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.

Adoption Experts answer your questions.

Ask AF: Because Baby Showers Are Bad Enough Without Nosy Questions…

Ask AF: Because Baby Showers Are Bad Enough Without Nosy Questions…

When you struggle with infertility, baby showers can be painful reminders — and often lead to nosy questions, like, ‘So, when are you going to have a baby?’ Parents who’ve been there advise on how to respond.

Two girls work together on a project during adoption classes.

Adoption Workshops: A Place Where Kids Can Share

Sometimes our children learn from one another. Adoption classes offer them a special environment to do just that.

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A young refugee, sponsored by a family

“You Have Thousands of Angels Around You”

How one young woman lost her family, survived a war, escaped two continents, and through the kindness of strangers found a lifelong home in Atlanta.

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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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Teens Speak Out About Open Adoption

Teens Speak Out About Open Adoption

Three adolescents share their experiences with open adoption, and how they feel about their relationships with their birth family.

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"What 'Gotcha Day' Means to My Family"

“What ‘Gotcha’ Means to My Family”

While I acknowledge that the word carries only a hint of the day's complicated meaning, to me, "Gotcha" says it all.

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the hands of an older parent holding a walking stick

“Mom, Were You Alive During Woodstock?”

Age limits for those adopting have been stretched or even eliminated. How might this affect the children of these "older" parents?

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A mom telling her children, "I am adopted" while driving home.

“Mommy, Were You Adopted?”

I'm not sure why I never told my children. But when they asked, I knew it was time to end the secrecy for good.

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A group of adoptive women connect over their struggle to meet American standards of beauty

Becoming My Own Beauty Role Model

"Growing up, makeup felt like a mask—a cover-up for my true inner self."

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three-real-families-adoptive-legal-biological-emotional-three-hearts-chalkboard

“Three Real Families”

When my granddaughter asked me if I was the “real” mother of her mom, whom I adopted as an infant, I found a way to help her explore her many real connections, through biology, law, and love.

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A father who adopted older children from foster care shares his story, likening parenting and filling in missing pieces to playing Jenga backward

“Parenting After Foster Adoption—Like Playing Jenga, Backward”

As a father who raised a child from birth and is now parenting older children adopted from foster care, I’ve come to see that the game and pieces may, indeed, be the same, but you have to play in an entirely different way.

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A child toasts marshmallows at culture camp

Should I Send My Child to Culture Camp?

"My child is approaching an age where I am thinking about sending her to culture camp. Is this something I should pursue or not?" Our panel of adult adoptees responds.

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Talking about adoption can lead to some big questions

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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The Recommended Post-Adoption Screening Tests

Post-Arrival Medical Evaluations

Your guide to identifying medical problems common to internationally adopted children.

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