Ask AF: When to Share Birth Parent Information

In semi-open and fully closed adoptions, parents may wonder when the right time is to share birth parent information with curious children.

Q: My 5-year-old has been asking a lot about her birth father recently (I assume it’s because I’m a single mom), but I only have information about her birth mother. And, as far as I know, her birth parents aren’t together, but my daughter assumes they are. What should I say to my daughter and should I show her a photo of her birth mom?


A: Answer your daughter with basic, honest information. Tell her simply that she has a birth mother and a birth father, but that you know a lot more about her birth mother. You don’t need to raise the question of whether her birth parents are together. If she brings it up, tell her you don’t know for sure.

It’s O.K. to share photos of birth family with children of any age. If she wants to see the photograph of her birth mother, let her decide what she wants to do with it. She may ask to take it to school to show to her teacher and friends, or she may want to put it in a special place in her photo album.


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