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.

Continue Learning about Adoption

Can psychiatric services help an adopted child adjust to a new home?
Victoria L. Dunckley, MDVictoria L. Dunckley, MD
The short answer is, yes of course. The reality is, many adopted children do not get referred to men...
More Answers
How can I prepare my child who is adopted to respond to rude questions?
Michele BorbaMichele Borba
Let's face it, kids (and adults!) can be cruel and seem to be getting crueler these days. So one...
More Answers
How early should I talk about adoption with my adopted child?
Brooke RandolphBrooke Randolph
Start talking about adoption casually and positively from day one. If you open up the subject, then ...
More Answers
Who is an adoption medical specialist?
Joni JohnstonJoni Johnston
An adoption medical specialist is typically a physician who has had extensive experience reviewing m...
More Answers

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.