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.

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”

“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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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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Illustration of a group of women at an adoptive parents support group meeting

“The One Place I Thought I’d Fit In”

I'd expected to fit in at the adoptive parents' support group. At the first meeting, however, I found I was the only mom who'd adopted domestically, who looked like her child.

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How to Help Your Child Answer Intrusive Adoption Questions

Helping Your Child Cope with Intrusive Questions

When my daughter Hope started kindergarten at her progressive school here in diverse New York City, we were both taken by surprise by the persistent, direct adoption questions she faced from classmates, questions that adults would be reluctant to pose.

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Giving back to the community by selling candles

The Joy of Giving Back

Many of us start out thinking we are simply adding a child to our life. But for the families featured here, the immeasurable joy they found through adoption inspired them to serve needs even greater than their own.

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An adoptive mom shares her thoughts about being told "There's still hope" for her to get pregnant

“Adoption Is Not Second Best”

Near-strangers feel compelled to tell me about friends who got pregnant after adopting and say, “There’s still hope….” But I don’t hope for a biological child; I hope for a healthy relationship with my two kids.

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what can you say to comfort a family that's waiting to adopt?

Parent-to-Parent: What Does a Family Want to Hear While Waiting to Adopt?

Waiting to adopt is hard, especially when the wait stretches on for years. Real parents share the words that comforted them and got them through their waits.

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Parents weigh in on talking with the teacher about adoption

Parent-to-Parent: Talking with the Teacher About Adoption

Parents weigh in on talking with their child's teacher and sharing resources at the start of a new school year.

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