is Caucasian, but she has beautiful brown skin. How can we talk with her about her ethnicity or perhaps investigate her heritage?

Q: Why has our African-American daughter been focusing on beauty and asking whether she is pretty?

Q: Can you recommend books about anti-Asian racism?

Q: Would moving to a more diverse neighborhood help our non-white children?

Q: What are the best ways to help kids who feel "different"?

Q: Should we bring any documents besides passports and copies of our birth certificates when we travel out of the country this summer?

Q: How should we respond to questions about our blended family?

Q: Can you recommend resources for families with children of biracial heritage?

Q: Can you recommend resources specifically for biracial children? Also, should I be concerned about overemphasizing race?

Q: How do we respond to comments that focus on our children's beauty, as opposed to their less-obvious positive traits?

Q: How can I approach giving an adoption talk in the classroom–both with the school and with my daughter?

Q: How should my three-year-old daughter answer questions about her race?

Q: My adopted daughter seemed surprised and remarked that she's "the only one with brown skin" after my biological child was born-what should I have done to prepare her for her sibling's arrival?

Medical advice

Q: How quickly should we proceed with our child's immunizations?

Q: Melatonin helped my daughter, who has struggled with sleep for years, but her doctor scolded me for "drugging" her. What should we do?

Q: What's the proper sleep setup for a newborn? What should we bring when we're traveling?

Q: Should adoptive parents feed breast milk to infants?

Q: How should we handle our internationally adopted toddlers' erratic eating habits?

Q: What can we do when our insurance company denies payments for our adopted child?

Q: Are our daughter's sleep problems due to adoption?

Q: Where can I learn more about or child's possible prenatal exposure to drugs?

Q: What can we do if our son's special needs subsidy payments are reduced by the state?

Q: We just learned that our daughter is older than we were told. Should we tell her and should we have her birth certificate changed?

Q: Is there a certification process for physicians who specialize in international adoption?

Q: Should we let our newly adopted daughter cry herself to sleep, or should we respond to her every cry?

Q: Our three-year-old has generally adjusted well since we adopted her two years ago, but she sleeps through the night only about 50 percent of the time.

Q: As an adult adoptee, I'm concerned about hereditary health problems

Q: Should we be worried that our two-year-old has suddenly developed all sorts of fears?

Q: How should we deal with our son's night terrors?

Age/development

Q: How can I alleviate my daughter's anxiety when she has to wait?

Q: Our two-year-old had never been around men before she joined our family and wants nothing to do with my husband. How do we handle her strong aversion to attaching to dad?

Q: Our child has cerebral palsy and is several years behind his age on a cognitive level. How much do we tell him about his adoption story?

Q: How do we ease the adjustment for an 11-year-old we've adopted from another country?

Q: Is our 10-year-old daughter old enough to know about or meet her birth siblings?

Q: We just learned that our daughter is older than we were told. Should we tell her and should we have her birth certificate changed?


Legal questions

Q: What are our options for traveling internationally with our child soon after her adoption is finalized?

Q: Do we have to use a lawyer to change our child's name?

Q: How do we file taxes, when our child won't have a social security number until after the adoption is finalized?

Q: I've been trying to adopt the child I've been foster parenting for three years, but her birthparent never shows up in court.

Q: A little girl I know just lost both of her parents. How do I adopt an acquaintance?

Q: Is a disability a barrier to adoption for singles?

Q: What can we do when our insurance company denies payments for our adopted child?

Q: How can I convince my employer to file their adoption reimbursement plan?

Q: Is there any law that allows adoptive mothers to take sick days from work after adopting?

Q: Is there an adoption watchdog organization?

Q: Why can't one adoption attorney represent both us and the birthparents?

Q: We were the victims of adoption fraud. What can we do?

Q: I can't find my daughters' alien registration cards or other Russian adoption papers. What's their citizenship status?

Q: My company is giving me a hard time about taking adoption leave.

Q: Could chronic depression (for which I take medication) affect my chances of adopting?

Q: Are homestudies transferable from one adoption agency to another?

Q: We had a disappointing first experience with our adoption agency. Should we switch to another?

Talking to Others

Q:How can I preserve our privacy and at the same time show my child that adoption is not secret in response to intrusive questions?

Q:My husband and I became parents via adoption after a long struggle with infertility. When my best friend recently had a baby, I was surprised to feel sad and jealous. How can I get over this?

Q:A co-worker made a 'lighthearted' comment about adoption that I found hurtful. Do I respond or let it go?

Q: Our twins are biracial, and one is lighter-skinned than the other. How do we respond when people comment on how different they look?

Q: How should we respond to questions about our blended family?

Q: What can I say to people who tell others about our adoption?

Q: My company is giving me a hard time about taking adoption leave.

Q: Our adopted son happens to look more like my wife, which friends comment on all of the time- how do I respond?

International Adoption

Q: Where can I learn about adopting from Tonga?



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