Ask AF: Talking About Sex & Marriage

Our adoption expert discusses introducing your family's views on sex and marriage to your adopted child, without insulting their birth family.

Q: I believe that parents should be married before having kids. How can I teach my 12-year-old daughter the importance of marriage without damaging her respect for her unmarried birth parents?


A: You want what most parents want: for your daughter to grow up to be a responsible adult who makes good choices for herself. Your daughter is old enough for the two of you to have a frank discussion about your family’s beliefs about marriage.

It’s likely your child will say, “If my birth mother had not gotten pregnant, I would not be here.” In that case, you can respond, “You’re right, but you are here, and we’re talking about how you conduct your life.”

You can make it clear that you’re not judging her birth mother by saying, “Your birth mother found herself in a difficult situation. That doesn’t make her ‘bad,’ but we don’t want that for you, and she wouldn’t either.”