Conversations with Young Child about Adoption and Birth Parents

Siblings in an open adoption

Many parents are afraid of how to approach the subject of domestic adoption and fear their child will find out through a bumbled conversation with a family member or neighbor. However, it doesn’t have to be a difficult topic nor does it have to be a traumatic parenting experience, as if it was revealing a big secret. 

Young children, toddlers, and preschoolers have an egocentric picture of life. They like it when the conversation is about them. You will find your child will be delighted in finding out they fit into your family in a wonderful and special way. They will most likely be open to being the center of the story. So, let’s dive deeper into how to talk to your toddler or preschooler about their adoption, so you have some easy-to-reach tools when approaching these parenting subjects.

Why It’s Important

Children and adults alike need to develop a healthy sense of identity, and this includes knowing where they came from, their medical background, and where they got their quirks, hobbies, and personality. Without these aspects, it can be difficult to develop a sense of self-value and confidence in who they are. 

Toddlers and preschoolers are like sponges soaking up words, attitudes, and learning how to  respond to various behaviors and experiences. If they are already comfortable talking about adoption at their level, there is no room for misunderstanding. 

How to Word the Conversation

In order to be age-appropriate when talking about adoption, one must assess their child’s ability to comprehend concepts. Talking to the adoptee honestly is always the best choice. A few ways to explain adoption are as follows: 

  • It is important for your child to know they were born just like every other baby.
  • Explain that their mother wasn’t ready to care for their baby at the time of their birth.
  • You were ready to be a mother and wanted them more than anything in the world.
  • They will always be your son or daughter, as the choice to adopt is forever.

Retelling the Good Parts

By explaining things in simple terms with your toddler or preschooler as the focus of the story, they are able to comprehend their story in a way that makes them special but not unusual. They are what’s responsible for bringing joy to your family’s life. 

It is important to retell their birth story often, making the joy and excitement of their big day at the center of happiness for your family. Repetition is a way for young children to grasp concepts and learn stories, feeling the impact of it each time “their story” is retold. 

Don’t forget that talking about domestic adoption doesn’t stop at the preschooler age. There are many chances for ongoing conversations as the needs of your child’s understanding develop. They will have more questions as they get older, so continue to be honest, open, and compassionate when speaking with your child about their adoption.

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Angel Adoption, Inc. provides marketing and advertising services that assist biological parents considering adoption and prospective adoptive parents to connect with each other, and provides support and referral services throughout the process. Angel Adoption, Inc. is an independent contractor and provides services under the supervision of Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois, License #012998, One Oakbrook Terrace, #501, Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181; 708-771-7180.