Adoption-What is the right age to tell?

Jennifer - posted on 03/07/2010 ( 27 moms have responded )




Hi, I was wondering if anyone is adopted or has adopted there child? We adopted our daughter at Birth and she is now 4 yrs old. we are wanting to know when the right time to tell her or start talking about it to her is? We don't want to do it to early or to late. We also never want her to find out from anyone before we tell her first. We have a childs book on adoption and foster children ect that we read to her on ocassion hopeing that it may strike up questions one day. We do have contact with the Biological grandparents but not the actual parents. Any suggestions or idea would be greatly appreciated. thanks


Rosie - posted on 03/10/2010




my oldest child is not my husbands. my husband came into our lives when grant was 18 months old. at age 5 we told him that he has 2 daddy's. daddy leo made him, but he couldn't take care of him so daddy chad takes care of him because he loves him soooo much. he understands, asked some questions and throughout the years he's asked questions but it's always been something he's known, and accepts. his daddy leo is a POS who could care less about what happens to him, but i obviously don't put it that way to my child, i simply state that he couldn't take care of him.

my husband found out that the man he thought was his father wasn't his father when he was 14. he overheard a conversation that his mom and stepdad were having about his bio-dad. needless to say, he was pissed. he couldn't believe that everybody in his life had been lying to him for 14 years. his mom, his step dad, his "dad", his grandparents everybody had been lying to him. i seriously suggest telling your child as soon as possible, so there are no bad reactions, and feelings of hurt. it is just something that if they are told early, it's just something that they have always known, and it's not any big shocker.

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Amanda - posted on 11/02/2011




There is no such thing as telling a child to early they are adopted, I personally believe you are a tad late. As an adopted child, knowing I was adopted has never hurt my life. If anything it improved it. Lies and secerts hurt a family. I know one family who did not tell their child, at 16 she found out from a cousin. Which lead her down to many bad choices of her life because she felt betrayed by her mother and father.

Michelle - posted on 11/02/2011




I was adopted, as was my brother and, to be honest, I can't remember how old I was. I've just always known. Both my brother and me were given a book called Mr Fairweather and his Family which was, obviously, all about adoption. I would definately start to explain things to her now if possible.

Wanita - posted on 03/10/2010




I have also adopted. My situation is quite different since my adopted child is black and we are white and she is only 2 in may, so we will have to deal with some quite challenging questions soon I am sure, however, a child knows when they are loved and it will be in the way you respond to her questions. Do it all in love and if you are a Christian, pray for wisdom as you embark on this new chapter with your daughter. God bless you and your family!

Bridgette - posted on 03/10/2010




Wait on the child. She will notice something different and she will ask. My boyfriend has an adopted child and we have talked about this on several occasions. You as a parent need to understand that enough questions are going to come up and it's best if the child is at an age where the answers make sense. I would say don't rush it allow her to live her life and enjoy her parents!!!

Ashley - posted on 03/10/2010




Well I was two when my dad adopted me and as my parents tell me I was so excited when the hole thing happened. My situation is probally a little different that what you are talking about but I have always known and have never felt less loved than that of my other sister or brothers. In fact i always felt more special in a way because my dad choose to be my dad. Now as another story my Husband has two sisters that were adopted from Korea and Im not sure when they told them they were adopted but the always have celebrated what they call gotcha day (the day that they finaly came to live with them) . Now The yungest of the two is 21 and loves that she was adopted and how lucky she was that there family choose her. I'm not sure if i was much help but I agree with most of the posters out there dont keep it a seceret much longer. But be sure that you tell here in the right way. This is a very sensitive matter.

Natasha - posted on 03/09/2010




Myself, and two of my half siblings were adopted into what is now a family of 5 kids. I was 7 at the time and had some trouble adjusting but there is something that I remember my (adoptive) parents telling all of us since day 1 that has always seemed to help us cope just a little bit better. Whenever we were having a hard time dealing with things being said and done they always said "yes you are adopted but you know what .... parents who have babies naturally have no say in anything, we got to CHOOSE you, we didn't have to be stuck with you." In hindsight it kind of sounds like they went shopping for their kids but it helped us when we were younger. I am very pro open-from-the-start, but it's a choice to be made by the parents, no one knows the child better than them. Being that open and honest did have it's difficult times for both us and our parents but I really do believe it has helped us to be the family we are today.

Tifani - posted on 03/09/2010




I totally agree with previous post. I am adopted as well as my older brother. My parents were told they could never have children of their own, so they adopted my older brother and then me 16 months later (no biological relation between he and I though). I dont ever remember actually being told, we just always knew, which means it was told to us from the beginning. My mom used to tell us we were extra special because we were "chosen". I had a friend in high school who also was adopted and she found out when she was 17. heart- wrenching. Please, as an adopted child, do not hide this from your child. Number one, there is no reason too. Yes there are those kids that wonder "why" and "didnt they want me?" I was one of them. But knowing I was a prayed for baby, that my parents were blessed that my birth mom gave me to a family who could love me, and all the other things I was told, SO outweighed the questions. Just tell your daughter how special she is, how much she was wanted and if you believe in God, then tell her that God picked her especially for you. THAT is what will stick with her forever. Hope this helps

Tiffany - posted on 03/09/2010




I'm not adopted, but we hope to adopt one day when the time is right. I think now is the perfect time to start talking about it. If I were in this position, I would sit her down and just talk to her. Let her know that you adopted her because you loved her and that you feel so lucky because you were able to choose her, and that makes her special. I would definitely tell her before you have any other children, biologically or adopted so she doesn't get confused. I think telling her at this age is better then waiting. One day, she is probably going to ask for your help in finding her birth parents. When that time comes, just support her. She's always going to love you as her parents, despite whether she has a relationship with her birth parents. Also, if you keep in contact with the birth grandparents, it might be nice for her to be able to see them eventually. Maybe not right now, it may get confusing. Do what you feel is right! Trust your mothers instinct. I hope this helps. =)

Kirin - posted on 03/09/2010




I was adopted at 5 years of age from Thailand to Britsh parents. I was told straight away . The more open you are, the better your relationsip with your child will be. I was told I was chosen so therefore special. Also be open about the grandparents, one day she might want to visit them. Hope this helps and good luck.

Laura - posted on 03/09/2010




We are at the beginning of our adoption journey. But this is what we plan to do when we have been given the gift of an adopted child...We will create an Adoption Life Book.

An Adoption Life Book is a record of a foster/adoptee’s life that uses words, photos, graphics, the child’s artwork, and memorabilia. An Adoption Life Book includes information about the child’s birth parents and reason for leaving them. It always starts at the child’s birth. Plus the fun part of when the adopted child first joined the family.

An Adoption Life Book is more than a life story. It is a unique opportunity for parents to honor every minute of their children’s lives. It is the single most meaningful piece of "paperwork" that any one can complete.

Some of the bebfits of this book are that it enables a parent ways to normalize adoption language, it is a way to reduce fantasy about birthparents, it will be pro-active for thos difficult teen-age years-to-come and it will create opportunities to include positive self- identity and ethnic identity for the child.

Also, remember to leave space for future events!

Hope this helps!

All the best.

Julz - posted on 03/08/2010




I was adopted at birth as well. My parents told me when I was little but after they had concieved my little brother. (We are 3 yrs apart so I think I was 5 or 6. So I think they either waited too long to tell me or did not tell me in the right manner. Dont get me wrong, I love my family, but I was very confused and did not feel as loved as my little brother that was their "actual child". Even today as adults, he is more favored, always has been that way I am afraid. SO my suggestion is tell them early, have tons and tons of conversations about it and dont have any other children unless they are also adopted. There is my 2 cents for what it is worth... I can tell by your posting that you truly lov your child and I think it is absolutely wonderful you adopted her..

[deleted account]

Please, please tell your child as early as possible. My husband ACCIDENTALLY found out he was adopted when he was 9 and he was crushed. 9 years of holding in a lie! Adoption is nothing to be embarassed or ashamed of in the least bit. It took him 3 years to come to terms with his parents. As an adult now, he has a fanatastic relationship with his dad. Not so much his mom, for lying about many many things in his life, including adoption.

[deleted account]

I have heard of moms celebrating the child's adoption day. Talk about how wonderful that day was that your daughter joined your family and I agree with Teresa so I would start now.

[deleted account]

Well, I would've been talking about it from birth, so that doesn't really help you now.

Good luck!

Lucy - posted on 03/08/2010




I definitely agree that it's better when kids don't remember a time when they didn't know. As time goes on, there is really no ideal time to drop a bombshell like that, and it can have a very negative affect on them as they are developing their sense of identity throughout their childhood if they suddenly find out such a big part of their own history.

My cousin was adopted at just a couple of days old, and my auntie always made a point of talking about it, even before she could fully understand. When my cousin was a baby she would scoop her up for a cuddle saying "come here my gorgeous little adopted daughter", and frequently told her about the wonderful day they were able to bring her home. As a result, my cousin (who is now 29 and has two babies of her own) is comfortable with herself and her place in our family, and never really felt the need to explore contacting her biological parents (although my auntie has always made it clear that she would support her if she did). Total openness definitely worked out in her case.

Medic - posted on 03/07/2010




I was adopted at four days old and as long as I can remember I have known. My parents always talked to me about it and supported me when at 10 I wanted to find my biological father ( I have always known my birth mom). My parents just made it normal and easy for me to talk about and it has always made me special. When my brothers would try and be mean and make fun of me for it I used to tell them," atleast I was chosen, they just got stuck with you". So I guess I'm trying to say you should tell her from the begining.

Brooke - posted on 03/07/2010




here is a little story, I have 3 older sisters and 1 older brother. One of my sisters was 17 when she fell pregnant to a man called brett, at this time my mother was pregnant with me and my eldest sister was pregnant with her first. During my sister Tina's pregnancy she left Brett and told him she wanted him to leave her and the baby alone. He is a really descent guy and did as she wished. He remained friends with my eldest sister nicole. Now when Tina was still pregnant she met this other guy Ben. From the birth of Joel, he claimed to be his real father and never had any intentions on telling him the truth. But when he turned 17, with some family issues the topic had to be addressed and so they told Joel that his biological father was called Brett but Ben had been there since day one and was his dad.

It ruined Joel's life. He has slipped away, he won't discuss the topic any further he hardley talks to his parents, he always seems depressed.

From a young age he knew he was different from his 4 other siblings.

I guess what I'm getting at is there isn't an age to early to tell. The more they grow up knowing the more they understand.

Make sure to let her know it is not her fault or her biological parents fault. Keep it simple and I'm sure she will apreciate knowing the truth as she grows.

Pat - posted on 03/07/2010




From the start! They need to know they were lucky to be chosen by you, maybe when their biological Mom couldn't take care of them...

Iridescent - posted on 03/07/2010




My mom was adopted, and although she knew she was adopted and her parents know who the biological parents are, they refused to tell her. There are multiple health problems that are genetic, and still, no go. The adoption records are permanently sealed. I personally think it's a completely immature way of having dealt with it (by her parents), and it has caused a lot of problems.

Lynne - posted on 03/07/2010




HI there i was adopted at birth and i have always known that I was special and mammy and daddy chose me, i think looking back now that was the right thing to do as it was no big deal for me that i wasnt with my "proper" mam and dad and it was just normal for me. I think the sooner the better and be honest is definatly the way to go.

Joanna - posted on 03/07/2010




I gave my daughter up for adoption 8 years ago. Her parents were very open with her from the very beginning. I remember going to visit her when she was 5, and she pointed at my belly and said "God put me in your tummy because mommy couldn't have me in hers." Even at 5 she was so smart about it. So I don't think it's too early, no.

Charlene - posted on 03/07/2010




My brother was adopted at birth.His parents started telling him very early that he has more family than just the ones he saw. He has known about the adoption since he waas really little. The first time i met him he was 7. I have spent time with him and We talk almost every day. He is now 18. Also there are questions that she will want answered like medical probs in the family and she needs to know where to turn to. Just make sure you tell her she "is more special than most because she has a VERY large loving family." Everything will be so much better if she knows sooner. That way she doesnt resent you for "lying" to her about who she is. Good luck, and thanks for making sure that precious little girl has a loving home to come home to. =)

Andrea - posted on 03/07/2010




My opinion is to tell her sooner than later. I haven't adopted, but my son (11 months old) was conceived using donor eggs and we've already started reading a children's book about becoming a family this way so he will always know.

[deleted account]

My husband and I adopted a little girl (she was our niece) when she was 4 yrs old. She knows she was adopted we think that makes her unique and tell her this often. In my opinion this is something that needs to be handled my the maturity of your child and how you as the mother think she will react. I would never suggest waiting till she is older girls tend to be more dramatic with age LOL! I know she will have a lot of questions as she grows and you need to be prepared to answer those questions. I also suggest that you and your husband need to prepare yourselves for the time that she wants to meet her biological parents. We recently learned that the biological dad (also my husbands brother) wants to have a relationship with our daughter this was hard for me considering he lost those privalages a long time ago. But we spoke to our daughter and she doesnt want anything to do with him as of right now. This may be the case for you as well later down the road. I wish the best for you and your family. I know how difficult adoption can be and I know all the joy it can bring to a family as well. Rest assure there is way more joy then difficulty. Just be honest with her and after you tell her let her ask the questions let her know that it will always be an open conversation that she can discuss on her time but I definitly would tell her. Its just the matter of when you think she would understand it better. Good luck.

Julia - posted on 03/07/2010




I have an adopted brother and I gave my first child to my sister for adoption. Both have been done different ways. My brother has always known that he was adopted, and my nephew has no clue to this day that he is adopted (he's 11). I think growing up knowing something is better than growing up thinking one thing and then when you are a certain age...having everything that you thought you knew blown up in your face.

Krista - posted on 03/07/2010




It's never too soon to start, in my opinion. Next time you read her the book, you can say "You know what? You're like the little girl in this book! Mommy and Daddy chose you for their very own because you were just so special and wonderful!"

I'm sure there are some mothers on here who have adopted (or who were adopted) who could elaborate. But my instinct is that with stuff like this, it's better for them to grow up knowing it than to find out afterwards.

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