Ask AF: Telling Our Child We're Adopting

Members of Adoptive Families Circle shared how they explained they were adopting to their young children.

Q: We’re nervous about telling our five-year-old biological daughter that we’re adopting. How do we explain the uncertain timeline, and the possibility that a child might be placed back with his birth mother? How did you explain?


Members of Adoptive Families Circle respond: 

“Here’s the explanation we gave to our four-year-old: ‘Right now, we are waiting to be matched, which could take a long time. After that, we’ll wait until the pregnant lady gives birth. Then, she has a chance to be with the baby before she decides whether we’ll be the baby’s family.'”

“We are going to be welcoming a child who will live with us for a while. Her parents are not able to take care of her right now. She may stay with us forever and become a part of our family, or her parents may work things out so she can go back with them. We will tell you when we know. How do you think we could help her feel welcome here?”

“We just told our six- and five-year-old that we were thinking of adopting a baby, even after we had been matched. Time is a hard concept for children that age and we did not want to hear, ‘How much longer?’ for months. Then, one week before the baby was born, we said we were hoping to adopt this baby, and we were going to visit him in the hospital, but we wouldn’t know for sure until after he was born.”