How should I talk with my child about his adoption?

Michele Borba
To help create an open-door communication policy about your child's adoption, Peter L. Benson, lead researcher of one of the largest studies on adoptees says that, “Quiet, open communication about adoption seems to be the key” to helping kids thrive and take their adoption in stride. Your child needs to know he can come to you in ease and comfort with any question and at any time. And your child always needs to hear this information from you in a context of love and commitment.

Reassure your child that his feelings-whatever they may be–and quest for information about his past are normal and that you will do whatever you can to fill in those details. That kind of calm, reassuring helpfulness – letting the child know you’re “there” anytime and there’s nothing he should ever feel uncomfortable about asking you will help.

Be age-appropriate by using words and language that your child suitable to your child’s age and ability to understand. Research at Rutgers University found that all kids develop a gradual meaning of adoption in these predictable stages and regardless of whether they are adopted or not. It helps to know those stages. Leaving out certain facts due to the age of your child is okay.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.