Whether or not to tell a child they are adopted

Jacquie - posted on 09/02/2010 ( 25 moms have responded )

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This came up at a ladies brunch I was at.

If your child was adopted or not naturally one parents child (i.e. is biologically yours but not your spouses) and you knew that the child's biological parent was not a good person or could potentially be harmful to your child (emotionally or physically) would you still tell your child that they were adopted? Or would you allow them to grow up believing you were it's natural parent?

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Sharon - posted on 09/02/2010

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this is a no brainer. You tell the truth.

You do not need to spill all the gory details.

You're mom was a crackwhore

we don't know who your daddy is, neither does bio mom

we're not sure your bio mom is your bio mom, she's a crackhead, might have stolen you

ok?

The basic & real truth is what you tell a child.

We choose you and adopted you. why didn't your mom want you? She did, but she couldn't take care of you and wanted you to be with a family that would love you as much as she did but able to give you all that you need. was she a good person? She tried to be, but she had some issues and didn't always succeed but we pray for her/wish her the best.

You cannot lie to a child. It WILL come back to bite you in the ass.

[deleted account]

If it were me i would instill pride that we were able to bring them up as our own and would tell them of course..i wouldnt go in to detail about there biological parents but as the grow up..the will ask questions..its nothing to have a child ashamed of or the adoptive parents.Honesty is always the best in those situations.I was fostered from the age of 4,if i had of been adopted from birth i know i would of liked to have known that other side of me..good or bad.By being honest it wont affect the love you have for your child and the child's love for you..the one who wanted them and cared for them.

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Charlie - posted on 09/03/2010

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oooh Sara like nick and bridget who are having a baby except its not nicks its owens , nicks mothers husband and she knows her daughter in law is having her husbands baby but is lying to her son so he doesnt get hurt *pant , gasp , breath.*

Is that how it will go ?

Ez - posted on 09/03/2010

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Ahh ok. Thanks for clearing that up! I agree that the gory details need to wait until later.

[deleted account]

No, tell them the truth from birth, but not neccessarily the WHOLE truth.. just like you said, age appropriate. A 5 year old should already know they are adopted (or have a step parent) and understand that to the best of their ability, but they don't need to know that their bio parent has the potential to cause them serious harm (as mentioned in the OP).

Sara - posted on 09/03/2010

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I would lie lie lie. Mostly just because there needs to be a dissenting opinion in this thread to make it interesting.

I'd plot an elaborate scheme to make sure the kid never found out. How about that?

Krista - posted on 09/03/2010

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Man, Sharon -- that's a good little script you wrote there. It should be printed out and made available to all adoptive parents/stepparents.

Ez - posted on 09/03/2010

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Theresa, I just wanted to clarify that last line in your post. Are you saying you would allow your child to think a step-parent was their bio-parent until they are 18, and then tell them the truth? Or that they would always know they had a bio-parent, but you wouldn't give them the information to search for them until 18?

Ez - posted on 09/02/2010

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I haven't read any reponses yet, but I believe it is VITAL to tell a child the truth. Obviously it needs to be kept age-appropriate, but keeping this sort of information a secret will always backfire.

I am a single mother with a completely absent ex. The time is drawing near where my daughter is going to ask about her Dad, and I already know what I'm going to say while she's still this little. But as she grows up she will gradually get more of the story. The possibility is obviously also there that I will re-partner and she will be raised by a man other than her bio-Dad. If that happens, she will be told the truth as well. There is too much potential for damage to keep these things secret. It just feeds the shame and stigma that these kids may already feel or be subjected to.

Carolee - posted on 09/02/2010

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My husband and I are going to tell my son as soon as he can understand. He's mine biologically, but not my husband's. Most people actually think that my son is his and that I am the step-parent. My husband's always getting asked when he dated a Hispanic girl! We will also explain that our daughter is both of ours biologically, but both of us love both of them equally.

[deleted account]

Kids deserve the truth from birth (or whatever age they were adopted) no matter how difficult. I would not tell my child that their biological parent could harm them or reveal the identity of their parent until the child is 18 though.

Charlie - posted on 09/02/2010

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Tell the truth .

We had this situation in my family , she knows the truth and it hasnt made a difference to her relationship with her dad ( not bio ) in fact it has strengthened their relationship her knowing he is and always will be there for her no matter what .

Rosie - posted on 09/02/2010

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100% agree tell them, and tell them young. my husband was told a man was his father and when he was 14 he found out that the man really wasn't his bio-dad. needless to say the shit hit the fan. it's never a good idea to lie to your child about where they come from. it's stupid and selfish if you ask me.

Becky - posted on 09/02/2010

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Absolutely you tell them! Can you imagine finding out as a teen or adult that your parents lied to you about something as fundamental to your identity as that? Your relationship with them would never be the same again! It 's not even fair to them to keep that information from them. What happens when they grow up and have kids- don't they deserve to know if there's anything genetic in their biological family that they should watch out for? If their biological family are not healthy people, you don't have to allow themto have any contact with them as a child, but as an adult, that is their choice to make, no one else's.

[deleted account]

I completely agree that you should always be upfront with your children regarding their parentage because children are very accepting of facts when they are not lied to. The children who have issues are generally the ones that find out later in life.

In the UK you are required to tell the children they are adopted when they can understand, and it has been found to be very effective with increasing acceptance amongst the children.

Lindsay - posted on 09/02/2010

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I agree...I've been sitting here trying to figure out a scenerio where you wouldn't tell them but I can't. They should always know.

Joanna - posted on 09/02/2010

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I just typed out an answer but realized I was saying the same thing as the ladies before me - ALWAYS tell! That's something HUGE in a child's life, and they will find out someway. If you don't tell them, they may resent you for it later on.

[deleted account]

I would tell for sure. IMO it would be much easier for a child to learn that they are adopted than finding out later in life and thinking that they were lied to by their parents all their life... wow can you imagine the emotional scarring?

[deleted account]

I agree with Cathy. Honesty is the best policy. What is going to happen emotionally and physiologically when the child finds out on his/her own?

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