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How to Tell Your Children They are Adopted

By Sheryl Rentz on September 10, 2013

It’s understandable that adoptive parents may want to put off or completely skip having the adoption conversation with their adopted child, especially after having made it through the lengthy adoption process.  What if the child feels hurt, ashamed, or unwanted? What if he or she obsesses over finding his or her birth parents? Will the truth interfere with building a loving family relationship?

While the subject may stir up anxieties for many adoptive parents, most experts believe that adopted children greatly benefit from learning about his or her own life story as early as four or six years old. Author of Raising Adopted Children, Lois Ruskai Melina says that an open line of communication will ultimately help your adopted child grow into a self-assured adult. As difficult or uncomfortable as the subject may be, honesty will go a long way toward developing a stronger bond between you and your child.

The key points to remember when discussing adoption with your child include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Introduce the story of your child’s adoption as early as possible and talk about it openly in order to help remove any stigma. Adoption should not be treated as a secret, but a simple part of how your family came to be.
  • Reassure your child that you and your spouse wanted to adopt and, depending on your child’s maturity level, describe why you came to that decision.
  • Never talk badly about your child’s biological parents, simply explain that his or her birth parents simply could not care for a baby. Emphasize that your child is not to blame.
  • Share information about your child’s biological parents, such as medical information or personal traits, as it may help him or her develop a sense of self.

The laws surrounding adoption in Pennsylvania can be complex and difficult to tackle without the help of an accomplished adoption lawyer. If you are considering adoption or have questions about your legal rights as an adoptive parent, please contact Montgomery County family law attorney Sheryl R. Rentz for a free consultation.

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