Talking About Adoption with Children


Children who joined their families through adoption need to know how adoption works, to feel free to ask questions (and get honest answers), and to learn any details you know about their birth families. Find talking tips below.

An adolescent has difficulty processing teen emotions

Talking to Teens Who Don’t Want to Talk to You

Talking to Teens Who Don’t Want to Talk to You

It's important to look for those natural, easy times when personal, tender issues can be touched upon.

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Looking for Adoption History Using the Internet

Searching for Answers…with Google?

The Internet requires a cautious approach when teens are looking for answers about adoption.

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How should your child respond when asked adoption questions at school?

When Classmates Ask

How can you help your child answer adoption questions with confidence—and handle any queries that come your way?

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School Projects: Empowering Adoptees to Self Advocate

Stepping Back at School

As your child progresses through elementary school, she should take more responsibility for handling tricky assignments. Here's how to hand off the reins.

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Family Tree Project for Kids: Adapting for Adoptees

Exploring Family Roots at School

The family tree assignment is a perfect opportunity to answer your child's questions about adoption.

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A girl answers intrusive questions about adoption at school

How Preteens Can Answer Prying Questions at School

How to help your middle schooler cope with curious peers.

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family watches an adoption movie they'll use to start adoption conversations at home

Adoption at the Movies

Films with adoption or foster care storylines, or with themes of separation, identity, or belonging, can spark tough, must-have conversations with your children. Ready to start watching—and talking? Start with one of these recommendations.

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adoptive father Billy Cuchens, who tries to strike the right balance in talking about adoption with his children

“A Balanced View of Adoption”

With such a spectrum of opinions about adoption, it’s hard to know if we talk about it too much, or not enough, and in the right way. But watching my son navigate adoption comments at school reassured me of his comfort with it.

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An adoptive mother and her teen daughter share a moment of empathy and connection

Navigating the Teen Years, Part 1: Setting “Adoption-Sensitive” Limits

As a teen, your child still needs and wants you to be a strong parent—not in a controlling fashion, but as a reliable authority in his or her life. Read on for 10 ways to establish yourself in this role.

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Teenage adoption stories: Helping adoptees who feel different

Dealing with the Unwanted Spotlight

When children enter a family as older children or teens, or even when older children who are adopted move from one school setting to another, some of the ordinary issues of school life can become complicated for them.

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A teen navigates the social stigmas of adoption

Confronting Stereotypes and Prejudice About Adoption

"Adopted Teen Arrested," the newspaper headline reads (never "Birth Teen Arrested"). Is this just another example of sensationalism by the media or do adopted teens get into more trouble than their non-adopted peers?

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Tackling Common Childhood Fears About Adoption

What’s on Their Minds?

As grade-school kids learn more about adoption, they begin to ask more questions. How do you respond?

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An illustration for talking to adopted children as they become teens

Supporting Your Teen’s Developing Identity

Questions from their peers get more complicated for our teens—and their peers' questions may reflect their own worries about adoption.

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