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debknechtel 07-26-2004 02:30 PM

Should you tell your child they were adopted?
Hi there

I have a friend who is wrestling with the idea of whether she should tell her son he was adopted and if so at what age ? Does anyone else have any experience or advice to give in this area??

disneyfan 08-20-2004 12:51 PM

I have a little advice for you in this area. My DD is adopted and she knows this. She knows that she has come from another lady's tummy. We have told her that her biological mom was just not able to take care of her and that we wanted her and so we adopted her. She is such a gift from God and I let her know that. There will be more questions as she grows older, and we will deal with them then. She will be 6 in a few months time. I really think that it is not fair to the child to not tell them, especially if your family and friends know, someone could accidentally say something and then it will be a bigger issue. Hope that this helps.



jrkeller 08-20-2004 12:59 PM

My husband and his brother were adopted when they were 16 months and just over 2 yrs. They always knew they were adopted as did everyone else. I don't think their mom really sat them down to tell them. It was just an accepted thing......about like knowing that one had brown hair and the other black hair. No one treated them any differently. No one ever sat me down and told me that my mom gave birth to me in a hospital. So, it was just a part of their lives!! On the other hand, they had a younger brother who was adopted by another family at birth. He never was told until he was 16 years old!! Now, that isn't right!! The children should know that they are adopted. In my husband's case, the adopted kids weren't any different than birth children. I hope I am making sense.
In today's world, things are different, it seems. I never told my children over and over that they were special because I gave birth to them. Today, it seems that adopted children are reminded over and over that they are 'special' BECAUSE they are adopted and they were 'chosen'. My children are 'special' and 'chosen' just because I gave birth to them.
Maybe others feel differently than I, but I think that both adopted and birth children should be treated the same!!! BUT they should know that they were adopted, if that is the case.

cherilight 08-20-2004 01:06 PM

Boy have I been there. I adopted my daughter when she was an infant. The birth mother was a relative. She knew she was adopted but didn't know who the birth mother was. I spent 12 years worrying that someone would spill the beans about who the birth mother was. It ended up being a huge mess because the birth mother told my daughter who she was when she was 11 because she wanted her back.

Even though my situation is a bit different there are still some parallels here; if you don't tell your child the circumstances of his/her birth and someone else does, they will feel betrayed and lied to and that is a complete breach of trust to them.

Tell them they were chosen. Be careful the wording in whatever you say. Say "put up for adoption" instead of "give up". Small distinction but the nuances end up saying volumes to the child. I told my daughter that her being put up for adoption had nothing to do with her; it wasn't as if they had had another child they would have said, "Oh, we'll keep this one". She had a lot of issues feeling unwanted and a lot of it was how she found out about her birth mother.

debknechtel 08-20-2004 01:57 PM

Thanks everyone for your words of wisdom!!! The little guy in question is 4 years old and was adopted from birth through the foster care system. I know as of now they have not said anything to him. I am always worried as you stated that someone will tell him before they do. I will pass all your comments on to her!!! Any others with advice would be welcomed.


Lifestar 08-20-2004 04:09 PM

I have several friends and relatives" who are adoptive parents. Their children have "always" known they were chosen to live in their families, and were adopted into their homes and hearts. It was never an issue.

In tw families the children are of different racces, so it was a no brainer .. the situation for discussion presented itself at a very early age..

On other family has contact with the birth mother, who visits na sends birthday and holiday cards

And the fourth family always had the framed print about how "you didn't grow under my heart, but it it" hanging above the baby's crib.

answers about the birth mothers were always generous.. about how she cared for the chiild's welfare, and wanted the child to have a healthy and good life, which she couldn't provode, because of drugs, or crime or youth..etc etc..

The child was never called a mistke or unwanted in any way... It waas always called a gift and a choice ...

The child was "picked" "Chosen" the parents wete" Blessed" Gifted" and " their dreams fulfilled" to have this child..

Another thing my friend told her little girl was "Most parents get a gift directly from G-d..and a baby is born to them... Adoptive parents get a special bonus from the angels too.. They get to choose..and we chose YOU!"

Candy 08-20-2004 04:11 PM

:heart: My youngest daughter ,now 23 was adopted. I truely believed that an adopted child should be aware from get go that another person gave birth to them. I did not do that we kept putting off saying anything for our own selfish fears and the longer it went the harder it got. At twelve which is a hard age for kids anyway, a friend of the family let it slip because they thought she already knew. I wish with all my heart that she would have known all along. It is O.K. now but we had a hard time with the betrayal she felt. In turn the rejections we got as she turned to her birth mom for comfort. I know a few adopted people and as a rule the ones that knew right along came out much more normally adjusted (so to speak) and had far less problems with it.

Hope this helps.

trekmom 08-20-2004 07:31 PM

Sounds like you'll probably tell him he's adopted. Good for you. My DH was adopted and knew from an early age. I have 3 cousins also adopted (2 with the same family) the one alone knew he was adopted, in fact he grew up in the same town with his birth family and knew who they were too. The two in the same family found out when they were teenagers and it wasn't a good experience for them (my aunt and uncle refused them any info at the time) both boys rebelled. One never recovered and the other has something of himself-at least he's raised his family and made better decisions than his brother did.
If you're able to locate any info on his birth family to give later down the road that would be nice too. I'm trying to locate my DH birth family as much for him to have a biological and genealogical connection to the world as to get medical information which might be useful to our daguhters and grandkids down the road.
Take care

klcrn 08-21-2004 05:01 AM

I agree with all the others....
it's better that the child find out from someone who loves him than to find out by "accident". That is always so traumatic no matter how it happens....

It can be explained at an "age approprate" level but the earlier the better. At 4 yrs old, he might not fully understand the "adoption" process but he can understand that Mommy and Daddy wanted a child ssoooo bad that they made a special prayer to God to send them a baby and God sent them him to share their love with and how blessed THEY are that he came into their lives..

They can explain that the birth parents weren't able to take care of him for whatever reason so they asked God to find a home so He found him to a family that would love him--that way hopefully he will feel good about them instead of resentful...

I have 3 sons of my own but if any one of them were adopted....I would definately tell them.....he would have the right to know....lives have been destroyed by secrets like that....

katrink1 08-21-2004 08:36 AM

I am an adopted child and have known about it since I can remember. Please tell him. Being adopted is not a disease or curse. As far as I am concerned an adopted child is no different than a birth child.

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