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: Explaining to a Child That His Sibling Will Be Adopted By Another Family

Ask AF: Explaining to a Child That His Sibling Will Be Adopted By Another Family

An expectant mother who’s making an open adoption plan wonders how to explain to her child that his baby sibling will be adopted by another family. A birth mother offers advice.

"What 'Gotcha Day' Means to My Family"

“What ‘Gotcha’ Means to My Family”

While I acknowledge that the word carries only a hint of the day's complicated meaning, to me, "Gotcha" says it all.

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the hands of an older parent holding a walking stick

“Mom, Were You Alive During Woodstock?”

Age limits for those adopting have been stretched or even eliminated. How might this affect the children of these "older" parents?

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A mom telling her children, "I am adopted" while driving home.

“Mommy, Were You Adopted?”

I'm not sure why I never told my children. But when they asked, I knew it was time to end the secrecy for good.

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three-real-families-adoptive-legal-biological-emotional-three-hearts-chalkboard

“Three Real Families”

When my granddaughter asked me if I was the “real” mother of her mom, whom I adopted as an infant, I found a way to help her explore her many real connections, through biology, law, and love.

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A father who adopted older children from foster care shares his story, likening parenting and filling in missing pieces to playing Jenga backward

“Parenting After Foster Adoption—Like Playing Jenga, Backward”

As a father who raised a child from birth and is now parenting older children adopted from foster care, I’ve come to see that the game and pieces may, indeed, be the same, but you have to play in an entirely different way.

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A child toasts marshmallows at culture camp

Should I Send My Child to Culture Camp?

"My child is approaching an age where I am thinking about sending her to culture camp. Is this something I should pursue or not?" Our panel of adult adoptees responds.

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Talking about adoption can lead to some big questions

Answering Kids’ Big Questions About Birth Parents

Between the ages of six and eight, children begin to ask more sophisticated questions about adoption. Here are some ways to respond.

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The Recommended Post-Adoption Screening Tests

Post-Arrival Medical Evaluations

Your guide to identifying medical problems common to internationally adopted children.

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My Mixed Feelings as An Adoptee Giving Birth

Motherhood? Me? You’ve Got to Be Kidding!

Having children was something that other people did. But giving birth has given me a sense of connection I never felt before.

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Cover of I Love You Like Crazy Cakes

Book Review: I Love You Like Crazy Cakes

A seven-year-old adoptee from China shares her thoughts on an illustrated children's book about adoption.

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An adoptive mother talks with her child's teacher at school about adoption

Parent-to-Parent: “Do You Talk with the Teacher About Adoption?”

Do you tell the teacher that your child was adopted at the start of a new school year? See parents' answers.

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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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My son's interpretation of the family tree project for kids

“How We Created My Son’s Unique Family Tree”

The family tree project can be a particularly tricky one for kids who are adopted. Here's how one family tackled the assignment.

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