As a foster parent, choosing to adopt is a life-changing event that lets you grow your family while giving a foster child their forever home. Both of you will be experiencing a lot of thoughts and emotions. If you are considering adopting a foster child or have already chosen to do so, it is essential to understand how to talk to the child about it. An accredited adoption service provider can explain why you should bring up the discussion as early as possible and tailor it to children of different ages.
Talking to your child about the adoption process:
- Allows the child to understand their biological makeup. Your child may or may not have a relationship with their birth parents, but they should understand that their genetics are different from yours. This can be helpful as they get older and encounter health questions or medical issues.
- Let’s them hear the adoption story from you. As your child gets older, chances increase for a friend or family member to comment on their adoption in front of them. Learning that information from somebody else could be traumatic for both of you.
- Acknowledges the child’s feelings surrounding the relationship with their birth parents. As your child matures, they can make their own choices about seeking more information. Withholding adoption information takes that choice away and can lead to resentment later in life.
Accredited Adoption Service Provider Studies to Guide You
Research suggests beginning the adoption conversation right away, knowing that it will be an ongoing conversation throughout your child’s life. You don’t need to share everything immediately, especially when they are young. Adoption consultants recommend starting with some basic language and letting the discussion grow naturally over time. Professionals can help break down how to talk about adoption with your child based on age and emotional development.
Tips for Introducing Adoption to Foster Children of All Ages
Babies: You can begin introducing the topic just by using the word “adoption” around your baby. Use loving sentences such as, “Your mother and I are so happy we got to adopt you, and we love you so much.”
Toddlers: Children become very curious as toddlers, so your child might begin asking questions. Use simple statements that begin to share your adoption story. You can also start reading children’s books to them about adoption.
School-Aged Children: At this age, you can begin sharing more detailed information about their past. Prepare your child for questions they may get from classmates about why they make look different from you. Your child will begin asking you more specific questions about their birth parents or the adoption.
Teenagers: If you are adopting a teenager, understand they are forming their identity as a person. Always be transparent but give them space to grow. Recognize that they are heavily influenced by various factors, including social media and peers at school.
Patience Builds Healthy Adoptive Families, Not Perfection
Regardless of age, continuously remind your child that they are loved and a valuable part of your family. You do not need to have all the answers, and keeping an open line of communication will help everyone work through issues. These are opportunities to strengthen your relationship, learn, and grow.
Continue to have patience and grace with yourself and your child. You decided to adopt out of love and a longing to grow your family, so keep that at the center of all conversations. You can always reach out to Heart of Adoptions Alliance at 866-432-7860 or [email protected] to speak with our adoption consultants and ask about additional resources.