What is the right age to reveal adoption secret?

Cassandra - posted on 05/17/2010 ( 10 moms have responded )

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My Daughter Jade is an amazingly intelligent three year old. We adopted Jade through CPS. She is my biological niece, but has been my daughter since she was five months old. She had a hard time when she was with her biologicals. Many things were done/not done that just created a bad environment. When Approached by the state, there was no question, she was ours. I love this little girl more than Life itself. Now that she is getting older she "remembers"things from when she was an infant...things that have never been spoken of, and she has terrible dreams that cause many a sleepless night. Recently we ran into some family of the biological father, and they commenced to telling jade that they were her family, and all it did was confuse her. To add to it, her biological mother is pregnant again. When is the right time to tell Jade her past? and how? My heart breaks everytime i think of having to explain this to her. any suggestions on easing the pain? Any tips on when and how to do it?

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Jayne - posted on 05/17/2010

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it is amazing how small children adapt to situations. and i think the sooner you tell her the easier it will be the older she gets the harder it will be for her to except. you should expalin to her that she is very special as even though you are her mother it was someone else that had her. she was sent to you specially so that you would be able to have her and love her as much as you do. and be honest with any questions that she has. just simlfy things for her so that s can understand as much as she can it may stop her bad dreams and as she grows her bond with you will be even deeper and you could end up being closer. if you leave it until she's a teenager she's gonna wanna no why you never told her and she may feel like a trust has been broken. if she's rem things and her biological parent is relatedto you i think you should do it now. you could make it out as a story at bedtime or something like that. but you can onlydo what you feel is best for YOUR child

Sarah - posted on 05/17/2010

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Tell her now. There are SO many childrens books about adoption. I would suggest going to the book store and finding some books for her to look at and read with her. Adoption is a wonderful thing. Yes, she will have some questions as she grows and there might be times she wishes her biological family would have been different (or would be different). But that does not mean that she will not live a happy and fullfilling life. I have two sisters and a brother that are adopted. I remember at one time they would go around bragging that they were adopted. They felt so special. I think that is why it is SO important to be open and honest right from the start about adoption. It makes them feel proud of who they are instead of ashamed of being adopted when it is kept a secert and not shared with them.

I work in adoption and I remember one adoptive mom saying the adoption talk is much like the sex talk. I thought about that and SO agree. The sex talk starts almost right away when they are little talking about body parts and then increases little by little as they get older. Adoption the same way first you keep it very simple. Be open and honest and tell them the answer to their questions that is age appropriate (sp). My rule of thumb is always go simple and they will ask if they need more detail. The nice thing about adoption today is that it is SO common. It will amaze you how many people are adopted. There are SO many books out there for both kids and adults. You can find little books for the youngest of young (babies, infants, toddlers). Then there are books for elementry kids, jr high kids, and high school kids. Each age group has books that address the different things they might be struggling with at that time. There are also SO many books for the adoptive parents, any kind of parent wants to do the best that we possibly can.

How to tell her....My kids love ice cream. So I would plan a special afternoon and go out for ice cream and the park. As we are eating ice cream I would talk about when you ran into her bio father. Expand on that. Kids are amazing. Sometimes we think this is just going to be horrible and it is no where near what we thought. She knows you love her and that you are there for her. At 3 yrs in her head everything revolves around her, so for her you are her mom. You are the one that is there for her and loves her. She will most likely not have any pain knowing that she is adopted (right now). Keep in mind you have to remember her perspective. My sister had a stillbirth and her son was 3 yrs old at the time. He was sad, but was very matter of fact about things. He did not have the experiences and knowledge that brings in complexity to a situation. To him his brother died and went to Heaven. He was sad and it was sad that he was not going to be able to play with him, but that is where it ended.

Hope this helps a little.

Rheannon - posted on 05/17/2010

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Personally, I can not tell you how to handle this. But, it seems you have turned what could have been a very bad situation for this little girl & made her have a chance to have an amazing life. That is so awesome! However, if it was me, I would not hide it from her. Eventually she will know. And then if she is older, maybe a teenager, she might feel as though you have a lied to her & in turn she might feel differently about you & her situation.

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Medic - posted on 05/17/2010

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I was adopted and I have known as long as I can remember. I believe that always knowing made me a more confident person and gave me a strong relationship with my parents. My three year old has been adopted by my husband and knows...well sorta....he knows that daddy chose him even though god chose me to be his mommy.

Kerry - posted on 05/17/2010

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My best friend was adopted and she was pretty much always told about it (she woul've figured it out early anyways since she's mixed and both her parents are white) but her Mom always told her that while she didn't give birth to her she didn't love her any less than if she had. I guess they didn't want it to turn into a teenage thing when it came out. I think telling earlier is better because she might feel betrayed by you for keeping the secret for so long.

Michelle - posted on 05/17/2010

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Your post is moving brought me to tears. I have a friend who didn't find out tell she was around 16 and she always knew there was something different about her than her other family members, she took it really hard. I also have a friend who was told about being adopted when she started asking questions about 7-8. She said she felt that it was a good time although it took her a while to understand. She appericates that her parents were honest with her. Do what you feel is right as her mother. I think 3 is a little young to tell her but maybe in a few years when she has more questions. Best of luck to you on this really diffcult topic!

Joanna - posted on 05/17/2010

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Tell her now!

I gave my daughter up for adoption 8 years ago and she had always known... her adoptive family had a book of our pictures and letters we'd written to her (some saying why we gave her up for adoption), and she never had any problems, she was always so smart about it and very happy.

Just let her know that sometimes mommies carry babies in their bellies that they can't be mommies too, so another mommy comes along and loves them like their own. Something like that.

Rebecca - posted on 05/17/2010

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We adopted our son when he was born. He is now 16 months old. Our social worker told us to start a little at a time and we should start around 18 months which I thought was way to young, but she said to tell it in a story, "His Story". I don't know what your thoughts are, but maybe start a little at a time and don't just throw it all at her at once. Do what you think is right.

Alicia - posted on 05/17/2010

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I've never experienced this personally, but if I had been adopted I think I would either want to grow up knowing the truth or never know about it. Maybe start by explaining that you ARE her mommy, she just didn't come from your belly.

I'm sorry for your situation and hope you find an agreeable solution. Bless you for taking in that little girl, and for all that you are doing.

Amber - posted on 05/17/2010

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I don't know exactly what age is the best. I think 3 might be young, and she might not understand. But if she is asking questions or talking about things, then maybe she would. I do know that you shouldn't wait until she is too old. I had a friend whose parents didn't tell him until he was in his teenage years. He was very hurt that they hadn't told him.

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