Growing Up Adopted - Parenting Through Developmental Ages & Stages


As children grow, their behavior and understanding of adoption changes. Below, find parenting advice for different developmental ages and stages.

A boy walks outside and thinks about adoption issues in adolescence.

Talking with Your Teen

Talking with Your Teen

Stumped by your teen's silences and questions? Here's how to tackle them.

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An adoptive mother hugs her preteen daughter after a good talk about adoption

What Do Preteens Think About Adoption?

Before the moody teen years, pre-adolescence can present its own challenges for parents. How should you respond to tweens’ questions about adoption or initiate conversation with a preteen who doesn’t seem eager to talk?

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An adopted teen looks into the distance

Your Job as Consultant and Coach

By talking through possible actions and consequences, you can help your child develop decision-making and long-range thinking skills.

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father's hand placing missing piece in wooden heart tangram puzzle, representing healing after older child adoption

“One of the Missing Pieces”

When older children argue and act out, it’s often connected to events from their past. How could any child move through 14 foster placements unscathed? But last night, another clash, followed by a heart-to-heart, brought us one piece closer to feeling like a solid family.

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A teen adoptee graduates from high school before going to college

3 Tasks for College-Bound Adoptees

"Going to college provides the time and distance for young adult adoptees to experiment with and sort out their own interests and self-expectations."

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Explaining Adoption to Classmates and Teachers

Share Your Story: Adoption & School

We asked our readers: How did you decide whether to introduce the topic of adoption at your child's school? What actions did you take, if any, to start explaining adoption to classmates or teachers? What advice do you have for other parents about how to best interact with your child's teachers?

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Cover of The Safe Baby

Book Review: The Safe Baby

The Safe Baby is an easy-to-follow resource that will give busy parents — adoptive or otherwise — peace of mind.

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Adoption Experts answer your questions.

Ask AF: Just Found Out That My Child Is Friends with His Birth Mother on Facebook

“I recently found out that my teen is friends with his birth mother on Facebook. I feel badly that I found this out by ‘snooping,’ but I am also shocked and upset that she didn’t try to contact us or the adoption agency first. What should we do?”

A mom answers the daddy question after single parent adoption

How to Talk About “Dad” in Single Mother Families

Single-parent homes are more common now, but kids still grapple with the daddy question.

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A preteen looks in the mirror as she wrestles with identity struggles

Helping Preteens Build a Life Story

As preteens strive to define themselves, they must work adoption into the story.

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A teen who wants to start a birth parent search

When Teens Want to Search for Birth Parents

Part of how teens form identity is by finding ways they are alike and different from their family. They may want to search for their genetic relatives to figuring out who they are and how to emotionally put pieces in place.

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A mother and her transracially adopted teen son share a moment of empathy and connection

Navigating the Teen Years, Part 2: Maintaining Your Emotional Connection

Teens don't tend to talk with their friends about their feelings about being adopted, being teased, or other tough topics. But if you have a healthy, trusting relationship, they'll open up to you. An adoption therapist advises on maintaining an empathic connection with your teen.

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