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.

Talking about adoption can lead to some big questions

Answering Kids’ Big Questions About Birth Parents

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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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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How children view adoption changes as they grow

Adoption Through a Child’s Eyes

By tuning in to what children understand about adoption at different ages, our talks become richer, more intimate, and ultimately more effective.

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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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