Tough Topics

Kids need to piece together their adoption stories

Sharing Difficult Details with Your Child

Experts offer talking tips and sample language for discussing neglect, abuse, abandonment, and other painful parts of your child's adoption story.

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A daughter curious about her birth parents

“Googling Her Birth Parents”

Would it really be possible to fill out my daughter's hazy memories by typing names into a search engine?

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Talking about birth parents' drug or alcohol abuse can be tough

Explaining a Birth Parent’s Drug or Alcohol Abuse

"How can we explain birth family's drinking or drug use?" Older child adoption expert Gregory Keck, Ph.D. answers a reader's question.

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Talking about adoption to your adopted child

Telling the Tough Stuff

Here's how to tell your child the difficult facts about his adoption in positive, age-appropriate ways...and how to keep the conversation going.

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Adoption Experts answer your questions.

Ask AF: How Do We Tell Our Teen Tough Information?

Our daughter’s birth mother committed suicide several years ago. We’ve never told our daughter, who’s now 13 and in a rebellious phase. I just read something that said you should tell your children whatever you know about their adoptions before the teen years, but we can’t go back in time to do so. Should we tell her now, or wait until she’s older?

troubled birth parent

Keeping an Adoption Open Despite Challenges

Five moms candidly reveal how they’re honoring their commitment to openness when their child’s birth parent struggles with substance abuse, mental illness, or is experiencing crisis.

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father and daughter talking about adoption outside

Adoptees and the Seven Core Issues of Adoption

Adopted persons tend to experience seven core issues related to their adoption. Discussions of adoption over the years have often overlooked the pain and struggles of adoptees, but identifying these core issues and helping children integrate them as they grow validates their experiences, decreasing feelings of being different and isolated.

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Adoption Experts answer your questions.

Ask AF: Sharing Negative Information

My nine-year-old daughter was adopted as an infant. She's been asking me about her birth parents, so I searched. I was devastated by the information I found, and have no idea when and how to reveal the details. Her birth mother died from complications due to alcoholism; her birth father has done time in prison and is now AWOL.

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Telling the truth to your adopted or foster child

[Book Review] Telling The Truth To Your Adopted Or Foster Child: Making Sense Of The Past

Betsy Keefer Smalley and Jayne E. Schooler's book will help parents who are struggling to find the right words to tell an adoption story in a positive and realistic way.

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An adopted child concerned about trafficking

Intercountry Adoption — Talking Truthfully About Trafficking

Talking to your child about the possibility of trafficking is not easy. Here's how to open the dialogue.

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Questions for My Birth Mother in the Prison Where I was Born

“Prison Baby”

In this personal essay, one adoptee describes all the questions she wanted to ask her birth mother when she visited her birth country: a jail.

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TheMercyRule600

Book Excerpt: The Mercy Rule

Read an excerpt from Perri Klass' new novel about a pediatrician who grew up in foster care — and now works with similar at-risk patients.

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