How To Talk to Children About Adoption

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Lots of adults talk to children about adoption: parents, teachers, doctors, friends, and family members. Children take their cues from adults so it's important to be aware of how we respond to questions and start discussions.

Here's How:
  1. Be truthful. If children sense you're hiding something, they could infer that there's something "bad" about adoption, and perhaps about them as well.
  2. Be positive. Make an effort to find something positive to say about people and experiences.
  3. Use words and concepts that are age appropriate.
  4. Don't answer more than is being asked. Resist the urge to answer with everything you know or with answers to questions that you think should be asked.
  5. If a question is asked casually, try to answer equally casually. If, however, you hear a tone of anxiety, take the time to give the question the attention it deserves.
  6. Use positive adoption language. Kids will pick up immediately on language that may show adoptees, adoptive parents, or birth parents in an unkind light.
  7. Don't wait for questions. Kids may not know how to put their questions into words.
  8. Make sure children know you are open to discussion and questions at any time and you should occasionally ask (keep it casual) if there's something they want to know.
  9. Always include love in your answers and comments.
  10. Keep a sense of humor. It's all right to laugh and enjoy discussions about adoption!

  • If you are not comfortable answering children's questions or talking to them about adoption, read books on the subject, and ask for help from support groups, therapists, and others who have experience.
  • Openness and honesty between parents and their children builds trust and a feeling of security. This applies to all families!
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