talking about being adopted

Kim - posted on 12/09/2008 ( 38 moms have responded )

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I'm new here...we adopted our son when he was born in 2007 and it's been amazing! We're starting to wonder about the best ways to talk about him being adopted...etc. We have phone/letter contact with the bm but nothing beyond that. We have 2 bio kids and our son is Latino/Black, so we know the questions will be coming soon. We don't want to hide/minimize the fact that he is adopted, but we also don't want to make it this huge deal. We see him no differently than our other 2 kids...so we just want to avoid making him feel "different". Any advice from veterans would be appreciated!

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Dila - posted on 09/17/2011

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I have two adopted babies. Lilly is 9 months and Colt is 2 1/2. I tell them often "The Story of Colt" and "The Story of Lilly". I tell them about watching them be born and how much we loved them from the start.I tell them how bad I wanted them and how I would pray that God would bring them to me and that since my tummy was broke that He put them in their birht moms tummies. That they grew in my heart. I want them to feel that being adopted is a natural thing. That it makes them even that much more special. I also have been blessed with a few other friends that adopted their children also. We are started play groups so that the kids all has this in common and they will have the support of one another.
Again, they are just babies so I do not know if this is the right thing, but I feel in my heart that it is. I can honestly say that I am now thankful that I could not have other children after my oldest daughter. These two where born to be mine.

Lesly - posted on 02/11/2009

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Hi Kim,



Congratulations on your adoption!!  I have 3 biological as well as one adopted child, Mackenzie.  She is now 5.  My feeling are the same as yours and I talk to Mackenzie in a matter of fact way, re-telling about the moment we found out about her and our immense joy and about our day at the hospital with her before bringing her home!  It's her story of how she came into this family just like the other kids have their story.  It's just a different beginning.  Around age 2, I started reading stories about adoption to her and telling her things.  I know there was a lot she didn't yet understand, but it helped me to be comfortable in the telling for when she could understand.  We seldom see Mackenzie's birth mother and Mackenzie herself seems reluctant to talk about it so from time to time when a subject can lead naturally into it, I casually bring it up again and reiterate how special it is to be adopted and how loved she is by us as well as her birth mother.  We just talked about it yesterday, actually, and Mackenzie said "she couldn't keep me"  so we just talked about how much her birth mother loves her and that's why she wanted Mackenzie to be a part of a family who could give her what she (her birth mother )could not and again of course, how much we love her !  I think that no matter what you do, there will be times when your son WILL feel different, but those times should be hopefully few and far between.  I think our job is to just be there and love them and support them when they have these feelings (as hard as it is for us as well! God knows....heartbreaking) and to let them know that their feelings are normal and that we all feel sad sometimes..... just give reasurrance, that's all we can do.  We at least know their pain from our own standpoint and we can help them feel healthy positive feelings as best we can!   Hope this helps!  It's ongoing, I know, but at least it's not everyday!

[deleted account]

I'm 27 years old, so I was born in 1981.  My adoption was a closed adoption.  All My adoptive parents got was a page that gave like a 2 to 3 description of my birthfamily.  Growing up...I wasn't allowed to bring my birthfamily up...If i did..I was disrespectful....I ALWAYS knew i was adopted....I don't ever remember being told that I was...I just knew.  But as an adopted child...I would go throught "spurts"  Sometimes...being adopted weighed heavy on my mind..as a  child I would think about my BP and wonder where they were....what they looked like...I would see people in public and wonder if that woman or this woman was my BM... MY adoptive parents gave me a good life...great schools....a family....  I was afraid that my BP didn't want me or didn't love me....I would think how could anyone just walk away from their child.  I was always afraid that i would hurt my adoptive parents if i found my Birthfamily (which I recently reunited with my birthfamilies..which is a WHOLE other discussion).  My best advice is to respect the child's perspective on the adoption, respect the birthfamily...whether you know NOTHING or EVERYTHING about them...IF the birthparents are living a life that you don't approve of.....don't talk bad...as adopted kids...they always feel like that they are bad too because they are "related"   I make it a point to bring up adoption to my adopted daughter every month or so...I don't ever want to put it on the back burner..then when she REALLY wants to talk about it..she knows that it is an open subject....I have spoke to many other adoptees and adoptive parents and shared my experiences with them ...so I'm an open book..:)

Sharon - posted on 01/14/2009

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Our agency just encourages the parents to talk about adoption and make it an open topic in the family. Like the other mom said, use their "gotcha" day or adoption finalization day as an opportunity to tell him his story. We were reminded that every person has a birth story, some of them are not very well known or always nice and happy stories, but the child has a right to know his or her own story. Your son is "different" and you can give him a chance to talk about those feelings by telling him "his story". We bought "The Family Book" by Todd Parr for our babies (1 and 2) to use as an introduction to adoption. It just shows different types of families, without judgement "messy", "clean", "lots of kids", "only child", "adopted", "single Dad".  We're not very far into this either, but our counselors emphasize that it's up to the parents to open the conversation. You can't wait for the child to ask questions, because they will think you don't want to talk about it, if you don't.



Good Luck!

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Barbara - posted on 12/10/2012

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My mother is uncomfortable with this topic as well, and my daughter is 15 years old now. I have found absolutely no way to help my mother accept that my daughter will want to meet her biological mother in as little as 3 years. We know that her biological father is deceased (drug overdose) and we know that her biological mother is also involved in drugs. I have had no contact with her since my daughter was 3 months old, and because of her lifestyle, none was ever wanted. But kids do have questions and it's important to let them explore those questions in a safe and open manner. My mom shuts her down, makes it clear she doesn't want to discuss it or even hear my daughter discuss it. She feels threatened in some way and I can understand that because I feel that way a little myself, but want my daughter to feel that we can be open and honest and understand her questions about this issue. Let Grandma work through her own feelings, keep the door open for her, but remind her that everything your child experiences about this comes from the surrounding family. If your child feels shut-down around grandma when the subject comes up, let him/her open up to you later and keep this conversation outside of Grammie's hearing. Discuss it with her when your child isn't there or on the phone after bedtime. Let Grandma express her own feelings to you privately. She may express a feeling about this that will give you insight as to what is going on.

Teresa - posted on 12/09/2012

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Oh well, be open and honest from the start, give information as he seems to ask or need at the right level for him to understand as he grows.



I would like to know if anyone has advice to help my own mother be comfortable with the contact we do have with the birth mother. We send a letter and pictures about 4 times a year and we have actually disclosed our address. We just send the letter as if she is someone that we are pen pals with. She doesn't write back or anything, but she can contact us directly through letters if she wants and also through our attorney if ever she needed to. Our daughter's birth family is awesome and I know one day she will want to go meet her as she has already asked can I meet her. Now she asked that when she was 4 because we had discussed her adoption a little more because my sister in law was having a baby this summer. So I wanted to be honest and make sure she understands that she didn't come from my womb but another person's. Now the only thing she asked at first was-was the other mommy pretty and did she wear make up. It was a week later that she asked about meeting her while we were coming back from ballet class. So I told her yes she could when she was older. My daughter has not really brought any new adoption questions up since then-and that was back in spring.



Anyway, we are completely comfortable with the fact that our daughter will want to someday meet the birth family.. and we do mean birth family as we met her sister and her little girl and her birth grandmother and great grandmother too. We had a fabulous time meeting them and would love our daugher to have the birth family be part of her and our lives in the future if that is where life leads us. But my mother is so weird about when we talk about adoption. She would just like our daughter not to really know I think, but that is the wrong approach. I just wish there was something we could do to make my mother feel comfortable with adoption.

D. - posted on 11/19/2012

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I found being open and honest to work best. As another mom said, it is kind of like the sex talk. Scary at first, but not really a big deal.



I also think that how you answer others questions about adoption to be very important as to how your child views his/her adoption. This will show your child how genuine you are about dealing with it.

Barbara - posted on 11/06/2012

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As an adoptive parent I know firsthand how hard this is on adoptive parent and kid alike. As much as I love my daughter, some days I feel guilty for wanting her so badly, wanting to adopt her and make her my own, feeling as though I put her through an issue she shouldn't be saddled with.

I know her bio mom was a druggie, had two sons before my daughter was born and both were removed from her due to severe neglect. In reality, it wasn't I who put her through this, it was her bio mom. If she'd have cleaned up her act, gotten straightened out, she could have had all 6 of her kids with her (three more were born after my daughter, all adopted by different families). Two of her later children were born with severe birth abnormalities due to the street drugs she took when she was pregnant. Now 15, we get closer to my daughters 18th birthday, I cringe knowing she will ask me to help her find her birth mom. I have always promised every/any help I can provide once she is 18 and I will follow through on that promise. My worry is that her birth mom is still addicted, still living the addicted life style (with multiple men - all six children had different fathers). My second worry is that she overdosed and may be deceased - preventing further inquiry and information. I'm afraid my daughter will blame me for not trying to find her sooner. As a mom, I want to protect my child, now and even at 18, from harmful influences in her life, rejection by her birth mom, polarization between her bio mom and me, the subculture of the drug life. There really is no easy answer, no quick-fix solution, dealing with this issue is a day-by-day, week-by-week, year-by-year process. I'm glad our adoption was forced closed by the courts due to the circumstances, but know that, that too will become an issue if she chooses to pursue it.

Barbara - posted on 11/06/2012

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At four she has a toddlers view of life and the world around her. Too much information could overwhelm her with facts she isn't capable of handling. I would never lie to her, but keep in mind her youthful capacity for understanding. Maybe she wasn't born of your 'tummy', but she was born in your heart. My daughter, now 15, wants me to find her bio mom. I have always told her that I will help her in any/every way I can once she is 18. We had a closed adoption, records sealed. Unless there is a medical emergency with my daughter, the courts will not open the records to me, so I can't start the process until she is 18. I also feel that she is too young to handle this situation, even at 15, and want to hold off for a little more maturity.

Grandma's of adopted children seem to have issues, I know my mom does. She has always loved my daughter dearly, but blames all of her unpleasant behaviors on the adoption, when most of it is just normal 'teen' stuff. I would have a heart to heart with grandma, explain that you don't want your child to grow up with mistrust and that you want to be open and honest to the limit of the child's level of development. If she can't accept this, then her pat reply might be, 'honey, I love you, but some things you just need to talk to mommy/daddy about'. I hope this helps. It's just another part of parenting.

Barbara - posted on 11/06/2012

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I adopted my daughter thirteen years ago. She came directly from the hospital into my waiting arms and I love her dearly, more now than ever (though she is the difficult teen rebellious phase of life). Because there were legal issues surrounding the bio mom's parental rights, it took three years to finally get to court and legally adopt my daughter. She came with, and so did most of our extended family. I bought a special dress and shoes with cute little lace trimmed socks. We made a celebration of the event, went out to lunch after the court appearance and then to a movie that she wanted to see (it was 102 Dalmations at the time ). The following year, on the one year anniversary of the adoption, she was four and I wanted to celebrate the day in a special way. We went to a 'mommy and me' day to get our hair cut together, went shopping for a cute Christmas dress together (our adoption finalized in early December), and then I took her to lunch to one of our favorite restaurants. Once seated, I asked her she knew why we were having a 'special mommy and me' day. She said it was mommy's birthday and we were celebrating. It was then that I tried to explain, in kids terms, that she wasn't born from my body, but had lived in my heart for so long (the process took me over nine years), that I had always known she was mine, my baby, my sweet little girl, my daughter, and I just had to wait until she was ready to come home to me. She seemed to accept this, asked a few questions about bio mom (who was/is a drug addict, but I just said her bio mom had a really bad sickness that she couldn't get over to care for my sweetie pie). No matter how gently you try to introduce this subject, and I'm sure you need to introduce it, some children will have issues with it. My daughter, a teen now, throws it back in my face periodically that I'm not her 'real mom', usually when I'm enforcing a rule intended for her protection. It's a touchy subject and emotionally loaded for both your son and you. Let him see that the 'other kids' at home are treated the same, he is loved unconditionally all the time, and the rules apply equally to everyone. If you handle it lovingly and with true joy, make it a family occasion, but not a huge fuss, he will still have questions, but gradually accept that, while his birth may have been different, his life is still the same with parents and sibling that love him.

Teresa - posted on 02/26/2012

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Oh my, I should have read ahead to some of the other posts.. they are very helpful! Thanks! But it felt good to get some of my thoughts down to share.



My husband and I are very comfortable with being honest and open with our daughter about adoption.. and two of my cousins are adopted too and their parents were open with them-but their adoptions were not open. Ours is semi open I suppose.



I just wish there was a way to help my mother be more comfortable with GiGi wanting to know and understand more at what she feels is such a young age.

Teresa - posted on 02/26/2012

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Hello! I am new here too! I joined this group because my darling 4 year old daughter is very excited about becoming an OLDER cousin-because my brother and sister in law are expecting, but she has asked the question-was I in your tummy? So.. I read "Tell Me a Real Adoption Story" and I think she is is trying to understand what it means to her that she wasn't in my tummy. When we were putting her to bed tonight she asked me again if she was in my tummy. I said no, but I wish she was. And then she asked what the other mommy's name was, and I told her. Then she asked if she was pretty, and I said yes. I hope I can help her through this without her being upset. I want to be honest and open, since we send a letter and pictures about 4 times a year to her birth mother.. actually we are almost ready to send the next one. Did I handle this alright do you think? I don't know how many more questions she will have, but I want to be honest in a way that she can handle for her age. She is 4 and going to Kindergarten in the fall, so I think she should understand what it means to be adopted. But I don't want her to feel insecure. She has looked at her "Utah" book many times. This is a scrapbook of all of the things my husband and I did while we were out waiting for her to be born and it has her first pictures in the scrapbook at the end.



Now, I apologize for putting up such a long post on my first visit, but my other concern is my own mother, who has a very hard time with the idea of being truthful with GiGi about adoption. Now, GiGi has known she is adopted since the beginning-well since she heard the word in relation to her, since we adopted her three days after she was born. We had the most wonderful birth mother who wanted us to be present when she was born, so we witnessed her birth. And, we actually have cared for her since day 1 when she was released from the hospital to us. Last night when I told my mother GiGi was thinking she came from my "tummy" my mom joked about doctoring up pictures.. to which I said no way-well she said she was joking, but I think she would do it if she could. Tomorrow when we are at day care GiGi may mention the new information she knows and I will have to prepare my mother before she pops it on her. We work together at a day care center, so we are all together everyday. Anyway, I guess my questions from this whole post are: Does anyone else feel the same way as I do-that honesty is the best policy and does anyone have any advice that will help me to help my daughter understand and still feel secure? I hope I haven't blundered and given too much information.. but I feel like if she is asking for the information, then she is ready to start understanding more about how she came to be part of our family. The other question is.. does anyone have advice on how to reassure my mother about being honest? I mean she wanted me to hide my feelings just recently when we lost our oldest cat to Kidney failure, and did NOT approve that we allowed GiGi to be present when we said goodbye at the vet. My mother will not be happy to know GiGi knows she has another mother. I feel that if I do not make a big deal of what she asks, she will continue to ask the questions she needs to assimilate this new knowledge and will feel comfortable knowing we will tell her the truth about this and other important things that will affect her as she grows up.



What if she wants to meet her? I guess I will have to tell her what her birthmother told us. If she wants to find me when she is older, thats fine.



Ok, thanks for listening. I will be coming in to learn more from all of you other moms-nice to be part of Circle of Moms!

Amanda - posted on 09/21/2011

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I was adopted by my 1/2 brother's grandparents and they also had gaurdianship of him. We both always knew that they weren't really our parents. Growing up I was always really close with my neices and nephues (who were all very close to my age). I remember when i was around 8 or 9 my class at school was talking about heritage. I went home and asked my mom if she knew about mine, she didn't. Then I asked her if we could write a letter to my bio great grandma. She seemed offended and told me no, she said I could find out about it and them when i was 18 and out of her house. I was curious and feeling lost and it seemed to me I had done something wrong. I have 2 girls of my own now and still don't know a lot. My great grandmother died when i was 17 so I never got to meet her or to ask her questions about my heritage. My grandmother tells me that I am mostly Cherokee but also English, Scottish, German, and another one that escapes me. However I dont know much beyond that. I don't talk to my bio mother. I was the second of the thirteen children she had and then were taken away by whatever state she was living in at the time. I was raised with my oldest brother who is deaf. We occasionally got to visit our younger brothers who were approx 9 months apart and taken in by the same foster family and eventually adopted. Then is another sister who lived with my husband and I for a year and a half before moving in with a friend after she turned 18. After her the names and order gets fuzzy. Our bio mother is also deaf, the few times i have seen/talked to her she can never even get the ones i know strait so I just dont trust what she says on the rest. I do know of another sister who is 8. She was born in an alley in New Orleans, she's the only one that I know of that the hospital knew or could tell that she was born with drugs in her system, she was 2 months early. She was adopted and her mom found me and I am very happy to get to talk to her on the phone and in email.I hope that anyone who adopts keeps in mind that while your child loves you very much they might still feel lost about who they are and if they want to know more about their bio family please try to find what they are asking about, go through a grandparent if the parents are people you would rather not talk to or have around.

Anne - posted on 09/17/2011

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Our daughter is adopted, bi-racial, now 7. When she was about 4 or 5, she started asking us how come she is darker than we are. They also talked in school about what similarities each kid has with their parents (for science class). She didn't know what to say. When her little brother was born, our biological son, she asked us about breast feeding and if she had done that, too. We told her right then and there that some babies come out of their mommy's tummy, and others out of other mommies tummies. We told her that the mommy whose tummy she came out of couldn't take care of her, but that she gave her to us, because she knew that we could take care of her. She now even tells her friends very openly that she was adopted. She is the only "dark" child in her school, so her friends are curious about her skin color. So far, we have had no problems with the issue and we are very happy about that.
I do have to say though, that my husband was adopted himself and his parents were also always open about it.
Our daughter's adoption was a closed adoption, but we have enough info to track down the bm, should our daughter ever decide that she wanted to. But we won't give that info to her until she is at least 18 and asks for it.

Joanna - posted on 03/18/2009

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Hi Kim



We just finalized our son's adoption on February 27, 2009.  We have been with our son since the moment he was born on Sept 8, 2008.  We have a very open relationship with our son Matthew's birthparents and their families.  I am in the process of making Matthew a lifebook which tells his adoption story.  I am using a book called "Lifebooks: Creating a Treasure for the Adopted Child" by Beth O'Malley, M.Ed as a reference. 

Amy - posted on 03/03/2009

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Do some checking for an adoption agency that provides post adoption support in your area. I work for one and we have support groups, case managers to assist families and get togethers for the children. We have a grant that pays for these services, so look around, there's help out there!

Heidi - posted on 02/04/2009

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Thank you so much for your willingness to share!!! My brother was adopted as well and I’m always looking for the clearest picture of what might be going through my kids' heads. We celebrate each child's story and I hope I'm creating an environment that will be comfortable for any discussion. I’m not intimidated by my children having another mom out there, and I think that helps me to be open to what ever is best for my children.



 



Thanks again for shearing!



 

Heidi - posted on 02/04/2009

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 Lori....Please tell me more about your experience with your parents. What did you want to know about your birth family? What fears went through your head? What was helpful to hear from your mom and dad? I would greatly appreciate your insight!!!

[deleted account]

That is awesome!!  I have 3 bio children and 1 adopted child who is 9.  I was also adopted so I know what it's like to be adopted.  I know what kind of thoughts adopted children have and what they want out of their adoptive parents.  That is truely amazing!  My daughter asked me once who is her REAL mom....I told her that we BOTH are your "real" mom...your BM really had you in her belly...and I really take care of you and love you so much..both which are very 'Real" ...Good job ;)

[deleted account]

My son is a little over a year now and we have a very open adoption with the birthparents. They are not married and probably will not be together a whole lot longer. Birthfather is not very communicative, but he does show up for visits and always expresses appreciation. Birhtmother and I talk on the phone occasionally, she is my "friend" on Facebook, and we have visited as often as possible. I maintain a blog that they and their families check regularly, and BM is one of the most frequent commenters on posts.



Obviously, The Bug is too young for a conversation about adoption, but to keep it from ever being weird I incorporate the birthparents into his life in natural ways. I have a photo of his BM and him among the pictures on the wall in his bedroom. I made a Shutterfly album of his family and friends - there's a section for my husband's family (aunts/uncles/cousins/grandparents and so on), my family, BM's fam, and BF's fam. Several folks on both of their sides are in touch, and the birth grandparents all send him gifts and letters. I am saving the letters we get from his birthfamily and they're going in a special book for him. In the album, I also included photos from the day when BP's gave him to us - we actually had a little ceremony witnessed by their family and friends (we were living on the other side of the country for our family at the time).



The birthparents were at his first birthday party with all our community and we shared a little of how this first year has been and introduced veryone to BPs.



I know we have a unique situation - many open adoptions are not quite this open, but it sure makes it easy for us to include the BPs in his life as a natural part of his community. Who knows? One day maybe BM will explain her decision to him herself?! (We now live on the other side of the country from them...we had six visits in one year - five of them while we lived near them - and will shoot for two a year from now on, one when we go out there, once when they come here.)



We also set up Skype and plan to make video calls when he's old enough to participate in that.



I'll know better in a few years how this all works out for us. :) I do post on this topic occasionally on my blog - click the adoption button on the right column for those posts: thep-pod.blogspot.com



It's been great hearing everyone else's stories!

Jaime - posted on 01/31/2009

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I have two children who joined my family when they were 11 months and 2 days old, a boy and girl, who are now 11 and 8 (my how time flies!). I have talked with them about adoption since the time they were old enough to talk...and have found that this openness has opened doors to some very amazing conversations with them. I have also found that having this openness, has taken away the nervousness about talking with them (kind of like the sex talk...the more you talk about such topics, the easier it is, the more it is seen as normal, and the more it teaches the kids that it is an ok topic to raise, whenever they want) I tell them that I am the mom that gets to raise them, and their birth mom got to grow them. I tell them that we both give them amazing gifts, and that without both of us - their lives would be totally different. When we talk about adoption (which they bring up far more often than one would imagine), I try to share with them that adoption is just another way to build a family, not better or worse, just another, very equal way to build a family. They both have begun to say that when they grow up, they want to adopt children, and I can't think of a better gift for them, or a better way for me to know that they too see adoption as an important blessing that they can give to a child and that they can continue to be blessed by.

Julie - posted on 01/28/2009

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I have adopted 2 girls at birth from the same bm. My 4 year old knows she did not grow in my tummy, she grew in my heart. She talks about it at the funniest times (sometimes mentions it to total strangers!) but we are very casual about it. I have 14 yo twins that are my birth children, but they all know they are loved! Openness works for us.

Lori - posted on 01/26/2009

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That was an issue with us early on as well. At first, we were so excited that we had her, that we GOT her, we just couldn't help ourselves. We wanted to shout it from the rooftops, "WE ADOPTED!!!" Then we began to realize that, maybe we needed to stop that.... But we also wanted Lora to know and to be comfortable with the fact. Eventually, we calmed down and the word "adoption" just became a natural, normal word.

My advice: Never whisper the word behind your hands. If someone else does (or I should say WHEN someone else does), repeat it, "Yes. He/she was adopted." And always say "WAS" not "IS." Adopted is a verb, not an adjective.

:)

Niki - posted on 01/23/2009

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Hi, we adopted our twin girls from a family member at birth.  We are lucky to have gotten to know their bio. father as well.  They are 3 1/2.  I try to tell them a few times a month how lucky and blessed we are that their bio. mom and dad LET us adopt them.  They don't know yet that their story will be different than many of their friends, but we hope by telling them early and often that it won't be a big deal to them.  We also have a lot of contact with bio. mom and dad (who live in different places about 1000 miles away) and want our girls to know them as well.

Audra - posted on 01/21/2009

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Jennifer, I love your ides of the Gotcha day. I have been asked by many people if now do we celebrate twice (birthday and adoption day). I thought that was a bit much but didn't have any good ideas. So I am going to incorporate your idea.



I am a single mom and have just adopted Devin (2 1/2 years old) this past week, though I have had him since birth. I also have a 17 year old exchange student from Germany. I am a foster mom and this last Friday just got 2 more kids (thank goodness I had the whole week off from work). Yes I work full time and sometimes it is a little challenge, but it is sooo worth it. Again thanks for the GREAT idea.

Audra - posted on 01/21/2009

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Quoting Jennifer:

I tell the story that I searched the whole world to find the most wonderful little boy to be our son and I found him and he was so wanted and he feels special. To celebrate the Gotcha day he picks a restaurant to go to and we look at the photo albums that day for sure and we remember that day..but no presents and huge hoopla...it's just a day to remember how special he truly is. My bio daughter I think sometimes feels left out but we make her feel special too because we remember her on her birthday and her birth story.


 

Heather - posted on 01/18/2009

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I have thought of this subject from day one too. Breanna, my natural daughter-we had to try 8 years to have her, I went through a lot of changes in those 8 years so when she was finally born she was the center of my world. Then Chrisitan-our soon to be adopted son came along through a relative that was addicted to crack-cocaine and he was born at 26 weeks. We didn't plan on having any other children, I had already had a hysterectomy. We weren't sure if we were ready to take this on but we did and now I can't imagine him not being with us. But-I have had to suffer the guilt of sharing my love with another child because I was so used to Breanna being my only child. We have all adjusted to that but now I worry about his questions as well. I figure I have to tell people because they stare and they wonder, and sometimes they ask if he's mine. He is mixed with something. Mom didn't know who the dad was but he appears to be mixed with hispanic. My daughter has blond hair and he has black hair which raises eyebrows. However, my husband and I both have brown hair so people have always wondered about her too! LOL I tell them, when they ask "where did she get that blond hair?" I tell them "the mail man" but I do plan to tell Christian about his mommy because she exhibited the greatest act of love in giving him up. That was something no one ever thought she could be selfless enough to do. We are so proud of her and we promised her we would tell him how much she loved him to give him up, and I intend to do just that. But I do worry about his self-esteem when he realizes he's adopted. I know it may seem extreme but I do plan to visit a child psychologist to get some insight on how to handle the many challenges ahead. From his possible issues due to being addicted to Crack at birth-like insecurities in youth or developmental issues, to how to handle the adoption issue-when it's most appropriate to introduce the issue and how.

Joanne - posted on 01/17/2009

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Hi, my husband and i have adopted our granddaughter, she is now 3...we are starting to intoduce "being adopted",to our daughter I am an adopted child! We tell her that she is adopted, but , at 3 i don't think she understands, but, i think just saying the word 'adopted' she will be faimular with it. and i guess its a start. All the help in the world i would appreciate and i have read what others have read too you...thanks this helps so much. Congrats on your addition!

Lara - posted on 01/15/2009

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I found the book "Talking with young children about adoption" by watkins and fisher to be really helpful. Good luck!

Elizabeth - posted on 01/14/2009

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I have 3 adopted daughters and 4 bio children and we have always just been open about it and of course it is not the center of the attention. I sometime tease with my oldest adopted daughter that I got to pick her.... The others we were stuck with. lol I also showed her examples of special people in the Bible and other places that were adopted. I will admit it is sometimes akward when something is mention about the bio kids how they look like mom or dad and other things like the bio children asking about there birth or about when they were in my tummy. One of the biggest things is for them to know that they are loved and important to Dad and Mom. And talk about how those situations make them feel and try to explain to them how people do not know they are being rude.... Prayer... Im happy for you.:)

Elaine - posted on 01/06/2009

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Explaining to our son that he was adopted was an ongoing process. I think it started when he was a toddler and we saw a pregnant woman. I took the opportunity to tell him that the lady had a baby in her tummy. On another occassion, I told him that I couldn't carry babies so a wonderful girl named "R" asked us to be the parents to her baby because she was too young and that he was the best gift I ever got and we love her so much for it. It made him feel very special to learn how happy it made his dad and I, as well as his grandparents.



We never made a big deal out of it. As he got older and began to ask questions, we answered them with as much information as was appropriate to each age. He's 17 now and knows as much as I do about his birth mother and father.

Jennifer - posted on 01/01/2009

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I tell the story that I searched the whole world to find the most wonderful little boy to be our son and I found him and he was so wanted and he feels special. To celebrate the Gotcha day he picks a restaurant to go to and we look at the photo albums that day for sure and we remember that day..but no presents and huge hoopla...it's just a day to remember how special he truly is. My bio daughter I think sometimes feels left out but we make her feel special too because we remember her on her birthday and her birth story.

Sara - posted on 12/18/2008

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We are a caucasian family (2 natural kids) and have adopted two black children from birth. I always wanted our son (born first) to have someone he could relate to so that he would not feel like the only different one in our family. So we immediately started the process again and have a daughter born 10 and a half months after him. I know those questions are coming too, and I just plan to be open with them both and raise them to know that they are all special.

H. Ruth - posted on 12/17/2008

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We've adopted both our children and right from the start we've talked about their adoption story with them and with others. They know that they don't come from my "tummy". We also have photo albums of pictures from the whole start to finish and our daughter (4) likes to point out who is whom (bm, half-sis, "grandma", aunty). Last year just after we adopted our son, our daughter's bio-aunt was married and we were invited to the wedding. E's bm was there and they had a good visit.

Start talking right away. Questions come up but it is better that they know so that the really hard questions are not necessarily really hard to answer later on.

Kim - posted on 12/10/2008

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Thanks for the insight...what a fun story. Probably another interesting thing for your adopted kids was to see the process as you adopted again...they got to see how loved the child was from day one. We would love to adopt again, and think that would afford some good conversation starters. Somehow it seems like it would be easier to be casual about it if he wasn't the only one who came to our family via adoption.



I love the approach you take about not focusing on it. That has been the thing that feels right to me, but it seems like so many adoption books/experts are saying the opposite...that you should encourage your adopted child to grieve the loss of their first family...etc. Which, I understand to a point, but it just seems to be putting roadblocks in the path of a child, who, in our case, could never have any memory of that "loss". So it's good to hear from someone with older adopted kids who has been there. Thanks!

Heidi - posted on 12/10/2008

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We have 3 bio and 3 adopted children. I agree with you on not making adoption the biggest thing your child identifies with. Our 3 adopted kids are all African American (with other racial diversity). They are 12, 9, and 3. I remember when Isaac (12) first started to noticed what he looked like. He was 18 months old. We would be shopping and other moms would be pushing their carts with their babies Isaac’s age in the seat. He would greet every white baby as “Baby”, and every bi-racial or black baby as “Isaac”. Soon he switched to “girl” or “boy”. He also thought all older ladies were “Grandma”.

Adoption brings its own set of unique issues to address at the right moments with each child. Sensitive details will need to wait until later, and talking about your child’s adoption story is something to celebrate with the whole family. How often the subject of adoption is spoken of may be different with each child. We don’t bring it up all the time, not to avoid the subject, but because it’s not necessary to talk about all the time. How often do I talk to my bio kids about the day they were born? (Special, yes. Focused on, No!) We’re simply a family. We work, play and live as a unit.



I told this story in another post, but I think its fun so I’ll tell it again.

When my son Isaac was about 4 years old and my daughter Maddy was about 8, we all forgot he was adopted. I was telling Maddy how she used to get the hiccups when she was in my tummy and how my belly would jump in rhythm. Isaac asked if he ever got the hiccups when he was in my tummy. I thought about it and began to feel guilty that I didn’t remember. I said, “Honey I’m sorry. I can’t even remember my pregnancy with you.” At that moment everyone froze. We looked at each other and busted out laughing. We had all forgotten that I hadn’t experienced the pregnancy with him. Isaac and I still laugh about that and he cuddles right into my arms knowing he is my son and I’m his mom.

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