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.

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

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

“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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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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Back to School Tips for Adoptive Families

Bringing Up Adoption at School

Advice for parents from parents on how to navigate explaining adoption to the classroom during back to school season, and beyond!

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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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Foster Care System Problems

Listen to the Children

A callous foster care system deprived her of parents and siblings and gave precious little in return.

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definition of family

“A Different Definition of Family”

I am the white, single mother of an eight-year-old Asian girl, whom I adopted when she was six days old. As you can imagine, I have given a lot of thought to "the daddy question."

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Songs about adoption

Listen to the Musical Beat of Love

Musicians—from folk singers to rappers—are tuning in to adoption to create deeply personal reflections and hummable melodies. These songs are what you need when words aren't enough.

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Tips for preparing kids to answer questions about adoption at school

Preparing for Questions About Adoption at School

Before first grade, parents need to teach kids how to respond to unwelcome comments about adoption at school.

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