Conversations about adoption are rarely planned, so parents have to be ready with details at a moment’s notice. On a recent evening with my kids, I experienced that times three.
How to Talk About and Explain Adoption
Sample language, conversation guidelines, and other expert advice to help you explain adoption to your child, and answer questions from family, friends, and others.
“How We’re Different, and How We’re The Same”
When talk turns to family traits—who got grandma’s curly hair or daddy’s big blue eyes—how does our child find her place in the conversation?
Ask AF: Doesn’t Our Child Have a Right to Know About Her Birth Mother?
We have a closed adoption, per our child’s birth mother’s request. How can I ever tell my child that I know who her birth mother is, but can’t share that information?
Ask AF: When and How to Tell Our Child She Has Birth Siblings?
Our daughter knows she was adopted, but doesn’t know she has younger half-birth-siblings. I worry about telling her, but I also I don’t want her to feel like we were hiding information from her.
Once Upon a Time: Writing Your Adoption Stories
Many parents are putting their adoption stories in writing. Whether you publish or not, here’s how to create a moving, quality memoir.
At a recent gathering, an acquaintance made a comment based on the astonishingly misguided and downright vulgar assumption that my child’s birth parents are unworthy or subpar. Here’s how I responded.
Parents Share: My “Adoption Hero”
Adoptive parents pay tribute to their “adoption heroes,” including a social worker, their child’s birth mother, or their child.
The Talk: Revealing the Realities of Racism to My African-American Child
Growing up in Trinidad, I didn’t use the word black to describe myself. But as the mother of two black children in the U.S., I walk the fine line of raising them to believe they are capable and worthy while understanding that everyone in this country has been taught to discount their value.
Ask AF: How to Explain to My Child That His Birth Mother Was Addicted to Drugs?
My child’s birth mother has a drug addiction. How should I explain this to him? How can I do so without sounding judgmental about his birth mother?
Ask AF: How to Ask My Children About Trauma in Their Past?
“I know that my children’s birth siblings were abused by their birth parents, but my children don’t talk about trauma in their earlier lives. How should I talk with them about this?”
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.”
Talking with Your Teen
Stumped by your teen’s silences and questions? Here’s how to tackle them.
Ask AF: How to Share Sad News About a Birth Parent?
“When my daughter was in her teens, we sent a letter to her birth mother via our adoption agency, but never heard back. Yesterday, I got a social media message from her birth mother’s sister, which shared sad news. How do I break this news to my daughter?”
What Do Preteens Think About Adoption?
Before the moody teen years, pre-adolescence can present its own challenges for parents. How should you respond to tweens’ questions about adoption or initiate conversation with a preteen who doesn’t seem eager to talk?
Ask AF: How to Explain Fostering and Concurrent Planning to Our Children?
A parent wonders how to explain the painful possibility that a foster child might return to her birth family to the young child she’s already parenting.
“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!’
“This Is For Real”
An unexpected emergency tests the strength of a mother-daughter bond.
In Adoption, the Loving is the Same
“Adoption makes a family different.” It may also make it stronger.
“One of the Missing Pieces”
When older children argue and act out, it’s often connected to events from their past. How could any child move through 14 foster placements unscathed? But last night, another clash, followed by a heart-to-heart, brought us one piece closer to feeling like a solid family.
Ask AF: When a Child Questions Adoption vs. Biology
“Recently, my 12-year-old has been questioning whether an adoptive mother can really love her children as she would biological children. She’ll say things like, ‘You think you love us, but you would love a child you gave birth to more. How should I talk with her about this?”