“Would knowing that somewhere, out in the world, she has a biological sister—but one she can’t get in touch with or live with as a sibling—help our child, or be harmful?”
There is no one-size-fits-all script to walk parents through conversations with their children about they way they joined their family, but there are guidelines you can follow to ensure years of open, honest communication.
We asked parents to "name one way in which adoptive parenting differs from parenting a biological child." From maintaining an open adoption to understanding trauma parenting to feeling free to agree wholeheartedly with compliments about your child's looks, here's what readers shared.
Parents are puzzled by their seven-year-old’s new questions and feelings about adoption. Adoption expert Beth Friedberg, LCSW, offers an explanation and talking tips.
“My nine-year-old has been asking me about her birth mother. I was able to find her on social media, but I’m worried about sharing the photos I found.”
A mother seeks advice on sharing difficult birth family details with her daughter, and how this might affect their open adoption relationship.
Parents share the questions their children have been asked by friends and classmates over the years, from being in an orphanage to whether they know their "real" parents.
Millions of children around the world are currently being raised in “grandfamilies.” In this excerpt from a new guidebook, learn how to make sense of your new role and explain this unique form of kinship adoption to your child.
An adoptive mother explores adopting her son’s biological sister, but realizes she wouldn’t be able to meet the child’s medical needs. She seeks advice on how to tell her son.
When talk turns to family traits—who got grandma's curly hair or daddy's big blue eyes—how does our child find her place in the conversation?
We have a closed adoption, per our child’s birth mother’s request. How can I ever tell my child that I know who her birth mother is, but can’t share that information?
When my transracially adopted son was teased about adoption at school, he came home upset—and also bewildered about how his friend could have known. When I heard this (and when it came out that he wasn't wholly innocent in the exchange), was it wrong that my reaction turned from anger to laughter?
Our daughter knows she was adopted, but doesn’t know she has younger half-birth-siblings. I worry about telling her, but I also I don’t want her to feel like we were hiding information from her.
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.