When should I tell my child that she is adopted?

Charles J. Sophy, MD
Adolescent Medicine

The best time to tell her is when she's able to understand it. She won't need a lot of details at first. Give her simple information, such as “Your birth mommy and daddy loved you very much but couldn't take care of you. They looked for a mommy and daddy who loved you very much and could take care of you. They found us, and we love you very much and will always take care of you.”

She'll ask for more information as she gets older. Be open, honest and always available to talk.

Jamie Lee Curtis wrote an excellent picture book that might help you talk about adoption with your daughter, Tell Me Again about the Night I Was Born. She describes the birth and adoption of a new baby and the "birth" of the new family.

Michele Borba
Begin using the term "adoption" during your child's early toddler and preschool years to help you feel at ease. Just look for natural ways to bring up the topic such as a friend who is pregnant, a book, or a program on television or movie about adoption.

Believe it or not, one of the biggest mistakes is that many parents try to shield their child from knowing the truth about their adoption too long. Of course, they do so out of love, but waiting until "the best time" or "when he's later and can understand" actually makes those tougher questions like "Why did your parents give you up?" harder for the child to handle and assert.

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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.