Talking About Adoption - Explaining Difficult Details


Children need to know all the aspects of their adoption stories, but parents may not know how to explain some details. Below, find expert advice on talking about tough adoption topics, such as poverty, criminal behavior, abandonment, abuse or neglect.

Adoption Experts answer your questions.

Ask AF: When Only Negative Details Are Known

Answers to your parenting questions.

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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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Tips for revealing painful adoption details to your child.

Revealing Painful Adoption Details

Children need to know their full stories before the teen years. Why, and how, to explain troubling information.

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Helping kids cope after disaster can be difficult

Kids May Worry About Their Birth Parents After a Natural Disaster

Here's how to help your child regain her sense of security when current events trigger hidden fears.

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Talking about difficult adoption stories

Discussing a Difficult Past After Foster Adoption

My child's background was tough. Now that he's with our family, do we really need to discuss the past?

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