when to tell kids they are adopted

Jennifer - posted on 01/05/2010 ( 25 moms have responded )

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My first two kids are from a previous marriage. My ex was a dead beat husband and father. I think he has spent more time in prison than out! My current husband has adopted the kids after a long drawn out battle (my ex had no argument, we just had to go through all the legal junk). Though my kids don't remember their birth father, they do remember mommy and daddy getting married and they also remember going to the court house though they don't know the reason. My husband wants to wait til the kids are 18 to tell them, but I think they need to know sooner. Some day before they are 18, they are going to put 2 and 2 together and figure it out on their own, then be mad at us for not telling them. I know my husband is afraid that the kids will want to leave him and find their birth father as soon as they find out. I don't think they will, because he is a wonderful father to them. I know there will be some curiosity, but once they realize what kind of man my ex is, they won't want to be with him. I just don't know a proper age to tell them. They need to be old enough to understand, but young enough not to have figured it out on their own.

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Angie - posted on 01/05/2010

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I am in the same boat with you. My husband adopted my oldest child. But he has been in the picture since she was about a month old, so she doesnt really know any better. She is 5 now, and hasnt seen her dad since before she turned 2. S I am pretty sure she doesnt remember him. I am thinking 10-13 is a good age to tell her depending on her maturity level. I would juyst wait until they are mature enough to understand everything. My daughters dad was a drug addict, and I am thinking about what I should tell her about him. So good luck to u! My husband is scared to tell her too. Everything will be fine for u though! Your kids love him, so dont worry!

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Bonnie - posted on 09/06/2012

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Hi, I've been reading the posts and I am in a similar position. My son is about to turn 4 and has never seen his biological dad. I met my husband when my son was 4 months old and so he knows him as daddy. My husband point blank refuses that we tell him, which I think is such a bad idea. I dont know what to do, he is a wonderful father and I am scared we will loose him if I go against his wishes, but then I'm scared if I dont tell my son I will loose him eventually. I dont know what to do.



Can anyone help???

Thanks

Mrs S

Melaina - posted on 01/07/2010

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I agree that telling them right away is best. My younger brother is adopted and we always knew. It sounds to me like your husband may have some confidence or fear issues about them not choosing him the way he has chosen them, but I think that is more likely to happen if they're shocked by the news later in life. If they grow up knowing that he chose to be their REAL dad, and loves them, etc. they won't likely reject him.

Angela - posted on 01/07/2010

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Start reading books... there is a good one I read to my daughter,,, just because the book is so cute and to show her that anyone can be a parent to someone. I think it is called 'a mother for Choco' it is so sweet. My daughter is not adopted,.

Angela - posted on 01/07/2010

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Tell them soon... that way when they are older it will be a smoother transition,

Patty - posted on 01/07/2010

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Tell them ASAP. Our daughter is adopted and we've been telling her and giving her bits of information since she came home at 11 months old. It's always age appropriate and truthful. If you leave too much undisclosed until they are teenagers it will be a huge shock and you run the risk of resentment and mistrust towards both you and your husband.

Gianna - posted on 01/07/2010

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ummm i dont know about adoption, but my mother told me when i was 8 that the man who had been raising me was not my father. I believe 8 is a good time because it didnt freak me out because i was still young, but yet i still made the transition to ok he's not my father. I think if i would have been told younger i might have not understood or just not cared and if i was told older might have been mad or lost. So 8 was a good age for me to find out a secret about one of my parents.

Evelyn - posted on 01/07/2010

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HI,MY NAME A EVELYN AND I THINK YOU MOST LET THEM NOW AS SOON AS POSSIBLE,MY YOUNG DAUGHTER WAS FROM MY FIRST MARRIAGE, AND MY HUSBAND LEFT ME .I GOT MARRIED FOR THE SECOND TIME WITH THIS GUY THAT I ALWAYS LOVE HIM .HE ACCEPTED ME WITH MY BABY THAT AT THAT TIME SHE WAS 1 YEAR OLD WE STARTED TO LIVE TOGETHER AND ONE DAY WE GOT INTO A ARGUMENT AND I TOLD HIM THAT HE HAD NO RIGHTS FOR HER BECAUSE SHE WAS MY CHILD AND NOT HIS,MY CHILD WAS 5 YEARS OLD AND SHE HEAR ME SAYING THAT AND SHE STARTED CRYING AND SHE ASK ME WHY I LIE TO HER IF I WAS ALWAYS TELLING HER ,U MOST NOT LIE CAUSE GOD DOES NOT LIKE THAT ,AND THAT DAY I SET DON WITH HER AND EXPLAIN EVERYTHING,.SHE WAS A SMART LITTLE GIRL AT THE AGE OF 5 AND AL SHE TOLD ME WAS WELL FOR ME HIS MY FATHER NOT THE ONE THAT MADE ME , BUT SHE WILL ALWAYS ASK FOR INFORMATION LITTLE BY LITTLE . SOW IF I WAS U I WILL LET THEM KNOW RIGHT AWAY. SOW GOOD LUCK..

Lexann - posted on 01/07/2010

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Your husband IS your children's REAL father, just not their biological father, and that is how you should approach it. Your husband should tell them with you, and make sure he explains how they are special because he CHOSE to be their father. He picked them out especially for his family, or something along those lines. At 6 & 4 they don't need a lot of details. When they get older they will become more curious, and because they already know that they are adopted, you will be free to answer their questions openly and honestly when they are ready to ask.

May - posted on 01/07/2010

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I have always found its always the best thing to be honest with your kids from the beginning , put yourself in there shoes how would you feel if you were adopted and didnt know till you were 18 , they will adjust you just explain it to them and then when they have questions you deal with it when the arise .

Kayla - posted on 01/06/2010

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i think you should start explaining now, my fiance was adopted to and his mom was in tha same situation, but they told him when he was around 14 and he was devistated! he rebelled against them and would sneak out and be gone for days!!! he realy didnt kno how to deal with it but i think if u let them kno when they r young then they will be fine with it, my fiance is now 19 and hasnt tryed to contact his birth dad and accepts his dad as "his dad" i hope this helps!

Krista - posted on 01/06/2010

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Being adopted myself and having several friends adopted I feel it should be an open and known subject from early on. I was adopted at 2 and can not remember never knowing, I was always told before I even knew what it meant and my mom had many wonderful talks with me about it to include adopting my first cabbage patch doll to better understand. It can be very a very devestating shock for some to find out later in life and also can raise trust issues... If you don't treat it like a secret it won't make the kids feel like it is something horrible, you and their dad have done whats best for them and they will love you for it as well as be grateful to have a dad in their lives who wants them. Remember children are a gift from God, but adoption is a gift of LOVE :)

Wendy - posted on 01/06/2010

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My mother and her siblings were adopted and they were told from the beginning. My grandparents also took in foster kids and neighbor kids who needed help. My mother loves her parents and has never wanted to meet the "donors." I do for health reasons but that is all. My sisters oldest was adopted by her husband when he was very little. They have been together since she was 4mos. preg. He is 15 and doesn't know yet. But sometimes things slip and he will find out and knowing him it will be very devastating to him. Tell your husband to think about how he would feel and which way he would like to find out. As long as the love is there that is all that matters.

Joy - posted on 01/06/2010

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well im kinda in the same situation...let me start by saying i was adopted by my dad, my mom is my mom. i found out somewhat on my own when i was 12yrs old. i saw my medical record and noticed a different last name. i asked my mom about it and that is when she told me. i felt somewhat of a relief cause i was being treated different and i understood why. my youngest daughter isnt my husband biological daughter but he has raised her since she was 2yrs old, she is going on 7yrs old now. she knows that he is not her real daddy but she acknowledges him as her real father. she knows but she dont care, she knows who loves her, takes care of her, and who is the REAL DADDY to her. she is young and doesnt understand some but she knows and that is all that counts. i dont think there is a good age for a child to find out, every child is different, but every child knows who loves them and cares about them, they feel it. i wish you luck with your children and they will understand.

Sherri - posted on 01/06/2010

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Tell them now! My sister and I were adopted at birth, and we ALWAYS knew we were adopted. Our parents told us that our birth mother could not take care of us (mine was too young) and that they wanted to give us to mom and dad, because they could take better care of us and that we were soooo special because they wanted us! We grew up with great love and security. But we always knew. It will SHOCK your children if you wait. I think I would have been angry and very hurt if they didn't tell me until I was 18.

Kate - posted on 01/06/2010

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I think that you should tell them now. explain to them as best you can that he isnt their biological father but he loves them very much. tell them they can ask you about it anytime they want and Only answer the questions they ask you and as they get older they will want to no more . I think it is important to be up front and honest with your family

Francesca - posted on 01/05/2010

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ASAP. But always let them know that u love them as if they were your own.

Belinda - posted on 01/05/2010

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I love the way my cousin's explained it to their little girl when she was 5. They had adopted her from their sister who was going through drugs/prison etc, but was actually recovered and back in the picture as an active auntie. They told her that God put her brother's in mommy's tummy for their family and God put her in "Auntie's" tummy for their family. She just said, "Oh, okay" and that was it... no big deal. She talks openly about it. I'm sure there are many books and resources on how exactly to tell in different situations! But kids are smart... they'll understand. AND if they're younger I'm sure they will be much more accepting.

Carolee - posted on 01/05/2010

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Let him know that you're not willing to risk your kids being angry and resentful when they find out. People are naturally rebellious during their teen years, and if you wait to add that, your husband runs the risk of them acting out even more against him because he's not technically their "real dad" (even though he's the only dad they've had). If it's a part of their daily lives (don't push it in their faces, but still let them know), there is MUCH less risk of them rebelling against him (because he's not the bio dad) when they're teens. Make sure he knows that you are absolutely firm on this decision.

Jennifer - posted on 01/05/2010

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thank you everyone. I am all for telling them and if that means now, then that is ok. I have never and yes I mean never lied to my children before and this eats at me, but how do I get my husband on the right page? and yes, I have tried talking to him.

Carolee - posted on 01/05/2010

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Don't make a secret out of it. 18 is definately too late! Periodically ask them if they remember going to the courthouse. Ask them if they know why they went. If they say they don't know why, tell them it was so daddy could be their whole daddy, not just their half daddy. When they ask what that means, tell them that there was a different man before daddy, and he put them in your belly (or whatever is age-appropriate) so that you and daddy could enjoy and raise them. If they ask about their bio father, you can delay that for a little while, but they should be told before they're teens.

Sarah - posted on 01/05/2010

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I am a social worker that works in adoption. The best time to tell kids they are adopted is from day 1 (even if that is a newborn). You tell them their story with age appropraiteness. When they are little you keep it simple. As they get older they will ask question. Answer their questions honestly, but keeping it at their age level. Much like you talk about sex. Sex is not just a one talk deal. You start when they are very little talk about their body parts both private and non private. As they get older they will ask more questions and you answer those honestly, but geared towards their age. If they need more info. they will ask. Adoption is something to be proud of and makes them who they are. When kept a secert (even if for a short time) it then feels like something shameful and kids then feel bad about who they are. There are MANY different books for ALL ages that talk about adoption. When kids are little the stories are often written as animals (kids relate better to animals when they are small). As kids get into their teens then you will find more books that are written in human form. I have 2 sisters and a brother that were adopted. They were told from day 1 and this has really helped them grow and develop into healthy people. Imagine how you would feel if something about what makes you you was kept from you for a time. Then one day you found out either on your own or by a parent telling you. There can be a lot of anger and resentment that is felt when something is kept and not shared. It also becomes a bigger issue than what it is. Adoption is a neat and wonderful thing. My kids even at the age of 2 and 3 yrs old understand the basics of adoption.

Rose - posted on 01/05/2010

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i am in a similar situation and i have told my kids from the beginning so i didn't "have to cross that bridge" when they get older......i thought my dad was my bio-dad until another man came knocking on the door telling me that he was my dad....i was 7 and it crushed my world.....i still have trust issues with my parents for not being honest with me....i think the younger the better!!!!!

Jennifer - posted on 01/05/2010

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my kids are 6 and 4 right now. They were 4 and 3 when everything was finalized. My husband is just so scared. He tells me he is afraid that he treats our youngest child (his bio-son) better, and he doesn't. He is absolutely wonderful to all the kids. He is exactly what they deserve... The Best!!!

Jane - posted on 01/05/2010

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I was adopted. I old are your kids now? All my friends knew I was adopted 'cause I'm from a small town & one day when I was about 11 I got into a fight w/ my girlfriends as most girls do @ that age & they started teasing me about it. I had NO idea!! I went home & told my parents what my friends said & they had no choice but to tell me, it was very traumatic for me to find out that way. My advice is if other people know about your husband adopting them it's possible something might slip out from another person other then you or their dad. Just because they aren't biologically related to him does not mean that he's any less their dad. Any idiot can produce a baby but not all men can raise a child & this may be something you want to mention to them when telling them. Be sure not to talk bad about their bio-dad this may make them feel unloved but instead to tell them that he just was ill-equiped to care for them but he still loved them. It takes a very wonderful, loving man to adopt someone else's kids & tell them that he couldn't love them anymore then if he was their bio-dad. If you wait it may 'cause some trust & anger issues. Maybe they already have some idea that he's not their bio-dad & it won't be an issue. They will probably ask to find or meet their bio-dad but since they are young yet & your hubby adopted them I think they'll have to wait until they are 18 anyway. This kind of situation is not uncommon lots of kids are in the same boat as your kids are. Your hubby might get "you're not my real dad anyway" when they get upset w/ him but they'll adjust & get past it. You'll all have to stay strong & be united. Good luck sweetie & let me know what you decide, I'm interested to know!

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