How to Talk About and Explain Adoption


Sample language, conversation guidelines, and other expert advice to help you explain adoption to your child, and answer questions from family, friends, and others.

Adoption Experts answer your questions.

Ask AF: Should We Tell Our Child She Has a Birth Sibling if They Can’t Be in Touch?

Ask AF: Should We Tell Our Child She Has a Birth Sibling if They Can’t Be in Touch?

“Would knowing that somewhere, out in the world, she has a biological sister—but one she can’t get in touch with or live with as a sibling—help our child, or be harmful?”

Four of author Billy Cuchens's children through transracial adoption

“I Can Still Be Shocked” – Encountering Ignorance About Adoption and Race

Fifteen years into parenting in a transracial family, I thought I had heard it all—with appropriate comebacks at the ready—until an interaction with a racist (former) boss left me simply dumbfounded.

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As in the movie Sliding Doors, adoptees grow up imagining alternate realities

“Sliding Doors”

We all imagine different ways our lives could have played out. For adoptees, these fantasies may seem particularly compelling: ‘What would my life have been like if I had not been adopted?’

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mother and child talking about adoption on a family vacation

8 Keys to Talking About Adoption

There is no one-size-fits-all script to walk parents through conversations with their children about they way they joined their family, but there are guidelines you can follow to ensure years of open, honest communication.

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Adoption Experts answer your questions.

Ask AF: Worried My Daughter Will Think Her Birth Mom Is More “Fun”

“My nine-year-old has been asking me about her birth mother. I was able to find her on social media, but I’m worried about sharing the photos I found.”

Support Groups for Adoptive Parents and Families

Support Groups for Adoptive Parents and Families

Adoptees and their families need help and guidance throughout their lives. Support groups can help provide that.

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Author Louis De Lauro with his family on their adoption trip and now, with his teenage daughter

“From Then to Now”

I don’t think about adoption on a daily basis; I am just a dad, after all. But when I do, it’s these moments that rise to the surface, indicative of so much else along the way.

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A grandmother and the granddaughter she adopted share a close moment

When Grandparents Adopt

Millions of children around the world are currently being raised in “grandfamilies.” In this excerpt from a new guidebook, learn how to make sense of your new role and explain this unique form of kinship adoption to your child.

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A pair of sneakers on a rainy day

“I Wish I Had Another Mother”

To my surprise, his comment about wanting another mother did not upset me. Rather, I realized that I knew exactly how he felt, and my mother, too!

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A mom answers her kids questions about adoption

“An Adoption Game Show”

Conversations about adoption are rarely planned, so parents have to be ready with details at a moment's notice. On a recent evening with my kids, I experienced that times three.

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