Ask AF: Sudden Secrecy About Adoption

Adopted children may struggle with feeling different simply because they are adopted. AF explains what to do if your preteen denies his adoption to fit in with peers.

Q: My 11-year-old son has known about his adoption his entire life and we’ve always been open about his birth story. Lately, he’s been telling friends that his seven-year-old sister was adopted, but goes to great lengths to avoid talking about his own adoption. This is very difficult for me because I feel positively about both his adoption and his birth parents. Is this an age thing?


A: Denying one’s adoption can definitely be age-related. At 11 years of age, children recognize that most kids were not adopted – and they don’t like being different in any way!

Find out more about your son’s feelings by asking him whether he’s had any negative experiences that make him uncomfortable telling people that he was adopted. The fact that he’s willing to discuss his sister’s adoption may give you an opening to learn about his feelings, as well.

Although it would be nice for your son to feel the way you do about adoption, as long as he knows his own story, there may not be a problem. The way he feels about adoption will probably change again over time, so if your son is otherwise well-adjusted and happy, relax and enjoy him.


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