Explaining Adoption to Family, Friends, and Others


When your family grows through adoption, your family and friends may need a little adoption education—and some may just not “get” it. Find pointers on explaining adoption to people who touch your family’s life, responding to nosy questions, and safeguarding the private details of your child’s pre-adoption history.

Adoption Experts answer your questions.

Ask AF: Responding to Insensitive and Discouraging Comments During the Wait

Ask AF: Responding to Insensitive and Discouraging Comments During the Wait

“I’m so excited to be moving forward in the adoption process, but, when I share that news, I’ve been surprised and frankly dismayed at some of the reactions I’ve gotten. These range from dismissive to fearful and discouraging.”

Adoptive parents share the adoption misconceptions they've encountered

“I Can’t Believe She Just Said That!” – Biggest Adoption Misconceptions

Parents share the biggest false beliefs about adoption that they've encountered, from 'love heals all' to 'your child is lucky' to 'now you'll get pregnant!'

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How do adoptive parents respond when told, "Your child looks just like you!"

Parent-to-Parent: “Your Child Looks Just Like You!”

We asked our readers how they respond when someone comments that their child "looks just like" them. Read the answers.

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hourglass and calendar to measure how long it takes to adopt, how to respond when people ask

How Do You Respond to “How Long Did It Take You to Adopt?”

We asked our readers: How do you respond when someone asks you how long it takes to adopt? Read the answers from adoptive parents.

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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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in adoption, we must keep our eyes and hearts open to all perspectives—birth parents, adoptees, and adoptive parents

“Seeing the Bigger Picture in Adoption”

I used to see adoption from only one viewpoint—that of the adoptive parents. But working in the field before becoming an adoptive mother opened my eyes to how complex and bittersweet adoption can be.

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Adoption Experts answer your questions.

Ask AF: Family Interactions After Kinship Adoption

“We are adopting my sister-in-law’s teenage son after fostering him for five years. What can I say to her at family gatherings, to family who still don’t get that we’ll be his legal parents—and to my son, who hears all of this?”

Parents who adopted transracially share how they explain questions and comments from strangers about adoption to their children.

Parent-to-Parent: Explaining Attention and Questions from Strangers

When you and your child don't look alike, the world wants to know why. Parents who adopted transracially share how they explain strangers' questions and comments to their children.

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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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Portrait of a teacher and student who have discussed his adoption story.

“Should We Tell Our Son’s Teacher That He Was Adopted?”

Families share their experiences with school and adoption issues.

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A group of people talking at an adoption conference

“Why I Attend Adoption Conferences”

As I listened to the haunting soundtrack recently, I realized that The Truman Show is also about adoption. As the realization of his life dawns on Truman, he confronts his fears, leaves his home, and runs straight to the only person who has ever told him the truth.

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An illustration of adoptive families

“Which Ones Are Yours?”

There's this poem I'm supposed to love. I first read it when we adopted our oldest son: Not flesh of my flesh nor bone of my bone/But still miraculously my own./Never forget, for a single minute,/You didn't grow under my heart, but in it.

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A chalk drawing of a brain filled with question marks

“How I Deal with Nosy Questions”

Our daughter is not a public exhibit. She deserves to be protected from questions that undermine the legitimacy of our family.

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