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.

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

“Mommy, Were You Adopted?”

“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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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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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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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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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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A teen boy sits and thinks about his birth father

“What Do I Tell My Teen About His Birth Father?”

Your teen will want to know more about his birth father—and his birth parents' relationship.

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An adolescent has difficulty processing teen emotions

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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