Over decades as a foster and adoptive parent and an adoption social worker, I have mothered and supported hundreds of children. Each one has taught me more than I passed along to them. Here is just some of that wisdom.
My child’s birth mother has a drug addiction. How should I explain this to him? How can I do so without sounding judgmental about his birth mother?
“I know that my children’s birth siblings were abused by their birth parents, but my children don’t talk about trauma in their earlier lives. How should I talk with them about this?”
“When my daughter was in her teens, we sent a letter to her birth mother via our adoption agency, but never heard back. Yesterday, I got a social media message from her birth mother’s sister, which shared sad news. How do I break this news to my daughter?”
Before the moody teen years, pre-adolescence can present its own challenges for parents. How should you respond to tweens’ questions about adoption or initiate conversation with a preteen who doesn’t seem eager to talk?
A parent wonders how to explain the painful possibility that a foster child might return to her birth family to the young child she’s already parenting.
When older children argue and act out, it’s often connected to events from their past. How could any child move through 14 foster placements unscathed? But last night, another clash, followed by a heart-to-heart, brought us one piece closer to feeling like a solid family.
“Recently, my 12-year-old has been questioning whether an adoptive mother can really love her children as she would biological children. She’ll say things like, ‘You think you love us, but you would love a child you gave birth to more. How should I talk with her about this?”
“Our son’s birth mother is now married and parenting a newborn. How should I answer if he asks why they couldn’t raise him?”
An expectant mother who’s making an open adoption plan wonders how to explain to her child that his baby sibling will be adopted by another family. A birth mother offers advice.
A mother shares that her four-year-old has said, “You’re not my mom!” when angry. Fellow parents assure her this is normal and suggest different ways to respond.
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.
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.
“We just found out that we won’t be able to adopt the child we’ve been fostering. How do we tell the child, and explain to our older daughter?”
Between the ages of six and eight, children begin to ask more sophisticated questions about adoption. Here are some ways to respond.
“I recently found out that my teen is friends with his birth mother on Facebook. I feel badly that I found this out by ‘snooping,’ but I am also shocked and upset that she didn’t try to contact us or the adoption agency first. What should we do?”
As parents, how can you help make sure that your child and all the students at her school feel included and supported? Educate teachers about the five As!
An adoptive parent wonders how to respond to an only child who keeps asking for a sibling. Real parents share their advice and stories.
In their "black and white" world, how do children handle the grays of adoption?
As preteens strive to define themselves, they must work adoption into the story.